Saturday, October 22, 2005

Dawn by Rupert Brooke

Opposite me two Germans snore and sweat.
Through sullen swirling gloom we jolt and roar.
We have been here for ever: even yet
A dim watch tells two hours, two aeons, more.
The windows are tight-shut and slimy-wet
With a night's foetor. There are two hours more;
Two hours to dawn and Milan; two hours yet.
Opposite me two Germans sweat and snore. . . .

One of them wakes, and spits, and sleeps again.
The darkness shivers. A wan light through the rain
Strikes on our faces, drawn and white. Somewhere
A new day sprawls; and, inside, the foul air
Is chill, and damp, and fouler than before. . . .
Opposite me two Germans sweat and snore.

I'm not sure why I like this poem. It is an account of a simple experience: riding the train in Europe. It reminds me of trip to Europe; how long the train took, and how there are so many people with different backgrounds. How the trip feels like aeons in a foreign land. The details the speaker decides to mention enhances the sense of awkwardness in the train. It is so quiet, that the speaker notices the awkward movements of the Germans. It makes me wonder why Brooke chose to focus this poem on a couple Germans sleeping on a train, but the amount of focus and detail he puts on them makes this poem interesting. He makes them seem so dark and dirty in the gloomy train. The abab rhyme scheme also makes the poem odd since the speaker breaks the pattern by repeating the last line from the first stanza.


Blogger brianne fong said...

I appreciated the honesty in the beginning of Matt's interpretation, "I don't know why I like this poem," because I often feel the same way. Sometime's there's poems that just hit you or make some sort of impact on you and you don't know why. This poem first reminded me of the Jewish internment camps during WWII. I don't know if that's what they're talking about in the poem, but I remember reading this book in middle school and high school called "Night" which was about the internment camps. It's so sad to read this poem because it sounds like a inner cry of this "prisoner", yet no one hears them - and the guards (Germans) just sleep in fear of nothing. Powerful poem.

10:50 PM  

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