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Komunyakaa Poem Analysis

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forms of vocal or silent prayers. This is captured in this phrasing of the poem, as a soldier fearing for his life calls for aid. The next part of the poem shows the meticulous attention to detail and preparation that a commanding officer has. This officer is responsible for the lives of everybody under his command, and he is responsible for ensuring that they accomplish their goals with minimal loss of life. He is verifying that everything is ready for an attack that could occur at any time, and there is no problem with the equipment that will aid them in a fight for their lives. Finally, near the end of the poem, the waiting is over. The fighting that is being dreaded is here, and the fight for their survival has begun. People are dying, and there is a sound that will haunt dreams years later, “The cough of a mortar tube.” This dread associated with a sound or memory is a reference to PTSD developed by many soldiers due to distressing experiences during the fighting. This led to many problems for the soldiers as they retuned home, and attempted to reacclimate to civilian life. This is a topic that Komunyakaa explores here, and in other poems, as it was something he experienced directly. Poems like this betrayed a vital writing style of Komunyakaa’s; writing literally. He does not try to hide meaning in the words, he does not keep the reader guessing. He writes to put his ideas out, and allows the reader to absorb everything they can. Growing up in the south during the
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