The poem entitled “Happiness” written by Wilfred Owen, describes a mixture of emotions. On one hand he describes our happiness, pleasure, joys, smiles, and laughter; and on the other sorrow, sadness, wrongs, and griefs. There’s also a sense of a need for protection, security, and reassurance. Boyhood versus leaving boyhood. The happiness of growing versus the sadness of being grown. The magic of childhood wonder versus the dullness of grown reality.
At the end of the first stanza, it seems almost as if Owen tries to cheer himself up with “great songs” and “pleasures more than men’s” as things that once brought him joy and happiness. As if he is trying to remind himself of times as a boy but failing to bring back that happiness.
The poem ends with “Boys’ griefs are not so grievous as youth’s yearning, Boys have no sadness sadder than our hope.’”
This shows that the former happiness as mentioned earlier is an unreturning one. That hope, while supposedly one of the happiest emotions, can be the one bringing us grief and sadness. That no one persons sadness can match the sadness that comes with hope. The hope that someday your true days of happiness may return but the sadness of realizing that they’re forever over.
The poem entitled “America” by Allen Ginsberg represents the spirit of America in the post World War 2 times. This poem talks about several different issues such as nuclear warfare, racial unrest, resistance against communism, and all the previous wars from the former years.
In the beginning of the poem he speaks to America directly. Ginsberg feels as things are dismal and he’s rather let down. Financially and mentally he is struggling due to the conflict and wars the country is so involved with. He then speaks to the reader, informing them that he’s aware of what he is saying and doing. Ginsberg talks about constantly smoking to get high and drinking to forget to help soothe his aching mind. This symbolizes restlessness and desperation. He then goes on to note that speaking to America is like speaking to himself.
Ginsberg then mentions how when he was younger he was an active communist who now lives with no regrets of those days. He then makes fun of the people in this country who were ignorant enough to blame every unfortunate event on other countries mainly Russia.
The end of the poem brings a hopeful determination to help fix these problems himself.
On My Songs
The poem entitled “On My Songs” by Wilfred Owen tells a story of loneliness and the power poetry has to heal. Owen uses the phrase “as if they knew my woe” to show how such poets are able to cure his sadness. He sees them as almost spiritual and idolizes them.
Owen then goes on to say that those poems do not always have the power to help. Therefore he writes his own. He believes that no other poem can match his own misery and sadness.
He then speaks to the reader, telling them that if they’re in dark times such as he is that he hopes his poems can help others as poems have helped him. To use the poem to fight the battles you aren’t strong enough to fight alone.