The clouds and the stars didn’t wage this war
the brooks gave no information
if the mountain spewed stones of fire into the river
it was not taking sides
the raindrop faintly swaying under the leaf
had no political opinions

and if here or there a house
filled with backed-up raw sewage
or poisoned those who lived there
with slow fumes, over years
the houses were not at war
nor did the tinned-up buildings

intend to refuse shelter
to homeless old women and roaming children
they had no policy to keep them roaming
or dying, no, the cities were not the problem
the bridges were non-partisan
the freeways burned, but not with hatred

Even the miles of barbed-wire
stretched around crouching temporary huts
designed to keep the unwanted
at a safe distance, out of sight
even the boards that had to absorb
year upon year, so many human sounds

so many depths of vomit, tears
slow-soaking blood
had not offered themselves for this
The trees didn’t volunteer to be cut into boards
nor the thorns for tearing flesh
Look around at all of it

and ask whose signature
is stamped on the orders, traced
in the corner of the building plans
Ask where the illiterate, big-bellied
women were, the drunks and crazies,
the ones you fear most of all: ask where you were.

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

1 Comment

  1. olivia merrithew says:

    Its not done but this is it so far…
    For the Record by Adrienne Rich was a moving poem about World War One. She was the speaker in this poem. She spoke to the people back home not fighting in the war. Adrienne Rich tells us that this war did not start from the environment, but from the people.

    The tone of this poem is both insensitive and horrifying. You can tell the insensitivity of this poem from the quote “Ask where the illiterate, big-bellied women were, the drunk and crazies, the ones you fear most of all: as where you were”. The significance of this quote is that this makes it sound very insensitive because it is the last stanza which stands out the most of all of them. The anger that the people back home is as much as the men fighting in the war. It is not because they want more land that they are angry they are angry because they are not fighting and they feel like cowards. Saying something like that would just make it worse.

    The tone of the poem is also very horrifying as all of the terrible things that happen in the trenches during the war. “So many depths of vomit, tear slow-soaking blood.” The significance of this quote is very horrifying as you read it, how the soaking of blood and vomit is happening all the time at war. The conditions must have been distressing. The men at war are the ones that are killing each other. It is not the environment; it is the other men’s choice to pull the trigger.

    The speaker of this poem is a women involved in the war. Adrienne Rich is the name of the speaker. “By: Adrienne Rich”. The significance that she wrote it is enormous. It is now primary information. She was there and it is of the war through her eyes. She knew that it was the people who started the war because she new that it was more for the leaders of the country to acquire revenge.

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