Press "Enter" to skip to content

Poetry of Love and War


Whilst time changes many things, one thing it does not change is the experience of deep emotions. Whether they are love, hatred, grief or friendship, human have always attempted to explore what It Is to love and to hate. One way they have done this is through poetry. Four poems which do just this are the nineteenth century love poem, ‘Friendship After Love’, written by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, e Cummings, ‘It may not always be so’ written in the twentieth century, World War One poem ‘Dulcet et Decorum Est’ written by Wilfred Owen and finally, ‘Homecoming’ written by Bruce

Dade about the Vietnam War. These four poems explore many things about love, war and the similarities and differences between them. Though written In different times, all four poems explore essentially the same things; whether It Is communicated through love or war. ‘Friendship After Love’, written in the nineteenth century by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, depicts the progression of a relationship from the stages of love and passion to the heartbreak at the loss of love and finally to the steady state of friendship.

She speaks of her love, which began so passionately, but became nothing ore than friendship, relating her experience of that lost love through this poem. The progression of love Is Inevitable and must be accepted. ‘Friendship After Love’ explores the changes and movement of the love she has experienced. Whilst there Is always a sense of loss when a relationship ends, there can also be resolution and relief from the expectation that can overwhelm a relationship, “Why are we haunted with a sense of loss? “, “He beckons us to follow, and across/Cool verdant vales we wander free from care”.

Whether or not a friendship evolves from a passionate allegations, does not stop the connection which will always remain between two people who have shared an experience of love together. Although the end of a relationship, such as the one In this poem, Is often for the better, a sense of emptiness can be felt from the loss of such a relationship, ‘Is it a touch of frost lies in the air? ‘ Why are we haunted with a sense of loss? ‘ We do not wish the pain back, or the heat/ And yet, and yet, these days are incomplete”. Many important and interesting ideas are explored about love in ‘Friendship After Love’.

The feelings of affection and love depicted In this poem are experienced by many. Love Is a universal theme and the Ideas and struggles experienced In this poem are of Individuals of all types, worldwide. This poem explores the unpredictability and imperfection of love, flaws which need to be accepted. The intensity of love cannot be upheld by two people for an extensive amount of time. It eventually fades, showing the true underlying foundations of the relationships and whether they are stable or not. The loss of love Is difficult and painful, but not all love lost must end in hatred.

The idea f friendship after is explored In this poem, “Comes large-eyed friendship”, underlying the positives of an end to a relationship. Techniques are used In writing poems to help convey a message. Ella Wheeler Wilcox used many techniques when writing ‘Friendship After Love’, which helped her to communicate her ideas about love and the loss of it. Personification was very important in the composition of this poem, “So after Love has led us, till he tires/ Of his own throes, and torments, and desires”. She uses this method to suggest and signify that love is not unseen and is very real. Disarmer all ablaze/ Has burned itself to ashes, and expires/ In the intensity of its own fires”. Using metaphor helps to portray the vehemence of love and love’s ability to burn itself out. It also helps to create an image of passionate love as an extreme fire, helping us to understand the ideas being conveyed in this poem. The structure used, as well as rhyme and punctuation, have hidden significance. The structure used for ‘Friendship After Love’ is inconsistent and changeable, conveying love’s unpredictability and varying phases.