The author of this poem ‘Carol Ann Duffy’ is a well known English poet. She wrote a lot of poems about varied subjects. She was born in 1955 in Scotland. Duffy’s experience in life may have affected her writings in many ways. Her writings mostly have simple casual language and are marked by their philosophical manner. “War photographer “is a very eye-catching, strong and effective title. The title conveys to the onlookers the idea and theme of death, war, blood and other such aspects from a specific point of view.
The title itself carries the theme of the whole poem and its indirect manner.
In this poem an anonymous photographer, tries to capture the readers’ attention into the theme of death and war. Throughout the poem, the comparisons exhibit to us the clear differences, and similarities in the subjects in this theme. The poem explores the way some humans care too little for others who are blasted away everyday.
These ideas and others are portrayed through the photographer and his job. The first six lines of the poem show the photographer’s own ideas .It also portrays the poet’s own ideas and how he sees this theme, and this job of photography. The poet shows how the photographer is really inserted into his serious job.
“With spools of suffering set out…” the poet uses alliteration, metaphor as well as an onomatopoeic effect in this line. This is used to show the rush of images and the agony they have.
The photographer is then compared to a ‘priest’ and his work a religious one. These two lines show much more than they seem to. They may mean that what he does is a serious religious and extremely important work. It may also mean to show the image and the arrangement of coffins which symbolizes death. The last line is not less important, as it shows yet another comparison between these distant lands where dead bodies are as plentiful as grass; may be even more! It quotes a few words from the bible to support this idea.
The second stanza continues the ideas of the first one. The first line shows the importance of the photographer’s job and its accuracy. It lets us guess how dreadful and pitiful the images are. The next lines give, yet again, a comparison of this quite place to where people die in hundreds. It shows some of the great differences between the peaceful lives of these people and the agonies of the others in distant lands.
The third stanza has more action than the previous two. The poet now goes on to the images, rather the memories, as they flow swiftly. The words “half-formed ghost” tries to fix an image in the readers’ minds about the deathly theme of the poem. The photographer now stops at a memory, a painful one. The poetry shows in these few lines humanity should be respected. How human blood is so cheap and how countries and languages, shouldn’t really distinguish between humans.
The last stanza takes an over view over the whole affair. It shows how there are many more painful images which we are not shown. It explores how millions of people die for nearly nothing. It shows again, and compares how the comfortable citizens won’t really give much care to such things. It says that they will have pity but only for short. Only as people listen to religious sermons, think for only a few minutes, and then forget all about it. The last two lines show another point-of-view of the photographer. He ‘stares impassively’ at a place where he should be. This place is where he lives, and does this sacred job, but yet where people ‘do not care’.