ABOUT THE POET
Born – 1946 Missouri, USA
He is poet who prefers writing ballads,
villanelles and sonnets.
Notable works –
)“Balladeer – The poetry of Michael Mack”
ii. He is the
moderator of the website entitled as “Passions of Poetry”
ABOUT SMALL PAIN IN MY CHEST
Small Pain in My Chest” is another addition to the ‘Anti-war’ poem group. This poem joins the crusade against the uselessness and negativity of war.
Two soldiers met and the conversation of the two soldiers in the poem. One of the soldiers is having a small pain in his chest. The other offers him help if any he could.
The soldier said that he desired for a sip of water. We witness how the boy slowly died at last leaving a feeling against the cruelty of war.
SMALL PAIN IN MY CHEST–AN ANTI WAR POEM
Like Southey and Owen, we find ‘Small Pain in My Chest’ to reflect strong condemnation against the war. This poem through the conversation between the two soldiers reflects that war brings pain, separation, agony, hatred and above all loss of all innocent lives.
The death of the young soldier hints that warmongers do go in the battlefield and fight rather guileless young soldiers are sent to kill and to be killed. War does not bring any solution war kills human and humanity.
SMALL PAIN IN MY CHEST-AN EMBODIMENT OF BALLAD
“Small Pain in My Chest” is written in the ballad form. The total poem tells us a story in the form of the poem.
The poem comprises stanzas and can be sung to musical instruments. It has a refrain, particular rhyme scheme and filled with many poetic devices.
USE OF REFRAIN IN SMALL PAIN IN MY CHEST
A Refrain is a repeated line or number of lines in a poem or in a song that comes typically at the end of each verse. We find “Small Pain in My Chest” to be repeated throughout the poem with slight variations.
The refrain generally carries the main message of the poem. Here the refrain hints at the horrors of war, pain and suffering of a soldier in the war.
SMALL PAIN IN MY CHEST-HORRORS OF WAR
“Small pain in my chest” gives us a vivid account about the brutal side of the war. Nothing influences a soldier on the battlefield than the fear of being killed and the task of killing the enemy.
They have no space for emotion, feelings, sympathy or leisure. To live and to kill are what they follow. Food, rest, recreation etc. become baffling to them.
We find a dying soldier asking for aid from the narrator. He is injured and about to meet the horn of death. He finds himself lucky as his injury is not severe as he is alive in comparison to those who met their death already.
He goes on describing the last night’s horrible battle. How two hundred of them climbed the hill and on reaching the top he got a small pain in his chest for an explosion. We find at last how the young a soldier because of the heavy loss of blood died and gives us a feeling of pang.
STRUCTURE OF SMALL PAIN IN MY CHEST
“Small pain in my chest” is a ballad with a refrain. The poem has a musical tenet. The whole poem is of 36 lines and divided into nine four-line stanzas.
It maintains the rhyme scheme of aa bb. We find the use of alliteration, inversion, enjambment, imagery, refrain in the poem.
STANZA WISE EXPLANATIONS OF A SMALL PAIN IN MY CHEST
Seeing a soldier boy sitting calmly, the narrator approached him. He was calling for the narrator. Throughout the night the young soldier fought a hard and long battle. In the morning’s light, one could see many dead bodies here and there.
Poetic Devices in use
Alliteration – ‘that tree’, ‘through the’.
STANZA – 2
The young injured soldier asked for aid to the narrator. He craved for a sip of water that every dying soldier desires. They fought for all day and night and
now what they need is a sip of water as he is having a small pain in his chest.
Poetic devices in use.
Antithesis – “we fought all day and fought
The narrator could see a reddish-brown stain on his shirt symbolising the blood from the injury. The stain was of blood mixed with local dirt. The young soldier said that he is lucky to have a small pain in his chest because all his
companions are already dead.
The young soldier said that he must have gone old or must be fatigued because in spite of the sun shining he was feeling cold. Actually, Death was slowly engulfing him.
Then he said how yesterday two hundred of them climbed the hill and on reaching the chest there was a big explosion which created the pain in his chest.
Injured, the soldier tried to get some help but he found only dead bodies and big and deep craters in the earth. He kept on fighting but at last, sat down with a small pain in his chest.
1) Enjambment –
only thing I found …/were big
When the narrator handed him the water bottle he thanked him with a smile which seemed to be the brightest one to the narrator. The young soldier says that he is
a bit ashamed that a man of his stature and size could be defeated by a small pain in his chest.
– ‘think the’, ‘seems silly’, ‘man my’.
He remembers what his wife and mother would think of seeing him in this way. Then he thinks what his wife would think when she would see her husband so weak and lonely; what would his mother think that held him to her breast when she would see him here with a small pain in his chest.
– ‘what would’, ‘my mother’
He asks the question of whether the sun will set very soon because he finds the sun to be dim. The soldier thought the day just began. Actually, he was about to die so he lost his visibility. He said that he wanted to rest before going and then the soldier died.
The narrator says that he does not remember what he did. He might have cried. Then the narrator held him and pulled to his side tight and he could feel their wounds pressed with each other. The wound of the narrator was the large one than the small pain in the chest of the young soldiers.