Saturday, February 16, 2013

Analysis of "Anarchy" by John McCrae

Original poem reprinted online here: "Anarchy" by John McCrae
Originally read: December 11, 2012
More information about the Poet: John McCrae


The description in the second line got me  interested in the poem, "Where men, like wolves, slunk through the grim half-light" and I know this is a John McCrae poem (well time frame wise) is slightly behind the (like around 15 years or so) Modernist era.

But I wonder how poems are looked at after a time.  For example this poem is probably a century old (maybe a little less or more).  And I'm sure that McCrae didn't want me to read the second line as a noir-ish poem where I envision the speaker walking the streets with two types of lights -- candle lit street posts and red lamps for any comer.

Then running into a drunk who states in stanza 3 "'Speak not of God! In centuries that word / Hath not been uttered!  Our own king are we.'"

Then I hear laughter -- maybe from the guy who said this or maybe from the God who, "stretched forth his hand as he heard / and o'er it cast a thousand leagues of sea.'" (the line is reminiscent of the flood to destroy the sins of humanity or, perhaps, a god in search of followers instead of the reverse).

And in this world in the poem (which is also build-up or pre WWI), the observer, the speaker isn't laughing -- is appalled by the whole idea of what really -- a godless society, or a society that god left?

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