Monthly Archives: May 2011

Online Lesson HBL Term 2 25th May 2011 Part 1


Children in the Darkness

There are children in the darkness
Who have not seen the light
There are children in the darkness
Who someone will teach to fight
Chalk and blackboards will not be
To this door there is no key
From this life they can not flee
And these children are not free
Could we simply light a candle
Could we give them half a chance
Could we teach them how to read
Could we teach them how to dance
Or will a war consume them
Their body and their soul
Will their life and blood be poured
Down some endless thirsty hole
Back into the darkness
From which there is no flight
Back into the darkness
Into which there shines no light

Background information

Henry M Bechtold, the poet, went to Vietnam during the period 1967-1968. During that time, the Vietnam Wars had started from 1955-1975. In 2009, Henry was at a Hotel in Saigon. He was inspired by a photo of a young boy carrying a automatic rifle in his hands going to war in the news. After that, he found his inspiration and began to jot down events he had remembered from the Vietnam Wars he had experienced. The poem talks about the children during the Vietnam War.

The poem is in the period of the Vietnam Wars. It was about children who were at young age would also have to go to war. The repetition of the word “darkness” signifies that the children were kept away in a corner when not needed, and when war comes, they would be sent to the battlefield or to enemies’ base to be spies regardless of their age. They would meet their doom and as the repetition of “darkness” suggests the darkness in their lives. The children had no rights to choose to fight or not. The main darkness is the death awaiting them. “From this life they cannot flee” suggests that every child in Vietnam had to go for war as there was probably a shortage of soldiers as many died and many were badly injured because the war had went on for more than 10 years. Thus, the children would have to replace the soldiers and they cannot flee from their destiny. “War consume their body and their soul” meant that the children will die of the war.

The persona wants to argue that the children should be taught with knowledge but not sent to war. This is another example of a anti-war poetry. The persona conveys this message differently from other poem in my opinion. Most anti-war poems were all about bloodshed and deaths of family and friends. However, this poem conveys the hardship the innocent children had to suffer due to the war. They had to replace soldiers to go up to the battlefield to fight for their lives which was quite difficult because they had never been trained to go to battlefields. Therefore, they would meet their doom. The persona evokes sympathy as the innocent children had to go to war at such a young age.

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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Uncategorized