Poem to Song Comparison: An Analysis of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Killers”
Pearl Strachan had once said, “Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs. ” Words have the power to stir a man to action and to pacify his distressed soul. Words can motivate or dissuade; they can injure but also heal. From political leaders to literary geniuses, from musicians to journalists, people endowed with the gift of articulacy or with oratory skills have exploited the power of words to convey their message and reach out to the world. Literature, prose, poetry and music employ these words to connect with their audiences. It somehow seems simpler to appreciate the words of a song than ones of a poem.
What one fails to recognize, however, is the correlation between these two forms of communication. Just as the words of a poem can ignite a man’s soul, so can the lyrics of a song. Both have made significant contribution towards our comprehension of life and its many facets. Thesis: The correlation and similitude between poetry and music can be demonstrated through a comparison of the song “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and the poem “Killers” as they both bear conspicuous resemblances in the themes explored, the language choice and the use of imagery and symbolism.
The song “Sunday Bloody Sunday” was written and performed by U2, considered to be one of the most eminent rock bands of all time. The song is a reference to the “Bloody Sunday” incident occurring on the 30th of January, 1972. The day saw the massacre of 14 persons engaged in a peaceful Civil Rights Association march, by British Paratroopers. The incident took place in in Derry, Ireland. The song talks about violence and bloodshed and raises the question as to when it will all stop. The song opens with the lines, “I can’t believe the news today Oh, I can’t close my eyes and make it go away”
The listener is immediately informed of the tone of the song as being sullen and distraught. There is no adornment or play of words here. The song candidly conveys that there is bad news and also expresses a sense of helplessness at being unable to alter the circumstance by simply closing one’s eyes. The song also employs powerful imagery to communicate the anguish and suffering of the victims of “Bloody Sunday”. “Broken bottles under children’s feet Bodies strewn across the dead end streets. ” These lines vividly depict the heart rendering and disturbing scenes of the day.
The song states “the trench is dug within our hearts”. Our hearts are being compared to a battlefield with trenches dug in it. This further explicates the element of violence and war. The line, “How long must we sing this song” conveys weariness with the incidence of violence and death. The song asks the question that is in all of our hearts, “when will the suffering and killing end? ” The song goes on to say that we must wipe the tears from our eyes. This represents a sense of hope, that perhaps someday the world will rid itself of cruel and brutal fighting.
The end embodies a paradoxical view of the world, wherein we believe what we see on television, which might not be completely true. We know what we know about the incident through television reports and it is quite possible that fact is fiction and vice versa. People go on to perform their tasks of daily routine as they “eat and drink”. The irony here is that while they go on “living” their lives, there are people that will be “dying”. “Killers”, by Carl Sandburg is a poem centered around World War I, where “sixteen million men” (as mentioned in the poem) lost their lives.
The first lines of the poem utilize imagery to portray slavery and helplessness, talking about a man in handcuffs and his inability to move. The poem continues to make use of the element of imagery to convey distress, suffering and death. “.. red juice runs on the green grass; And a red juice soaks the dark soil. ” These lines lucidly depict the killings and butchery during the War. The red juice symbolizes blood and through the use of such powerful statements, Sandburg transports the reader to the battlefield and invokes within him the impression of actually being there and experiencing the anguish of the sufferers.
The poet repeats the word “killing” three times, firmly establishing the central theme of the poem. The concluding stanza of the poem elucidates the element of irony by expounding that the men are “fixed in the drag of the world’s heartbreak”. They are “eating, drinking, toiling”, meaning that they are carrying out the necessary activities of living and surviving, while they are in turn, “killing”. Both “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, by U2 and “Killers” by Carl Sandburg explore the themes of violence and bloodshed and its impact on the lives of those involved. The use of imagery is evident in both.
The carnage, the sorrow and the angst experienced are cogently portrayed, leaving the audience somber yet intrigued. They speak of helplessness and vulnerability. One would find it easy to relate to the issues discussed within both these works. People always express disdain at the occurrences of war and violence, but find it hard to articulate their feelings in the form of words. These two works impart language to such feelings and make it easier for the audience to associate with the subjects in question. Another noteworthy similarity between these works is the language employed.
Both U2 and Sandburg have chosen to communicate their sentiments in a candid and blatant manner. The choice of such blunt language is justified as it endows the works with a more profound sense of consequence and significance. The works end on a paradoxical note, as they observe the irony that surrounds the situation. Thus, the correlation and similitude between poetry and music can be demonstrated through a comparison of the song “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and the poem “Killers” as they both bear conspicuous resemblances in the themes explored, the choice of language and the use of imagery and symbolism.Sample Essay of Paperial.com