A Comparison of two Poems about Soldiers Leaving Britain to Fight in The First World War

The two poems I am comparing are "Joining The Colours" by Katherine Tynan and "The Send Off" by Wilfred Owen. " Joining The Colours" is about a regiment of soldiers leaving Dublin in August 1914 to go to France to fight. This was at the beginning of the First World War and all the soldiers were happy because it was an opportunity for them to show their girlfriends and their families that they were brave. "The Send Off" is about a regiment of young soldiers who are departing later in the war. This poem was written a few years after "Joining The Colours". The mood of each occasion is different because "Joining The Colours" was written when the soldiers and their relative's thought that the war would be over by Christmas but instead it finished much later on and millions of soldiers got killed. The mood in "The Send Off" is totally different because the soldiers were already afraid. They knew how dangerous the war was because of what so many people had experienced since "Joining The Colours" was written in 1914. There was no celebration for them because most of the people knew what was going to happen. The structure and the style of each poem varies in different ways. "Joining The Colours" is more positive. The structure of this poem is simple. Even though there are some words which convey an image that war is bad, most of the style of writing is positive and even happy. "The Send Off" is a more serious and frightening poem. The style of writing throughout the poem is sad and conveys an image that war is completely bad. The structure of this poem is more complicated than "Joining The Colours". This is because the poet is trying to convince the reader that war is the most terrible thing that ever happened.

In "Joining The Colours" the soldiers seem happy as they march to war. In stanza 1 for example "There they go marching all in step so gay". This quotation shows how they enjoy marching, all together. Their attitude towards war is very carefree. They look almost as though they are "going to a wedding day". In stanza 2 the soldiers "are singing like the lark". In stanza 3 they make noises with "whistles, mouth-organs". The soldiers are carefree because they are brave. They don't understand how dangerous war is because they are too young. They are not serious, they feel as if they are going to a celebration.

When the soldiers leave there are many people celebrating their bravery. The first people mentioned in stanza 1 are the mothers of the young soldiers. They are watching their sons going to war. This is an unhappy moment for them but they might not realize how bad it is because this is the first time that war ever happened to them. We feel sorry for them because many of their sons won't come back. The second group of people mentioned in this poem are those who are standing at the roadside watching. The stare at the soldiers because they are marching in rows on uniform and most people wanted to see them because they them. The third group mentioned are the girlfriends and wives in stanza 4. As the girls are saying goodbye they kiss the soldiers because they might not kiss them again. We are supposed to feel sorry for these "poor girls" because we know that many of the soldiers are going to die in the war.

The mood of this poem is a mixture of the happiness of the soldiers and the dread of the observers watching. This leads to a tone of irony. In stanza 1 there is a mixture of happiness and frightened tone. In the first line of stanza 1 we know that the soldiers are happy because they are all marching in step. In line 2 it starts getting frightening at the end because the young and healthy soldiers are going to be "food for shells and guns". This shows the reality of war. At line 3 they are all happy as if they are "going to a wedding day". In the last line it is very sad because the soldiers have