I Am By John Clare Poem Summary

1656 Words 7 Pages
“Disabled” by Wilfred Owen and “I Am!” by John Clare are both poems of people who are experiencing grief. The speaker in “I Am!” believes his “friend forsake [him] like a memory lost.” He is “like vapours tossed/ [i]nto the nothingness of scorn and noise… [w]here there is neither sense of life or joys.” What has caused his troubles is not made known to the reader, but the speaker expresses his grief deeply. The focus of “Disabled,” on the other hand, is a soldier who was grievously injured in a war, likely World War I or II as it mentions “Germans” and “Austria’s [guilt].” He sits in a “wheeled chair… [l]egless” wearing a suit “sewn short at [the] elbow.” Missing his legs and forearms, the soldier is obviously experiencing extreme grief. Through …show more content…
The lines of asterisks cannot block the flow of grief because it is carried on the back of the rhyme. In “I Am!” there are two rhyme schemes, one for the first stanza and the other encompassing the las two stanzas, but the rhyme itself ends with the stanza. To connect the two stanzas that do not share a rhyme scheme, Clare uses enjambment. “I Am!” flows in event, with all of the stanzas existing together. “Disabled,” on the other hand, spans a period of time, with past, present, and future all out of order. The division in time requires the division of the stanza, but in order for the tone to continue across past, present, and future, the stanzas must have some connection. The only two stanzas that are not connected by a rhyme are stanzas two and three, but both of them exist in the same form. They are both memories of the past shaded by the reality of the present. The two already fit together, therefore there is no need for the rhyme. Rhyme in this poem connects the stanzas like grief connects the past, present, and future. In “I Am!” the speaker has something he can imagine to lessen his pain, the “scenes where man hath never trod.” If he were able to go to this place, he would be able to “sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept.” The soldier has no such hope. Rhyme traps …show more content…
Wilfred Owen uses his poem “Disabled” to show how grief can change a person’s memories. The soldier in “Disabled” has lost everything, even the ability to go to bed by himself. His grief makes him look back at the times when he was happy and turn them into bitter regrets. All of his memories have been overshadowed by his pain and separation from other people. Unfortunately, war produces many men like the soldier, who survive on the pity of others. In his poem, Owen shows how this treatment causes a persistent grief that infects every part of the soldier’s life. At the end of the poem, the soldier repeats his question “[w]hy don’t they come?” When he first asks it, it is referring to his caretakers who must help him into bed. The second time, however, this question is addressed to the townspeople. They ignore him now, treating him like a “disease,” their eyes passing over him. These people were once his friends, but now they treat his with pity and disgust. The speaker in “I Am!” feels scorned as well, but he does not have to be pitied. He feels separated from his friends and the “dearest that [he] loved the best,” but the soldier is outright ignored. The only release he has is sleep. His grief is every moment of his life, bleeding from one stanza to the next, across barriers and endings, until he

Related Documents