Learn More

Randall Jarrell

(May 6, 1914 – October 14, 1965 / Nashville)

Previous Month September 2014 Next Month
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 1 2 3 4 5
Modern Poem of The Day
Select a day from the calendar.
Would you like to see the poem of the day in your e-mail box every morning?
Your email address:
  Subscribe FREE
  Unsubscribe

Losses


It was not dying: everybody died.
It was not dying: we had died before
In the routine crashes-- and our fields
Called up the papers, wrote home to our folks,
And the rates rose, all because of us.
We died on the wrong page of the almanac,
Scattered on mountains fifty miles away;
Diving on haystacks, fighting with a friend,
We blazed up on the lines we never saw.
We died like aunts or pets or foreigners.
(When we left high school nothing else had died
For us to figure we had died like.)

In our new planes, with our new crews, we bombed
The ranges by the desert or the shore,
Fired at towed targets, waited for our scores--
And turned into replacements and woke up
One morning, over England, operational.

It wasn't different: but if we died
It was not an accident but a mistake
(But an easy one for anyone to make.)
We read our mail and counted up our missions--
In bombers named for girls, we burned
The cities we had learned about in school--
Till our lives wore out; our bodies lay among
The people we had killed and never seen.
When we lasted long enough they gave us medals;
When we died they said, 'Our casualties were low.'

They said, 'Here are the maps'; we burned the cities.

It was not dying --no, not ever dying;
But the night I died I dreamed that I was dead,
And the cities said to me: 'Why are you dying?
We are satisfied, if you are; but why did I die?'

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Edited: Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Do you like this poem?
5 person liked.
4 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read poems about / on: school, rose, friend, people, home, night, city, dream, girl

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Losses by Randall Jarrell )

Enter the verification code :

  • Gold Star - 30,012 Points Aftab Alam Khursheed (9/22/2014 12:25:00 AM)

    Woes of war..Dying and not dying..If ruined cities they are witnessing the death due to human folly and rest Susan has described nicely (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Susan Webster (7/25/2006 10:22:00 AM)

    One of the great poems about the alienation of war, expressing particularly well the narrator's lack of life experience. He has nothing but high school to compare to the huge, all-encompassing experiences of war. His lack of any life beyond high school before he is sacrificed in the war increases his loss - he has lost all the potential of his life - and he doesn't really understand why he is making this sacrifice. Jarrell is, to me, the great poet of WWII, and a better poet at conveying the existentialism of the warrior than any of the great English WWI poets. (Report) Reply

Read all 3 comments »

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. remembering the wedding Anniversary.., veeraiyah subbulakshmi
  2. Fishing For An Appropriate Taste, Lawrence S. Pertillar
  3. Let us not be, hasmukh amathalal
  4. Is Life?, Neela Nath
  5. Star Tree, douglas scotney
  6. The Road to Heaven is Only One, Dr John Celes
  7. Capable and real, hasmukh amathalal
  8. This Is What Makes A Rhyming Poem, arshad arshad
  9. I write not for you, Havilah
  10. This Isn't My Body, Elizabeth Tyrrell

Poem of the Day

poet Henry David Thoreau

Conscience is instinct bred in the house,
Feeling and Thinking propagate the sin
By an unnatural breeding in and in.
I say, Turn it out doors,
Into the moors.
...... Read complete »

   

Trending Poems

  1. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  2. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  3. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  4. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  5. Conscience, Henry David Thoreau
  6. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  7. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  8. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  10. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]