famous poetry
| Famous Poetry | Roleplay | Free Video Tutorials | Online Poetry Club | Free Education | Best of Youtube | Ear Training

The Distant Winter Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Levine Type: poem Views: 11

Sponsored Links

from an officer's diary during the last war


The sour daylight cracks through my sleep-caked lids.
"Stephan! Stephan!" The rattling orderly
Comes on a trot, the cold tray in his hands:
Toast whitening with oleo, brown tea,

Yesterday's napkins, and an opened letter.
"Your asthma's bad, old man." He doesn't answer,
And turns to the grey windows and the weather.
"Don't worry, Stephan, the lungs will go to cancer."


I speak, "the enemy's exhausted, victory
Is almost ours..." These twenty new recruits,
Conscripted for the battles lost already,
Were once the young, exchanging bitter winks,

And shuffling when I rose to eloquence,
Determined not to die and not to show
The fear that held them in their careless stance,
And yet they died, how many wars ago?

Or came back cream puffs, 45, and fat.
I know that I am touched for my eyes brim
With tears I had forgotten. Death is not
For these car salesmen whose only dream

Is of a small percentage of the take.
Oh my eternal smilers, weep for death
Whose harvest withers with your aged aches
And cannot make the grave for lack of breath.


Did you wet? Oh no, he had not wet.
How could he say it, it was hard to say
Because he did not understand it yet.
It had to do, maybe, with being away,

With being here where nothing seemed to matter.
It will be better, you will see tomorrow,
I told him, in a while it will be better,
And all the while staring from the mirror

I saw those eyes, my eyes devouring me.
I cannot fire my rifle, I'm aftaid
Even to aim at what I cannot see.
This was his voice, or was it mine I heard?

How do I know that in this foul latrine
I calmed a soldier, infantile, manic?
Could he be real with such eyes pinched between
The immense floating shoulders of his tunic?


Around the table where the map is spread
The officers gather. Now the colonel leans
Into the blinkered light from overhead
And with a penknife improvises plans

For our departure. Plans delivered by
An old staff courier on his bicycle.
One looks at him and wonders does he say,
I lean out and I let my shadow fall

Shouldering the picture that we call the world
And there is darkness? Does he say such things?
Or is there merely silence in his head?
Or other voices which the silence rings?

Such a fine skull and forehead, broad and flat,
The eyes opaque and slightly animal.
I can come closer to a starving cat,
I can read hunger in its eyes and feel

In the irregular motions of its tail
A need that I could feel. He slips his knife
Into the terminal where we entrain
And something seems to issue from my life.


In the mice-sawed potato fields dusk waits.
My dull ones march by fours on the playground,
Kicking up dust; The column hesitates
As though in answer to the rising wind,

To darkness and the coldness it must enter.
Listen, my heroes, my half frozen men,
The corporal calls us to that distant winter
Where we will merge the nothingness within.

And they salute as one and stand at peace.
Keeping an arm's distance from everything,
I answer them, knowing they see no face
Between my helmet and my helmet thong.


But three more days and we'll be moving out.
The cupboard of the state is bare, no one,
Not God himself, can raise another recruit.
Drinking my hot tea, listening to the rain,

I sit while Stephan packs, grumbling a bit.
He breaks the china that my mother sent,
Her own first china, as a wedding gift.
"Now that your wife is dead, Captain, why can't

The two of us really make love together?"
I cannot answer. When I lift a plate
It seems I almost hear my long-dead mother
Saying, Watch out, the glass is underfoot.

Stephan is touching me. "Captain, why not?
Three days from now and this will all be gone.
It no longer is!" Son, you don't shout,
In the long run it doesn't help the pain.

I gather the brittle bits and cut my finger
On the chipped rim of my wife's favorite glass,
And cannot make the simple bleeding linger.
"Captain, Captain, there's no one watching us."


Learn to Play Songs by Ear: Ear Training

122 Free Video Tutorials

[Video Tutorial] How to build google chrome extensions

Please add me on youtube. I make free educational video tutorials on youtube such as Basic HTML and CSS.

Free Online Education from Top Universities

Yes! It's true. Online College Education is now free!

||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

There have been no submitted criqiques, be the first to add one below.

Post your Analysis


Free Online Education from Top Universities

Yes! It's true. College Education is now free!

Most common keywords

The Distant Winter Analysis Philip Levine critical analysis of poem, review school overview. Analysis of the poem. literary terms. Definition terms. Why did he use? short summary describing. The Distant Winter Analysis Philip Levine Characters archetypes. Sparknotes bookrags the meaning summary overview critique of explanation online education meaning metaphors symbolism characterization itunes. Quick fast explanatory summary. pinkmonkey free cliffnotes cliffnotes ebook pdf doc file essay summary literary terms analysis professional definition summary synopsis sinopsis interpretation critique The Distant Winter Analysis Philip Levine itunes audio book mp4 mp3

Poetry 131
Poetry 169
Poetry 189
Poetry 217
Poetry 18
Poetry 31
Poetry 200
Poetry 142
Poetry 39
Poetry 161
Poetry 161
Poetry 54
Poetry 22
Poetry 82
Poetry 67
Poetry 85
Poetry 126
Poetry 90
Poetry 21
Poetry 34