How had the women of our past — the women of a long struggle and a terrible survival — undergone such a transformation? She speaks of a fear of commitment — a fear of the threat of war.
Boland is making us ask the hard questions here: why should WE care she is not asking whether she, the spectator to the scene, should careshould we worry about the corpses if they are not our own? Crocus bulbs were uprooted. Perhaps, this just shows that the speaker feels she is lucky to be alive after the passage of the horse unlike the crocus, one of the screamless dead: The stone of our house, expendable, a mere Line of defence against him, a volunteer You might say, only a crocus, its bulbous head Blown from growth, one of the screamless dead.
Precise use of language calls for an examination of her imagery. The third section of the first poem offers an unconventional perspective on the classical myth of Ceres and Proserpine, in relation to procreation and motherhood, both associated with loss and compromise: […] where once in an underworld of limbs, her eyes freckling the night like jewelled lights on a cave wall, she, crying, stilled, bargained out of nothingness her child, bartered from the dark her only daughter.
The repetition is subtly spread throughout the poem.
But all too often, when I was searching for such an inclusion, what I found was a rhetoric of imagery which alienated me: a fusion of the national and the feminine which seemed to simplify both.
The relation of music to image, of metaphor to idea was safe, repetitive and derivative. At first glance you may be excused for thinking this poem is filled with intense, bloody battles but the first two couplets dispel any such thought: This dry night, nothing unusual About the clip, clop, casual Iron of his shoes as he stamps death Like a mint on the innocent coinage of earth.