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This poem was composed by Sam Hamill to address some of the most contentious issues regarding life. Human beings tend to be entangled with so many affairs in their daily endeavors as they encounter realities which they do ignore and sideline. Hamill therefore writes this poem to address the aspect of violence surrounding the life of human beings. The writer does not emphasize the rules of creativity in poetry with the primary concern in communicating his thoughts. No aspect of rhyme and rhythm including other gymnastics of poetry exists in this poem making it more of a narrative than a poem. This is thus aimed at defining the American culture in terms of the usual opinion about the art of poetry, poets and the language used in their work. He states that, a true poet is often envisaged with the thorny task of informing public about what they already know and are not ready to hear. In this poem Hamill revolves around the Hiroshima bombing, wife battering, and homophobia with more emphasis on the inadequacy of language. He portrays the fact that poetry is geared towards luring the audience to get into the shoes of the writer and needs not to be structured in a specific way for it to be captivating to the reader.
Hamill clearly elaborates the aspect of people getting to believe some notions in life without hesitating to question them. This is portrayed by the phrase, “We cannot put up with a great deal of reality”. It reveals the ease of individuals being programmed to perceive these philosophies as true irrespective of their validity. People should thus avoid following beliefs blindly without hesitating to reflect on the solidity of such concepts. The writer admits the fact that no one is perfect and wrong doing is not restricted to a specific caliber of people when he says, “there isn’t just one type of person from one race or one social class that commits crime.” The writer addresses the fact that individuals should be able to acknowledge the wrong done to them as well as the wrongs they do to other people in order to live in harmony.
He further reflects on the existence of domestic violence at different levels in the society. Hamill explains the vulnerability of women and children to such violence. He elucidates on the society’s perspective on the violence and the belief that women and children are the common victims. This story also gives weight on the impact of nurture in determining the behavior of an individual. Hamill says “a child who is continually battered child will grow to become a child batterer”. This is attributed to the fact that if one is brought up in a harsh environment where the father batters the mother or he is punished upon wrong doing, such an individual eventually becomes a violent adult. This is because violence is the only way he/she considers to be the solution to life’s problems.
Hamill further denotes that “except we learn to express our own emotions, we cannot prevent other My Lai’s and Viet Nams from recurring”. This means that we should always try as much as possible to control our feelings so as to avoid causing conflicts. The writer also emphasizes the obligation of taking responsibility for one’s actions. This is evidenced by the state that “you will be held accountable”. Individuals should thus be in a position to own up and face the repercussions resulting from their decisions. Hamill reveals that the “I” in the poem is not him. He says that anyone can assume that he/she is the “I”. This means that these issues addressed do not affect specific individuals in the society but can equally face everyone. Hamill addresses these issues as a political activist that tends to captivate the audience to reflect on them even though the society disregards them.