‘The Going of the battery’, is the earliest of the three poems; and was most probably written during the Boer war. Therefore this war wouldn’t have been as technologically advanced nor as deadly as world war one, which is the war that the other two poems are about. Despite the better odds of survival that the soldiers had their partners were still worried for their safety. This anxiety can be seen through the tone of the poem, which is worried and reflective:
‘Nevermore will they come evermore’.
This worry can also be seen in the rhythm and rhyme scheme of the poem, which is regular up until the point where Hardy puts emphasis on the soldiers departure ‘All we loved.’
The poems structure is such that it shows the women’s worry in a very effective way, in that it goes from the women complaining and getting their fear stuck in the readers head through repetition:
‘Oh it was sad enough, weak enough, mad enough’
Then to their begrudging their partners because they see them as:
‘Stepping steadily-only too readily!-‘
To them becoming seemingly jealous of the guns that their partners are going to join, which I say because the collective thoughts of the women actually personifies the guns:
‘Great guns were gleaming there, living things seeming there,
Cloaked in their tar-cloths, upmouthed to the night;
Wheels wet and yellow from axle to felloe,
Throats blank of sound, but prophetic to sight.
After that the women get upset and warn their men not to ‘court perils that honour could miss.’ Which could mean that they view their men act all big and tough in front of their friends and so consequently might act irresponsibly and get themselves hurt.
The poem then goes on to show that the women are worries but that they still keep their hopes up even when they are feeling as though ‘life beats are low’, they at least seem to hopeful that:
‘Some Hand will guard their ways.’
‘The Send-off’ appears to me to be slightly more pessimistic than ‘the Going of the Battery’. This can be seen through its mocking yet reflective tone:
‘Their breasts were stuck all white with wreath and spray
As men’s are dead.’
It may also be seen if one notes the way in which it starts with a loud and happy atmosphere when the soldiers ‘sang’, and ends ‘silent’.
Also the poem seems, in parts, to have a conspiratorial tone too it:
‘So secretly like wrongs hushed up.’
This might be a reflection of what Owens thoughts of war were, as it bears a resemblance to ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’, which also implies lies and injustice.
Owen uses personification to add to this conspiratorial tone:
‘Then, unmoved, signals nodded, and a lamp
Winked to the guard.’
This could symbolise his distrust of everyone in that everybody is in on the conspiracy and are against him.