Monday, March 12, 2012

Facing It- Yusef Komunyakaa

(LINKS ON WIKI) Participate in an online analysis of this poem.  Continue to build on what others before you have noticed and add your own interpretations.  Pose questions to your classmates about aspects of the poem that may be confusing.  Consider key lines, images, structure, devices, and themes.  Aim for 3-5 sentences.  Due Friday.


  1. Daniel Borrus P4
    I liked how the author of this poem talked about the reflection that he saw in the wall and how it was different than what was on the outside. For example, when he sees a women brushing a boy's hair he sais, "In the black mirror a woman’s trying to erase names." So while on one side of the wall life continues naturally, on the other side things are skewed. Reflections in the memorial take on a certain distortedness when viewed by a Vietnam veteran.

  2. sandrine Amin P4
    "Yusef Komunyakaa emphasizes his ethnicity at the very beginning of his poem "Facing It" in the first lines: "My black face fades,/hiding inside the black granite." In these lines the word "black" has been repeated twice, in reference both to his own skin color and the color of the memorial. By doing this Yusef has identified himself as an African American and forged a connection between himself and the memorial through similarities of color"
    For Yusef, the memorial is more that it appears; it is not just cold stone, but something he identifies with on a more deep and profound level."I said I wouldn't/dammit: No tears./I'm stone. I'm flesh." These lines show both his past emotional struggle as well as his present one. For Yusef, this memorial does not awaken in him new emotions but old reoccurring ones; ones which he fights to contain with little success, although he came to the memorial with the knowledge that he would find it a highly emotional experience. He struggles to internalize his emotions, telling himself he is stone, like the granite memorial, a strong and steady reminder of the past, but he fails as he realizes the difference between him and the memorial: he is a living human being. He shares the darkness, the blackness, with the granite memorial, yet he can feel the full impact of this connection whereas a granite memorial cannot itself feel the pain that it directly represents.

    1. Unless the assignment was to copy what someone else wrote, not a very good job of lifting the material. You need to cite your sources: plagiarism

  3. The poem "Facing It" has to deal with how not matter what these invisable children are going through they still have to stay strong. They have come to realization that they're by being abducted thier lives have been basically chosen for them. Also the author is saying like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that thier names would be remebered, and that someone would remember them as an invisable child for all that they have been though. When the author was writing the poem he uses decripted colors when decribing most things; the color black was used a number of time both with the color of a persons skin and in describing the granite and then again to descibe the mirror. By the mirror being black, that represents how the the child has no hope anymore.

    Period 4

  4. As I heard this poem being read I pictured myself at the wall again. I could clearly imagine what the author was explaining and how the veteran felt when he read this. I believe that the descriptions of things such as, when he talks about the booby trap's white flash as it explodes. When people go and visit the wall they all see something different and in their own way. Some may see thousands upon thousands of dead soldiers, but on the other hand some people may see it as a new life. The surviving soldiers all have to somehow recover from this terrible thing, and the wall might just be that closer that they need.

    Dylan Carleton
    Period: 5

  5. In this poem Yusef Komunyaka used incredible detail to explain his experiece. When he refered to the reflection on the wall, i could almost picture what he was looking at. His emotion throughtout the poem was to the extent where you feel as if you could alost experience exactly what was going on and what he had seen. To me one side of the wall his is past life and the other side is his new life where everything is much better. He is now overcoming the rough times and looking back, on the other side, of what he had gone through. The reflections reveal a man who had experienced and seen many things. JJ Carbone Period 5

  6. Yusef Komunyakaa was very descriptive in his poem to get across a message. I like how he would reflect back and forth between the wall and what he sees when he looks past the wall which are flash backs from the war. I would think every veteran that looks at that wall sees and feels the same way he felt when he wrote the poem. The wall is cold and dark and when you look at it you see that life continues on but if you look into the wall you can fade into the distorted flash backs and misinterpretations of reflections just how the author of the poem has.
    Emma Period 5

  7. The author was very descripitve in this poem and he talks about how upset he gets when he looking at the big black rock. and how he doesn't want to cry and he trys to be stone but he cant because he human and he has flash backs of the war.

    Austin Fries (period 7)

  8. bill cosby is that you?

  9. In this poem, it shows you in great detail how Yusef Komunkakaa is feeling as he is at this wall. Clearly it is a hard experience for him.As he touches the wall and looks around at the people who are near him the memories of what he has been through flash into his head and it becomes all real again.He sees the names and knows that he could be one of them easily if he had died in the war. Thousands of names, people he knew or never met but still they were a part of him.He describes the stone as being very dark and black which I think could stand for his feelings for what happened over there.They are not happy memories to him but corrupt and deep.

    Jenny Flynn
    period 7

  10. Yusef Komunyakaa starts off by saying how he's trying to be tough and stong. He goes back and forth from the memorial to his time in vietnam, which i think is an interesting layout for a poem that isn't common. It was kind of confusing to me when he went from seeing one thing, to seeing something completely different.He touched his friends name and instantly strated thinking about the booby trap he had died in. This poem is a good example of how a veteran lives their life. Always thinking back to times in the war and times their friends and people they care about have gotten hurt.

    Karlie Komoroski

  11. that was deffinitly Bill Cosby

  12. Morgan Freeman would have made this poem hes better then Bill Cosby.

  13. Dave made all the Bill Cosby jokes

  14. Dave won't stop writing about Bill Cosby and Morgen Fremen

  15. this poem was very emotional and toching i feel if i were really there. JOsh celone (per7)

  16. The emotion used in Yusef Komunyakaa's poem "Facing It" allowed me to step into his shoes and picture being at the wall. His descrpition created a vivid image in my mind. Yusef was able to reflect upon himself and his experiences through the wall. The words he used to describe his memories were very dark. He almost felt vulnerable. I concluded that at the end of the poem he was describing his loss of innocence. I came to this conclusion because at the end of the poem as he was looking pass the Memorial he quoted "In the black mirror a woman’s trying to erase names No, she's brushing a boy's hair."

    Bryanna Willaby
    Period 7

  17. Yusef Komunyaka started off his poem being stong and tough-almost hiding his emotions. It says, " I said I wouldn't dammit: No tears. I'm stone. I'm flesh." In the first line, Yusef announces he is an African American by saying, "My black face fades...". After knowing this, readers can find a strong connection between himself and the memorial. The connection itself is up to the readers interpretation. One can assume that Yusef was actually in the war when he says, "I touch the name Andrew Johnson; I see the booby trap's white flash." Overall, Yusef has very dark and mysterious memories of this experience in his life

    Kelly Smith
    Period 1

  18. I liked how Yusef Komunyaka created this poem with such details and emotions of how he was feeling. It almost feels like he was trying to hide how he felt, "I said I wouldnt dammit: No tears. I'm stone." Also, the title shows how he has hidden emotions he doesnt want to come out, the title of the poem is "Facing it" Some questions i have is if Yusef is writing the poem as if he was a dead soldier. I think he is comparing himself to the Vietnam War stone memorial, and since his name is on it, he is almost inside it. I feel that this is also what Yusef is trying to face. Overall it is a great poem with a layout that i like.

    Zack period 5

  19. I like how Yusef Komunyaka wrote this poem with detail and he used words that were dark and meaningful. He made it feel like i was actually at the wall where he was in this poem. I liked how he would go back and forth about what was actually on the wall like his friends name to what was past the wall meaning the flashbacks to the actual war. For example, when he put his hand on his friends name he looked past the wall and saw the white booby traps that had killed his friend. I think that Vietnam Veterans look at the wall differently than people that werent in the war because they were not there to experience and see what actually happened at the war. He flows everything so well and uses such detail and really makes the reader feel as if he/she were at the wall.

    Erica Celentano
    Period 4

  20. I like how Komunyakaa made such a deep connection with such a short poem. The lines "I said I wouldn't dammit: No tears.I'm stone. I'm flesh. " shows how a veteran might feel when he goes to a graveyard and sees people that he knew who had passed away. he made it feel like i was actually at the wall where he was in. i think what was unique about this poem is that he has flashbacks, floating in and out of the war, but it is such a subtle and smooth transition. I think that Vietnam Veterns look at the wall from a different perspective from people who were not soldiers because they did not hae those experiences and get the full feel of the war.

    period 1

  21. I like how Komunyakaa showed how Vietnam veterans look at the wall so much different than other people. It was interesting how when he looked he saw his friend get killed in a booby trap, but when a women looks she just sees the name. Komunyakaa did a great job writing a short poem that means something to the Vietnam veterans. This poem made me feel like I was looking at the wall with him.
    Kathryn Collins

  22. Yusef Komunyakaa explains his ethnicity in the beginning of the this poem. He characterizes himself as an african americanw ho was once in the war. Yusef uses great detail to describe the emotions and his experience. As he looks at the wall and sees all the names, I can imagine him thinking that could of been me. The emotions throughout this entire poem are moving and vivid. I think the author did an excellent job writing this poem.

    Per. 7

  23. This poem has a great deal of imagery and struggle faced by Vietnam Vets visiting the memorial. It outlines one veteran’s feelings when he is standing there viewing all the names of the deceased. Yusef Komunyakaa said, “I'm stone. I'm flesh” meaning he could have died during the Vietnam War, but somehow he is still alive today. The words, “the stone lets me go” are symbolic of the war letting him live. When Yusef touches his friend’s name, he sees beyond the name Andrew Johnson. He sees the moment his friend died. A woman looking at the memorial has the names of the dead reflecting on her shirt. The names don’t give her a vision. She was not in the war and doesn’t understand what it’s like to have a friend die before her eyes. Maybe the woman who is “trying to erase names” is Andrew Johnson’s mother. She stared at his name, remembering Andrew as a child. Andrew was a boy who grew up to be a man who joined in the Vietnam War and got killed. The mother remembers him by the good times. People can try to experience an event from another person’s perspective, but only being there can truly make a person understand.

    Meglin Per. 5

  24. I think Yusef Komunyaka have chosen simplest of the words he could find to express his thought and felling so everyone could understand him. The wordings seem simple but yet have very deep emotions and memories connected with it. I really liked the line which says “…his pale eyes look through mine. I’m a window”, it’s seems interesting to me how we are reading this poem through his eyes and his experience and trying to connect this poem with our, he never mentions anyone else in this poem except him and a woman. And who is this woman he keeps on talking about?

    Shila R.
    Per 1

  25. Yusef Komunyakaa uses flowing phrases and wonderfully described images to portray his emotion when walking past the Vietnam Memorial. He mentions "My clouded reflection eyes me like a bird of prey..." as he stares into his reflection in the stone wall. He comments this way to explain that his reflection, or his sub conscious doesn't believe he should have survived the war. He sees the names and realizes that he was the lucky one, causing him to believe that "...the stone let me go..." As he continues searching the wall, memories swarm back and he begins to see this world in a different light. Instead of seeing the name of Andrew Johnson, he sees a booby trap, a light, a memory replay in his mind. He then begins remembering the planes, the sky, the birds, everything from Vietnam. He imagines and writes "A white vet's image floats closer to me, then his pale eyes look through mine. I'm a window." By this, he means that the ghosts of veterans past can see right through him. They know his story, they know his mind, where everyone else looks at him and sees a man, nothing more, nothing less. He is the memory of the 58,022 men who died during that war. He is the living proof that it did happen, but he pulls down the blinds and doesn't let anyone see inside, besides the veterans of the war who understand everything. By the last sentence he realizes that he is twisting the real world back into his mind's never ending war; into the war that will stay in the minds of many until their dying breath. He understands that he is a lucky man to survive the war, but he still can't believe that his name isn't " letters like smoke." All in all, this is a powerful, yet simple, poem written by an exceedingly talented writer.

    Brianna DeNegris
    Period 1

  26. Yusef Komunyakaa, as said before, capitalizes on the literary device of imagery. For him, the Vietnam Memorial is not just a stone, but a piece of him. "I'm stone. I'm flesh." The speaker becomes this wall because he has lived through Vietnam, and this is his legend. Here, at this wall, he relives all the memories of the war, unnecessary casualties, and all those lost who fought beside him. Vietnam was an unforgiving war. In a sense the Memorial causes the speaker to question reality versus illusion. Komunyaka also says, "I go down the 58,022 names, half expecting to find my own in letters like smoke." Vietnam has taken a piece of every solider in one way or another. This can be as a casualty of the war, or a victim of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The speaker feels that he has lost something as well as a result of the war, putting him inside the Memorial.

    Tyler King Per. 1

  27. This poem makes you believe you are there and you are looking at the list of names and trying to find Andrew Johnson. This poem tells a story of the author going to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and seeing his dead friend in front of the black wall. He sees the moment when the death occurred and the injuries it had caused. In the stanza “In the black mirror, a woman’s trying to erase names: No, she's brushing a boy's hair”. The woman is probably Andrew Johnsons mother or someone close to him.

    -KC. Per 1

  28. I think the poem talks a lot about how the Vietnam Veterans Memorial reflects everything that you see back. It’s as if it’s a mirror. During the war, many Americans were unpatriotic and didn’t support the war effort. They didn’t understand what it was like to fight for their lives in a foreign country. There was disillusionment between those at war and those at home. The wall acts as a reflection for anyone that stands in front of it. The 58,022 names and the black granite itself act as a mirror to say, Look at me and realize the damage that has been done and remember the painful American past. When people look at the names on the wall and the image of themselves through it, they are forced to confront the past mistakes in our history. Through that, they can learn and become connected with all those names on the wall. With the strong use of imagery in this poem, it seems as if only Veterans will care about the wall while other bystanders will just walk by it. Nonetheless, the wall will always be there to reflect what you can’t see without it. I think the title of the poem, “Facing It,” symbolizes Veterans facing memories that will come through while looking at it, but the American public having to face it when they’re ready as well.

    Kelly Du
    Period 1

  29. This poem portrays the recollections of a soldier from his days in the war, revolving around the idea of being strong despite losses and hardships faced then and now. Komunyakaa depicts himself as "stone" as he recalls certain visions, bracing himself as he tries "facing it," with the "it" being whatever he has overcome or succumbed to over the years within and out of battle. The imagery that Komunyaaka provides in this poem allows the reader to envision the turbulent, varying thoughts in his mind as he relives certain moments; the memory of the booby trap that explodes is vividly pictured by the reader as Komunyaaka recalls Andrew Johnson after seeing his name.

    Zhanneta, Period 1

  30. Immediately you can feel the emotions Yusef Komunyakaa is conveying in his poem. When he described the wall I put myself back to when I had visited the wall, everyone sees something different or feels something that separates them. Yet the wall is exactly the same every time another person walks by- it’s our memories that make the experience what it is. You can see that he was in the war when he says “I touch the name Andrew Johnson; I see the booby trap's white flash”

    Period 1

  31. The wall is something is incredibly sad, but amazing at the same time. It depicts those who fought for our country and didn't survive to see what an impact they made. When i read this poem I remembered being at the wall and the tour guide explaining it. The emotions came rushing back to me. I could feel everything he was saying. I believe that he was explaining what he felt when he saw the wall. Everyone expresses things in their own way and I believe this was his way of expressing what he saw on the wall. I think all of the feelings and everything that happened came back to him when he saw the wall. The wall can never replace the people that were lost, but it can give them the recognition they strongly deserve.

    Kelsie DePino
    Period: 5

  32. The wall is obviously a major part of this poem. It shows how big of an impact reading someone's name can make. When I visited the memorial in D.C., I could feel the emotion and pain that these soldiers felt when they were at war. Visting the wall almost makes you feel guilty, but grateful at the same time.

    -Ashley Murphy
    Period 4

  33. I found it very interesting when Komunyakaa states "In the black mirror a woman’s trying to erase names: No, she's brushing a boy's hair" at the end of the poem. I think that the whole point of his poem was to really portray how war effects a person. He is imagining her brushing away the names because that's what he wishes he could do. He wants to erase the memories of war too. He also references that he is like stone. War has turned him cold so that he is no longer able to emotionally respond as he had done pior to the expearience. When he looks at the names he sees what others, like the woman with the baby, do not see. He has connections and unlike others he understand war and what it does to a person. I think that he is trying to get across that the women will never fully undestand what those names really mean as well as the detrimenal and lasting effects of war.
    -Jessica Teulings
    Period 4

  34. In this poem Yusef Komunyakaa shows how Vietnam Veterans view the wall. They don't just see the names of the dead, they see the actual people and the way they could have or maybe did die. When they look at this wall it reminds them about their times in Vietnam and the friends they lost. I could never imagine going through what these veterans have. I remember when I visited the wall. When I looked at it I felt very moved by how many people had died for this country. And now after reading this poem it makes me realize that the veterans must have so many more feelings than I do when it comes to this war. The people who died deserve to have this wall, and be remembered forever.

    Julia Annicelli
    Period: 4

  35. I believe "Facing It" is a poem that explains how a veteran looks at the Vietnam War memorial in comparison to a civilian. The veteran in this story feels as if he should see his own name carved into the stone. He feels like he left a part of himself behind there with those he lost. He initially believes that the woman is attempting to erase the names because that's what he wants to do. He wishes he could bring back the dead by simply taking their name of the wall. However in reality, she is merely brushing her boy's hair, something the 58,022 names on the wall will never do.

    -Steve Perrotti
    Period 4

  36. Yusef Komunyakaa expresses his emotions as soon as the poem begins. As he approaches the wall, all of his emotions and memories start coming back to him. He shows that veterans look at the wall much differently than the others that weren't there to experience what they did. I like how he was descriptive throughout the poem and made the reader feel like they were right there with him. I also liked how he would alternate going back and forth between what was happening in real life and what happened back in the war. I think the wall is a good recognition of the ones who put their lives forward an the war.

    Kayleen Period4

  37. “Facing It” by YUSEF KOMUNYAKAA is about an army Veteran who goes and visits the Memorial in DC; and about how he sees the statues made of dark stone, and the names written along the walls. He sees all this and is immediately brought back to the days of the war; he sees the booby traps going off in a white light and soldiers in the war. The poems keep mentioning birds of all different colors to signify freedom and life coming off from the stone walls, meaning that all the soldiers will live forever in memory and are free from this life and have moved on. However, I am not sure what the last part of the poem is supposed to mean though.
    Marisa Kaplita Period 4

  38. This poem has an erie feeling to it. It almost sounds as if it should be a dream. It is clear that the events from the war are still engraved in him and always will be. It seems like he is having a flash back of when he was in the war and is still shocked that he is alive. He talks about the reflection of the names on the woman's blouse which stands out to me because I clearly remember the smooth shiny texture of the wall. Seeing the wall was the most memorable part of our Washington trip to me. There was an intense feeling of sadness and loss when I walked by the memorial. I can only imagine how the men who fought in the war and lost their best friends felt when they were at the memorial. Andrew Johnson sounded as if he wished he was in the wall with all the men he was in combat with.
    -Emily McColl
    period 4

  39. Yusef Komunyakaa's "Facing It" is touching. It's raw emotion from a Vietnam vet - the constant emotional tug of war between the now, and the "then" (the time spent in the war) It made me think of when we had taken the trip to Washington DC 3 years ago, and seeing the big black stone wall covered in names of fallen Vietnam veterans. Flowers littering all along the base of the wall from loved ones to those lost. It was like the air was thick, eerie, and still, just around that wall. - Summer Harvey [period 5]

  40. This poem reminds me of The Things They Carried. It is talking about how the wall of the 50,000+ names of the men and women whose lives were taken in the Vietnam war haunts the speaker. He goes to the Vietnam memorial and all the memories and nightmares come back to him. He is plagued by the visions and memories from that war, which he cannot get rid of. I remember going to the Vietnam memorial during the Washington DC trip. We had to not speak at all or very very quietly to keep respect to all the people who died. It was a very spiritual and intense moment for me.

  41. This poem reminds me of The Things They Carried. It is talking about how the wall of the 50,000+ names of the men and women whose lives were taken in the Vietnam war haunts the speaker. He goes to the Vietnam memorial and all the memories and nightmares come back to him. He is plagued by the visions and memories from that war, which he cannot get rid of. I remember going to the Vietnam memorial during the Washington DC trip. We had to not speak at all or very very quietly to keep respect to all the people who died. It was a very spiritual and intense moment for me.

    Henry Lau
    Period 5

    PS: I forgot to put my name so sorry for the double post.

  42. I feel that in this poem "Facing It" Yusef Komunyakaa is going back to the memorial to visit the friends that he had lost in vietnam. He also dosent understand why his friends are up the and he is able to still be alive. Also in the poem he sees the women brushing the boys hair but it looks like she is erasing the names off the wall. I believe he sees this because he wishes he could do that because he wishes he could bring his friends and fellow soldiers back from the dead. But then he sees that the women trying to erase the names is actually just brushing a boys hair and how each one of those men on the wall once in their life was that little boy getting his hair brushed.
    period 5

  43. The guy who wrote this is having a very hard time with the memories from the Vietnam War. When he mentions the woman trying to erase the names off the wall, he is trying to erase the thoughts he has about all those who lost their lives. when the Veteran reads this it is bringing back what he saw and the feelings he had during that time period.

    per 5

  44. I think that this poem is about the harsh memories soldiers are left with when they come home from a war. When he see's all these names of the brave men it had an affect on the Veteran that no one else could know unless they were there and experienced it themselves. The poem is very sad.

    Period 5

  45. Yusef Komunyakaa shows that while they all try to put up an act and stay strong, anyone who has seen war carries some sort of scar, they all have seen and done things they either wish they could or can never allow them selves to forget, they have made and lost friends and flash back to the good and bad times of the war and their life befor the war.
    Per 7

  46. Yusef Komunyakaa uses the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as a metaphor for his memories. He compares himself to the black granite: stone (which is still, hard, and stiff) with a reflection (as in the tears in his eyes). He may be suggesting from this that the terrors he faced had caused him enough stress to keep him from wanting to do anything, but sulk. When he breaks free from this, he sees the wall with familiar names etched into it. The names are of the men that have served and died. They bring back his memories. Having served and lived, Komunyakaa probably feels a great deal of pain and remorse.

    Indeed, war has scarred him, but it has also brought grief to others. The woman who had tried to erase the names on the wall that Komunyakaa mentions appears to be a motherly figure who had lost her sons to the war. The next line, "No, she's brushing a boy's hair" seems to add to this idea. Mothers usually brush their son's hair when they are young so this perception allows for such an interpretation.

    Period 1

  47. Every literary work of art is written for a purpose because the act of writing, in its own being, is difficult without causation or an established motive with which the author wishes to convey through their writing. In the poem entitled "Facing It" by Yusef Komunyakaa, their is an evident purpose behind his writing and a lesson to be learned. To first understand this lesson one must know the historical background of the Vietnam War and the Memorial constructed in commemoration of the fallen in Washington D.C following the withdrawal of American soldiers. Furthermore, to analyze the poem to the greatest extent possible one must be made aware of the social tension between white and black in the 20th Century and the societal background that the author of the poem possesses. After these steps are taken, one could deduct from the poem that Komunyakaa is indeed both facing the memories of his daunting past in the war and literally facing the wall of those who weren't as lucky as him to leave Vietnam alive. Within the beginning lines, "My black face fades, hiding inside the black granite." the reader is made aware of the connection between Komunyakaa and the war and the somewhat gloomy overtone the adjective "black" places onto the introduction. The wall serves as a catalyst to Komunyakaa's recollection and emotion toward the war. As "[He] goes down the 58,022 names" on the memorial he is forced to think of how the soldiers met their end and how he too could have so easily fallen among them. Komunyakaa comments on the light and how it is a deciding factor as to whether or not the lives of the men on the wall are remembered for their service or overlooked by the shadows. Towards the end of the poem Komunyakaa himself become part of the wall, a window in a way, that acts as a pathway between the parished of his thought and reality of the present. His thought captures that of a white vet and a sense of tension arises seeing that an African American had life, a possession the Caucasion did not. Komunyakaa later comments on how history cannot be forgotten in how the woman "trying to erase the names" could not change the course of life of the deceased.

    - Alexander Borkowski Period 1

  48. With this poem, Komunyakaa is speaking not only for his own personal feelings, and experience, but on the behalf of all of the other soldiers, as well. I think that Komunyakaa is extremely humbled by the war, and the viewing of the monument. Yes, he is alive, but he states "I go down the 58,022 names, half-expecting to find my own in letters like smoke." This shows you that he could just as easily have been killed in the war, just like all of these people on the wall. Obviously, history cannot be reversed, and he notes this when he says "In the black mirror
    a woman’s trying to erase names: No, she's brushing a boy's hair." The significance of this is that since something like this cannot be undone, someone trying to erase the names of the dead is just as good as brushing someone's hair: it won't change a thing about what happened. It is sad to see that when he touches the name of a deceased soldier, he immediately has a flashback to the war, possiibly the event that had taken the soldier's life. Like McColl said, it almost seems that it could be a dream, but more like a nightmare; one that you don't ever wake up from.

    Alex Gogliettino Per. 4

  49. I think this poem is about all the flash back soldiers including Komunyakaa have after coming back from war. To me the wall is a major part of this poem, when I went to see the wall in D.C back in 8th grade I remember the feeling of sadness I got just by looking at all the names. Knowing my grandfather was in this war brought many more emotions to my attention. I have heard many stories about different wars but I feel like this poem has something special to it that gives it much more meaning.

    Ashlie Forsberg Period 5

  50. After reading this poem, and reading through the comments, I noticed my reaction was very similar to Jenny Flynn’s post. I agree that the poem was written from the perspective of Mr. Komunyakaa, but it is also apparent that this poem transcends through other war veterans. Many veterans will never forget those vivid images from when they were fighting in the war. It is almost as if those images were tattooed onto their eyes, and by seeing the memorial-it makes the feelings at that time all that more real again. In addition, I agree with Marisa at the end of the poem. I can read that part of the poem over and over again, but it feels as though the poem was ripped and never finished.

    -Pompeo M.

  51. I think this poem not only talks about Mr.Komunyakaa, but for all veterans who have risked their lives in the heat of war. Certain experiences in life will be forgotten, but when you come close to death. I am very positive that you will never forget that for the rest of your life. This poem goes in depth of the type of emotions the vietnam war has left for our veterans. War is not only present, it is forever.

    -David Travisano

  52. I really like Yusef's style of writing; I think it's clever how he goes from looking at the memorial to sort of having a flashback. I also like his way of describing his flashbacks. This poem was very touching, especially because it reminded me of September 11th. Everyone gets a little emotional when it involves the loss of lives and I'm impressed at how well Yusef did it in a poem.

    -Michelle Caron Per. 5

  53. I liked this poem and the authors style of writing. Because several years following the Vietnam War, Yusef Komunyakaa was a Vietnam survivor himself. With that, the details in his poem had his emotions while at the Vietnam Memorial. Yusef wrote this poem in a sense where we can all experience the conflicts of his feelings, in the perfect example of man versus himself. This poem incorporated two contrasts, light and dark and the present-day reality and its distant past. And because he added his own knowledge in the poem, i had more interest and found myself being in his situations. The poem demonstrated the different times he had that were dark and others that were light and i liked that. I began to feel emotion reading this poem. I was able to relate and feel that emotion while reading this poem, and i for one like reading poems that bring out an emotion when i'm finished reading
    Kelly Parker
    Period 5

  54. Yusef Komunyakaa’s style of using his own experiences made his writing all the more powerful. When reading his poem, you feel as if you are also trapped inside his
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    Jennyfer Jarrin
    Period 5

  56. As I read this poem , I felt the emotion the author put into it by the way he explained how he recalled his memories from the war. " I touch the name Andrew Johnson; I see the booby trap's white flash." He explains how the wall reminds him of all the people that died in Vietnam and how it saddens him. The veteran who read the poem seemed to relate to this gloomy feeling by the way he was reading it and by the way he got upset.
    Chase Swift
    Period 5

  57. This poem represents repressed sorrow and fear awakened by the memorial, triggering gruesome, somber memories of war. The author was trying to be strong but could not deal with the built up emotion anymore. Yusef is mentally trapped in the stone, unable to escape the war even though he is far away from it and it happened long ago.
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  58. This is a very interesting poem. I agree that it is definitely about a solider at war, and it seems as though when he reads certain names, he can remember exactly how they died. This poem shows that war never truly goes away, and that remembering what people were like helps keep the memory of them alive, as well as reminding everyone that war is real. The most touching part of the poem was, " In the black mirror
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