How Sympathetic Was John Pepper Clark In The Poem "The Casualties"

The poet's feeling of sympathy for the victims of the war was so overwhelming in the poem "The Casualties" to the extent that he never excluded himself among the victims:
"We fall
All casualties of the war
Because we cannot hear each other speak
Because eyes have ceased to see the face from the crowd
Because whether we know or
Do not know the extent of wrong on all sides,
We are characters now other than before".

John Pepper Clark in his state of sympathy, blame and guilt; divided the victims_ referred to as casualties, into two groups (the directly affected victims and the indirectly affected victim) and finally made it open to the readers that those who thought themselves to be "the looters" during the war were as well victims being so "fearful everyday the owners may return".

He sympathetically enlisted the direct victims as (1) those who are dead (2) those who are wounded (3) those who have lost persons or property (4) those led away by night to be imprisoned (5) those who started the fire of war but cannot put it out causing thousands of innocents to burn within (6) those who escaped their shattered homes only to end up in another safe home that later collapsed on them. Those that fell under the second group referred to as the indirect victims are the war looter, the war propagandists, those who ran abroad pretending they seek external support, etc.

John Pepper Clark reminded the readers of the poem that the overrall effects every victim suffered were sagging caused by kwashiorkor and exploitation made the foreign war supporters:
"We all are casualties;
All sagging as are
The cases celebrated for kwaskiorkor
The unforeseen camp-followers of not just our war."



Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying high)

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