Kate Daniels’ poem “War Photograph” is a moving and powerful look at the reality of war. Through the eyes of a photographer, the poem gives us a glimpse into the horror and devastation that war brings. Kate Daniels captures the brutal nature of war, and the poem leaves us with a haunting image of its aftermath.
Kate Daniels’ poem War Photograph is direct, and her intention becomes clear after only the first verse. The opening stanza describes the photograph in question so that readers know which image she reference throughout the rest of the poem.
The poem is in first person, so Daniels puts herself into the poem as the woman standing next to the photographer. The poem is her thoughts and feelings about what she sees in the photo.
The poem starts with a description of the photograph: a young soldier, dead, his head resting on his arm, with his helmet still on. We see his boots, battered and muddy, and his rifle lying beside him. This is not a war photograph that we would see in a newspaper or on TV; it is intimate and personal.
Daniels then tells us how she feels about this photograph. She says that she cannot look at it without thinking of all the other young men who have died in wars. She wonders how their mothers felt when they received the news of their son’s death. And she wonders if any of them ever thought, as they were going into battle, that this might be the last time they would see their families.
This is a poem about war, but it is also a poem about love and loss. It is a poem that makes us think about the personal cost of war, and how even one photograph can bring those costs home to us.
In the second stanza, the author gives us more information about what happens during wartime that we can’t see from just looking at the photograph. It’s almost as if by reading her poem, we get a better understanding of what is happening in the photo because it allows us to see beyond what is visible to the naked eye. The picture only captures a small moment or snippet of time, but through her words, we are given a much fuller and richer sense of everything that is taking place.
Not the pain, not the hurt. Kate Daniels poem “War Photograph” is a poem about how we see only what they want us to see in war.
The poem is from the perspective of a woman whose husband has just come home from war. She is looking at a photograph that he has brought back with him. The first stanza describes what she can see in the photo; a young soldier with his head down, surrounded by rubble and debris.
In the second stanza, she describes what we can’t see in the photo; the pain and suffering that the soldiers go through during war. She explains how the photo only shows us a small part of what is happening, and that we need to understand the full story in order to truly understand the horrors of war.
This poem is powerful because it shows us that we only see what they want us to see in war. We need to be aware of the pain and suffering that the soldiers go through in order to truly understand the magnitude of war.
The fact that she is also running from the gods who have changed the sky to fire and puddled the earth with skin and blood makes us think about how she, like them, is fleeing from the ‘All-powerful’ Americans. This reveals just how helpless those people are compared to America’s might.
She is constantly aware of the ‘ghosts’ or memories of past wars and how they have never really left her. It seems as though Daniels is trying to say that, even if a war has ended, it doesn’t mean that the effects stop there. It’s not just about the loss of life but also about the mental scars that are left behind. The poem leaves us with a feeling of sadness and empathy for all those affected by war.
Kate Daniels was born in 1945 in New York City. She grew up in the Bronx and attended public schools there. After high school, she attended Sarah Lawrence College and later received an MFA from Warren Wilson College. Kate Daniels has worked as a journalist, an English teacher, and a technical writer. She has been the poetry editor of The Georgia Review and is currently a professor of English at Vanderbilt University. Her poem “War Photograph” was published in The New Yorker in 2003.
The poem War Photographer makes us think about how the photographer could be using photography as a form of sanctuary for himself. He is constantly surrounded by the chaotic destruction and panic of war, and takes solace in his room where “the only light is red and softly glows” This could be in comparison to the harsh glare of explosions, bright sunlight or the symbolic, dark aftermath of the war. The contrast between light and darkness creates a sense of peace for the photographer.
This poem is not only about the physical effects of war but also the mental effects that stay with someone long after they have left the conflict. It takes an unflinching look at the psychological costs of bearing witness to atrocity. The poem leaves us with a sense of admiration for those who do this job and put their lives on the line so that we can see what is happening in these war zones. It also makes us think about how we should be thankful for the people who risk their lives to bring these events to our attention.
By mentioning that his studio is like a church in comparison to the war scenes, it creates a sharp contrast between the two. This then leads into how there have been great wars throughout history, with many people losing their lives. The last sentence emphasizes how all of these people are just normal and unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
It also symbolizes how life is short and eventually, everyone will die and become forgotten. The poem then asks the question, should we be “satisfied” with these pictures, with the knowledge that death surrounds us. It seems as if the person who took the photo is happy with his work, as he has won awards for them, but is this right? The poem concludes saying that these pictures will still be around long after the people in them have died and turned to dust.
It leaves a haunting image in the reader’s mind, of photos which show death and destruction, but are stored away in an album, to be looked at later with no thought for the people who died. This poem makes the reader think about whether war photographers are doing the right thing, by taking pictures which will be remembered long after the people in them are gone.