Andy Chen Fang
Beach burial by Kenneth Slessor deals with the universal issue of war. He explores the destruction of war, not only while it is happening but also the aftermath of war. The poem begins with an ironic title of “Beach Burial”, the two words are an oxymoron to each other as a beach is usually associated with the lively people or a place where living people go to. This is directly contradicted with “burial”. The title helps identify the surrounding in which the poem is set in and warns the reader that the poem is associated with death.
In the first stanza, the poet introduces the dead sailors that are coming to shore. He uses the word “convoy” to depict the mass amounts of corpses that are arriving. He then appeals to our imagery “rolls them in the foam” by describing the foam that is often caused by the waves breaking on the shore. The readers are initially involved in what the poet is seeing.
The second stanza, the poet uses aural imagery, to describe the chaotic nature of the war. “Sob and clubbing of the gunfire” depicts not only the sounds of the gunfire, but also it uses “sob” as a double meaning to describe the sympathy and sorrow of those deceased and their families. In this stanza it is also seen that “someone” has taken the time to remove the dead from the “foam” and place them into shallow graves.
In the following stanzas, the poet describes the honouring of the dead, the crosses made of tide-wood mark the graves of these