2.2 Task 4: In the Trenches

  • Do you know what a word cloud is? Creating one is done quickly and easily.

    Read Isaac Rosenberg's poem "Break of Day in the Trenches", in which a soldier plucks a flower and watches a rat at sunrise that might soon leave his trench and and pay a visit to the enemy:

    Break of Day in the Trenches

    1    The darkness crumbles away.
          It is the same old druid Time as ever,
          Only a live thing leaps my hand,
          A queer sardonic rat,
    5    As I pull the parapet’s poppy
          To stick behind my ear.
          Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew
          Your cosmopolitan sympathies.
          Now you have touched this English hand
    10   You will do the same to a German
          Soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure
          To cross the sleeping green between.
          It seems you inwardly grin as you pass
    15  Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes,
          Less chanced than you for life,
          Bonds to the whims of murder,
          Sprawled in the bowels of the earth,
          The torn fields of France.
    20   What do you see in our eyes
           At the shrieking iron and flame
           Hurled through still heavens?
           What quaver—what heart aghast?
           Poppies whose roots are in man’s veins
    25   Drop, and are ever dropping;
           But mine in my ear is safe—
           Just a little white with the dust.
    l.4: sardonic: showing that you disapprove of or do not like somebocy
    l.5: parapet: a low wall
    l.5: poppet: a bright red or orange flower
    l.7: droll: odd, amusing
    l.23: quaver: tremble
    l. 23: aghast: shocked
    What are the most frequent words in this poem?
    A word cloud generator can show this in the form of a graphic representation:
    You may also use different shapes, like a rat...
    a soldier with a gas mask, ...
    a human being, ...
    ... or barbed wire in black and white to illustrate the text.

    All word clouds above were created with just a few clicks using http://www.wordclouds.com/.


      2.2 Task 4: Now it is your turn. Go to 2.2. Task 4: Material, and make your own word cloud.