Introspection of Thomas’ own death is portrayed in ‘Rain’ and ‘The Glory’. Thomas is particularly affected by the contemplation of the effects of war due to the brutality and inhumanity. Words such as ‘broken’, ‘pain’, ‘solitary’ are used through the poem, ‘Rain’, and the repetition of these melancholic words exemplify his introspection of death, particularly his own, which further evokes sympathy as we identify his mental suffering due to the work of war.
Similarly in ‘Aspens’ the absence of humanity due to the war is exposed through the portrayal of emptiness from the use of the simile ‘empty as sky’, which emphasises the emptiness as so vast it is overpowering. This suggests Thomas contemplates his significance as an individual in the war. Emptiness is also a theme in the poem ‘As the Team’s Head Brass’ where a conversational tone conveys the effects the war has had on a farm. Thomas seems to accept the oblivion of nothing and the idea of love and death becomes a psychological theory.
Thanatos is the motivation or desire to escape and therefore this completion of oblivion seems to conclude the poem. Further the ‘tempest’ brought Thomas a vision of nature of both life and death as it ‘tells me [him]’ and gives him a glimpse of death, which is at once a ‘bleak’ sense of consolidation. The epiphany that Thomas experiences gives this sense of awareness of mortality and the value of life. The oblivion of death is contrasted with the gift of life as Thomas describes himself as ‘helpless among the living and the dead’, which shows his introspection of his personal significance in the world.
Although similar poets the World War 1 era looked at the effects of war all poets revealed different perspectives. In ‘The Solider’ by Rupert Brooke the poet looks at his own significance of his life after death by asking the reader to think of ‘forever England’, unchanged and undamaged, ‘if I [he] should die’ rather than contemplating the negative side of death unlike Thomas does so in ‘Rain’. A further contrast to make would be with Wilfred Owen’s ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ as it reveals the horror of war and the deaths of soldiers, rather than looking at his own suffering and death.
Another comparison to make is with the poem ‘A Man I Killed’ by Thomas Hardy who identifies not what war does to the villages back home but what war does to the soldier. His introspection of his actions suggest his guilt and shame of killing a man who, if ‘met where any bar is’, would be a simple friend. This is complimented by the suggestion of the analogy between ‘broken reeds’ and broken men as a result of the war within the poem ‘Rain’. Thomas further expresses his identification of death through the structure of the poem.
Particularly his experimentation of spondee and iambic pentameter is used to show the continuity of the rainfall and perhaps reflects the sense of infinite damage due to the war and vulnerability for soldiers in the war, including the exposure of Thomas’ life. Further, the use of blank verse conveys Thomas’ thought process as unremitting and overwhelming thus suggesting that Thomas is incessantly contemplating the oblivion of death and the value of life. Specifically, the use of enjambment present in the first 6 lines conveys the flow of Thomas’ thought process and his contemplation of the value of life and the reality of his mortality.
In comparison, the 18 line unbroken stanza that forms ‘Tears’ by Thomas is appropriate in connection to the content of the poem where a sense of continuity allows the reader to identify the suitability of free verse as it reflects Thomas’ thought process. In further contrast, the familiarity of iambic pentameter and the repetition in the stresses of the line mimics the rhythm of the conversation as it lacks dynamism, which therefore conveys the emptiness of the field. Thomas contemplates death as inevitable within ‘Rain’ and introspects how it affects him as an individual and as a soldier.
The simile ‘like a cold water among broken reeds’ suggests Thomas pictures those in trenches, possibly including himself, as being ‘like a cold water’. In other words, ruined by guns and changed through the sin of killing. Melancholy is a major theme in this poem shown through words such as ‘helpless’, ‘solitude, ‘pain’, which further portrays the presentation of death from Thomas’ perspective. His personal introspection is reinforced from the use of first person narrative and his deep thought process, which allows the reader to identify his with his misery and understand his contemplation further.