Ernest Hemingway

(21 July 1899 - 2 July 1961 / Oak Park, Illinois)

Captives - Poem by Ernest Hemingway

Some came in chains
Unrepentant but tired.
Too tired but to stumble.
Thinking and hating were finished
Thinking and fighting were finished
Retreating and hoping were finished.
Cures thus a long campaign,
Making death easy.


Comments about Captives by Ernest Hemingway

  • Susan Williams Susan Williams (2/28/2016 3:34:00 PM)

    Through the verses of this poem, the reader could certainly tell that Hemingway thought that war was a mega-mistake and a meaningless waste of lives. The dead soldiers were both Fallen Heroes and Slaughtered Sheep, victims of manifest evil. The survivors were lucky to get out alive but they suffered Irreparable Damage emotionally and psychically if not physically. Alienated, the soldiers felt they were sacrificed by their country. Hemingway totally believed in this quote from Kipling- If any question why we died, tell them, because our fathers lied
    As Hemingway writes in A FAREWELL TO ARMS- - I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it….Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene.
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure that it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
    I had never thought Hemingway poetic or a writer of poems- -I was so wrong. His novels have the best poetry ever written in their sentences and his poems are the tip of his novels' icebergs. (Report) Reply

    10 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Ratnakar Mandlik (2/28/2016 4:03:00 AM)

    Captivating captives and their categories versified. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Sandra Feldman (2/28/2016 2:18:00 AM)

    A strange poet is he, is he
    Better his prose than his poetry. (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (7/21/2014 8:02:00 PM)

    ............this is a dramatic poem.....and heart breaking imagery... (Report) Reply

  • Paul Smith (12/5/2013 10:44:00 AM)

    He needed so few words. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010



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