What were they like?

1)Did the people of
Viet Nam use
Vietnam is split in to two words to highlight the ignorance of foreigners
lanterns of stone?
2) Did they hold ceremonies
to reverence the opening of
buds? -reference to the beginning of spring
reverence- to respect/ worship
3) Were they inclined to quiet laughter? -asking if they were cheerful or not
4) Did they use bone and ivory,
jade and silver, for
5) Had they an
epic poem?
a traditional poem that everyone in their culture knows about
6) Did they distinguishbetween speech and singing?
to tell the difference
1) Sir their light hearts turned to stone.
stone suggests the opposite of light and the ,metaphor suggest happiness has disappeared
It is not remembered whether in gardens
stone lanterns illumined pleasant ways.
Perhaps they gathered once to delight in blossom, but after the children were killed
continuing the link between flowers and childern
there were no more buds) the closed bracket highlights that the childrens lives have ended
Sir, laughter is bitter to the burned mouth. -refers to the napalm bomb used by the Americans- the bones refer to dead bodies
the word "Sir" indicates that the person is ansering the question being respectful, e.g. to a soilder, but could also be false respect, a student who is angry with the question
4) A dream ago, perhaps. Ornament is for joy.
the repetition of "perhaps" emphesises the fact that noone is suer now that the cluture has been destroyed
the bones were charred.
5) It is not
remembered. Remember, words that suggest how long ago this life was
most were peasants; their life
was in rice and bamboo.
a reference to a simple life
When peaceful clouds were reflected in the paddies fields in which the people of the Vietnam farmed
and the water buffalo stepped surely along terraces,
maybe fathers told their sons old tales.
handed down from generation to generation
When bombs smashed those mirrors no one was prepared for what was going to happen and show the violent effects of the war
there was time
only to scream.
6) There is an
echo yet
remembering the people who died and suggesting that the culture is no longer as it was

of their speech which was like a song.
It was
reported their singing resembled an army officer report?
their language sounded like singing to us foreigners
the flight of
moths in moonlight. representing the people of Vietnam's spirits in the beautiful Vietnam
Who can say?
It is silent now. they have all died in the war and there is nothing living
makes us think how it should be said, with bitterness or anger or regret?

Denise Levertov
- was politically active in her life and was very against the Vietnam War, her beliefs and poems had such a strong influence she was put in prison for a short period. The poem "What Were They Like?" is the poem about the effects of the Vietnam war and the conflict with another culture. It begins with numbered questions that are answered throught, this makes it feel as if the poem is more like a school exam.All of the questions asked cover all the different things of the culture of the Vietnamese, religion, clothing, language, food, technology, and art.