Homecoming is an anti-war poem by Bruce Dawe written about the Vietnam War. The poem describes the process of collecting and processing the dead from the war and shipping them home.
Can you answer the questions below? They will provide a valuable focus for revising the poem.
This poem records the sickening waste of life which resulted from the Vietnam war.
1. In what sense is the title ironic?
2. Who are ‘they’? Why are ‘they’ not named?Choose three images evoked by Dawe. What is their significance and impact?
3. Find three examples of repetition and comment on their use and effectiveness.
4. What is the purpose of Dawe’s lists, such as ‘curly-heads, kinky-hairs, crew-cuts, balding non-coms’?
5. What does the use of ‘ing’ words throughout the poem achieve?
6. Why do the ‘coasts wing upward’?
7. Find examples of Dawe’s use of simile, e.g. telegrams tremble like leaves from a wintering tree’. What does this add to the poem?
8. What do the final words ‘…too late, too early’ mean?
9. Does this work as an effective anti-war poem?