Explication Of Roll Call (A Poem By

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Yusef Komunyaka Essay, Research Paper


This poem is written in free verse containing twenty-two lines. In line two there is a simile (“we must’ve looked like crows”), and also another simile in lines eight and nine (“a helmet on it’s barrel as if it were a man.”) In lines 5-9 it shows how the boots, helmet, and rifle look like a person, representing the dead people. Lines eight and nine are also personification. Lines 12 and 13 show how the sea gulls flying looked like the planes that flew in the sky in the war. In lines fourteen and fifteen there is a metaphor comparing the scene of the buried to the picture edges blurred by crying people. Line nineteen is also personification (“the lonely beds take me back.”) Imagery is also outlined in this poem in lines 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 22. The tone of the poem is solemn, a sort of remembrance and sadness because of the people that died and the burial they are having for them. The mood is also solemn and sad.


The theme of this poem is though people may be dead, they must be respected and remembered. This is showed by the five pairs of boots representing the five people that died and the people that are burying them to show their gratitude and respect for their friends that had died in front of them. Sometimes these people hear (remember) their buddies in the house and in the barracks which remind them of when they saluted them when they were alive (hence the name of the poem “Roll Call”.)