SMALL PAIN IN MY CHEST-Michael Mack
‘The small pain in my chest ‘by Michael Mack is basically an anti-war poetry that reflects strong condemnation against war. It is written in a ballad form and is the conversational story between the poet and the dying soldier whom he met on the battlefield. It brings out the futility and brutality of war and the pain, agony, separation, hatred and the death of innocent lives which it brings about with it. The guileless young soldiers who would have otherwise led a long and happy life meet a premature death in the battlefield. War not only brings about mass killing of innocent and vulnerable lives but also doing away with humanity. The war referred to in this poem is actually the Vietnam war which started in 1955 and ended in 1975 and took place mainly in South Vietnam. But as the destruction and havoc caused by a war is similar irrespective of its location, the phrase applies to any war.
As the poet approaches the battlefield, he is beckoned by a soldier boy sitting calmly under a tree. On moving closer to him, he realizes that he is wounded and is dying. Looking around him, in the morning light, the poet could see the innumerable dead bodies of the other poor soldiers on the ground who fought all day and night. The soldier then asks for a little aid from the poet and craves for a sip of water as he complained of a ‘small pain’ in his chest.
From the large reddish brown bloodstain in his shirt, the poet makes out the cause of his intense pain which he referred to as ‘small’ although. The colour of the blood has turned reddish brown which is the result of his own warm blood oozing out of his wounds mixing up with the dirt of Asian soil as the battle was being fought in Asia. Inspite of being fatally wounded, the soldier considered himself to be fortunate as all of his companions/fellow soldiers who had received larger wounds and had succumbed to their injuries on the battlefield, while his was a ‘small pain’ and was still...