“When the war is over” by William Stanley Merwin and Today’s Society.

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Unpunctuated and far from grammatical; almost rebellious, W.S. Merwin's poem "When the war is over" deals with a subject that could have been addressed at any point in the history of mankind: war.


"War", though, has many meanings, and paraphrasing the Concise Oxford Dictionary they all coincide in the fact that, for it to exist there should be sustained conflict, and two or more sides involved (1382).

At the beginning of the Twenty First Century, war is not merely a theme to be found in books, poems, and old black and white combat footage. It is fought today on many levels against numerous types of enemies: countries, terrorists, drug dealers, crime, pornography, institutions; and more general, against ideas. Different key players of this earth resort to war to restore order and defend or impose their own notions of how aspects of society should work. For example, something as simple, but controversial as the flow of commercial goods from one country to another, whether it is oil or fast food services, can result in many deaths in order to facilitate things for a group of interest. As Merwin puts it "when the war is over / () the salmon / And the silence of heaven will migrate more perfectly" (lines 1, 4-5), which means that, as conflicts end things should correspond, more or less, to what the system of ideas of the winning side states they should be. ...
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