Soldiers by Giuseppe Ungaretti
Si sta come
This is one of the most famous and important italian poems of the 20th century.
The poem describes the hard living conditions of soldiers during World War One. Using an elaborate simile, Ungaretti tells us about the vulnerability of soldiers who fought every day, as they didn’t know if they would survive or not. If an enemy soldier fired just one shot, they could die: they lived in uncertainty. Soldiers had to be very hopeful and cling to life with all the strength they had, because during the war they had no guarantee about anything.
Although the poem is very short, it can help us think about the human condition during the war and about the soldiers’ awareness of death always haunting their lives.
This poem can also be connected to present times, because today there are still many wars going on, so there are many men and women in a similar situation.
I think this poem describes war in a good way, because reading it we can understand the feelings, thoughts and fears of soldiers. Besides, with the metaphor “the leaves in autumn which fall”, we can actually feel the sunset of life coming like autumn comes every year after summer. I also think this poem is very straightforward and only a soldier could have written it. Actually, Giuseppe Ungaretti wrote this poem during the First World War when he was in France.
He was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1888 and died in Milan in 1970. He was an Italian writer of the 20th century. In the First World War, he enrolled as a volunteer soldier in the Italian Army. He fought in Friuli (a northeastern region of Italy), but when he wrote this poem, he was in Courton Forest (July 1918) in France.