The Black Heralds
It's no surprise that a poem about the suffering of humanity has some violent images in it. (Like, duh.) They seem to have a religious connotation, too, which is important for understanding the meaning of the poem. If the Bible is full of such violent stories and figures (seriously, have you read some of that stuff lately?), then maybe it makes sense that people suffer a lot.
- Lines 5-6: Here life's blows are capable of opening up trenches in even the "fiercest face" and "strongest back." It's important to notice that no one escapes the violence, whether strong or weak.
- Line 7: "Barbaric Atillas" and their colts immediately conjure up images of marauders and war of conquest. The blows aren't just sitting around waiting for you to fall into their booby trap. Nope. Unfortunately for you, these are proactive blows—they're on the warpath!
- Line 11: The blows are bloodstained here (ew), and seem to echo the trenches opened up in lines 5-6. They also have important religious resonance that reminds us of the crucifixion story that is central to Christianity. For more on that, check out "Religious Symbols."