For the Union Dead
How we cite our quotes:
Two months after marching through Boston,
half the regiment was dead. (25–26)
The regiment kept on going, despite the huge death toll. It's hard enough to get through the semester, never mind persevering in the face of death. They obviously felt very strongly about what they were fighting for.
Their monument sticks like a fishbone
in the city's throat. (29–30)
The memory of these soldiers has persevered for over a century in the middle of Boston, even if it has diminished. It almost seems like an uncomfortable memory for the residents (if you've ever actually had a fish bone stuck in your throat you'd know exactly how uncomfortable that is), like they might want to be rid of it.
He has an angry wrenlike vigilance,
a greyhound's gentle tautness; (33–34)
Shaw seems as ready as a wind-up toy. He's a lean, mean, fighting machine, and he's ready to go (which is good considering he was on the march for two months before he died—you'd need that kind of extraordinary energy).