Study Guide

What Were They Like? Peace and Tranquility

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Peace and Tranquility

The poem is brimming with images of calm, peaceful living. In lines 3-4, we see a ceremony celebrating the opening of flowers. In line 12, the speaker mentions "stone gardens illumined by pleasant ways." In lines 22-24, we see a calm, "peaceful" sky reflected into the water while water buffalo slowly graze. And in the final lines of the poem, the speaker uses a simile to compare the singing of the people to "the flight of moths in moonlight." All these gentle images paint the people of Vietnam as peaceable, which makes the images of their destruction all the more disturbing for the reader.

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