Good Men Fallen Before Hero Come by Peter Meinke

So I really liked this poem despite how it is annoyingly missing punctuation and other literary elements that make the text flow. Maybe he took all it out as to allow us to interpret it in our own way? When I read it my mind filled in things that were not on the page. Anyway I love the message of the poem as it captures a realization I made a while ago and when I brought it up to my other poetry class I think it made them think in a different way as well.

The realization I had I got from a book were at the end a ram god and a hero are at the edge of the world almost hanging off the edge when the hero is asking why he has lost everything? He is the hero. Hes supposed to be rewarded in the end right? No says the ram god. The hero is not the one that saves the day and gets everything. The hero is the one that suffers the most and pays the price at the end of it all.

This had a profound effect on me. Up until then I always imagined hero’s in terms of the Homeric code were they are completely perfect and larger than life figures. I think we see this pattern all over in literature and media. We are told to mimic these larger than life figures as that is the ideal we should reach for. The problem is that most of use are human and it is hard to find a place that teaches one to be a demi god in this day and age. The people he names are a knight named Tristan who preformed great feats of the sword, saint George the origin of the knight and dragon mythos, Gawain nephew of king Arthur who faced an incarnation of death the green knight, Galahad the pure knight and only one worthy of obtaining the holy grail, and Sargent York a WWI hero that faced over a hundred Germans. Impressive feats all of them but not something to be held a standard to.

What do you guys think of this? (Are we supposed to have read this yet? Am I jumping the gun?)

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2 Responses to Good Men Fallen Before Hero Come by Peter Meinke

  1. lkizhakk says:

    I was reading the commentary on this poem and he says that he writes in a pidgin English which is a grammatically simplified version of a language that people use to communicate when they don’t share the same language. It’s interesting that he wrote this during the Vietnam war too, because I think you could interpret it as Meinke being anti-war (unless that’s too far of a jump) since he says “fought pretty bravely for nothing and screamed twice” in the end. I see where you’re comming from by interpreting it as the hero not gaining tangible rewards in the end of their battle, but I also think Meinke could be saying more about wars, violence and bloodshed and how it doesn’t always make someone a hero.

  2. This poem was extremely fun, but I thought it was also deep. My first read, I agree Evan. was tough because of all the missing punctuation and such. It made my brain sort of freak out for a moment; however, I think that this poem made me question the elements of a hero and also the perspective\character of the speaker. As mentioned in class, the way the speaker talks is that of a peasant maybe or a foreigner because his English isn’t fantastic whatsoever while I like what you said Evan in the myth story about the ram god: “The hero is not the one that saves the day and gets everything” — I think that’s very thought-provoking and it credits the people who haven’t survived. I think society always makes the hero the biggest, strongest, most muscled man who lived through the war or the fight or the struggle, whatever it may be; however, I think the hero(s) out there, and in this story, are just the ones fighting for what they believed in, even if they died, I don’t think that makes them any less of a hero.

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