“Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knife us”
– This is an example of personification, the east winds are ‘knifing’ the author. In other words they are stabbing the author with cold. This language feature is used instead of just saying that the wind is ‘cold’ as it adds more interest. Its saying that the wind is so icy it’s piercing through them.
“Worried by silence, sentries whisper, curious, nervous, But nothing happens.”
– The author uses listing in this way to slow the piece down. It gives time to set the scene, they’re scared its freezing and nothing is happening to interest them. Also the emotive language used gives insight into what the soldiers are thinking. They have confused feelings about the silence, wondering why nothing is happening; these feelings set the scene of what the soldiers feel.
“But nothing happens.”
– This phrase is repeated at the end of multiple stanzas throughout the piece. This is partly an oxymoron as it is used at the end of a verse which clearly has gunfire at the start. “Sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence.” Yet it still says that nothing had happened. But the phrase “But nothing happens” is for the most part used to add to the feeling of slowness which the poem depicts. It’s repetition is too emphasise the, cold slow deaths/pace of the soldiers/poem. This phrase is also used at the end which is a nice touch to finish of the poem, saying that all that has happened during the poem, does not matter; it says that nothing of importance has happened in the whole poem.