'Remains' - Key Quotations

"On another occasion, we got sent out

to tackle looters raiding a bank."

- STANZA 1 -

CONTEXT:

The opening lines of the poem, in which the speaker begins to recount something.

THEMES:

Anecdotal; Memory

LANGUAGE:

Anecdote = "On another occasion" creates the impression that the speaker is mid-conversation, and that they are discussing many other events that are similar to this one.

"And one of them legs it up the road,

probably armed, possibly not."

- STANZA 1 -

CONTEXT:

The speaker begins to describe how this particular event unfolded.

THEMES:

Memory; Conversational

LANGUAGE:

Colloquialism = "legs it" is a slang term for running away. This further emphasises the relaxed, conversational tone of the speaker.

Adverbs = the adverbs "probably" and "possibly" indicate the mentality of the soldiers during this incident - they anticipate that the looter will more than likely be carrying a weapon, even though they have no evidence to support this.

"I see broad daylight on the other side."

- STANZA 3 -

CONTEXT:

The speaker describes the moment the looter is killed.

THEMES:

Memory; Violence; Death

LANGUAGE:

Hyperbole = the speaker uses exaggerated language to bring attention to the violent and bloody manner in which the looter is killed. There is no honour or glory here.

"and he's there on the ground, sort of inside out,"

- STANZA 3 -

CONTEXT:

The speaker describes the looter, who now lies dead on the ground before him.

THEMES:

Memory; Violence; Death

LANGUAGE:

Phrase = "sort of inside out" continues that relaxed tone, and it is interesting considering the speaker is describing a person who was alive a few moments earlier. The looter becomes more of an object now that he is dead.

"One of my mates goes by

and tosses his guts back into his body."

- STANZA 4 -

CONTEXT:

The speaker continues to recount the events that follow the shooting.

THEMES:

Memory; Violence

LANGUAGE:

Colloquialism = "mates" is another informal term, showing that the speaker is maintaining the conversational, relaxed tone despite the nature of the content he is describing.

"His blood-shadow stays on the street"

- STANZA 5 -

CONTEXT:

The speaker continues to recount the events that follow the shooting.

THEMES:

Memory; Violence; Guilt

LANGUAGE:

Compound noun/Metaphor = "blood-shadow" could be the literal shadow left behind by the looter's body, but it could also be a metaphor for the memory of the events which took place.

"Sleep, and he's probably armed, and possibly not."

- STANZA 6 -

CONTEXT:

Another question is asked, one that again shows the mentality of the soldiers.

THEMES:

Memory; Guilt

LANGUAGE:

Repetition = "he's probably armed, and possibly not" is repeated from stanza one, showing that the soldier is returning to the event again and again in his memory. This suggests that the guilt is taking its toll on him.

"his bloody life in my bloody hands."

- STANZA 8 -

CONTEXT:

The final two lines of the poem, in which the speaker reflects on the events discussed.

THEMES:

Memory; Guilt

LANGUAGE:

Pun = "bloody" has two separate meanings in the final line: the first interpretation could be the literal meaning of being covered in blood; the second interpretation could be a degree of anger and frustration, specifically with the fact that the soldier cannot escape the guilt of what happened. This leads the poem to end on a somewhat hopeless, despairing note.