What would be the message of the poem 'Remains' by Simon Armitage?

I am using the SMILE technique to analyse this poem.
SMILE stands for:
Message - What is the poet trying to get across?

1 Answer
Jan 26, 2018


The way soldiers are treated after war.


Through the poem, it is heavily implied that once the soldier is home on leave, he can't get the horrific images of what he had seen out of his head (if you remember it is the horrific imagery used about the dead man's guts). Once on leave, this part of his time at war starts replaying back.

This forces the soldier to turn to drinks and drugs as seen in the quote "drinks and drugs won't flush him out". This shows that to deal with the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from this life changing event, the soldier has turned to harmful substances to help him get over it. What I believe Simon Armitage is implying is that if us ,as a community, took time to understand the detrimental effects of war on mental health then we could give more help to those who suffer from post war stress. However, like most poems, this is one interpretation out of many!