“War is Kind” is a poem written by Stephen Crane. It was first published in 1899. As the title suggests, the poem deals with the theme of war.
The title “War is Kind” is repeated several times throughout the poem, which increases the irony behind this statement. After all, what the poet describes in this poem about war is anything but kind, which can be seen in lines such as “a field where a thousand corpses lie.”
The poet does at times allude to the theme of the romantic war hero: “Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky.” However, as this line is surrounded by descriptions of the horrors of war, it soon becomes clear to the reader that the poet is not admiring the romantic war hero, but that he is pitying him instead. To the poet, the soldiers are no war heroes, as they were merely “born to drill and die.” They are portrayed almost as killing machines without any rights or self-determination, further underlining how futile and pointlessly cruel war is.
The overall message of the poem is therefore that war is pointless and futile. It leads to unnecessary pain and death not only as far as the soldiers are concerned, but also for those who stayed at home and who are losing a loved one as a result of war. Whilst it is understandable to want to mourn the loss of the fallen soldiers, the poet wants us to question the purpose of war in order to understand that wars are futile and need to stop in order to prevent further losses and further mourning.