In the poem 'War Photographer' by Carol Ann Duffy, the poet presents readers with some very stark and upsetting images. She sets out the work of a war photographer, both in the field and in his darkroom and the poem both presents pain and suffering and an impassive and detached reaction to it. This chimes with the way a war photographer has to do his job - he has to detach himself from the cries around him in order to do his job - to get the information out to the world. Any involvement or efforts to help would slow him down in that task which might be a bad thing as the world might not get to see the truth of what is happening.
One figure of speech which helps us to understand the effect of his work back home is
'The reader's eyeballs prick with tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers.'
The words 'prick with tears' are an illstration of what it feels like to be on the verge of crying because,obviously, tears are not sharp - our eyes are not damaged but we feel a stinging sensation. However, the figure of speech survives because it is so apt and helps us to imagine the newspaper readers as they see the photographs, or indeed perhaps read the poem. Sadly, we are left with the impression,from the rest of the phrase, that the feeling doesn't last very long as the urgency of our own daily lives takes over.