The Poem “Sun” by Michael Palmer is interesting because of the way it combines more tradtional elements of a poem with the form of blank verse and incorporates elements of the horrors of war. Palmer frequently employs anaphora throughout his poem when he repeats line openings such as “Write this” in the first three lines. His repetitions of line openings and of words throughout the poem help provide some sort of structure outside of the blank verse form.
Palmer also incorporates elements from different wars in this poem. “We have burned all the villages and the people in them” is a reference to a town in Cambodia that was accidentally bombed during warfare (2). War events like this are horrific and definitely help shape the poem as one concerned with the institution of war.
The issue of language also comes to mind through lines such as “I will converse with no one on those days of the week which end in y.” In the English language all the days of the week end in the letter “y,” but it is not that way in all languages. This brings up the question of which language is the speaker thinking of? His native tongue? Or the language of one of the peoples captured by war? When the speaker mentions alphabet letters in his notebook near the end of the poem it also calls to question whether the speaker is one of those who facilitated war playing with letters or one of the victims of war who is trying to adopt a new language in an attempt to assimilate into a forced culture.