Famous Death Poem

The excellent use of structure and repetition in this powerful poem contribute to the strong emotional reaction many people feel when reading this poem.
When a loved one doesn't return from war there will be many unresolved feelings. Don't wait to tell the important people in your life how you feel about them, do it right away. You never know if you'll get the chance again.

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This poem truly moved me. I am waiting for my husband to come home from hospital. He has been there for four weeks now and is still in intensive care. He was admitted with sepsis, and so much...

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Analysis of Form and Technique

But You Didn't

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Remember the time you lent me your car and I dented it?
I thought you'd kill me...
But you didn't.

Remember the time I forgot to tell you the dance was
formal, and you came in jeans?
I thought you'd hate me...
But you didn't.

Remember the times I'd flirt with
other boys just to make you jealous, and
you were?
I thought you'd drop me...
But you didn't.

There were plenty of things you did to put up with me,
to keep me happy, to love me, and there are
so many things I wanted to tell
you when you returned from
Vietnam...
But you didn't.

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For Students - Analysis of Form and Technique

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Techniques this poem uses:

  • There is a strong sense of structure, which makes the poem flow. The structure gives even more strength in the ending of the poem.
    Each stanza starts by recalling a time to remember. Then the author goes on to say how she thought the other person would respond, and it ends with "but you didn't."

    Remember the time you lent me your car and I dented it?
    I thought you'd kill me...
    But you didn't.

    Read more about structure in poetry
  • There is repetition used in this poem to create a sense of reminiscing. Each stanza starts with the same phrase.

    Remember the time

    Read more about repetition in poetry

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Has this poem touched you? Share your story!

This poem truly moved me. I am waiting for my husband to come home from hospital. He has been there for four weeks now and is still in intensive care. He was admitted with sepsis, and so much has gone wrong, it's unbelievable. There's so much I want to tell him, and I don't know if I will ever get the chance. If only!

  • Daniel by Daniel
  • 2 years ago

This touched me because the other guy was so nice to the one that made a lot of mistakes. It was also sad. and kind of sad. I love this poem but did not like the sad part.

  • Charlie Bynar by Charlie Bynar
  • 3 years ago

The expecting of a loved one to come home, to come out of their bedroom, to come and have coffee with you, to call you, to text you, to walk in the forest with you like all the other times, but they didn't, they don't... it's an emptiness that no one can understand unless that have waked that path. It's a path that starts the same every day... you have coffee alone and they don't come from their bedroom to tell you about some idea they had. The house is quiet, except the dogs barking.

  • Mirsini Tsapanidou by Mirsini Tsapanidou
  • 3 years ago

Okay so I had read this poem a year ago, and now that I have been reading Leo Buscaglia's "Live, Love, Learn," he had written this poem saying that a student of his, who wished to remain anonymous, gave it to him and let him include it in his book. He explained how this poem underlines the importance of doing whatever you want to do today and not wait for tomorrow, and I completely agree with him.

  • Candace R. Schneller by Candace R. Schneller
  • 5 months ago

The actions you do today will affect you tomorrow. Be sure you're willing to live with the repercussions. I believe you should live for today; don't wait until tomorrow to do what you can do today. Just be sure you see the whole picture.

  • Bob Abney by Bob Abney
  • 2 years ago

Mr. Buscaglia sent me a copy of this poem at my request, many years ago. I still have it, if only I knew where...probably hidden in my cedar chest. I was saddened to hear when he passed away. I enjoyed his programs.

  • Moses Wamala Blair by Moses Wamala Blair
  • 4 years ago

This poem has touched me so much. It has plenty of sadness, pain, regret, and a lot of untold love. She was brave and strong!!!

  • Call Me Kitty by Call Me Kitty
  • 5 years ago

This is so darn sad for me! My brother is always joking about the Vietnam War, but reading this is probably going to haunt me. It made me realize that so many people lost their loved ones in that war and just any war in general!

  • Thabiso Percival by Thabiso Percival
  • 5 years ago

When you talk deep, you touch me. This poem is so inspiring!

  • Maseno by Maseno
  • 6 years ago

One of the best poem i have ever seen. #DEEPRESPECT

  • SHOBHIT SHARMA by SHOBHIT SHARMA
  • 6 years ago

When art touches you...........the most beautiful poem written in the most beautiful way possible.......made me cry

  • Hannahm106.5 by Hannahm106.5
  • 6 years ago

I just love this poem! It tells the life story of how 2 people fall in love and when one of them goes off to Vietnam (probably a war) he dies and the girl decides to share about it when she writes this poem. Thank you.

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