Munition Wages

Munition Wages

By Madeline Ida Bedford

Earning high wages?
Yus, Five quid a week.
A woman, too, mind you,
I calls it dim sweet.

Ye’are asking some questions —
But bless yer, here goes:
I spends the whole racket
On good times and clothes.

Me saving? Elijah!
Yer do think I’m mad.
I’m acting the lady,
But — I ain’t living bad.

I’m having life’s good times.
See ‘ere, it’s like this:
The ‘oof come o’ danger,
A touch-and-go bizz.

We’re all here today, mate,
Tomorrow — perhaps dead,
If Fate tumbles on us
And blows up our shed.

Afraid! Are yer kidding?
With money to spend!
Years back I wore tatters,
Now — silk stockings, mi friend!

I’ve bracelets and jewellery,
Rings envied by friends;
A sergeant to swank with,
And something to lend.

I drive out in taxis,
Do theatres in style.
And this is mi verdict —
It is jolly worth while.

Worth while, for tomorrow
If I’m blown to the sky,
I’ll have repaid mi wages
In death — and pass by.

Summary of Munition Wages

  • Popularity of “Munition Wages”: The poem ‘Munition Wages’ was written by Madeline Ida Bedford, a British poet. It is an interesting piece about women. It was published in her collection, The Young Captain and Other Poems, published in 1917, and also appeared in another magazine, The Farewell Souvenir, at the same time. The pome shows a woman speaking about the satisfaction she derives from her wages.
  • Munition Wages” As a Representative of Gender Pride: The poet starts with a rhetorical question addressing a lady who responds how much she earns, adding she earns five quid a week that is a pretty sum for her. Following this, in reaction to other inquiries, she declares her enjoyment and her capacity to purchase excellent attire. About savings, she states that she is living a good life despite having little savings. It is the most beautiful time of her life, she says, adding she wants to enjoy the best in her life as Fate may take her life at any time. Therefore, she spends money as much as she could to comfort her. Now she has silk stockings, jewelry, money to rent a taxi, and a good life that she thinks is worth it.
  • Major Themes in “Munition Wages”: Empowerment of women, satisfaction from life, and enjoyment are three major themes of the poem. Told in a one-sided dialogue, the poem shows the woman answering the question about her earnings, her savings, and her spending. She answers it pretty good, saying that she earns good, spends on what she needs, and enjoys life to the fullest. This means that if a woman is financially independent, she becomes powerful. The poem shows her satisfied with her work and her wages and enjoying life, giving no importance to anything happening around her.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used In Munition Wages

literary devices make poems beautiful and attractive to reader. Madeline Ida Bedford  also used some literary devices in this poem whose analysis is as follows.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /i/ in “I calls it dim sweet” the sound of /ai/ in “I’m having life’s good times” and the sound of /e/ in “Rings envied by friends”.
  2. Alliteration: The poem shows the use of alliteration in the shape of initial consonant sounds of the neighboring words, such as the sound of /s/ in “silk stockings”.
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /s/ in “You are asking some questions” and the sound of /t/ and /s/ in “If Fate tumbles on us”.
  4. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break; rather, it rolls over to the next line. For example,

We’re all here today, mate,
Tomorrow — perhaps dead,
If Fate tumbles on us
And blows up our shed.

  1. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “But bless yer, here goes”, “I’m acting lady” and “A touch-and-go bizz.”
  2. Metaphor: The poem has shown the use of Fate as if it is some powerful person that can tumble us even without our consent.
  3. Rhetorical Question: The poem shows the use of rhetorical question such as “Earning high waves?” Its purpose is that she wants to tell the details of her financial independence.
  4. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. The poem shows the use of different modern symbols such as tatters, stockings, bracelets, and jewelry to show the empowerment of women.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in Munition Wages

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Diction and Tone: The poem shows the use of old images related to femininity. The tone of the poem is happy and jolly.
  2. Rhyme Scheme: The poem shows the rhyme scheme of ABCB in all of its nine stanzas.
  3. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. The poem has nine stanzas with each having four verses.

Quotes to be Used

These lines from “Munition Wages” are appropriate to quote about the significance of women empowerment.

I’ve bracelets and jewellery,
Rings envied by friends;
A sergeant to swank with,
And something to lend