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§ The title of the poem is a reflective poem, where the poet paints a picture of the chaos

and confusion that occurs in war. The poem is a contrast between feelings of hope and
the reality of the destructive nature of war. The speak is a patriot expression is
affections for his country which is being destroyed. He captures the gloomy scenes of
war and desperation.

§ The persona speaks to some-one that he cares for. He tells this person that this is the
dark time, which is, in essence, a time of sadness. It is implied, by certain key terms;
such as 'dark metal’, that it is a time of war. The persona warns his 'love' that it is
a dark, sad time.
§ The poem was written as a form of protest to the British occupation of Guyana after its
independence. There is the repetition of “This is the dark time, my love”, it serves to
make the reader aware of the terrible situation the country is in. The British
occupation is being referred to as the “dark time”. There phrase “my love” can refer
to the Guyanese people who the poet seeks to address directly and motivate and
encourage to resist the occupation. It can also be a personification of the country
itself.
§ The condition of the society and the people living in fear with “season of oppression,
dark metal and tears”.
§ War, Oppression, Dreams and Aspirations,.
§ The theme of this poem is about a people whose dreams of a better life have
been threatened by the destructive power of the ‘strange invader’.
§ Oppression: In the first stanza, the land is over run by “brown beetles” this a
metaphor for the raiding soldiers who invade the land. He use images from nature to
capture this was scene, “A sun is shining but cannot be seen and flowers are writhing.
§ The poet also uses a mixture of metaphor and oxymoron to illustrate the horrific
scenes he describes war and the joy in which others find in it.
§ The atmosphere of the poem is one of tension, fear, anxiety. “Everywhere the faces of
men are strained and anxious.” This is because of the presence of soldiers: “all around
the land brown beetles crawl about.” Even nature is sympathetic to the cause of the
people as expressed in the line “red flowers bend their heads in awful sorrow.”

§ The poet’s mood is one of lamentation for the misery of his people, the instability and
sorrow brought about by the strange invader.The mood of the poem is a sad one. The
persona is giving his ‘love’ sad and depressing news.
§ Imagery: The images appeal to the sense of sight and sound. They present visual pictures
that are striking. The picture of the soldiers, “all around the land brown beetles crawl
about”, in their thick armoury, the hard covering on their backs is like beetles. Here you
hear the tramping of soldiers “whose boots of steel tramp down the slender grass”. You
can also see the slender grass trampled upon and looking withered.
§ oxymorons: “festival or guns” and “carnival of misery”. This shows how the joy and
happiness the people had are now replaced with depression and fear. The people can
no longer enjoy life resulting in the “faces of men are strained and anxious”
§
§ Metaphor: All around the land brown beetles crawl about.” The
soldiers are compared to brown beetles.
§ Personification: “Red flowers bend their heads in awful sorrow.” The
poet gives the flower qualities of a human being - the emotion of
sorrow.

§ Irony/Metaphor: “It is the festival of guns, the carnival of misery.” The


words “festival” and “carnival” are indicative of joyous celebrations but
what the country is really experiencing is sorrow, not joy.
§ PERSONIFICATION This device emphasizes the sad tone of the poem. This is
the case because flowers are usually associated with feelings of happiness
and cheerfulness. Therefore, if the flowers – embassadors of joy - are sad, then
it highlights how really sad the times have become.

§ METAPHOR The contrast in this device is startling. The terms 'festival' and
'carnival' not only describes fun and festivity, but also a large amount of each.
Both words are associated with huge crowds. This emphasizes how terrible the
times have become because guns and misery are plentiful.
§ Stanza 3, line 13: This device informs the reader/ audience that a threat
exists and that it comes in the dark of night.
§ Stanza 3, lines 14 - 15: It is implied that the threat is a soldier
through the term 'boot of steel'. The 'slender grass' is the
innocent youth who is cut down and trampled by these’ boots
of steel'. The fact that we are given this information through
the use of rhetorical question adds mystery and intrigue to
the
§ This is the dark time, my love,6.All round the land brown beetles
crawl about.
§ The shining sun is hidden in the sky.
§ Red flowers bend their heads in awful sorrow.
§ This is the dark time, my love. It is the
§ Season of oppression, dark metal, and tears. It is the festival of
guns, the carnival of misery. Everywhere the faces of men are
strained and anxious.
§ ‘All round the land brown beetles crawl about.’
Some variety of brown beetles are scavengers that feed on decaying or dead
carcasses. Therefore, when the persona states that they crawl about, it implies
that a lot of dead or decaying bodies exist in the land.

§ ‘season of oppression, dark metal, and tears.’


A season is an extended period of time. Therefore, the persona is telling his
‘love’ that it is a period of extreme sadness. This sadness is brought about by
the ‘dark metal’, which can be literally interpreted as vehicles of war.
§ ‘man of death’
The man of death, in this context, is the soldier.

§ ‘Watching you sleep’


Sleep is a state of extreme vulnerability. This is the case because when one falls
asleep, they fall into unconsciousness, which equates to a state of defenselessness.
The fact that the man of death, ie soldier, watches the persona’s ‘love’ while he/she
sleeps, implies that this person is not only vulnerable, but in extreme danger.