Explain briefly the themes of war in the poem "This is the Dark Time, My Love" by Martin Carter.

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,516 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

This poem, written by Guyanese poet Martin Carter, was published in his 1954 poetry collection called Poems of Resistance. Carter was a member of the People's Progressive Party, which was anti-imperialist, engaged in a struggle to liberate Guyana from British rule. Carter was imprisoned in 1953 on the suspicion of causing dissent against Britain and participated with others in a hunger strike to oppose incarceration. The poem was written from his prison cell to his wife, Phyllis.

The theme or message of the poem is that a war or struggle for independence is a dark time in the life of a country and its people. The speaker describes the beauty of Guyana as marred by the struggle: the sun is hidden and the red flowers bend down in sorrow. The sun and the flowers act as metaphors for the sad souls of the people. The poem's speaker says that now is:

the season of oppression, dark metal, and tears.
It is the festival of guns, the carnival of misery

He expresses the current moment as a time of fear and uncertainty. People are anxious, wondering who might come for them in the night. He describes the rule of the British as the "boot of steel" that crushes the grass. He wonders if death is on the horizon, either physical death or the death of the "dream" of freedom.

Carter's message is that that war brings sadness and fear.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial