In the poem "This is the Dark Time, My Love" a) What world would be possible if the negative force did not exist? b) Identify the negative force at work. Show how they are wrecking dreams. c) What are two poetic devices that contribute to the overall impact and meaning of the poem?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the poem "This is the Dark Time, My Love", by Martin Carter:


a) The world that would be possible, if the negative force did not exist, would be a world where peace reigns. War would be a thing of the past and men and women touting “dark metal” would be no more. This dark metal represents artilleries, guns, and the boots/reinforced uniforms that soldiers use, carry, and wear as they carry out actions of war as directed by their commanders.


b) The negative force at work in this particular poem is war. But drilling down even more, it is humankind’s inhumanity to each other. It is the greed, lust, and striving for power and misguided standing that leads to selfish thoughts - and the subsequent actions that lead to war. It could be a leader and/or nation that is guilty of this selfishness, which causes another nation (or nations) to strive to stop this irrational force. It could be all nations involved in a conflict are selfish and lustful. Regardless, war, no matter who is to blame, is the negative force that is a scourge on humankind and has been since Man’s beginning.


Dreams are being wrecked by way of oppression and governments imposing their will on their respective citizens. Dreams are being wrecked by conflict and the “carnival of misery”; countries engaging in destructive acts against other countries and even their own people (re: Iraq against the Kurds, and also the accusations even of Syria against its’ own people), as well as many other examples throughout history. Therefore, it is governments wrecking the dreams, often, of its own citizens and the citizens of other nations.


The two poetic devices that contribute to the overall impact and meaning of the poem are:


1. Repetition


Simple repetition is used to great effect in this one-stanza, 12-line poem. What is repeated is the line:


“This is the dark time, my love”


In essence, the line is used three times: in the title; in line number one; and in line number five. The narrator of the poem is gently saying to someone he or she loves that a time of turbulence and trial is upon them. It seems the narrator is trying to softly warn the person and maybe even shield the other person from what is to come.

In addition, the two words ‘my love’ are employed again in the middle of line eleven. So, this small phrase is actually repeated four times in this poem.


2. Alliteration


Alliteration is used in this poem and it adds to the rhythmic flow and musicality of the piece. Here is the alliteration in “This Is the Dark Time, My Love”:


-  brown beetles


-  shining sun


Of note is that there is also internal rhyme in this poem: in line eleven, the last two words of the line rhyme – “stranger invader”.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial