Examine the effect the military has had on the people in "This is the Dark Time, My Love." 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the most profound effects that can be seen in the poem regarding the military presence is that it represents the death of hope.  There is a decided feel of regret and remorse regarding the military in the poem.  The lyrical descriptions reflect this.  The "shining sun hidden by the sky" is a metaphor of how a sense of darkness creeps over the land and in the minds of the people.  This encroachment is the military, something expanded upon in the poem with a "season of oppression, dark metal, and tears."  The idea of a "festival of guns" and "the carnival of misery" help to enhance a perception of the military as a force of negation in the hopeful premise of a world of construction.  The military is seen as one with "the boot of steel traps" over a tender world of "slender grass."  These descriptions develop the effect of the military as one in which individuals are suppressed by the power of the expansive military.  One can see how the military's effect stunts the creative growth and voice of the people.  It is in this where the closing line acquires the greatest of significance in detailing the effect of the military on the people in the poem:  "Watching you sleep and aiming at your dream."  The effect of the military is chilling as it silences the people, presumably to increase its own power.

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