In "This is the Dark Time, My Love," what is the relationship between the speaker and the person to whom he is speaking?

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

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The speaker, presumably Carter, seems to be speaking to someone with whom there is both an emotional connection, but also one in which there is an awareness of the political reality in which both live.  This connection is seen in the tone that is present in the poem.  There is a melancholic note of warning featured, one that shows how love and its hope are precariously balanced in a political setting in which individuals are under siege from a centralized and military power.  This is seen in the end of the poem.  The speaker suggests that the force that walks about is the "man of death."  In using, "my love" right after this image it helps to convey the idea that there is a profound emotional connection that the speaker is afraid of being severed by the external political reality that governs them both.  The speaker feels the need to tell the recipient, his love, of what he sees because he realizes that their love is threatened and their state of being is under attack.  Consider the closing line in which the speaker suggests that the target of this "man of death" is the "dream" and hope of the other.  The "aiming at your dream" line helps to bring out that there is a love and a caring relationship that exists between the speaker and his audience.  Spouses or parental love of a child, there is a deep connection that is emotionally shared between both, and is under threat from the external reality around them.  In this light, love becomes the greatest resistance against military and political forces that seek to oppress and silence.

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