Poem: This is the dark time, my love. By Martin Carter

This is the dark time, my love,

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.

Who comes walking in the dark night time?

Whose boot of steel tramps down the slender grass?

It is the man of death, my love, the strange invader

Watching you sleep and aiming at your dreams.

~~~

 This was one of the twenty poems that I had to analyze for my CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) examinations I wrote this year. It’s also one of my favourites. In this poem Mr.Carter, a Guyanese, describes the arrival of the British troops in what used to be British Guiana at the time of independence. Our narrator is engaged in conversation with his lover, referring to the invading soldiers -the’ brown beetles’ – and the effect of their presence on the country. He sees the soldiers bringing death with them and destroying the dreams of innocent people.

(Note: After independence, British Guiana became Guyana, a ‘y’ replacing the ‘i’ and more formally known as Co-operative Republic of Guyana)

The repetition of the line ‘This is the dark time, my love’ emphasizes on what a dreadful and fearful time it was. They were almost there, almost free of the British hold.

Even Mother Nature herself was aware of the struggle: ‘The shining sun is hidden in the sky. Red flowers bend their heads in awful sorrow’

I quote:

‘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.’

Those lines alone tells me how bad it was. I am transported back in time when chaos, fear, hate were in abundance where hope hung by a thread but there was still hope nonetheless.

Who comes walking in the dark night time?

Whose boot of steel tramps down the slender grass?

It is the man of death, my love, the strange invader

Watching you sleep and aiming at your dreams.

Aiming at the dreams of the innocent, people who had a right to look forward for a brighter future for their country and themselves. Free of being bullied, hated and looked down on because of being different only to have a dark shadow cast over them by the invasion of the soldiers.

~~~

This simple poem touched me deep somewhere inside and being a Guyanese myself it holds a bit more meaning to me. After years of British reign Guyana became a free country on  May 26th, 1966. It’s during my days at high school when I began to appreciate poetry though some may be as easy to decipher as a foreign language.

Post Script | 5th May 2016

I am so happy that my scribblings have seemed helped so many of you! Unfortunately as most of you have noticed that I am no longer moderating this post. With the questions of theme and tone, I will have to think on it least I give you an incorrect analysis, after all it’s been years since I last read the poem critically. However, I can’t make any promises as to when I will respond.

Keep you head up and study hard, yeah? Good luck on your upcoming CSECs! 

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95 thoughts on “Poem: This is the dark time, my love. By Martin Carter

    • It’s apprehensive, I mean look at the allusions made to oppression, one being “brown beetles” being British soldiers and how they threaten the dreams of the lover and by extension the people. Though there’s less evidence of this, I feel it’s also intimate, look at the familiar way he speaks to this person, the repetitions of “my love” and his thoughts of her dreams. I hope this helps. Are you writing CSEC this year?

    • How it was touching tho?😭😭😭 nah bro you trippin if war and death and misery is touching. Shii, you needa see somebody.

    • What??? Bih😂😂😂😂 is you okay?💀💀💀💀💀 obviously she didn’t write that poem😐 you go provi don’t you?

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