The title of the poem is ironic “Dark” time is symbolic of confusion, sorrow or chaos. The appellation “my love” , tempers this darkness with hope as though the speaker were expressing concern or affection for another person. The speaker is a patriot and there is a sense of urgency as he expresses concern about events taking place around him. The mood of the poem is “gloomy”. The atmosphere is a dreary one and there is also a feeling of dread. The Speakers’ tone is both matter of fact and reflective. The themes include : Oppression
The Scourge of War and Deferred Dreams
In the first stanza, the land is over run by “brown beetles”, this a metaphor for the marauding soldiers. Collectively in this Stanza, Nature is in an apocalyptic state: For eg. “A Sun is shining but cannot be seen and flowers are writhing.”
In stanza 2, the poet uses a mixture of metaphor and oxymoron to characterize the horrific happenings. The poet contrasts the incongruity of war and the joy the war mongers find in it. Everyday events that bring joy and excitement. For eg. Festivals and Carnivals are contrasting with War and Suffering. The idea of “Season” in this stanza suggests a period or time of moral darkness.
In line 8, when men’s faces are “strained or anxious” this suggests that they who are going through the war are worried and burdened by an outcome that is beyond their control
In stanza 3, the poet poses a question; Once again the dark night is described as a period of evil or moral darkness.
In line 10, the image of boots on the grass, convey an image of a defenseless people being crushed by a superior military force.
We are also left with the image of the environment being plundered by an actual invader.
In lines 11 – 12 we are told that the enemy;s aim is to destroy the aspirations of the sleeper. In other words the encroaching enemy has diverted a society that is either ill – prepared or powerless to act. The idea of being asleep here also suggests the idea of being defenseless