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This is the Dark Time My Love
by Guyanese Poet 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 dream.
SOURCE: Poems by Martin Carter, edited by Stewart Brown & Ian
McDonald, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., UK, 2006.
Poem first published in Poems of Resistance from British Guiana by
Martin Carter, Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1954.
A poet cannot write for those who ask
hardly himself even, except he lies;
Poems are written either for the dying
or the unborn, no matter what we say.
~ EXCERPT FROM THE POEM "THEY SAY I AM" BY MARTIN CARTER,
CONVERSATIONS, A GROUP OF SEVEN POEMS, JOURNAL KYK-OVER-AL,
#28, BRITISH GUIANA, 1961.
Poetry is not argument. Poetry is statement.
~ MARTIN CARTER FROM INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSOR FRANK
BIRBALSINGH, DECEMBER 15, 1994.
In his poems, Carter favours a spare, stark style. He admits that it
is often more difficult to write simple poems than lengthy complicated
ones. Rightness is vital. “It is not a question of right for this or right for
that, it is just right," [Carter says]. "Sometimes you find a book of poems
and one poem may be perfectly correct for something the man is
saying, something he doesn’t even know he is saying.”
~ EXCERPT FROM "MARTIN CARTER: THE POEMS MAN" BY BRUCE
PADDINGTON, CARIBBEAN BEAT, SPRING 1995.
What we have is enough to prove, if proof has been needed... that
Martin Carter is, without reservation, one of the finest poets to have
emerged in the Caribbean region. And the varied subtlety and strength
of his poetry carries him without any doubt into the first rank of world
poets. Long after the politics which prompted a number of his poems
have been forgotten, and long after the society which he often so
scathingly indicted has been changed utterly, the poetry will continue to
strike a chord among new generations.
~ IAN McDONALD, TRINIDAD-BORN POET AND WRITER AND CLOSE FRIEND
OF MARTIN CARTER.
MARTIN CARTER was
born in Georgetown,
Guyana (then British
Guiana), to middle-
class parents of African,
As a member of the
party, founded in 1950,
Carter's early poetry
reflects his concern for
the country's freedom
oppression and call for
Gains towards self-
governance are short-
lived. In 1953, British
troops are landed. The
with other political
leaders of the party, the
arrested and interned
for three months.
In 1954, after his
publishes his renowned
collection, Poems of
Resistance from British
Guiana. His poems
reflect the anxiety of
the times: oppression,
fear, and bloodshed.
independence in 1966,
he becomes the Minister
Guyana's new govern-
ment, he resigns his
During the 1970s, his
poetry becomes more
personal and reflective.
~ The Hill of Fire Glows
~ The Kind Eagle (1952)
~ The Hidden Man (1952)
~ Poems of Resistance
from British Guiana (1954)
~ Poems of Succession
~ Poems of Affinity (1980)
~ Selected Poems (1997)
|THIS IS THE DARK
TIME MY LOVE
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