|If you search google for 'terrorist', this image comes up first...|
The poem is strructured in a series of short stanzas that seem to use incremental repetition in the same way as a poem such as 'Flag' does. It is unrhymed, but the repetition, and the author's apparent questioning of her own language seem to hold it together in structural terms. The frist word that she uses, 'terrorist', is a loaded one, as the image on the left suggests, and this sinister effect is accentuated by the use of the verb 'lurked' which has connotations of suspicious activity--someone usually lurks for a nefarious purpose. The form of repetition that Dharker uses here, where the same words frame others that are changed (but which are, for instance, all nouns or verbs) is called parison. It is a very forceful kind of repetition, because the similarity of structure of the clauses makes you extremely aware of the differences in language between each--for instance the shift from 'the door' to 'that door' to 'your door' which has the effect of bringing the person outside closer to the reader as the poem goes on.
|This is what google gives as one of the first images for 'freedom fighter'|
|If you search 'google' for 'hostile militant', this is what you find...|
|'Guerilla warrior' from google|
|An Early Christian martyr|
It is at this point that she mentions the figure outside the door, for the first time, as a personality: 'I saw his face' and it is at this moment that the poem transforms into something more tender. The would-be martyr or freedom fighter or terrorist is seen simply as a 'child', 'lost' in the shadows. The invitation to come in and eat (reminiscent of George Herbert's poem, 'Love III') in effect defuses the conflict and reveals the apparent threat only as a peaceful 'child', courteous and polite. Perhaps the poem is saying that all apparent terrorists are actually someone's child--or it is highlighting how easy it is to be led into misreading threats by fear--or perhaps a little of both.