‘Invasion’ by Choman Hardi Choman Hardi was born in Iraq Kurdistan, a region of Iraq where Kurdish people live. Her family fled to Iran when Iraq invaded Kurdistan and persecuted its people, killing thousands between 1987-89. Her family returned to Iraq after an amnesty was declared, but arrived in the UK as a refugee in 1993. Stanza 1 The narrator tells us that her community will be invaded at dawn. It appears more threatening because she is describing what will happen, giving us a sense that it is unavoidable and cannot be stopped. Stanza 2 The narrator informs us that this is not a conventional war but a war against civilians. Stanza 3 We are told that young untrained men will fight for their freedom. Stanza 4 Too many lives will be lost for nothing. Stanza 5 The narrator states it is hopeless to fight against the invasion and advises not to be involved in any confrontation. Structure Short opening sentence creates tension. The word ‘soon’ indicates that they will have little time and that the invasion in unavoidable. The fact that the enemy is unnamed and described as ‘they’ makes it seem even more threatening. Enjambement in stanza 1 creates tension as the threat is anticipated. In the second stanza, enjambement creates a sense of being overrun by the enemy. This builds up tension and fear. Stanza 3 represents the never ending consequences of the conflict on the Kurdish people. Use of tenses – future tense shows inevitability of defeat and the horrific consequences of the conflict: ‘We will lose this war, and blood/will cover our roads’. This conveys a sense of hopelessness. Present tense – ‘keep your head down’ uses the imperative to bark out orders perhaps anticipating the orders of the oppressors. ‘These are our men who took their short-lived freedom…’ – mixture of present and past showing what has happened and the dire results of the conflict. The use of the tenses shows that this is about an impending invasion which will impact on the present and become a part of history. Repetition of ‘We will lose this war’ in future tense to We’ve lost this war in past tense shows that he is predicting that the situation is hopeless. Final stanza is only two lines with a definite message of defeat. The hyphen is used to stress the hopelessness of trying to fight against the invaders. Language In stanza one, the poet focuses on what the invaded will hear building up a sense of threat and danger because the enemy cannot be seen. ‘Dawn and ‘mist’ are images that generally suggest peace, calm and new beginning whereas in this stanza they are threatening. The ‘dawn’ will bring the invaders and the ‘mist’ shrouds them in secrecy. Pronouns are used to show the conflict between the invaders and invaded. In the first two stanzas the invaded have only one pronoun ‘we’ used whereas the invaders have three pronouns used. This suggests that they are the greater force. Throughout stanzas 3 and 4 the pronoun ‘they’ is only used once whereas more pronouns are used for the invaded. This conveys the idea that they will fight for their freedom but inevitably a large numbers of lives will be lost against an organised army. Use of ‘we’ and ‘our’ shows that the narrator is directly involved in the situation and draws the reader in by using second person. ‘First we will hear…’ Military words create a tone of despair and threat – ‘death bringing uniforms’, ‘march towards our homes/ their guns and tanks pointing forwards’. Analyse how the effect of the individual words create a tone of despair and threat. Striking images: Discuss how and why they are effective Grim messages of destruction and death so reader can imagine the horror of the invasion. Discuss the vocabulary used: ‘death-bringing uniforms’ ‘rusty guns and boiling blood’ ‘blood … will mix with our drinking water’ ‘blood … creep into our dreams’ Discuss how the personification is used to create fear. Other poems in this collection describe events that have already happened. Do you think that ‘Invasion’ is more or less effective because it looks to the future rather than the past? Essay title Explain how Hardi presents vocabulary and verb tense to create an ominous sense of the impending conflict. Use evidence from the poem to support your answer. Remember choose your quotations and textual references carefully so that you can make comments that show insight and strong personal engagement with and interpretation of the poem.