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And Belonging – The Immigrant Chronicles Peter Skrzynecki.

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1 and Belonging – The Immigrant Chronicles Peter Skrzynecki

2 Contents: Biography Migrant Hostel Fitting In, by Din Tran – related Fitting In Feliks Skrzynecki 10 Mary Street And the Bond Cannot be Broken, Daniel Fudge – related And the Bond Cannot be Broken– St Patricks College Ancestors Postcard Folk Museum

3 Biography Peter Skrzynecki (pronounced sher-neski was born 1945, Germany) Polish/Ukrainian background Emigrated to Australia in 1949 with his parents. After a four-week sea journey on the "General Blatchford" the family arrived in Sydney on 11 November. Lived in a migrant camp in Bathurst for two weeks before being moved on to the Parkes Migrant Centre, a former Air Force Training Base. It is this camp, in central-western New South Wales, that the poet regards as his first home in Australia. Migrant ship, the ‘General Blatchford’ WWII destruction

4 1951 the family moved to Sydney, to the working-class suburb of Regents Park, where a home had been purchased at 10 Mary Street. Feliks Skrzynecki worked as a labourer for the Water Board and Kornelia as a domestic for a number of families in Strathfield. The parents worked hard and had the house paid off in four years. They grew their own vegetables and had a magnificent flower garden. Peter attended St Patrick's College, Strathfield, where he completed his Leaving Certificate in After an unsuccessful year at Sydney University in 1964, he completed a Primary Teacher Training Course at Sydney Teachers' College in In 1968 he had recommenced his university studies as an external student and has a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and a Master of Letters.

5 From 1967 to 1987 Peter Skrzynecki taught in various primary public schools in the western suburbs of Sydney, in the inner-west and the south-west While at Sydney University, Peter Skrzynecki began writing poetry and was introduced to the work of such modern writers as Dylan Thomas, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, W.B.Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Wilfred Owen and D.H. Lawrence. He had his first poems published professionally in Poetry Magazine in 1967 and again in His work began to appear in the Weekend Australian, the ABC began broadcasting his poems on its "Poet's Tongue" programme and his work was included in the Australian Poetry 1969 anthology, Skrzynecki's first books, There, Behind the Lids and Headwaters, were published in 1970 and 1972 respectively These two collections, for the most, were concerned with the poet's experiences during the three years he taught in the country. They were reflective or meditative poems that dealt with the natural world, with the countryside, its people, its fauna and flora.

6 In 1975, Immigrant Chronicle is published. Traces of themes from the two earlier books. For the first time the poet writes about his European background, his experiences as a migrant in Australia, the problems associated with being an exile, with his parents' dispossession and the difficulties, such as racism, bigotry and resettlement, encountered by them and other immigrants in trying to assimilate to a new life in a new land. Skrzynecki mainly writes three kinds of poems, all in a similarly distinctive, almost prosaic style: the family poem, in which he often displays a deft ability to portray character through description the immigrant experience, which ranges between the new and old worlds and often has a documentary quality and the landscape poem, which is often idyllic, with a poetic persona not that dissimilar to a Wordsworthian boy wandering and meditating in a garden or countryside. Surprisingly, the poems that focus on family and the poems that observe people, primarily, stand out in this book, rather than specific accounts of the immigrant experience, although this theme is rarely absent from his work.

7 Postscript Feliks Skrzynecki died in June, He was 89. Kornelia (Woloszczuk) died in February, She was 79. The house at 10 Mary Street, Regents Park, was sold later that year.

8 Today Peter Skrzynecki is that rare thing in Australia: a poet with a substantial readership. Sales of his autobiographical collection Immigrant Chronicle (1975) exceed 20,000 copies according to his website, although many of these would be due to his good fortune at having had this volume included on the HSC list for many years. Peter Skrzynecki is married to Kate and has three children, Judith, Andrew and Anna.

9 As you study Skrzynecki’s poems you should consider the questions: How is the concept of belonging expressed in each poem? What effect does the idea of belonging have on the persons concerned? Is belonging explored in a positive or negative way? From whose perspective is the poem written? From what/whose perspective is it meant to be read? What is the responders’ reaction to the idea of belonging as explored in the poem? Evaluate the techniques used by the composer to convey the concept of belonging. Keep detailed notes for each of the poems in the prescribed text, Immigrant Chronicle.

10 Vocabulary migrant [ ˈ ma ɪ gr ə nt]n1. a person or animal that moves from one region, place, or country to another im·mi·grant (m-grnt)n.1. A person who leaves one country to settle permanently in another

11 Migrant Hostel

12 Images of Migration Florence Owens Thompson (September 1, 1903 – September 16, 1983), born Florence Leona Christie, was the subject of Dorothea Lange's photo Migrant Mother (1936), an iconic image of the Great Depression.Dorothea LangeiconicGreat Depression Bathurst Camp - 2 Children’s activities in camp

13 Migrant Hostel Parkes, No one kept count Of all the comings and goings— Arrivals of newcomers In busloads from the station, Sudden departures from adjoining blocks That left us wondering Who would be coming next. Nationalities Nationalities sought Each other out instinctively— Like a homing pigeon Circling to get its bearings; Years and name-places Recognised by accents, Partitioned off at night By memories of hunger and hate. For over two years We lived like birds of passage— Always sensing a change in the weather: Unaware of the season Whose track we would follow.birds of passage A barrier at the main gate Sealed off the highway from our doorstep— As it rose and fell like a finger Pointed in reprimand or shame; And daily we passed Underneath or alongside it— Needing its sanction To pass in and out of lives That had only begun Or were dying. Read, discuss for meaning, analyse

14 Analysis of Migrant Hostel Composer: Peter Skrzynecki Source: The Immigrant Chronicles, Parkes, Context: Migrant hostels, like the ones described in this poem, were old army camps with dormitory- style accommodation. Men and women were not housed together. The migrants Skrzynecki depicts in this poem are those who came to Australia after WWII at the invitation of the government. These migrants where segregated and isolated from the rest of the population even though they were actually invited to come to Australia. These immigrants where helping Australia to recover after the war but were treated appallingly. RELATE TO YOUR OWN micro/MACRO WORLD CONTEXT: Brainstorm how the context of the poem is still relevant today. Who migrates? Where do they go? How are they received? Belonging Motif: It is this separation from the rest of Australian society that induces feelings of isolation and lack of belonging in their new country  they neither belong to their homeland or their new promised life. Key features/techniques: Four stanzasImageryIronySimile Symbolism Metaphorical motifs  imprisonment and segregation/migratory birds Juxtaposition  hope is contrasted with fear

15 Birds of Passage A term used to describe temporary migrants who move so they can fill jobs that are often viewed as beneath native-born labourers. The term was used in the United States as early as the 1840s to refer to British immigrants and remained in use through the late twentieth century to refer to Asian, European, and Latin American immigrants. The phenomenon of temporary or return migration can be traced back to the early decades of industrialization. In particular, in the latter half of the nineteenth century, the steamship made travel easier and moving back and forth all the more possible. Industrial expansion, economic opportunities, and the possibility of returning to their homelands motivated birds of passage. return

16 Migrant Hostel – analysis continued Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging ‘No one kept count/of all the comings and goings-’ Idiom, negative or neglected tone Suggests chaos and lack of administration ‘Sudden departures.../That left us wondering’ Chaotic, erratic and uncertain tone No preparations made to assist the migrants to feel as if they belong ‘Like a homing pigeon/circling to get bearings’ Bird motif, simile The migrants are trying to find something familiar ‘We lived like birds of passage/Always sensing a change’ Bird motif, reference to temporary migrant workers, simile Simile suggests they will be moving often. ‘A barrier.../sealed off the highway’ Metaphor Sealed off from Australia and the chance to belong ‘As it rose and fell like a finger/Pointed in reprimand or shame’ Simile, accusatory tone Figurative language refers to negative treatment – invited to migrate. ‘Needing its sanction/to pass in and out of lives/That had only begun/Or were dying’ Sibilance, irony Patronising bureaucracy that control their existence

17 Metalanguage MetonymMetonym: Object, person or concept is represented by a word that substitutes a part for the whole it is associated with. Eg, "crown" for "monarch".

18 Fitting in, by Dinh Tran Villawood Detention Centre

19 Related Text: Fitting in, by Dinh Tran Fitting in Purpose Inform and educate Audience General readers of newspaper Situation Reflection on childhood experience Structural features Text type Newspaper article, non-fiction prose Language/plot Factual, first person, linear reflection – past tense Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging ‘Flooded with memories from my childhood until the day I left my country – with no hope of returning.’ Metaphor Figurative language Hyperbaton Emotive tone Sense of loss – from the day I left emphasises that was the moment his sense of belonging was interrupted.

20 Fitting in continued Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging ‘Flooded with memories from my childhood until the day I left my country – with no hope of returning.’ Metaphor Figurative language Hyperbaton Emotive tone Sense of loss – ‘from the day I left’ emphasises that was the moment his sense of belonging was interrupted. ‘I hugged his skinny shoulders, I couldn’t stop myself crying like a child...the last time I saw him’ Graphic realism Simile, declarative statement Grief and loss at the separation from, and death of a parent. “If you enter Singapore we will kill you all” Dialogue, declarative, graphic realism Prevented from finding new land to re-establish family. ‘The Malaysians offered us something special: ships...to scare us away’ Sarcasm Prevented from finding new land to re-establish family. ‘It was an historic event’ Declarative Connection to Australia

21 Fitting in continued Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging ‘Readers may think this inconceivable, but we were happy’ Explanatory tone The protagonist had no extended family or friends and sought company with another family. ‘The dirtiness of the tanks and the smell...made me sick’ Graphic realism Willing to suffer further hardships to belong ‘I was nearly in a fight because of the language differences and the racism from another migrant worker’ Confessional tone Examines notion that migrants’ isolation can be further effected by other migrants ‘the most valuable achievement... children have completed their schooling with great success.’ Alliteration sibilance Pride in accomplishment and achievement ‘I hope my children will never forget that Australia was our benefactor.’ Revelation Identifies sense of belonging

22 Similarities and Differences Between Texts Migrant HostelFitting In Text typePoemProse non-fiction LanguageFirst person past tense ContextMigrantsRefugee/sponsored NarratorAuthor, memoir BelongingNationalities grouped togetherHardship experienced in attempt to belong Migrants grouped in their combined plight of not belonging. Developed English speaking skills, successful children and finance. Not Belonging Not welcomed – careless administration, feelings of retribution Intimidated by other migrant - racism

23 Feliks Skrzynecki

24 10 Mary Street Think about a house or place where you felt that you truly belonged. List five things about that house which made you feel as if you belonged. Develop each of these five things into similes, metaphors or other imagery. 10 Mary Street was the poet’s first real home in Australia, where they were able to create a routine and found a sense of belonging. How does the poet convey this? Use evidence. How does the bird symbolism differ in 10 Mary Street from the bird symbolism in Migrant Hostel?

25 10 Mary Street Analysis Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging For nineteen years/We departed.../to school and work repetition My parents watered/Plants – grew potatoes.../Tended roses and camellias alliteration and juxtaposition I’d ravage the backyard garden/Like a hungry bird The Australian land and their efforts are literally supporting them. With paint guaranteed/For another ten years Assimilation – adopting practices Lawns grow across/Dug-up beds of /Spinach Assimilation is encroaching on migrant traditions For nineteen years/We lived together- /Kept pre-war Europe alive Naturalised more/Than a decade ago/We became citizens of the soil Inheritors of a key/That’ll open no house/When this one is pulled down.

26 Related text: And the Bond Cannot be Broken, by Daniel Fudge Read the prose fiction by Fudge. What is the sense of belonging and how is it conveyed in this text? How does belonging and the connection to land differ between this text and 10 Mary Street?

27 And the Bond Can Not be Broken Analysis And the Bond can not be Broken Analysis Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging The land continued into the distance forever...It was still as unforgiving as it had been when his grandfather won it in a game of cards. Wild landscape that will not be harnessed. Family’s future was casually or carelessly acquired in a card game. It was horribly beautiful...it scared the shit out of him The land is something to be feared. Just as the storm sucked the breath out of the earth, the Land had suffocated his family. Again, the land is powerful and to be feared. Suggests a continuing negative sense of attachment to the land. Women came and went, unable to understand the stifling pull the Land had on their men. The men have an inexorable connection to the land. Is it the challenge it presents? He was older now, with 24 years of exhausting work buried in the land Protagonist has worked the land but without the reward that the poet examines in 10 Mary Street. He would be spending the rest of his life out here...alone in this oil-paint landscape of timelessness. Connected, but tone of desperation suggests it will not bring satisfaction.

28 St Patrick’s College The College's crest was designed in 1938 and is made up of three components: The Shield: a symbol of strength and fortitude. The Motto: Those who wear the crest pledge fidelity to the College motto 'Luceat Lux Vestra', Latin for "Let Your Light Shine". The Star: the College lights the way to knowledge and to the Heavenly Father. The school has a strong sporting focus. Consider: What do school traditions, values and the motto ’Christ is my light” mean to you? How will you remember your school days?

29 Activity In the form of a diary entry, record a time when you felt isolated at school. Think about who, what, when, where, why and how. Remember to include an emotional response to the incident. How did you overcome the event?

30 St Patrick’s College F or eight years I walked Strathfield’s paths and streets, Played chasings up and down The station’s ten ramps – Caught the 414 bus Like a foreign tourist, Uncertain of my destination Every time I got off. For eight years I carried the blue, black and gold I’d been privileged to wear: Learnt my conjugations And Christian decorums for homework, Was never too bright at science But good at spelling’ Could say The Lord’s Prayer In Latin, all in one breath. I mpressed by the uniforms Of her employer’s sons, Mother enrolled me at St Pat’s With never a thought To fees and expenses – wanting only “What was best”. From the roof Of the secondary school block Our Lady watched With outstretched arms, Her face overshadowed by clouds Mother crossed herself As she left me at the office – Said a prayer For my future intentions. Under the principal’s window I stuck pine needles Into the motto On my breast: Luceat Lux Vestra I thought was a brand of soap. My last day there Mass was offered up For our departing intentions, Our Lady still watching Above, unchanged by eight years’ weather. With closed eyes I fervently counted The seventy-eight pages Of my Venite Adoremus, Saw equations I never understood Rubbed off the blackboard, Voices at bus stops, litanies and hymns Taking the right-hand turn Out of Edgar Street for good; Prayed that Mother would someday be pleased With what she got for her money – That the darkness around me Wasn’t ‘for the best’ Before I let my light shine.

31 St Patrick’s College Analysis A reflective appraisal – with the benefit of hindsight and experience. Overall tone is condemnatory, hints at institutional alienation rather than imbuing school spirit or inclusion No reference to positive growth or learning. Catholicism referenced by statues, prayers, ethos and Mass but no real affinity inferred by such ‘decorums’. Large part of childhood spent there (repetition of 8 years) but no reference to period being enjoyable. Anonymity dominates – symbolises few meaningful connections poet has made. Overall perception is drudgery and uniformity – a penance to be endured. Conformity to strict educational codes has appeared to stultify poet’s individuality. Mother’s notion of ‘What was best’ was not ‘for the best’ Note irony in last sentence –before I let my light shine

32 St Patrick’s College analysis Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging ‘impressed by the uniforms/Of her employer’s sons’ Mother does not base her decision on tradition or belonging but a desire for betterment. ‘with never a thought to fees and expenses’ Desire to belong determining factor not money. ‘-wanting only what was best’ ‘From the roof.../Our Lady watched...her face overshadowed by clouds’ Ominous – as if statue suggests he will not be welcomed at this school. ‘Mother crossed herself’ ‘I stuck pine needles/Into the motto’ Poet’s disengagement with school or sense of rebelliousness “‘Luceat Lux Vestra’/I thought was a brand of soap” ‘For eight years/I walked Strathfield’s paths and streets Tone suggests ritual and lacks any passion. Not belonging

33 St Patrick’s analysis continued... St Patrick’s College Analysis continued.... Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging ‘Like a foreign tourist/Uncertain of my destination.’ ‘For eight years/I carried the blue, black and gold’ Assimilation into this school is a burden he must carry. ‘I’d been privileged to wear’ ‘Could say the Lord’s Prayer/In Latin, all in one breath No sense of connection to what he has learnt. ‘Our Lady still watching.../With closed eyes’ Poet is figuratively excluded by her ‘closed eyes’ ‘Out of Edgar street for good;’ Relief at leaving place poet did not belong. ‘Prayed that someday Mother would be pleased’ Realises his mother has not achieved her aims. “The darkness around me/Wasn’t ‘for the best’” Darkness represents his sense of isolation and exclusion ‘Before I let my light shine’ He has succeeded in spite of school

34 Further Activities for St Patricks College: How has the poet achieved a sense of belonging and isolation? Use textual evidence to support your answer. What do the mother’s reasons for sending her son to St Patrick’s College suggest about her desire to assimilate? It is possible to fit in without belonging. Use this statement as the basis for an interview with Peter Skrzynecki. Write a transcript of this interview with specific reference to St Patrick’s College.

35 Pre-reading for Ancestors What is an ancestor? Who are your ancestors? What do they mean to you? How do your ancestors contribute to your sense of belonging or not belonging? Some words you need to know: Enigmatic – not clear, or difficult to understand Apocalyptic – involving or suggesting widespread devastation or doom Disquiet - troubled, uneasy, deprived of peace, Discordant -at variance; disagreeing

36 Ancestors Who are these shadows That hang over you in a dream – The bearded, faceless men Standing shoulder to shoulder ? What secrets Do they whisper into the darkness- Why do their eyes Never close? Where do they point to From the circle around you- To what star Do their footprints lead? Behind them are Mountains, the sound of a river, A moonlit plain Of grasses and sand. Why do they Never speak – how long Is their wait to be? Why do you wake As their faces become clearer – Your tongue dry As caked mud? From across the plain Where sand and grasses never stir The wind tastes of blood.

37 Ancestors - Belonging Motif Strongly speculative tone Reflects on human identity and the chain of life that links us all to our ancestors. Understanding of who we are involves a consideration of our connection to others. Emphasis on our own mortality within a context of eternity. Simple structure of mostly four line stanzas Mainly rhetorical questions which query our relationship with those who have preceded us. Sinister connotations arise from references to ‘shadows’, ‘dream’, ‘whispers’ and ‘darkness’ and the ‘tastes of blood’ Loaded terms which conjure disturbing and eerie associations. Perceptions are indistinct and give a dark, dreamlike quality to the verse. Enigmatic element to the poem’s examination of life and death, with complex layers of meaning that are never fully developed.

38 Ancestors Analysis Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging Ancestors – titleallusion Reference to the chain of life that links us all to our ancestors ‘hang over you’ ‘bearded, faceless men’ Intimidating tone Forbears, the people who have preceded the poet are important but relatively unknown to him. ‘What secrets/Do they whisper’Sibilance Enigmatic, half formed, hold key to past but not worshipped ‘Why do their eyes/Never close?’ Visual imagery Rhetorical question Disturbing image – intent of ancestors unknown ‘From the circle around you’symbolism Trapped by an unknown past. ‘To what star/Do their footprints lead?’ metaphor Directional, descendant is led to undetermined places.

39 Ancestors analysis continued... Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging ‘A moonlit plain/ Of grasses and sand’ Simple visual imagery Disquieting image. Details of past is lost to the sleeper. ‘Why do they/Never speak?’ Rhetorical question Reader included. We too will join ancestors. ‘Why do you wake/As their faces becomes clearer -’ Visual imagery Irony As we age, role of ancestors becomes clearer but as yet they are metaphorically out of reach. ‘Your tongue dry/As caked mud?’simile Innate fear of death, fear of vision. ‘Where sand and grasses never stir/The wind tastes of blood.’ Juxtaposition contrasting notions, metaphor Jars expectations - waking usually alleviates fear however the disquiet continues, emphasised by reference to death (‘blood’).

40 Postcard Consider: In what circumstances do people usually send postcards? What are the word associations ‘postcard’ conjures?

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42 Postcard 1 A postcard sent by a friend Haunts me Since its arrival – Warsaw: Panorama of the Old Town. He requests I show it To my parents. Red buses on a bridge Emerging from a corner – High-rise flats and something Like a park borders The river with its concrete pylons. The sky’s the brightest shade. 3 I stare At the photograph And refuse to answer The voices Of red gables And a cloudless sky. On the river’s bank A lone tree Whispers: “We will meet Before you die.” 2 Warsaw, Old Town I never knew you Except in the third person – Great city That bombs destroyed, Its people massacred Or exiled – You survived In the minds Of a dying generation Half a world away. They shelter you And defend the patterns Of your remaking, Condemn your politics, Cherish your old religion And drink to freedom Under the White Eagle’s flag.

43 Belonging Motif in Postcard A simple postcard sparks off a chain of reverie as the poet addresses the demands of cultural heritage on expatriates, years after they have left their homeland. The poet was four years old when he arrived in Australia yet the postcard has a strong impact on him. He can predicts his parents’ reactions to the card but cannot predict the impact the image will have on him. It strangely has the power to call to him as the city whispers an invitation that he will probably be unable to resist. We are taken through a number of stages of his response. We listen to the two-way conversation between him and the city he really does not know as it beckons him home. The poet’s ‘stare’ indicates the city’s pull and while he attempts to dismiss its cultural connection, he seems compelled to answer the city’s siren voice as she confidently whispers ‘we will meet/before you die’.

44 St Patrick’s analysis continued... Postcard Analysis Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging Haunts me He requests I show it/To my parents The skies the brightest shade Warsaw, Old Town/I never knew you/except in the third person You survived in the minds/Of a dying generation They shelter you Drink to freedom/Under the White Eagle’s flag Irony of patriotism to a country in which they no longer live and does not give them regard. For the moment,/ I repeat,I never knew you

45 Postcard Analysis continued... Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging My father/Will be proud/Of your domes My mother/Will speak of her/Beloved Ukraine What’s my choice/To be? What more/Do you want/Besides/The gift of despair? I stare/At the photograph/And refuse the answer the voices... A cloudless sky “We will meet you before you die.”

46 Postcard In this poem Skrzynecki is confronted with a journey to Warsaw if he is to truly understand his parents experience. He will also need to undertake this journey if he is to feel that he belongs and understands his heritage. How do we detect the poet’s reluctance to take this journey? Use textual examples. How are migrants’ connectedness to the land of their birth reinforced in this poem? What figurative devices reinforce this notion? Why is the poet unable to share his parents’ pride in their homeland? Does the poem suggest he will find peace if he travels to his native country? Explain using textual evidence.

47 In the Folk Museum Pre-reading activity: The title of the poem ‘In the Folk Museum’ provides a sense of place. Visualise a folk museum and describe what it looks like. Why do you think the museum was not called by its actual name? Does this denote a sense of unfamiliarity?

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49 In the Folk Museum A darkness in the rooms Betrays the absence of voices, Departing from steps And verandah rails- On to a street that leads around Autumn Which stands at the door Dressed in yellow and brown. I look at words That describe machinery, clothes, transport, A Victorian Bedroom – Hay knife, draining plough, Shoulder yoke, box iron: Relics from Tablelands heritage To remind me of a past Which isn’t mine. The caretaker sits Beside a winnowing machine And knits without looking up – Her hair’s the same colour As the grey clay bottle That’s cold as water to touch. In the Town Hall next door They sing to Christ – Of the Sabbath Day and the Future of Man. I try to memorize The titles of books While ‘Eternity, Eternity’ Is repeated from a reader’s text. The wind taps hurriedly On the roof and walls And I leave without wanting a final look. At the door the old woman’s hand Touches mine. ‘Would you please sign the Visitors’ Book?’

50 Belonging Motif No real sense of belonging developed in this poem, except that of belonging to a bygone era. Poet feels alienated by relics of the past – no substantial connection to his own existence through mismatched collection of utensils and tools. Momentary interest is shown in random items, nothing sustained prompts him to look closer. The caretaker is not connected to the artefacts in the museum in any real sense as she knits in the doorway, interacting superficially with occasional visitors. Place of past has little connection with the present. Over-riding feeling is one of disaffection and disconnection. The collection ‘isn’t mine’ and does not reach this young man and holds no significance, historically, culturally or personally.

51 Postcard Analysis continued... Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging A darkness in the rooms betrays the absence of voices...Autumn/...Dressed in yellow and brown I look at words To remind me of a past/Which isn’t mine. The caretaker sits.../And knits without looking up. Her hair’s the same colour/As the grey clay bottle In the Town Hall next door/They sing to Christ – ‘Eternity, Eternity’

52 Postcard Analysis continued... Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging The wind taps hurriedly I leave without wanting a final look the old woman’s hand/Touches mine Would you please sign the Visitors’ Book?’

53 Activities for Folk Museum 1. How does personification in the opening lines establish atmosphere? 2. The narrative stance shifts in the second stanza – why? What does it change to and why do you think the poet has done this? 3. ‘To remind me of a past which isn’t mine’ – what does this suggest about the concept of belonging. 4. How does the use of similes in the third stanza enhance the description? 5. What is the symbolism of the ‘old woman’s hand’ touching the persona? 6. Why does the poet introduce the caretaker’s voice in the final line? Is this an effective ending? 7. Write a poem – at least four stanzas – describing a setting where you either belong or don’t belong. Use at least one example of personification, one simile and feature both first and third person narrative stances. Aim to make the reader see, feel and hear the setting.

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