To some, belonging is experienced through a connection to a place. To others, belonging entails forging an emotional bond to a person. Due to the complex and abstract nature of the concept of belonging, a true sense of belonging can be powerfully influenced by personal relationships and connections with others as well as physical places. However, belonging and affinity is a result of the choices that we make. We feel a sense of acceptance wherever we choose to belong. All of these varied and complex aspects of belonging are explored in Peter Skrynecki’s poems ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ and ’10 Mary Street’ and ‘_______’ by ________ through each of the respective composers use a variety of techniques.
It is only through our own personal choice that we choose to belong, or in some cases, not belong.
In the poem ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’, Skrzynecki explores the variety of ways his father is able to establish connections in his new homeland. In the poem, Skrzynecki presents the relationship of father and garden as one of father and son – ‘loved his garden like an only child’. The elevation of the garden to a cherished member of the family in the simile reinforces his strong connection forged with the place. In conjunction with this, the hyperbole contained in ‘swept its paths ten times around the world’ sardonically (ironically) exaggerates the meticulous care his father takes in tending the garden, further reinforcing his bond with the place.
Another Skrzynecki poem, 10 Mary Street, provides an understanding into the idea of family connections, and our natural choice to want to belong to our home. Through the simile “I’d ravage the backyard garden like a hungry bird…” Skrzynecki compares himself to a fledgling bird safe in the security of his nest. Another simile, “rows of sweet corn: tended roses and camellias, loved like adopted children.”