Peter Skrzynecki's Crossing The Red Sea And Migrant Hostel

Submitted By AnthonyNgo
Words: 930
Pages: 4

Born near Dortmund in Germany, Peter Skrzynecki is an Australian poet of Polish and Ukrainian origin. At the age of four, Skrzynecki and his parents flee from their destructed nation Poland to a land where most refugees are promised freedom, peace and harmony Australia. Immigrant Chronicles is a collection of his poems depicting his journey reflecting on the hardships and the memories he experienced. In this essay I will analyse two poems from his collection which includes Crossing the Red Sea and Migrant Hostel and how together these two poems explores the theme of changing worlds.
Crossing The Red Sea illustrates the boat journey of Skrzynecki and his family as well as the refugees amongst them. We can see already in the first stanza their lack of resources to survive in the journey and the struggle to overcome these obstacles. However, the hardships and obstacles are distracted by the beauty of Mother Nature (Many slept on the deck/Because of the day’s heat/Or to watch a sunset/They would never see again). The sunset represents the relief and the happiness reflect on the refugees as well as the development of hope. Because the poem sets back in the late 1940s just after the Second World War, the sunset may also be the key that unlocks the door to a new realm of true happiness. This true happiness may be in the form of an object, self-actualization or by leaving the past and accept the new life that lies ahead. By accepting this new life they must pay a price.
The red sea represents the underlying troubles that the refugees must face in order to proceed to the relaxing life they want. Whether it may be letting go of a nation they once called home or facing the monstrous sea these are challenges and fears that must need to fight through. The contrast between the sunset, a source of hope, and the red sea, the challenges and fears of the refugees, highlights the strong theme of changing worlds as done by Skrzynecki. To escape the destructive forces of your own home and to be force into an alienated world where you must change and adapt the ways of a foreign culture can be simply described as difficult. The hope from the sunset motivates the refugees to stand strong whilst the red sea tries to disrupt the motivation.
Physically and literally the two worlds are mentioned by Skrzynecki are Poland and Australia. However if we were to see this in a spiritual perspective, the two worlds can be the battle of the mind and heart. The heart lies in the soil of the homeland however the mind seeks for escape and is in desperate need for freedom. The constant battle between the mind and heart brings forth the indecisiveness of the refugees as they left wondering if this was the right choice they have made. And this leads to my next poem The Migrant Hostel.
The Migrant Hostel explores the arrival and departure of refugees a few years later after Skrzynecki’s refuge journey (No one kept count/Of all the comings and goings/arrivals of newcomers…who would be coming next). Thousands of refugees from many nations have fled to Australia in hopes of building a foundation to a new beginning. Skrzynecki uses a metaphor “the homing pigeon” to describe the refugees. Just like a school, people were segregated into their familiarities and cultures and only try to communicate with the ones who share the same heritage as them. They don’t know anyone else but the ones they can communicate with. (Nationalities