Refugee Blues

1 January 2017

The speaker is talking to someone “My dear” (perhaps his wife), the language and tone is very conversational. Each stanza intensifies the situation in the poem. The first stanza brings out that the refugees are homeless. Though there are millions in the city all of whom have some kind of home but the refugees have nowhere to go. In stanza 2, the couple cannot stay in their country. It compares two living people with the old yew tree. “Officially dead” means you cannot make passport. This section tells us how the refugees are trying to get help.

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The refugees cannot leave the country due to lack of passport and hence they are described as officially dead, though they are indeed alive. The refugees are treated coldly by the committee and council. They are politely pushed aside but no real help is offered. At the public meeting the speaker demonises the refugees as thieves. This is made to incite ordinary people to hate Jews. A metaphorical storm breaks over the whole of Europe continent as hitler sentences them to death. The tone of the final stanza is very bitter.

The comparisons that the poet uses are testimony to these; Pet animals are treated better then Jews. eg: “saw a Door opened and a cat let in; … ” Fish are free and Birds are free, Poet blames nazi regime for creating an environment in which natural things act far much better than humans. The poet further uses cruel contrast. For e. g. : he has a dream of a huge building with many rooms for everybody except Jews. In the final stanza the poet enlightens a brightening future for the Jews but now Jews are hunted down by 1000’s of people.

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