Immigrants at Central Station, 1951
The title of this poem identifies time and place precisely and this presents a strong image. The poem depicts a group of immigrants waiting to depart on a train and start another physical journey. Central Station is the hub of Sydney railway network especially in 1951 since travel by plane and car was rare and the station was overcrowded with commuters. The interval in the physical journey of the train and the waiting at the station reflects the composer’s apprehension and curiosity towards the impending physical journey where the destination is unknown. The poems structure is ten and five line stanzas. The first stanza begins with two short sentences to establish and emphasise the feeling, sadness and the scene – the railway station in the rain and the train whistle blowing. The stanza then goes on to evoke the damp and cold of the station and the effect on the on the waiting immigrants. Skrzynecki creates the images in the poem in a variety of ways. The first four lines are matter-of-fact statements, yet they sketch the scene vividly for instance all night it had rained. The first sentence it was sad to hear establishes the unhappy tone of the poem and the focus which is melancholy and the rain emphasises the difficulty of their physical journey. The air was crowded / with dampness not only emphasises the wetness but because the damp is personified as the crowd, the effect is to emphasise the crowd of immigrants and their common experience of depression, dampness and cold to the extent that it Sank into our thoughts and we ate it. The air is crowded is figurative language with a metaphor and personified perhaps to imply that the air is unbreathable. We the first person pronoun is used to give the poem a personal perspective on behalf of all the immigrants and involves the responder. The empty streets are also personified described as having benevolence probably to imply that since they are empty there are few people around...
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