refugee blues

Topics: Nazi Germany, World War II, Jews Pages: 3 (1094 words) Published: November 27, 2013
Analysis Refugee Blues

"Refugee Blues" is a poem written by the U.S-British poet W. H. Auden in March 1939. This poem is set in 1930′s when Nazi people were prosecuted the Jewish people. Refugees were people who were driven out of their home or country because of war. Blues is a slow, sad, rhythmic music developed by black Americans. The poem dramatizes the condition of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in the years before World War II, especially the indifference and antagonism they faced when seeking asylum in the democracies of the period.  The poem starts with a narrator, who is later revealed to be a German Jew, describing a large city, which is home to ten million people some of whom are well off and live in luxurious large houses while others make do in slums and shabby houses. The narrator tells the person with him, presumably a woman, that there is no place for them there. He remembers that they once had a country long ago, speaking of Palestine, and they thought the world of it. But now their own country is so distant to them that to see it they have to browse through an atlas and he knows that they can’t go there either. The speaker is talking to someone “My dear”, 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. The narrator then remarks on how every spring the flowers grow anew on the old tree that grows in the village churchyard, and mourns to his companion that old passports can’t renew themselves, remembering how the country where they wanted to go had rejected them saying that they were as good as dead if they didn’t have updated passports. It seems that it is their misfortune that they are still among the living, considering his dejected tone as he addresses his companion. “Officially dead” means you cannot make...
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