Refugee Blues by W.H Auden

Topics: Jews, Poetry, Jewish population Pages: 2 (878 words) Published: March 26, 2011
“Refugee blues” is 1 of the poems written by W H Auden. It is about a sad and terrible plight of being a Jew in the wrong place at the wrong time. Obviously, as a refugee, the couple has lost their home, their country and their identity. The melancholy feeling comes through strongly in the blues - a sad song. Though the poem is about 2 people at a particular time in the past the thoughts and feelings of the poem’s narrator might be similar to situations in any part of the world 2day.this poem is set in Germany in 1930’s when the Jewish ppl were being persecuted by the Nazi regime. The poem begins by introducing a city with 10 million people in it. Some have the luxury of living in a mansion; this is directly contrasted with the rest who are living in most disgusting conditions, 'holes'. There is not even a 'hole' for this couple - they are beneath the usual poverty line, the repetition of the sentiment, of having no room for 'us', makes it sadder. “Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us” The next stanza shows how they are exiled from their own country and cannot return. They can see it in a map, can look at it in an atlas - but cannot return. They are resigned to this fate when they say 'We cannot go there now'. The tree is an interesting symbol in the next stanza. The tree can go through nature's cycle and seem dead at certain times of the year but can be re-born, can grow again. It's natural for things to be given a new chance every year in nature, to bloom again. However, this is contrasted with man-made documents that, once lost, can never be recovered: 'Old passports can't do that, my dear'. They then go to three places where they need help. The consul, presumably at an Embassy, treats them badly and violently bangs the table and makes a ridiculous statement: 'If you have no passport you're officially dead!' Can't he see that they are there in front of him, alive, looking at him? The speaker's calm and controlled response of 'we...
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