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Australian Poetry Task

Its not a house, its a home. Its got everything. People, who love each other, care for
each other. Its got memories, great memories [It has] so much serenity.
morning fellow students, in the Australian film, 'The Castle', Darryl Kerrigan relates the
Australian experience of home to the cultural attitudes, values and beliefs that in
popular culture represent home as a place of belonging and identity. Today in this
poetry seminar, I will explore the Australian values operating in the poem, Feliks
by Peter Skrzynecki and relate this representation to that of home in
North Light
by John Tranter. Both poems give alternate readings of the experience of
home by exploring loss and longing. I will examine two poetic devices, a simile and
metaphor, that are employed in Peter Skrzynecki's poem to illustrate how home is tied
to identity.

Feliks Skrzynecki by Peter Skrzynecki describes a Polish immigrant who rebuilds his
home and identity in Australia by creating a garden that replaces the Polish farm lost
after World War Two. Firstly, Skrzynecki uses the simile loved his garden like an only
child to describe the connection between Feliks and his Polish garden and its
representation of self, home and homeland. Skrzynecki compares this love to that of an
only child, as the old man nurtures it and tends to it From sunrise to sleep, as it is his
only connection to his old home. This metaphorical device suggests that home is
indelibly linked to identity and thus readers are positioned to understand the
importance of home to the migrant experience.

Secondly, the poet uses the metaphor of a journey to finding ones identity and home.
Watched me pegging my tents further and further south of Hadrians Wall, suggests
that Feliks son, Peter, did not have the same identity or home, as he could not connect
to his polish heritage like his father. Therefore, he begins his own journey of finding his
identity within the dominant Western culture of Australia in which he had grown up.
The word tent further emphasizes this sense of journey as well as his temporary
placement. This foregrounds the importance of journeying to find one's identity and
place of belonging, which evokes sympathy in the reader, as the son longs for his

North Light by John Tranter, likewise presents themes of loss and longing. This work
is about a man who lost his family and has been living in isolation. The poem describes
the loneliness of the urban experience, the longing for a family and a home. He
eventually finds a new family and regains his identity. In the poem, the man in his
second marriage reflects optimistically upon the glue that keeps his family together;
What is it, that makes the pattern hold?

This poem runs many parallels to the themes in Skrzyneckis poem, as they are about
the sense of belonging and identity that is achieved through the experience of home.
Both poems are about men who lose and long for homes and so thenceforth create one.
Each poem shows the different ways that this is experienced. In Feliks Skrzynecki,
Feliks recreates a home that connects him to his past by creating a garden similar to a
Polish farm that he loves like an only child. While in North Light the man creates the
home and family he longed for, with a complex adhesive of love, memories, time spent
together, belonging and acceptance. Both men are at the light at the end of the tunnel;
their homes are full of light, as seen in North Light and they are happy as I have
never been as seen in Feliks Skrzynecki. However, the sons of these men have not yet
reached their destination of identity and belonging, so their lives are gathering its
tackle together and pushing forward as explained by Tranter, and thus begin their
journey, as explained by Skrzynecki, by pegging my tents.

We have explored the meaning of belonging and identity associated with home in the
poems North Light and Felix Skrzynecki. Tranters poem signifies the loss and
longing, which is central to the human experience, for finding a family and a sense of
belonging even in the mundane repetitious nature of domestic life. Skrzyneckis poem
signifies the importance of creating and finding a place that we love and belong to, as
home defines our identity from an early age. In Australia today, the representations of
the Australian experience of home are often idealized, but many people face uncertainty,
unsure of whom they are and where they belong, unaware of the answer in front of
them: home.

Reference List
Ablett, E. (2005). Feliks Skrzynecki. Physical journey. Retrieved August
3, 2013, from http://physicaljourney.wikispaces.com/Feliks+Skrzynecki

McFarlane, P., & Temple, L. (1996). Blue light, clear atoms: poetry for
senior students. South Melbourne: Macmillan Education Australia.

Sitch, R. (Director). (1997). The Castle [Motion picture]. Australia:
Village Roadshow Entertainment.