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Skrzynecki's 'Postcard' - A Visual Analysis

Visual analysis of how Skrzynecki uses descriptive language and imagery in 'Postcard' to highlight belonging/not belonging to a place
by

Saurabh Bhattacharya

on 22 November 2012

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Transcript of Skrzynecki's 'Postcard' - A Visual Analysis

POSTCARD A sent by a friend Haunts me
Since its arrival ‘haunts’ = troubles
‘me’ = the persona of the poet/composer
Effect: Makes the common postcard, generally sent by friends travelling overseas, a troubling symbol Warsaw: Panorama of the Old Town He requests I show it
To my parents. 'Warsaw: Panorama of the Old Town' =
historical reference.
Effect: The historical reference, followed by the friend's request, suggests that the image on the postcard is not meant for the persona’s generation but for his parents' generation. and something Like a park borders
The river with its concrete pylons . 'something like a park' = uncertain tone
Effect: The uncertain tone of this phrase suggests the lack of any greenery and vibrant colour in the image The sky’s the brightest shade . 'the brightest shade' = symbolism
Effect: The symbolism of the sky being the brightest part in the postcard hints that there may be something false in the apparently positive image of a picture postcard Warsaw, Old Town ,
I never knew you 'Warsaw, Old Town / I never knew you' = personification
Effect: The town of Warsaw is personified as an old man who has witnessed history. Except in the third person – 'in the third person' = emphasis on a specific grammatical voice
Effect: The emphasis on a grammatical voice ‘third person’ highlights the lack of connection the persona feels for the city of Warsaw. Great city
That bombs destroyed, Its people massacred
Or exiled – You survived In the minds
Of a dying generation
Half a world away 'You survived / In the minds / Of a dying generation' = metaphor
Effect: The beauty of old Warsaw, destroyed by bombs in WW II, metaphorically lives on as a memory for a whole generation of migrants who, although no longer residents of city, still never seem to have left the ‘old town’. They shelter you
And defend the patterns
Of your remaking , ‘defend the patterns’ = martial language
Effect: The martial language highlights the protective nature of the exiled migrants towards the re-building of Warsaw. Condemn your politics,
Cherish your old religion
And drink to freedom Under 'Under the White Eagle flag' = historical allusion; symbolism
Effect: The image of the migrants discussing politics and religion under the post-war socialist flag of independent Poland highlights the strong sense of belonging they feel towards their parent nation For the moment,
I repeat, I never knew you ,
Let me be . 'I repeat' = deliberate repetition
Effect: The conscious repetition underlines the emotional disconnection felt by the persona to the image of Warsaw on the postcard. I’ve seen red buses
Elsewhere
And all rivers have
An obstinate glare. 'All rivers / have an obstinate glare' = personification
Effect: By personifying the river as glaring obstinately, the composer symbolically reflects the persona’s frustration at not being able to belong to the city. My father
Will be proud
Of your domes and towers, My mother
Will speak of her
Beloved Ukraine. What’s my choice
To be? 'What's my choice / To be' = rhetorical question
Effect: The rhetorical question highlights the persona’s despair in not being able to connect to the ‘pride’ of his father or the ‘beloved’ memories of his mother in his own reaction to the city. I can give you
The recognition
Of eyesight and praise .
What more
Do you want
Besides
The gift of despair ? 'gift of despair' = oxymoron
Effect: The oxymoron highlights the fact that the only way the persona can connect to Warsaw is ironically by feeling despair at not being able to connect at all. I stare
At the photograph
And refuse to answer
The voices
Of red gables
And a cloudless sky . On the river’s bank Whispers:
“We will meet
Before you die.” 'A lone tree/ whispers' = Personification
' "We will meet / Before you die" ' = direct quote; personal pronoun.
Effect: The personal pronoun ‘we’ directly connects the city to the persona. The personification makes the tree a voice for the city, tempting the persona through a promise of belonging sometime in the future. on Emerging from a corner -
Full transcript