Lori Kadish   12/13/10
“Feliks Skrzynecki”

‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ examines the ways that Feliks has come to find belonging within ones culture and family during his immigration from the Ukraine to Australia. The poem documents the speakers attempt to clarify his perspective on his own cultural and personal identity. He does this through a sense of belonging, as well as a sense of estrangement, and through an understanding of his relationship with his father. Culture and community is an important part of Felik’s belonging. In Australia, he finds belonging with “His Polish friends”. They are united by their shared experiences as farmers in the Ukraine “Horses they bred, pigs they were skilled in slaugthering”, and one of the ways that they find belonging in Australia is by reminiscing about their past experiences. Feliks sense of stoicism is alluded to “but im alive” which suggests his resilliance due to the hardships he has experienced in the past.
The son however does not recognise his fathers world. This is registered through the poets romantic imagery “My father sits out the evening with his dog, smoking, watching stars and street lights come on, happy as I have never been”. The son’s want to belong to the new society is emphasised by the effort that he has gone into learning a language, which reinforces the distance from his polish heritage and essentially enstrangement from his father who metaphorically becomes a “dumb prophet” unable to connect with his son. Contrasting to Peters efforts to belong to the new society, Feliks never made an effort to assimilate by learning English which is demeaningly questioned “Did your father ever attempt to learn English”. Feliks remains contentedly detached from the world that surrounds him and estranged from the new society of which the son is becoming a part of as he clings to his old ways and polish culture.