A L I C E R Y S I E C K I
The Emigrée - Carol Rumens
Rumens was born in south London in 1944
She has a fascination with ‘elsewhere’
Emigrée in the female form of emigrant
An emigrant is a person who leaves their birth
country to live elsewhere
In the poem, the land and the city is ‘elsewhere’
The poem was wrote in 1994
No named city/ country- could
represent the young age/ lack of
knowledge of speaker? The city
might not even exist
Metaphors could represent the lost
childhood of the narrator that they
can’t return to
Shows it’s been stuck in her memory
There once was a country… I left it as
but my memory of it is sunlight-clear
for it seems I never saw it in that
which, I am told, comes to the mildest
The worst news I receive of it cannot
my original view, the bright, filled
It may be at war, it may be sick with
but I am branded by an impression of
The waves represent nature- you can’t stop
it and you have to accept that it’s going
to happen. This can link to the idea of
The movement of waves (up and down
transverse shape) could represent the
positive and negative effects in life.
Rebellion against the government/state?
Might not be appropriate language for
adults?-Lies, make believe, needs to
grow up and move on
The white streets of that city, the
glow even clearer as time rolls its
and the frontiers rise between us,
close like waves.
That child’s vocabulary I carried here
like a hollow doll, opens and spills a
Soon I shall have every coloured
molecule of it.
It may by now be a lie, banned by the
but I can’t get it off my tongue. It
tastes of sunlight.
Doll or human?
The city could represent a pet. The speaker
could imagine it being more realistic
and loyal to her.
She is protecting the city to try and keep it
as how she remembers it.
Shadows contrast sunlight. Could
represent the different views of the city
or the exposure of the reality of the city.
I have no passport, there’s no way back at
but my city comes to me in its own white
It lies down in front of me, docile as paper;
I comb its hair and love its shining eyes.
My city takes me dancing through the city
of walls. They accuse me of absence, they
They accuse me of being dark in their free
My city hides behind me. They mutter
and my shadow falls as evidence of
Can’t travel back in time.
Maybe there has been no
travelling at all?-
First 2 stanzas are 8
lines, end one is 9 lines –
shows speaker can’t
forget the place
No rhyme but rhythmic
pattern – reflects the
speakers mind that’s
positive but can change
and become complex
First person account of
Not naming the place
make the poem focus on
the characters feelings
from a child to an adult
Lack of place detail
shows it might be
fictional and just might
be in the characters
memory as a child