Crossing the Red Sea

Discuss the concept of a physical journey bringing both challenges and rewards with reference to ‘Crossing the Red Sea’. A journey brings about both challenges and rewards, without either, a journey cannot exist-?there is no purpose. Jerkiness’s poem ‘Crossing the Red Sea’ depicts a journey of migrants from Poland to Australia after World War II, through the use of such techniques as metaphors, personification and imagery, he conveys to the reader both rewards and challenges the migrants have and will face.

The poem title is a biblical reference to the Book of Exodus in which the Red Sea offers to the Sea that Moses had parted and led the Israelites from slavery to God’s promise land, Canaan. The physical journey, the rewards and challenges of the Israelites is parallel to that of the migrants in Jerkiness’s poem; their voyage from a war-torn communist country to a second chance in life, Australia. Many slept on deck Stretched Out on blankets and pillows / Against cabins an rails’, the beginning of the poem indicate that the migrants are physically on a ship leaving (having left) Poland, the juxtaposition of blankets and pillows to cabins and rails suggests the very first of many halogens they had face; wherein the minds of the reader, cabins and rails creates an image of discomfort as opposed to the comfort of blankets and pillows.

Such as there are challenges in a physical journey, rewards are needed to counter and balance such challenges. The poem in its entirety is a challenge in the fact that it is a long, arduous voyage on a crowded ship but its very reward of that challenge is its destination, Australia. ‘Who was saying a prayer / In thanksgiving / For miracles’ yet again a biblical reference used to envoy the rewards of the journey, the hyperbole of miracles exaggerates the large gap between what is a challenge and how much the reward means to the migrants.

A journey brings about both challenges and rewards, as seen in Jerkiness’s ‘Crossing the Red Sea’ he makes it clear that the migrants are on a journey in which they endure the physical challenge of the harsh environment of the journey on ship, the mental challenges in the memories of the war. But with the conclusion of the journey, the reward is Australia, a second chance. Without these challenges and rewards, the journey could not be possible.