The Immigrant’s Song

The Immigrant’s Song is a very interesting poem that describes immigrants’ lives in foreign countries. First, the poet Tishani Doshi used the first person in plural. Second, the two words “Let us” are used more than once and the purpose of the repetition is to encourage the reader to take a specific action. On the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “Let” means “to leave behind” and it was used in 1578. For example, the first line that says, “Let us not speak of those day” can mean let’s leave behind all of those days. Also, on the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “eaves” can mean a shelter. In other words, when Doshi wrote, “died in the church’s eaves,” she could have meant that the church was the shelter for the dead birds. Finally, the poem uses the word “headscarf” and this word represents the culture behind people who come from the Middle East.

The poem also presents more than a theme, such as the consequences of war and the importance of the future. First, Doshi talks about the influence of war on people: “Let us not burden them with stories of war or abandonment. Let us not name our old friends who are unravelling like fairy tales.” In other words, the poem doesn’t want the reader to think about the what happened them in the past during war. This quote shows how the audience for this poem can be refugees who left their countries to save their lives. Then, the poem talks about the importance of the present and the future for immigrants: “Let us stay here, and wait for the future to arrive, for grandchildren to speak in forked tongues about the country we once came from.” As a Syrian immigrant, I understand the importance of the future for immigrants. My parents always told me to forget about the past and start thinking of the future. I always do that so I can focus on today and be able to move on.

Clearly, the Immigrant’s Song is a powerful poem that teaches the reader about how immigrants struggle to stop thinking about their painful past. I’m really interested in reading more of Doshi’s work and I’m wondering what did influence Doshi to write this poem? Did she experience immigrating to another country?