On Returning Home by He Zhi Zhang (translation)

This translation was posted in 2015 on my blog Life is But This, now overfilled to accommodate further postings.  I have moved this post from there to this new blog.  Most of the translations from that blog, as this one will be published in print.

Some years ago I found the village in China where my father was born, where everyone shared the same surname.  All the young people had left for the city to find work.  Only old folks and small children remained.  I had a sense of homecoming, yet the curious looks I received told me that I was a stranger in my own home town.  This Tang Dynasty poem came to mind.


On Returning Home by He Zhi Zhang  (659 – 744)

Young and small I left my home; grown, old, I returned

No changes in my accent; hair thin at my temple

Children who saw me knew me not

Smiling they asked: from where have you wandered?

Translated by Mary Tang

2 Replies to “On Returning Home by He Zhi Zhang (translation)”

  1. How wonderful to find a kinship of experience with one who is not related when the threads of family have worn thin.I think this experience has been had in many places over the centuries.

    Liked by 1 person

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