Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday poem: Coming Home by He Zhizhang
I left home young. I return old;
Speaking as then, but with hair grown thin;
And my children, meeting me, do not know me.
They smile and say: "Stranger, where do you come from?"
From "300 Poems of the Tang Dynasty" http://etext.virginia.edu/chinese/frame.htm
This is a poem I quote in my play The Bone Feeder. Yesterday over lunchtime, in order to give my actor something to practise with, I recorded my Dad reading this in his native Cantonese (with my mum in the background exhorting him to read it with 'more feeling'!) It was pretty emotional to me to hear my dad reading this, as I cannot read Chinese but understand it at a basic conversational level. The play, as might be suggested by the poem, deals with the migrant experience but is based on Chinese-NZ history.