Weekly Writing Challenge: Metaphors for Homesickness

Weekly Writing Challenge: Easy As Pie

The writing challenge last week was about metaphors and similes. The metaphors for homesickness sprang to my mind. Homesickness – 乡愁 (pronunciation: xiāng chóu)  – is a famous poem in the modern Chinese history, written in 1972 by the eminent poet YU Guangzhong 余光中.

Poet YU Guangzhong

This short poem employed 4 metaphors: stamp, ship-ticket, grave, strait.

This poem has been widely interpreted as the poet’s longing for Taiwan-China reunion since their separation in 1949. However, putting the poet’s political view aside, let’s treasure this poem and its metaphors.

Here is my translation of the poem:

Homesickness – 乡愁,  by 余光中:Yu Guangzhong

When I was little, homesickness was a tiny stamp.

I was right here, while my mum was over there.

When I grew up, homesickness was a light ship-ticket.

I was right here, while my bride was over there.

Eventually, homesickness was a modest grave.

I was on the outside, but mum was inside.

But now, homesickness became a shallow strait.

I’m right here, but the Mainland is over there.

小时侯,乡愁是一枚小小的邮票,

我在这头,母亲在那头。

长大后,乡愁是一张窄窄的船票,

我在这头,新娘在那头。

后来啊!乡愁是一方矮矮的坟墓,

我在外头,母亲在里头。

而现在,乡愁是一湾浅浅的海峡,

我在这头,大陆在那头。

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9 thoughts on “Weekly Writing Challenge: Metaphors for Homesickness

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Dear Keren,

      Homesickness is bittersweet. Certain homesickness was transformed to literature, like Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. Longing for heaven is just so sweet! Of course, I know why you’ve some tough days!

      Reply
  1. Daniela

    I cannot tell you how much I love this poem, thank you so much for translation! It is not only that the poem touches me deeply in the personal kind of way, but the cadence, the language, the depth of it … magic, pure magic.
    Daniela

    Reply
    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Dear Daniela,

      I’m touched by your message. This poem strikes me as pure and genuine. Its metaphors are simple yet effective.

      I’ve sourced the Internet and found a good audio rendition of this poem. Below here is the direct link. I hope you enjoy it.

      Reply
  2. Pingback: My Site Table of Contents – I did it! | Janet's Notebook

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