Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Translation: 回乡偶书

I’ve decided to start translating Chinese poetry. I’m not trained in this, so I have no idea about the traditions/shades of meaning in these words. I’m planning to learn as I go. Criticism is warmly welcomed. For my first attempt, I’ve started with a poem that I’ve been told is easy – “one you learn when you’re 10 years old.” Let’s see how it goes…








“A Homecoming, Some Thoughts”

(He Zhizhang)

I was young when I left home

Old when I returned again.

The way I spoke didn’t change,

Not like this hair behind my ears.

Children saw me

But they didn’t know who I was.

Smiling, they asked me like a stranger,

Where are you from?

posted by ferret at 2:53 pm  


  1. 第三句是:儿童相见不“相”识。

    Comment by DDL — November 18, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

  2. The title could be more appropriately translated as: Some random thoughts during a return to my hometown.

    Comment by DDL — November 18, 2010 @ 3:54 pm

  3. 题目“偶”的意思是“偶然”,“书”的意思是“写”

    Comment by Amber — November 21, 2010 @ 6:17 pm

  4. Maybe: Random lines on returning home

    Comment by Amber — November 21, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

  5. I’ve taken my commentators’ advice and changed my translation of the title of the poem from

    “Returning Home with a Few Books”


    “A Homecoming, Some Thoughts”

    Comment by ferret — November 26, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

  6. […] and oftentimes end up inking questionable symbols on their bodies. Brad, however, got a pretty cool Chinese poem tattooed on his […]

    Pingback by Looking Back on 2012 | Sinosplice — December 31, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

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