MS (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

To His Two Children

In the land of Wu the mulberry leaves are green,
And thrice the silkworms have gone to sleep.
In East Luh where my family stay,
I wonder who is sowing those fields of ours.
I cannot be back in time for the spring doings,
Yet I can help nothing, traveling on the river.
The south wind blowing wafts my homesick spirit
And carries it up to the front of our familiar tavern.
There I see a peach tree on the east side of the house
With thick leaves and branches waving in the blue mist.
It is the tree I planted before my parting three years ago.
The peach tree has grown now as tall as the tavern roof,
While I have wandered about without returning.
Ping-yang, my pretty daughter, I see you stand
By the peach tree and pluck a flowering branch.
You pluck the flowers, but I am not there
How your tears flow like a stream of water!
My little son, Po-chin, grown up to your sister's shoulders,
You come out with her under the peach tree,
But who is there to pat you on the back?
When I think of these things, my senses fail,
And a sharp pain cuts my heart every day.
Now I tear off a piece of white silk to write this letter,
And send it to you with my love a long way up the river.

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Comments (7)

A profound piece Michael, thanks for sharing.
I disagree with John, here. I think we always wish we had known our mothers better............... when its too late. Love, Fran xx
Michael...the last two lines of this very fine poem reel off as if they're coming out of another person, not the loyal son, which is very effective-both sentiments wrapped into one. Take care, John
One of the blessings of my life - I broke my back once, and stayed with my mom for months while it healed. I would not take a million dollars for one moment that I was fortunate enough to spend with her. As Danny said, remember with love....
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