Wednesday Poem


In many people’s eyes
absence is a fault or crime.
However hard you try to make amends,
they will still condemn you.
So you can’t go home anymore
and will drift on the wind of chance—
wherever you land
you will be an outsider.

Then accept the role of a wanderer.
At least you can stand alone
and become one of those
who live and die on their own.

You must learn to be content
to inhabit your own space—
any news from far away
can no longer disturb you.
If necessary, turn your back on the past
and let all the slander and praise
vanish from your mind.

by Ha Jin
The Distant Center
Copper Canyon Press, 2018