Away: In Search of Home


Here is another great modern Japanese poem. This poem, by Saisei Muro (1889-1962), is from his anthology called “The Lyrical Sketches”. This is also a poem on the concept of “Home” and expresses the pathos that strongly and continuously resonates with many Japanese people. Saisei Muro left his hometown with literary aspirations for Tokyo, where he had a hard time and eventually shuttled between Tokyo and his hometown. This poem was obviously written when he decided to leave his northen hometown, Kanazawa, for Tokyo.


“Home” described here is again tied geographically to land and psychologically to loss. It is not until you are away from it that you can fully understand how significant your homeland is to you. Home starts to bear a more profound meaning when you lose it. In the last stanza he makes a decision to leave his hometown and go back to the big city. With his life driven pell-mell by the hustle and bustle of the city, his deep and desperate yearning for his hometown is something that he survives on.



Home is what you yearn for
When away from your home

Home is what you sing of
In a sad tone

You may sink into penury
On a foreign land

That’s the last place
You would return to

As the twilight comes on
And I’m all on my own

Nostalgia sweeps over
And I feel tears well in my eyes

With my longing at heart
I’ll make another stay in the city
Far from home.



Series: In Search of Home

Pilgrim: In Search of Home

Prepared: In Search of Home

Away: In Search of Home

Coco: In Search of Home

Moon Palace: In Search of Home

Rappelle-moi: In Search of Home

Fear: In Search of Home

Who Knows: In Search of Home

Anchor: In Search of Home

Home: In Search of Home

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