Selected Modern Chinese Essays: Parting Sorrows

◎ Zheng Zhenduo

Farewell, China, my beloved homeland! Leaning over the high railing, I watched the ship tearing itself away slowly from the shore, leaving a widening expanse of water in between. Many relatives and friends of mine were waving their hats and white handkerchiefs amidst shouts of “Adieu, adieu!” Firecrackers were crackling and spluttering, and sailors shouting goodbye to their buddies on the shore. I was seized with violent emotion, tears welling up in my eyes and blurring my eyeglasses.

While the ship was steering ahead slowly, I saw on the way many warships in gray or white lying at anchor and flying flags other than our national ones. They were flying the red sun, the tricolour, the union jack or the stars and stripes.

The banks with their yellowish soil and green grass receded into two greenish strips until they became some mere islets on the horizon. The waters of the sea glistened under the setting sun and kept leaping like romping urchins. The water surface was a vast expanse of gold.

Farewell, China, my beloved homeland!

I cannot find it in my heart to leave China, much less during these stormy times when I have to abandon my bounden duty and leave behind so many dear brave fighters — men who are building a new China with their own blood and struggling and battling in all earnest. To quit China at this moment means to dodge my responsibility, and that makes me feel very guilty indeed!

Nevertheless, I shall eventually answer the call of the times and devote myself heart and soul to my motherland. I am parting from China to acquire more experience and search for better ways of struggle. Dear brave fighters of every field, I shall be separated from you only for the present and will soon return to join your ranks with redoubled strength.

On my return, I hope, I shall see no more gray or white warships plying our territorial waters with flags of the red sun, the tricolour, the union jack or the stars and stripes. I hope I shall see instead our lovely great fleet flying our national colours.

Dear brave fighters, if the foreign warships by that time still hang on to their presence in our territorial waters, I will join you to do my bit in getting rid of them.

That is my pledge!

Farewell, China, my beloved homeland!