Thinking of My Brothers on the Double Ninth Festival Wang Wei (translated by Feng Huazhan)
All alone in a strange land, How I long for my folks on this festive day! I imagine my brothers climb up a hill, dogwood on heads, And all except me merrily go their way. WANG WEI (699–759) was a famous Chinese poet from the Tang Dynasty. Thinking of My Brothers on the Double Ninth Festival is one of his best-known works, written when he was just 17 years old. The poem speaks of a lonely traveller’s homesickness, amplified tenfold on the Double Ninth Festival, when he envisions his family in Shanxi engaging in the traditional ascent up Mount Hua without him. On this holiday, observed on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese calendar, people climb to high places while wearing a sprig of dogwood (Cornus officinalis) in their hair to ward off evil.