Notes On Longing

The Poem I had found was Notes on Longing by Tina Chang on the R train towards Queens. This poem has a very strong theme of family which is also reinforced by the imagery associated with it. In the first couple of lines the speaker says “It smells of after-rain tonight. Duck bones, a wounded egg on rice.” (lines 1-2) It is describing a nostalgic sense of smell with imagery of after a rainy night. The nostalgic or sense of home and family is continued as the speaker describes a local shop. “On the corner, there is a shop that makes keys, keys that open human doors, doors that lead to rooms that hold families.” (lines 3-6) This ties in the local shop into a theme of family. Next the speaker describes what might be a regular dinner in that area for a family. “There is a mother who brings sizzling flounder on a wide platter for the family whose ordinary mouths have been made to sing.” (Lines 8-11). This rounds out the poem to an almost reminiscent scene of a family. The reason i stretch to say its reminiscent is because of the title.

What I interpret the title to mean is that the author or speaker is longing for this imagery described, Of a familiar neighborhood, with familiar sights and sounds. With a mother who cooks familiar foods. The picture associated with it is that of a clothing line with clothes drying which one could say is associated with home imagery. In summation even though I personally don’t know those sights or sounds I can relate to my own longing feeling for my mothers cooking or the neighborhood that is familiar to me. Which reading while making a hour and a half commute home on the subway is somewhat saddening yet nice and nostalgic.

2 thoughts on “Notes On Longing

  1. Christopher J Uzhca

    I agree with the theme you mentioned. It definitely has a sense of strong family ties. Lines 3-6 to me make it feel like home. In my neighborhood I have the same things as well. I also agree with you that the imagery of the clothing line ties in with the words of this poem because it represents home as well.


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