ON AUTUMN RIVER AT CLEAR CREEK, FACING WINE IN THE SNOWY NIGHT: ONE OF US CAN CALL OUT IN PARTRIDGE SONG
Loosening my sable cloak, I face
white-jade winejars. Snowflakes
melt into our wine, and suddenly
it seems night cold isn't so cold.
A visitor here from Kuei-yang
calls mountain partridge. Clear
wind rustles bamboo at the window.
Peacock cries start breaking out.
This is music enough. Why tell
flutes and pipes our troubles?
WRITTEN ON THE WALL WHILE DRUNK AT WANG'S HOUSE NORTH OF THE HAN RIVER
I'm like some partridge or quail--
going south, then flying lazily north.
And now I've come to find you here,
a little wine returns me to the moon.
Never refuse wine. I'm telling you,
people come smiling in spring winds:
peach and plum like old friends, their
open blossoms scattering toward me,
singing orioles in jade-green trees,
and moonlight probing gold winejars.
Yesterday we were flush with youth,
and today, white hair's an onslaught.
Bramble's overgrown Shih-hu Temple,
and deer roam Ku-su Terrace ruins:
it's always been like this, yellow dust
choking even imperial gates closed
in the end. If you don't drink wine,
where are those ancient people now?
--Li Po (purest of poets) A.D. 712-760
trans. David Hinton