Sailing On The Lake To The Ching River by Lu Yu

It is Spring on the lake and
I run six or seven miles.
Sunset, I notice a few
Houses. Children are driving
Home the ducks and geese. Young girls
Are coming home carrying
Mulberry leaves and hemp. Here
In this hidden village the
Old ways still go on. The crops
Are good. Everybody is
Laughing. This old man fastens
His boat and climbs up the bank.
Tipsy, he holds fast to the vines.

translated by Kenneth Rexroth

2 thoughts on “Sailing On The Lake To The Ching River by Lu Yu

  1. May I ask a question that you might find pretty ill-informed? What does wine drinking symbolize in Chinese poetry from this period?

    Based on the context of the last several poems you’ve posted, it could mean ‘burdens are lifted,’ or ‘altered state, like an other worldly or meditative state,’ or ‘the scene is so idyllic that you don’t have to be conscious to enjoy it.’ Not sure any of these should be contenders.

    What do you think? Just so interesting.

  2. Actually they all are, as well as a variation on that last one: the scene is so idyllic that a heightened state of mind is needed to fully appreciate it. There were drinking contests among poets where they would each take turns writing poems or reciting them. But as that most famous wine drinker Li Po would write at the end of his “Drinking Alone Beneath the Moon”: “Simply find pleasure in wine:/Speak not of it to the sober ones.”

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