Drinking Wine by Liu Tsung-yuan

Feeling less than happy this morning
I got up and opened a fresh jug
Lifting my cup I thanked the wine gods
for this gift to chase away cares
a moment later I felt different
suddenly the whole world was fine
the gloom disappeared from the mountains
the warmth of the sky filled the river
at the town’s overgrown South Rampart
trees formed a canopy of leaves
the cool shade provided welcome relief
we heard fine words here last night
once we were drunk we stopped talking
we stretched out on sweet-smelling grass
the wealthiest men in the past
surely possessed nothing like this

translated by Red Pine

River Flute by Po Chu-i

Downriver, someone plays
a bamboo flute at midnight.

Note by note, I’m transported
back into my youth at home.

Listening, I feel my thin hair
quickly turning white:

still growing old, still
sleepless, still alone.

translated by Sam Hamill