Don’t you see how grass on the riverbank
in winter withers and dies, yet in spring floods the road?
Don’t you see how the sun above the walls
evaporates to nothing at dusk
yet tomorrow at dawn is reborn?
But how can we achieve that?
When dead we’re dead forever, down in Yellow Springs.
Life has lavish bitterness, is stingy with joy,
and only the young are filled with endless zeal.
So let’s just meet whenever we can
and always keep wine money ready by our beds.
Who cares for rank and fame inscribed on bamboo and silk?
Life, death, acclaim, obscurity–leave them to heaven.
translated by Tony Barnstone & Chou Ping
Bright blossoms seldom last long;
Life’s ups-and-downs can’t be charted.
What was a lotus flower in spring,
Is now the seed-husk of autumn.
Severe frost freezes the wild grass:
Decay has yet to finish it off.
Sun and moon come back once more,
But where I go, no sun will shine.
I look back longingly on times gone by–
Remembering the past wounds my soul.
translated by Eugene Eoyang
…my soul is not fashioned like other men’s.
To drive in their rut I might perhaps learn:
To be untrue to myself could only lead to muddle.
Let us drink and enjoy together the wine you have brought:
For my course is set and cannot now be altered.
translated by Arthur Waley