Rapt in Wine by Su Shih (Su Tung-p’o)

Rapt in wine against the mountain rains,
dressed I dozed in evening brightness,
and woke to hear the watch drum striking dawn.
In dreams I was a butterfly,
my joyful body light.

I grow old, my talents are used up,
but still I plot toward the return. . .
to find a field and take a cottage
where I can laugh at heroes,
and pick my way among the muddy puddles
on a lakeside path.

translated by J.P. Seaton

Wine at East Bank by Su Shih

Wine at East Bank tonight, I sobered up
then started over, getting drunk again.
Got home, a little fuzzy maybe close to three,
and the houseboy was snoring like thunder.
I knocked at my own gate, and nobody answered,
leaned on my cane and listened to the River running.

I hate it! that even this body’s not mine alone. . .
Someday I’ll give it all up.
The night moves, the breeze writes
quiet in the ripples on the water.
A little boat, leaving here and now,
the rest of my life, on the river, on the sea.

translated by J.P. Seaton