A Farewell Dinner for Shu Yun

Leaving our departures behind, yesterday’s sunlight is light I couldn’t hold back,
and throwing my heart into confusion, today’s sunlight is light bringing tangled sorrows.

Facing ten-thousand-mile winds, autumn geese leaving,
we can still laugh and drink in this tower tonight,

chant poems of Immortality Land, ancient word-bones.
The clarity of Hsieh T’iao reappears here among us:

all embracing, thoughts breaking free into flight,
we ascend azure heaven, gaze into a bright moon.

But slice water with a knife, and water still flows,
empty a winecup to end grief, and grief remains grief.

You never get what you want in this life, so why  not
shake your hair loose on a boat at play in dawn light?

–Li Po–
The Selected Poems of Li Po
Trans. David Hinton

Photo of Woodcut: Sandra McPherson

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Published in: Uncategorized on July 12, 2010 at 2:56 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thanks Jackie, for bringing this excellent piece of writing to our attention. I’ll be re-reading often and thinking about it for quite a while, I think.
    ~ R.


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