life

The sorrow in your heart
is betrayed by a few grey hairs.
Life is like empty mountain ranges
Where snow awaits your visits;
Yet you make your solitary retreat
by the path in the wilderness.

Li Yü

drinking

Last night, the wind and rain —
Those autumnal sounds
struck against the curtains and screens.
The candle wept,
the clepsydra dripped
and I leaned against the head-rest.
I rose, but found no peace.

All mundane affairs
should be thrown into the river.
Life is just a nightmare.
The only safe path is down into the cellar.
Any other route is not worth the fare.

Li Yü

new year

Wind returns to this small court
as lichens turn green.
Her eyes and the willow leaves
make a sequence in spring.
Leaning against the balustrade
she remains long in silence.
The new moon and the crackers
are tediously the same as in the past.

The feast and the music have not yet ceased.
In the pond, ice is beginning to melt.
In the bright candlelight and the faint scent,
and deeply hidden in this painted room,
My temples, overladen with thoughts,
are white like frost.

Li Yü

garden

The garden, deep and serene;
The hall, vacant and small.
Now and then,
washerwomen’s pounding
mingles with the wind.
In this eternal night,
only a sleepless man hears
the intermittent noises
Stealthily brought to the curtains
by the moonlight.

Li Yü