Facing Wine

Never refuse wine. I’m telling you,
people come smiling in spring winds:
peach and plum like old friends, their
open blossoms scattering toward me,
singing orioles in jade-green trees,
and moonlight probing gold winejars.

Yesterday we were flush with youth,
and today, white hair’s an onslaught.

Bramble’s overgrown Shih-hu Temple,
and deer roam Ku-su Terrace ruins:
it’s always been like this, yellow dust
choking even imperial gates closed
in the end. If you don’t drink wine,
where are those ancient people now?

Li Bai (701–762)


  1. That’s such a wonderful poem, isn’t it? The turn in the middle, and the return to the beginning. I have read very little of Li Bai, but I like what I have found. Thanks for sharing.

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