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)