Friday, June 19, 2009

"Flying Light

Flying light, flying light--
I urge you to drink a cup of wine.
I do not know the height of blue heaven
or the extent of yellow earth.
I only sense the moon's cold,
sun's burn, sear us.
Eat bear, and you'll grow fat;
eat frog, and you'll waste away.
Where is the Spirit Lady?
And where the Great Unity?
East of the sky is the Jo tree:
underneath, a dragon, torch in mouth.
I will cut off the dragon's feet
and chew the dragon's flesh:
then morning will never return
and evening cannot bend.
Old men will not die
nor young men weep.
Why then swallow yellow gold
or gulp white jad?
Who is Jen Hung-tzu
riding a white ass through the clouds?
Liu Ch'e, in Mao-ling tomb, is just a heap of bones.
And Ying Cheng rots in his catalpa coffin,
wasting all that abalone."

--Li Ho (790-816)
translated by Arthur Sze in The Silk Dragon

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