Who can speak of immortality when simply
staying alive makes such sad fools of us?
We long for those peaks of the immortals,
but they’re far-off, and roads trail away
early. Coming and going together, we’ve
always shared the same joys and sorrows.
Resting in shade, we may seem unrelated,
but living out in the sun, we never part.
This togetherness isn’t forever, though.
Soon, we’ll smother in darkness. The body
can’t last, and all memory of us also ends.
It sears the five feelings. But in our
good works, we bequeath our love through
generations. How can you spare any effort?
Though it may be true wine dispels sorrow,
how can such trifles ever compare to this?
(Translated by David Hinton
Copper Canyon Press, 1993)