Openly Worrying Song

by Li Ho

When the autumn wind blows, all the grasses die.
An evening chill arises from the sapphire shadow of Mt. Hua.
I’m 20. Things are not exactly going my way.
My sad heart is a dying orchid.

My clothes are like the feathers of a fleeing quail, my horse is a dog.
Striking my sword instead of “ping” I get “pong.”
Coming to a tavern, I dismount and loosen my autumn robes.
“One jug of wine please, on credit.”

Deep in my cups I call to Heaven but the clouds remain closed.
I am a loiterer in a vast white painting, cold and confused.
My host urges me to relax.
And ignore the vulgar crowd that is mocking me.

Translated from the Chinese by Byron Allison.

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