Li Bai Poem

Bring on That Wine

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for Billie Holiday

Hey, man, don’t you see that River rollin’ down from Heaven?
     It’s headin’ out to sea, an’ it’s never comin’ back.
Hey, man, don’t you see that mirror in the great hall, grievin’
     your white hair?
     Black silk threads in the mornin’, snow at night.
In this life to get what you want, you gotta celebrate,
     so don’t lift some empty golden goblet to the moon.
For sure we gotta use the stuff we got from God—
     just drop a thousand pieces of gold, it’ll all come roarin’ back.
Stew the chicken, kill the goat, but to be merry
     you got to drink up all three hundred cups at once.
Hey Jack, hey there Prez,
     bring on that wine, don’t you stop, man!
I’ll sing a song with you,
     give me your ear, ok?
The best music, the finest food, don’t do the trick,
     just vow to be drunk forever an’ never sober up.
All the wise an’ worthy of old times got forgotten,
     only the drunks left us their names.
When Queen Sheba feasted with King Solomon,
     the wine cost ten-thousand a barrel, an’ everybody frolicked.
So, boss, how can you say you’re short on cash,
     you have to spend it dry so I can toast you, man.
Your dappled horse, your fancy furs,
     just have the kid take ’em out an’ trade ’em for good wine.
Together, sir, we’ll melt the sorrows of ten-thousand ages.

Face-to-face with Wine
On a Spring Day


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