Li Bai Poem

Mount Skyland Ascended in a Dream—A Song of Farewell

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Of fairy isles seafarers speak,
‘Mid dimming mist and surging waves, so hard to seek;
Of Skyland Southerners are proud,
Perceivable through fleeting or dispersing cloud.
Mount Skyland threatens heaven, massed against the sky,
Surpassing the Five Peaks and dwarfing Mount Red Town.
Mount Heaven’s Terrace, five hundred thousand feet high,
Nearby to the southeast, appears to crumble down.
Longing in dreams for Southern land, one night
I flew o’er Mirror Lake in moonlight.
My shadow’s followed by moonbeams
Until I reach Shimmering Streams,
Where Hermitage of Master Xie can still be seen,
And clearly gibbons wail o’er rippling water green.
I put Xie’s pegged boot
Each on one foot,
And scale the mountain ladder to blue cloud.
On eastern cliff I see
Sunrise at sea,
And in mid-air I hear sky-cock crow loud.
The footpath meanders ‘mid a thousand crags in the vale,
I’m lured by rocks and flowers when the day turns pale.
Bears roar and dragons howl and thunders the cascade,
Deep forests quake and ridges tremble, they’re afraid!
From dark, dark cloud comes rain;
On pale, pale waves mists plane.
Oh! lightning flashes
And thunder rumbles,
With stunning crashes
Peak on peak crumbles.
The stone gate of a fairy cavern under
Suddenly breaks asunder.
So blue, so deep, so vast appears an endless sky,
Where sun and moon shine on gold and silver terraces high.
Clad in the rainbow, riding on the wind,
The Lords of Clouds descend in a procession long.
Their chariots drawn by phoenix disciplined,
And tigers playing for them a zither song,
Row upon row, like fields of hemp, immortals throng.
Suddenly my heart and soul stirred, I
Awake with a long, long sigh.
I find my head on pillow lie
And fair visions gone by.
Likewise all human joys will pass away
Just as east-flowing water of olden day.
I’ll take my leave of you, not knowing for how long.
I’ll tend a white deer among
The grassy slopes of the green hill
So that I may ride it to famous mountains at will.
How can I stoop and bow before the men in power
And so deny myself a happy hour?

On Phoenix Terrace at Jinling
Addressed Humorously to Du Fu


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