Hard Is the Way
Binding a tiger with bare hands,
Speaking as flowing water expands,
I ride in a cagelike cab, on a doglike steed.
Putting on silk hood white,
Raising yellow dust light,
Who knows we countrymen can do great deed?
The withered orchids see me off on homeward way,
If heaven had a heart, he would grow old today.
I’d play a madman old
And would not care for gold.
I’d spend ten thousand coins to buy good wine
And write in high pavilion verses fine.
Let’s fill our brimful cup,
To old age let’s live up!
No man can grow old with black hair since days of yore.
A smiling face
Dances with grace,
The western songstress at fifteen would speak and sing
As a musical string.
She sings the song of autumn breeze,
Which, sung long ago, could still please.
A thousand years have passed like one day and no more.
Stop time that flies
Ant bind sunrise!
But when sorrow comes near,
One day seems as long as a year.
The poet complains of talents unemployed, and would drown sorrow in wine with woman and song.
The song “Hard Is the Way” is a work by He Jiu, a lyricist of the Northern Song Dynasty. It is written in history that He cast has no talent in literature and martial arts, but he was not reappointed by the court, so he had to pass the years with songs and wine, but he felt sad that the time was passing and his work was not accomplished. The first line is about the aspirants who are not used by the powers that be despite of their excellent civil and military skills, so they can only drink “wine”. The next line follows the previous one, and the author drinks with joy, lamenting that life is short and wants to keep the time, but the days of sorrow are too long.
This poem “Difficult to travel” is a collection of previous poems into lyrics, which is new and unique. The lyrics are exciting, short in stanza but long in rhyme, high in tune and mournful in sound.