murphy’s li tai bo von zach XII

xii-01 given to my younger brother, the chamberlain li tai qing as we parted when he went to jiang nan
xii-02 drunkenness, dedicated to district judge wang from li yang
xii-03 dedicated to lower district judge xu of li yang.  as he performed a children.s dance before his mother i wrote this poem
xii-04 in the snow after drunkenness, dedicated to district judge wang from li yang
xii-05 given to governor you wen from xuan cheng, and at the same time to censor cui
xii-06 given to zhao yue the governor of xuan cheng
xii-07 given to my cousin li zhao, the zhang shi of xuan zhou
xii-08 given to master chang, assistant district judge of nan ling, in the mountains of wu song
xii-09 as i reached jing ting mountain in liang yuan, i met the priest hui gong and discussed with him the beauty of the surrounding landscape. expressing the hope of wandering there with him, i offered this poem
xii-10 three poems given to a friend (1 of 3)
xii-11 three poems given to a friend (2 of 3)
xii-12 three poems given to a friend (3 of 3)
xii-13 given to my cousin li lie
xii-15 lu qiu, living in seclusion
xii-16 dedicated to qian shao yang, a scholar appointed by the emperor
xii-17 given to the reverend zhong zhun, the buddhist priest of ling yuan monastery in xuan zhou
xii-18 given to the buddhist priest zhao mei
xii-19 given to the buddhist priest xing rong
xii-20 given to reverend hu from huang shan with a request for his two white cranes
xii-21 i climb jing ting mountain, look south and think of the ancient world:  given to secretary dou
xii-22 after the riots, as i am about to escape yan zhong, i leave i give this poem to district judge cui of xuan cheng
xii-23 given to my uncle yang li bing, prefect of dang tu
xii-24 description of my feelings, given to the honorable chang under-district-judge of nan ling
xii-25 dedicated to wang lun





li bai xii-01

tgiven to my younger brother, the chamberlain li tai qing as we parted when he went to jiang nan

far from the capital i wandered here and there
then returned to autumn mountains of protracted dreams
the chestnuts gained new color over the well of gold
a single leaf floated to the white balustrade

i awaken and reach for the mirror bright
and see my temple hairs have now become more white
i have thrown my good intentions into the grass
and must accept my withered mulberry look of age

i.ll tell you what lies deep within my heart
that people doubt my glistening drive of inner pearl
long have i been a floating leaf on dong ting lake
and now am at the swirling waters of the xiao and xiang

you my brother are an official yet able to help the world
why should i be sorry that you have now been banned
a burrowing white dragon will find its way in a barrel of water
your essays from exile describe well the rise and fall of the empire

but i walked another, wilder path and met wang zi qiao
who told me how to mix the elixir of extending life
so i went to sit in the cave of mysteries, foregoing heaven and earth
to leave and join as an immortal the court of the god yu huang

i wish to, comforting, pat you on the back
and fondly wave my hand as i rise into the air

murphy a changed man after participating in the arapaho sun dance





li bai xii-02

drunkenness, dedicated to district judge wang from li yang

my brush with the hairs of countless rabbits is worn down
my poems piled up to the weight of two oxen
my brush races like a lion and a tiger have met
my dancing sleeve touches the clouds in the firmament

the two tartar maidens sing their duets here for us
their songs changing now to greet the morning sun
i lift my cup and challenge the northern snow
my eyes follow the flurries and give in to nothing

murphy partied out and about to collapse





li bai xii-03

dedicated to lower district judge xu of li yang.  as he performed a children’s dance before his mother i wrote this poem.

in order to reach his mother of great age
he served her in a most remarkable way
first he danced as if he were a small child
then he laid back on colorful robes as did lao lai zi

then he cried like a baby, then staggered around
like a drunken man wending his way home by the light of the moon
almost never does one see such a display of joy as hers
shared happiness is truly rare in this world of ours

murphy wondering what it be like with alzheimer’s





li bai xii-04

>in the snow after drunkenness, dedicated to district judge wang from li yang

do not come close to a dragon shedding his scales
do not try to braid with your hands the beard of a tiger
you must have heard how once in the market of run an
the immortal with white hair hid in his jade cup to hide his drunkenness

outside the window wang hui zhi hears the bamboo rustle in the wind
and invites him in to share a cup of green wine
the snowy landscape of shan yin is the same as that in li yang
my eye is confused now, as before, by the flurries of white snow

there is wine in your home so why should i still be sad
many guests full of joy wander around with torches in their hands
they chatter away as xie shang might imitating the sparkle of the stars
drink wine as did si ma xiang ru without pawning their kingfisher jackets

yet tomorrow morning i will be in my boat on the river
remembering for a thousand miles this tower in the moon light

murphy up for the party then gone with the wind





li bai xii-05

given to governor you wen from xuan cheng, and at the same time to censor cui

who is as white as the feathers of the white heron
who is as pure as the sound of the shrill cricket call
he was born with a special nature
one not influenced by the pressures of the world
he drinks water like xu you in the ji mountains
or eats snow like bo yi and shu ji on the summit of zhou yang
he turns the carriage like mo di entering zhou go without being seen
he speaks not like confucius when he passed the robber.s nest
guang cheng zi has such an elevated virtue
lu zhong lian is also of such a character
and outside of these two men there is no one
no one who would care to assuage my angry heart

once i held tightly to the flying dragons of the imperial equipage
today i am a hundred times as soft as molten lead
touched by the grace of the emperor i wished to repay him
i gave up my official position and went to fight in northern yan
i wrapped and tightened my arching bow with fresh tendons
extended it was as the full moon and feared no enemy
when i found the time i went off hunting on a splendid horse
my hunt was successful and i downed two tigers with my arrows
then turning quickly like a shooting star across the sky
i shot two hawks from the air with my missiles

the barbarians were amazed at my prowess
and all this time i studied the arts of the five military branches
i was surrounded by many brave officers
and many of them lauded my growing expertise
but there were also worthy soldiers who did not
they lashed at me with their whips as once zu di did to liu kun
but i sat tall and proud in my saddle showing free energy
as the young man showed old ma yuan, everyone recognized my strength
but ultimately i was unsuccessful and went back home
i was worn down by the calumnifications heaped upon me
without a strong wind it is difficult to furrow the waves
so then  i sat aimlessly on the banks of the great river

perpetually under threats and miserable i lamented the passing of time
suddenly i realized three entire months are gone
during this time i wandered over to jing ting mountain
and listened in silence to the wind in the pines
or i played with the moon.s reflection in the wan xi river
lying in an empty boat with the wind and the waves, upstream and down

but then you a second yan yan zhi provided me a second tao yuan ming
200,000 cash which was all quickly deposited in the wine taverns
when i have the pleasurable opportunity to drink
i will pursue the wine and gradually become a drunk immortal
beside this drink i encountered no other worries
and thereby made real the chapters of zhuang zi on the autumn waters
because you , formerly one of the nine dignitaries, came here
the land of waters has experienced many fruitful years

fish and salt are abundant in the central markets
canvas and silk are as plentiful as clouds and fog
since you came here you have shown no severity as governor
the pitcher of ice sparkles as the surface of a clear river
all the old men with their white eyebrows praise you
they respect the wisdom you have shown as their governor
you always consider respectfully the conditions of the people
and you like your predecessor xie tiao take care of the eastern fields
small children crowd around your coach riding their stick ponies
welcoming the governor.s carriage decorated with white deer
smiling the children ask the emperor.s representative
whether he too returns home when the sun sets

and only then do you return to the banquet on the banks of the lake
where you have provided for the winds to be filled with beautiful music
you personify the official who reaches up for the clouds
from on high you tap on the shoulders of your predecessor xie tiao
you are like a high tower from which one can gaze upon the far green sea
you are a venerable old tree supporting a luxuriant growth of dark ivy
you formally serve wine to this unworthy one who served you before
it reminds of the wonderful food of the immortals, the liquid dawn

i had the good intention of sweeping enemies from the desert sha mo
dreamed i was surrounded by banners and flags like a victorious general
however my ongoing services are called upon less often these days
and my yearning desire to be of use has had no chance of fulfillment
and seeing an opportunity to put forth my request to the dragon gate
sitting next to you at the fragrant feast, i seize the opportunity

can i dare hope you will hand me the ceremonial whip of rao zhao
i long to be together with you on a ship as was guo tai with li ying
all this while you look down into the surrounding shallow waters
your thoughts penetrating as deep as the ninth level of the heavens
how proud and independent is your colleague cui
he speaks wisely as he drinks wine with a thirst from the heart
he himself is proud to belong to a famous family
but his outstanding talents have heretofore been inhibited

but now the phoenix sings from the crest of the wu tung tree
and flexes his elegant wings in the refreshing breeze
he knows very well that men such as i seek companionship
we who knock our swords in dissatisfaction and dwell now in solitude

murphy putting forward an elegant slipper to announce his presence





li bai xii-06

given to zhao yue the governor of xuan cheng

the house of zhao conquered the prize jewel, the kingdom of zi
this meritorious service to the realm is still in everyone.s memory
three thousand guests crowded round the hall as zhao sheng entered
in the six kingdoms his fame grew until it still echoes to this day
you have surpassed the merits of your distant ancestors
with your military and civil service in the southern border provinces

the zhao family is like a thousand foot high spruce
with powerful dragons winding around its old roots
no ordinary herbs grow under its branches protection
for there are many fragrant orchids which appear there

i remember the time when i was first an official in nan yang
since then you have embroidered the symbol of censor on your robes
once you were censor you went to yo du in the north pursuing insurgents
entrusted with the ax you cleansed the north for the three armies
then you assumed a lower rank before you rose again in position
burning incense as censor position you produced fragrant advice
as once did kui and long you rose above others in the emperor’s eyes your glory spread like thunder in lo yang as your boldness was recognized
then suddenly sent to the provinces your ethics became more correct
you went to three different districts to act as judge scattering evil doers

i, poor exile, was mistaken as the crane of duke yi of wei
for i was indeed riding in the official carriage of the duke
i laugh at myself for my torn shoes as once did dong gu ya
and am ashamed i undeservedly received from you a warm white fox fur

i sing idly to myself now as i walk between bamboo and rocks
lost in the contemplation of nature i forget the morning and evening
oppressed by my cares i am an ill-favored, even ugly man
why should i dream of rising into the wind and the clouds of officialdom
i am rather more like the monkey who rides on a cow in this world

i.m like a skinny horse who plods between the single-trees of a carriage
but i wish to borrow the sun from the driver of the sky-wagon
the better to bring light on my difficult position
if the north sea moves not how can the roc and giant kingfisher be found
how can one demonstrate his worth and availabllity

what i hope is that one day you will occupy an important position
and i can rise without difficulty through your good offices

murphy kowtowing to the man in every way he knows how





li bai xi-07

given to my cousin li zhao, the zhang shi of xuan zhou

the country of huai nan looks out over the river to jiang an
green mountains rise for a thousand miles on either side
i have walked these mountains until exhausted
so that half of them have gradually disappeared

you, li, are a prominent member of the imperial family
and as such are strategically improving these waters and this land
the great river is in its middle reaches here and at its widest
it rushes on for a thousand miles to the lands of wu and gui

your heart can be likened to this great river of ours
it encompasses the large and the small and takes the long view
when you wield the brush you capture the sharpness of the wind and ice
when you dispense justice you win the love of the people

in the hall of your court people see peach and plum blossoms
before your lodgings carriages assemble and people with their parasols
who would have thought that i on my meandering travels
wandering like the clouds of cang wu should suddenly meet you

my talents do not equate to the teachings of the wise ones
my fate is not in line with the tenor of the times
i stand alone between the mountains and the sea
simply growing older in the reign of an enlightened monarch

it is not easy to acquire as a friend men who appreciate me as you do
with my hand on my sword i say this to you filled with emotion
we need to promise each other to grow tall and proud
and not to accept anything lesser as our goal

murphy always ready to embellish the stature of his clan





li bai xii-08

given to master chang, assistant district judge of nan ling, in the mountains of wu song

a cabbage isn’t necessarily an orchid, a tree a spruce
the orchid flowers in secret but sends its scent into the distance
the spruce maintains its appearance throughout the cold of winter
the spruce and the orchid exemplify strengths in their existence
while skunk weed and cabbage grow rampant
they perish when the cold weather comes

poultry feed cheerfully alongside other poultry
the phoenix sits with a phoenix on the same branch
when searching for pearls, beads and sand are discarded
only the rare true pearl is collected by discerning men

i who wander far from home find refuge with you, a famous noble
and feel free now to express my sincere feelings to a like-minded man
if i now hold back my heart, to whom shall i confide
yu qing gave up his ministerial post to go walking with his friend wei qi
the 500 friends who accompanied dian heng by the sea
all died on the same day when news of his death reached them
if yu qing and dian heng did not have such worthy love
would we still remember them with such affection today

i want you and i, my friend, to share such love
i am in great embarrassment now that i leave your house
i know not where i should travel, thinking only of return
though this travelers long sword yearns for home and the autumn wind

murphy always the impeccable guest





li bai xii-09

as i reached jing ting mountain in liang yuan, i met the priest hui gong and discussed with him the beauty of the surrounding landscape.  expressing the hope of wandering there with him, i offered this poem.

i have come to the mountains with the autumn winds
as i fear the wonderful herbs will soon perish from the cold
on my way here there were few celebrated mountains
where i could have dallied with the clouds and the moon

i crossed over the river as i had done before
where yellowed leaves were blown against my face
i have always loved jing ting mountain
and took time to gaze on the purity of the flowing waters

the valleys shone with a beautiful icy rime of morning
and the mountains include the city on the river xuan zhou
from there came the brilliance of wu and shi
those senior officials who are now a credit to the capital chang an

the land of the waters an hui is rich in extraordinary men
but there are many who hide their skills in the wilderness
you, hui gong, are really quite a famous priest
wherever you live you are valued as a precious jewel

when you open your hall to teach, swinging your fly whisk
your lofty discussions bring the dark clouds above to a halt
you have snow capped mountains painted on your whitewashed walls
and many men of letters have praised you in their poems

you describe for me the pleasures of the lonely life
and extol the beauty of ling yang mountain in an hui

“over the pond the white dragon stretches to the sky
the moon shines in the clear waters of autumn
the stone massif beyond is the yellow mountain
who might it have been to raise it up so high
the yellow crane no longer comes here to visit
as zi an has passed over into the great beyond
to the southeast the mountains rise to such heights
that even the mountain birds cannot fly over
densely piled mountain upon mountain
peaks that disappear into the ethereal clouds”

as i listen to your words i wish to take up my walking stick
yet now i return to my cell and sit behind a locked door

i feel desire for the landscape of ling yang
there to sit under the bright moon one can see but not touch
can you find time now to set your white feet in motion
to join with me in this blue mountain region

let me know with an affirmative letter
then my anxious face will show its joy

murphy always game for a new adventure





li bai xii-10

three poems given to a friend (1 of 3)

an orchid does not grow beside your door
she is different from the common stretch of grass
and now the orchid is impaired by dew and frost
her red flowers have faded from their glory

for without permission she has sent out her stalks
and taken root by the pond of the prince
but her time of fragrant beauty has now passed
yet she has learned the free grace of the blowing winds

now if you wish to take the favor of her perfume with you
her memory will pursue you the whole year through

murphy taking his madeleines where he finds them





li bai xii-11

three poems given to a friend (2 of 3)

jing ko carried hidden in his sleeve the sharp dagger of zhao
which the crown prince from yan had acquired from xu fu ren
with his breast bedecked with jewels sparkling like snow and ice
he proceeded on his mission from yan to travel again to qin

his attack was ultimately to be unsuccessful
and the dagger itself was lost in the sands and dust of time
now i would attempt the same and help you in your difficulties
for after jing ko was removed other hard men attempted the same

long i stood on the banks of the yi in sympathy with the roiling waves
to dig a well go down to the water, spread a sail to cross the river
honest men think only of justice and victory, a keen horse needs no whip
in life one appreciates friendship, gold and money pale in comparison

murphy an exemplary right hand man





li bai xii-12

three poems given to a friend (3 of 3)

si ma xiang ru mocked many of the activities of the world
and professed to do little, yet his chest was filled with ideas
he continually mocked the heroes of ancient times
and regarded their actions to be like games of children

i also thought in my life to emulate a broad approach to the dao
i thought this could allow me to help the ruler with far reaching plans
but in the cold north of the mountains i suffered much
who would have thought you would offer your house south of the road

it was the time of the new year with the smell of wine on the wind
frost covered the temples which were well known by both sides
the ruler of shu hoped for a man such as zhu ge liang
the house of jin wished for such as xie an, but no one wished me

when their time came they were each given high posts
they were clearly expecting the reward of a lucky throw
yet like a crouching tiger  i escaped the swirling rage of the tartars
like a fisherman singing his songs i traveled over the sea

because of my tattered furs i was ashamed before your wife and sister
yet still in all i made my long sword available with all my worth
you, oh master, hold high the tradition of a well maintained household
it is difficult to imagine one more attuned to one.s duty to friends

i do not promise water as zhuang zi did the fish in the wheel rut
i cannot bring you the waters of the western stream
but if i should later win a high position, i will remember you well
i will bring you yellow gold as reward for your kindness now

murphy profligate with the promise of future riches





li bai xii-13

a statement of my feelings, offered to a friend

ji zha had a precious sword worth more than a thousand pieces of gold
he was sent as ambassador to the west by his old friend prince xu
who had made known his admiration of the coveted sword
when zha returned from jin the prince was dead
in tribute to his friend he hung the sword on the cypress by the grave
everyone recognized this generosity as remaining loyal to one.s friends

even the weak were taken by this act emulating stronger men
bao shu ya spoke up for guan zhong as a statesman
and he was ultimately made special minister of collections in qi
had he not such a good friend how would he have attained the posting
against all temptations of wealth bao shu ya accepted small compensation
later generations have praised him yet few have attained his high virtue
when one speaks of such with friends who can say it no longer is possible

i esteem your literary work which outshines all contemporaries
your output has brought new life into a declining art
when i came to stay here i found you were a neighbor by the stream
i then sang of clouds and moon, good wine brightened winter and spring
my small ability is now ignored, i am left behind as though i were dust
since ancient times many who are bold have difficulties and are ignored
even if others withdraw from me, you should remain loyal
how has it come to be, this growing distance between us
a whirlwind has blown up bad vapors, you close your eyes, i am not seen
i open these pearls in my heart to you but suspect i will be rejected
i think of picking fragrant orchids to send to your hide-away
yet deep sorrow has benumbed my heart and insults to me bring tears
i want nothing more than the warm light beckon over the eastern wall

murphy destitute enough to resort to groveling





li bai xii-14

given to my cousin li lie

i once set sight on a mountain pheasant, not knowing the true phoenix
i wanted it to offer to my prince and only later recognized my error
now north of qi yuan cheng i am long separated from west of xian yang
though wind is blowing the long winter is over, and the oriole now sings

peach and plum trees bloom but the cold still threatens their loneliness
since i met you brotherhood have blossomed; we have shared joy
in this time of green mulberry leaves the silk caterpillars grow
when the sun rises the cuckoo calls and the peasants shoulder their hoes

yet i am one with sorrow here and no one invites me to go into the fields
fu yue brought rain to help his people, gong shu zi built high ladders
battles with the western barbarians still rage, nobility wrestles in the mud
i have extensive plans and would humbly accept an official position

i have no chance of an audience so will stay leaning on my walking stick
if you wish to see me, check out the spring where pan xi once fished

murphy dreaming once again of retiring into the hills





li bai xii-15

lu qiu, living in seclusion

your simple country home is in the hamlet of sha tang in an hui
shadows of bamboo sweep the moonlit land, lotus blossoms fill the pond
your reading is the shan hai jing, its cover left behind in the reading room
my desire is for pleasures of country life, i wish to stay in these woods

you offer perfumed wine, you cook me dewy mallows from your garden
i am a man to plant peaches and plums, help me cut reeds for a hut

murphy recognizing a rare sensei to learn from





li bai xii-16

dedicated to qian shao yang, a scholar appointed by the emperor

we each have a white jade cup filled with wine
and sit together in the green pastures of the third month
the spring winds will last only a short time
our hair has long since turned to silver threads

throughout the night we consume the light of the candles
it is never too late to cast the fishing lines
for if one should meet princes hunting on the banks of the wei river
one can always be the teacher as tai gong once was at wa wang

murphy imagining a life in the ivory tower





li bai xii-17

given to the reverend zhong zhun, the buddhist priest of ling yuan monastery in xuan zhou

the white clouds over the jing ting mountains
are as beautiful as those of cang wu
their scudding shadows dark on the waters
as if the sky had fallen on mirror lake

there are many men of the power of dragons and elephants
and then there is reverend zhong zhun
the nobility of his reputation is everywhere in jiang dong
and spreads even to the distant sea

your heart glows as moonlight on the water
you have acquired the sacred pearl of buddha
today i met you and you are a second zhi dun
the one who taught me the character of both life and death

murphy still with the grain of religiosity deep within him





li bai xii-18

given to the buddhist priest zhao mei

once as sailors floated over the high waves
a long whale rose from the great ocean
he sucked in huge masses of water
as the ship disappeared into his mighty throat

among the people on this ship only one survived
and he has found buddha’s pearl of moon radiance
its value surpasses all else on earth
its rich luster illuminating all the lakes and seas

the man holds the pearl on a gold thread of his shirt
and yet seems indifferent that it is there
who among us truly understands this little gem
i for one respect it highly and laugh to myself

our two hearts have understood the lesson
why should we talk about what only the buddha can bestow

murphy the zen clown with arms akimbo





li bai xii-19

given to the buddhist priest xing rong

in the liang priest tang hui xiu often walked with the poet bao zhao
priest shi huai yi of e mei shan sat at home with the learned chen zi ang
two eminent buddhist priests made friends with a phoenix and a unicorn
xing rong is also as famous as these men and i am honored to know him

he is hai ro who does not hide his worth and shares his pearl with others
when one goes to sea in a light boat he trusts to fate and quiet waves
when one writes poems in the tower he sips the wine of parrot island
wait until i come to east yue, hand in hand we will to visit bai lou pavilion

murphy accepting his identity as a poet





li bai xii-20

given to reverend hu from huang shan with a request for his two white cranes

introduction: i have heard that hu of huang shan has a pair of white cranes, which were hatched by domestic fowl and from youth were tame and familiar.  they show absolutely no fear or suspicion.  he calls them by their names, and they eat from his hand.  these birds are usually particularly shy, and it is very difficult to tame them. i have all my life, a very great fondness for these birds and so far but i have been unable to obtain such.  hu wants to separate himself from them and give them to me, but he asks for a poem in return.  when i heard this, i was glad, for an old wish was to come true, and i took the brush, three times crying out with joy, and gave him this poem, without taking any time on an effort to improve it.

with two white gems i wish to buy your two white cranes
their whiteness is that of brilliant brocade and shames even the snow
they cast their shadow on the clear jade pond as they preen their feathers
they are quiet in moonlight and walk through fallen flowers of morning

i want  these birds and to sit with them in play on the green mountains
if hu can bear to part with them, he might wish to send them to me

murphy not looking a gift horse in the mouth





li bai xii-21

i climb jing ting mountain, look south and think of the ancient world:  given to secretary dou

as soon as i reach the top i turn south, my eye slowly reaches far horizon
five or six immortals, i am told, have walked these same paths
the creek below the haunt of qin gao, tall cliffs the altar of fee ma gu
the white dragon of zi ming comes here
as does the yellow crane of huang zi an

these geniuses reached the sun and the moon on wings of the phoenix
as i descend from the heights i remember the unrest in the land
i wish to renounce this world i see before me and follow these wise men
my life is already half spent and what lies before is vague and blurred

i have to force myself to eat in the morning as i rise with a long sigh
i must follow dou zi ming and prepare the elixir of life in a purifying fire

murphy disgusted with the mendacity he sees around him





li bai xii-22

after the riots, as i am about to escape yan zhong, i give this poem to district judge cui of xuan cheng

the two wild geese of the huns flew out from lo yang
the five horses of home crossed over the stream
who would have imagined the young hun shi le
would move to the eastern gate and give his whistle

panthers and tigers roam the central lands
a terrible fire destroyed the temple of the dynasty
venus inauspiciously disturbs the sky during the day
the sun is setting and we lose its healing warmth

houses in all the cities are being ransacked
the path of the people a flight over stony ground
the whole world looks with trepidation toward chang an
eyebrows no longer smile when talking of the capital

people are coming to me like autumn leaves
they wish to mourn over the bleached bones of the fallen
the weapons of the many troops gleam like snowy mountains
but who can guarantee they will defeat the enemy

i spread my wings like the roc who hovers over the northern sea
i imitate the panther who crouches, hidden in the southern mountains
master cui has always been for me the most worthy of hosts
he often calls for me when he wishes to have a talk

on the bench lies the flute studded with violet gems
i lean back to make music whose tones penetrate the clouds
xuan zhou is filled with the willow flowers of spring
my host has put out his wine and we look out over the land

suddenly i think of traveling out past the yan river
and remember the beautiful water and rocks of that region
there the snow makes heaven and earth sparkle through the day
clean air brings crystal clear  views of the lakes and mountains

filled with sorrow i sing a sad song as a man from lo yang
i take my drunken leave after heartfelt songs of wu and yue
red clouds above tremble with late evening gold trim
the setting sun highlights the rocks of the sea

i sit in solitude with thoughts of the past
and let my fishing rod hang idly over the stream
a monkey nearby complains to the heavens
a man makes waves on the moonlit surface with his oar

i wish for you to become free of your work as a district judge
and come with me to find the secret of the elixir of life
if you bend down forever with your hair turning grey
you will earn the ridicule of tao yuan ming

murphy chucking it all in and heading for the hills





li bai xii-23

given to my uncle yang li bing, prefect of dang tu

qin shi huang darkened the six kingdoms
wang mang brought his new dynasty to a state of confusion
how could one know that a gao zi or guang wu di would rise
but, of course, they had men who helped them
xiao he and cao can put an end to the unsafe condition of the kingdom
king yan and xiao fu broke the resistance of the rebels
in my family is a man who is comparable to these good men
the powerful rise among the great of our dynasty
you wear not the insignia of the three dignitaries of the empire
you have not won your place among the revered four heroes of the land
but have known how to harness the power of the wind and the clouds
and have served the emperor with the essence of dragons and tigers
when still a young man you came to yan and zhao
and many worthy men gathered around your banner
you were a master of elevated conversation
and zhi bu made you one of the most important  voices for change

i know how you tend to forget your friends in different offices
and i have always feared we would never get to meet
my respectful thoughts have crystallized into nightly dreams
my heart full of the longing to be with you, the distant one
i am shamed compared to your high achievements
yet have now emptied the jeweled wine cup with you
500 years ago saw the friends of the bamboo grove come together
and now hopefully the bamboo is turning green again
wonderful songs emanate from the trees of the grove
and our laughter roars forth as sudden thunder

you take the brush and write using the seal script
it looks like rippling clouds and strikes fear in the heart
your rhetoric has an unusually brilliant originality
you instinctively rank the stars in the colors they show
your beautiful verses pour forth into the kingdom of the great river
and your great talent is well known in the imperial palace

in these difficult times you became the prefect of an old city
which was actually not thought of much anymore
the people disappeared like torn grass in the wind
when sweeping the floor there was nothing to glean
but your grace extended even to the birds and beasts
now the people have all returned to farming once again
the broad han river rolls wide its 10,000 miles
just as far spreads the reputation you have gained
hymns of praise are heard throughout the lands of wu and yue
they reach to the heights of the constellation of the three dignitaries

when i left nan ging i set out from the bai xia ting pavilion
high officials looked on this migratory bird with pity
spreading its wings differently from all the others
everyone draws as a gift a five colored feather from their own plumage
their good intentions are easy to compare with tai shan mountain
what they gave me, however, was only the cost of departure
it was like when a man carries a bucket of water to wet a whale
beating time with my sword here in dang tu i sing a song of action
because a cold wind rises between the front pillars of the house
the moon falls in the morning behind tian shan men
a pure frost whitens the niu xu mountain
with a deep sigh i make my way back to the river bank
i stand there ready to consider the embarrassment of my predicament

murphy running from his troubles only so far and no further





li bai xii-24

description of my feelings, given to the honorable chang under-district-judge of nan ling

during the years when the annual star disappeared from the heavens
there appeared dong fang so for the first time before his illustrious ruler
he ridiculed people of his time and soon gave up the imperial pleasure

i left the unicorn gallery, became alienated from the palace as did he
old friends no longer visited, autumn herbs grew lush on my front stairs
how different when you arrived and showed my poor heart sympathy
you organized a party on the ling xiao terrace whose discussions still rage
our songs set bai zhu shan to move, our dances the moon over tian men

you asked me what oppressed my heart, so i step in front of you to tell
you understand my talents, however small compared to confucius in lu
as the great saint had no success in life, why should i be one to complain
the fifth month the army suffered repeated defeats at the lu river
toxic herbs killed the horses of the han, the rebels snatched the qin flag
even now the xi er he runs with blood and is filled with dead bodies
the generals have no strategy as that of zhu ge liang to quell the unrest
even though chang an is most important, people there starve
several bushels of precious stones are worth less than a bowl of rice
fortunately an able minister was found who could reassure the masses
i realized that i could not help and have so far not returned

grief whitens the hairs of well meaning men, tears flood their clothes
because of the unrest i myself roamed and have alienated the world
finally i will like confucius confront those who offer only slander
but i will not allow myself to be the cause for mocking the people of lu

murphy explaining his peculiar activities in their best light





li bai xii-25

dedicated to wang lun

li tai bo is boarding his ship to sail away
suddenly he hears rhythmic singing and stamping
the peach blossom pond is a thousand feet deep
still deeper, however, the feelings of his farewell to wang lun

murphy reluctant to leave, but leaving indeed

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