行路难 行路难 多歧路 今安在
translated by YK Chan ( 5 Oct 2009):
Trekking Pains Li Bai
Wine in a golden cup costs an arm and a leg;
food served in a jade platter makes you bankrupt quick.
Laying my cup down with chopsticks in hand, I still fancy the eats not;
my sword drawn: I look around in vain and at tort.
To cross Yellow River giant icebergs block;
the track up Mount Taiheng fully blizzard clogged.
Rather, better be an angler at leisure upon emerald brooks,
or a dreamer boating where the sun looks.
Trekking is pain and ache, ache and pain;
from mistaken routes where is my way?
A time would come for riding with the wind on the waves,
with sails hung high crossing the broad straights.
Translated by KC Lee (4 October 2009):
The Rough Road
Laid out on the table are bottles of the rarest vintage and my most favorite dishes presented in the finest china.
Yet in frustration I abandoned my glass and laid down my utensils.
Instead, I drew my sword. But all I could manage was to stare emptily into the distance.
Even if I want to cross the Yellow River , it is clogged with ice. As for my plan to traverse TaiHang Shan, it is thwarted by fierce snow storms.
But then I recalled the stories of Lu fishing leisurely by the creek, and Yi dreaming himself sailing past the Sun and the Moon. Before they were eventually recognized by the Emperor and accomplished great deeds for the country.
No doubt the road into my future is rough and uncertain. Yet I may still have my own day. Riding the tall winds to cut across the far oceans.