keith holyoak

Farewell at a Jinling Tavern
Li Bai (701-762 CE)

The wind blows catkins off the willows;
      their fragrance fills the tavern.
Our hostess brings the guests new wine
      she urges us to savor.
Young friends from Jinling came today
      to drink and see me off.
I must leave, and they must stay—
      we let our last cups linger.
Friends, let’s ask the water flowing
      far away to the east:
The river, or sadness of farewell—
      which of the two is longer?

© 2006 by Keith Holyoak (translator)
First printed in Literary Imagination (2006)