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Yuan Chieh

Theme:  Wine Drinkers

Special Note:  The Wine Poems of China

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Stone Fish Lake
Yuan Chieh (723-772), Chinese poet
translated by Arthur Waley (1889-1966), British scholar/poet

I loved you dearly, Stone Fish Lake,
With your rock-island like a swimming fish!
On the fish's back is the Wine-cup Hollow,
And round the fish,— the flowing waters of the Lake.
The boys on the shore sent little wooden ships.
Each made to carry a single cup of wine.
The island-drinkers emptied the liquor-boats
And set their sails and sent them back for more.
On the shores of the Lake were jutting slabs of rock
And under the rocks there flowed an icy stream.
Heated with wine, to rinse our mouths and hands
In those cold waters was a joy beyond compare!

Of gold and jewels I have not any need;
For Caps and Coaches I do not care at all.
But I wish I could sit on the rocky banks of the Lake
For ever and ever staring at the Stone Fish.

from A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems (1919)


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