‘Short Song Style’, Cao Cao

I really enjoy this poem by Cao Cao. First that I saw it (literally, saw it) was in that great scene in Red Cliff where it is recited to a flame-enlightened dark night.

I lift my drink and sing a song
For who knows if life be short or long
Man’s life is but the morning dew
Past days many, future ones few
The melancholy my heart begets
Comes from cares I cannot forget
Who can unravel these woes of mine?
I know but one man… the God of Wine!
Disciples dressed in blue
My heart worries for you
You are the cause
of this song without pause
Across the bank a deer bleats
in the wilds where it eats
Honored guests I salute
Strike the harp! Play the flute!
Bright is the moon’s spark
Never ceasing, never dark
Thoughts of you from deep inside
Cannot settle, cannot subside
Stars around the moon are few
Southward the crows flew
Flying with no rest
Where shall they nest?
No mountain too steep
No ocean too deep
Sages rush when guests call
So at their feet…
The empire does fall!

Indeed, no ocean too deep!

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