Hard is the Way of the World
Pure wine in golden cup costs ten thousand coins, good!
Choice dish in a jade plate is worth as much, nice food!
Pushing aside my cup and chopsticks, I can’t eat;
Drawing my sword and looking around, I hear my heart beat.
I can’t across Yellow River: ice has stopped its flow;
I can’t climb Mount Tai Hang: the sky is blind with snow.
I poise a fishing pole with ease on the green stream
Or set sail for the sun like the sage in a dream.
Hard is the way, Hard is the way.
Don’t go astray! Whither today?
A time will come to ride the wind and cleave the waves;
I’ll set my cloud-like sail to cross the sea which raves.
This is the first poem of a three- poem written by Li Bai, named “Hard is the Way of the World.” As the title shows, this group of poems expresses Li’s disappointment with the “difficult road” in the world. When Li Bai was ordered by the emperor to be an official, with an ambition to achieve big. However, he found that his talent was not appreciated, and others also framed him at the same time
But this poem is not all about complaining. Li has a positive attitude end of poetry, and he also believes that his time would finally come shortly, letting him look forward to like a brave sailor.
Li Bai was one of the greatest poets in ancient China, famous as the “god of poetry.” Because he was addicted to drink, he also has a reputation known as “god of wine.”
The image of “wine” appears a lot in his poems, usually together with depression and sadness. There is another famous line: “And my flower-dappled horse may be sold, to buy good wine that we may drown the woes age-old.”