Drums on the Capital’s Main Street by Li Ho 李賀《官街鼓》



Drums on the Capital’s Main Street by Li Ho
Thundering thundering at dawn the drums hasten the rising sun.
Thundering thundering at dusk the drums call out the moon.
Upon the capital, the yellowish shoot of willows shine upon curtains newly hanged,
While down in the mausoleum enshrouded by cypress trees, lie fragrant bones of royal consorts.
Pounding the drums, crumbling the everlasting daylight of a thousand years,
Not the Emperor of Ch’in, nor the Emperor Wu of Han, can hear it for long.
From when you once had dark hairs, to them turning white like reed catkins,
Guarding the imperial city there, only the southern hill with the drums.
Time and again, even the immortals have been buried in heaven.
But day after day, the drums and the drip of water clock, a duet without an end.


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