We cannot keep the gold of yesterday;
To-day’s dun clouds we cannot role away.
Now the long, wailing flight of geese brings autumn in its train,
So to the view-tower cup in hand to fill and drink again,
And dream of the great singers of the past,
Their fadeless lines of fire and beauty cast.
I too have felt the wild-bird thrill of song behind the bars,
but these have brushed the world aside and walked amid the stars.
In vain we cleave the torrent’s thread with steel,
In vain we drink to drown the drink we feel;
When man’s desire with fate doth war this, this avails alone –
To hoist the sail and let the gale and the waters bear us on.
Drifting, Li Po