Seeing Off My Elder BrotherLu Zhaolin (634-684/686)
You’ll travel home through frontier mountain roads
To see the blooms and willows of Chang’än;
But now it’s time we part our hands goodbye,
To gaze in silent sorrow, and journey on.
At home we fenced with traveling swords,
Cutting at this and that like idle lords;
The two of us, like towns around a turn,
Will drift apart as soon as I return.
Riding horses over the moon bridge south,
We follow the light to the road fork’s mouth;
Arriving at last at Shandong Mountain,
Memories flow like an endless fountain.
Blossoms scatter about this fragrant plot
As we drink until our sense is shot;
Drunk and happy, we rise with force,
But cannot climb back on the horse.
Fate is a sword that swings by chance—
I wonder where my brothers have gone.
Wiping these tears that wet my sleeves,
I comb my hair like a silken lawn.
The earth is vulgar, vast, and wild,
But Heaven is far, like the distant dawn.
For who is spared from sickness in time?
I cannot see you though life slips on.
Original Chinese Poem