Ode of Red Cliff
by Su Shi
The great river surges east,
Its waves have scoured away
Since time began all traces of heroic men.
The western side of the old fort,
Was once, so people say,
Known as the Red Cliff of Zhou of the Three Kingdoms.
With piled-up rocks to stab the sky,
And waves to shake them thunderously
Churning the frothy mass to mounds of snow,
It's like a masterpiece in paint.
Those ages hide how many a hero!
Think back to those old days;
that first year when Zhou Yu had just married the Young Qiao.
Then, what a hero he became!
With waving fan and silken cap
He talked and laughed at ease
While masts and oars were blotted out in smoke and flame!
My wits that stray to realms of old
Deserve the scorn of all who feel;
Years pass, and hair grows white so soon.
Though a man's life is like a dream,
One toast continues still -- the River and the Moon!