A Visit to Sky-Mother Mountain in a Dream
Donning the shoes of Xie,
I climbed the dark ladder of clouds.
Midway, I saw the sun rise from the sea,
Heard the Cock of Heaven crow.
And my path twisted through a thousand crags,
Enchanted by flowers I leaned against a rock,
And suddenly all was dark.
Growls of bears and snarls of dragons echoed
Among the rocks and streams;
The deep forest appalled me, I shrank from the lowering cliffs;
Dark were the clouds, heavy with rain;
Waters boiled into misty spray;
Lightning flashed; thunder roared;
Peaks tottered, boulders crashed;
And the stone gate of a great cavern
Below me, a bottomless void of blue,
Sun and moon gleaming on terraces of silver and gold;
With rainbows for garments, and winds for horses,
The lords of the clouds descended, a mighty host.
Phoenixes circled the chariots, tigers played zithers,
As the immortals went by, rank upon rank.
My heart was seized by fear and wonder,
And waking with a start I cried out,
For nothing was there except my mat and pillow—
Gone was the world of mists and clouds.
And so with the pleasures of this life;
All pass, as water flows eastward.
I leave you, friend—when shall I return?
I shall pasture white stags among green peaks
And ride to visit mountains famed in legend.
Would you have me bow my head before mighty princes,
Forgetting all the joy of my heart?