At dawn official drumbeats hasten the sunrise;
At dusk the booming drums call the moon to the skies.
When yellow willows put forth new buds in the town,
In tomb is buried the favorite of the crown.
The drums have boomed a thousand years, still shines the sun,
But ancient emperors of Qin and Han have done.
Your hair once black may turn white as reed flowers stand,
The drums with southern hills will ever guard our land.
Even immortals were buried in the sky,
The drumbeats and the water-clock will never die.
The time-marking drumbeats, says the poet, will last longer than imperial dynasty and human life.
The “Official Drums” is a poem written by Li He, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. The first six lines of the poem are about the normal phenomenon of the drums beating non-stop from day to day, the sun and the moon, the growth of grass and trees, the old age and death of human beings, and the old age and death of Qin Shi Huang and Han Wu Di, who were in pursuit of immortality, satirizing the foolishness of the emperors in the past who talked about the immortals and sought immortality. The last four lines are about the change of life and the change of hair from black to white, and the death of the immortals. The whole poem is a clever and cleverly conceived poem, with alert language, a dark and cold mood, and the constant sound of drums as a metaphor for the longevity of the universe and the infinity of history.