The Moon over the West River
· Written for Wine after Abstinence
Nothing dissipates life as you,
Nor rids it of sorrow new.
Before blue-hill-like brow and wave-like eye,
I should be laughed at if I don’t drink my cup dry.
For no reason the flower fades.
Could I bar spring grief which invades?
Leave no cup in hand undrunk!
Don’t wait till all are gone and the moon sunk.
The poet says that wine can get rid of sorrow, when drinking with a fair songstress.
“The Moon over the West River · Written for Wine after Abstinence” is a lyric by Huang Tingjian, a writer and calligrapher of the Song Dynasty. It was written after the author’s deportation to Qianzhou. It expresses the author’s bitterness after his deportation and his desire to use wine to dispel his sorrows, and shows the author’s relaxed and open-minded sentiment. The lyrics are simple and elegant, showing the author’s skill in using idiomatic allusions.