POTD: Ascending Tianmu Mountain in a Dream

Ascending Tianmu Mountain in a Dream
Bozeman, Montana
2019

Up a ladder of blue cloud,
Halfway up the cliff I see the ocean sunrise,
Holy cock-crow in space,
On a thousand precipices and in ten thousand valleys, the path is not clear.
Flowers lure me, rocks ease me. Day suddenly ends.
Bears, dragons, tempestuous on mountain and river,
Startle the forest and make the heights tremble.
Clouds, blackest black, are going to rain,
From placid water, mist rises.
Thunder and Lightning
Shatter hills and mountains.
The stone gate breaks asunder
Venting in the pit of heaven,
An impenetrable shadow.
…But now the sun and moon illumine a gold and silver terrace,
And, clad in rainbow garments, riding on the wind,
Come the queens of all the clouds, descending one by one,
With tigers for their lute-players and phoenixes for dancers.
Row upon row, like fields of hemp, range the fairy figures.
I move, my soul goes flying,
I wake with a long sigh,
My pillow and my matting
Are the lost clouds I was in.

–Li Bai