Yeee―hooo―syee! How perilous ! So high !
Hardships of the way to Shu―
much harder than climbing the blue sky!
Cancong it was, and also Yufu,
Who founded this state in the oh so dim past,
Thence were four myriad, eight thousand more years
Till its homefires were joined up with the Qin frontier.
Facing west then from Mount Taibo was a pathway but for birds,
By means of which one could cut across to the summit of Emei.
There the land crumbled, a mountain collapsed, stalwart men died;
Only after came
Sky-strung ladders, edgeways of stone, to clinch the link at last.
And above is
The high bough where the six dragons reversed the sun’s course,
A backflow of waters where waves crashing swirl and recoil.
Even the flight of the yellow crane cannot push on beyond this place;
Long-armed monkeys who wish to cross over fear to swing up here.
Twisted so and tortuous is the Blue Mud Pass―
Nine turnings for every hundred paces to wind round the rugged crest.
Grab onto Triaster! Pass through the Well! Look up and gasp in alarm!
Hold your hand against your panting chest―sit down, catch your breath.
I ask you, sir, as you travel west, when is it you’ll come back?
One dreads the craggy steeps of the route, impossible to scale.
There you’ll see only disheartened birds, calling in age-old trees;
The male takes wing, trailing his mate, circling amidst the grove.
And too, you’ll hear the cuckoo’s crying―
In the moonlight, sorrowing in empty hills.
The hardships of the way to Shu—
much harder than climbing the blue sky.
It will waste the ruddy features of all who hear of it!
There linked peaks lie distant from the sky by no more than a foot,
Where withered pines hang head-downward against sheer walls.
And airborne billows, currents of spray, clash in a deafening din;
Pounded banks, hurtling rocks, thunder through ten-thousand
The cramped hazards of it are just as I say,
who are on such a distant road, why ever did you come this way?
Loftily lifted, Sword Gallery, so towering and tall―
With one man at its barrier,
Ten thousand cannot force through.
If that guard be any but one of our kin,
He is just as well changed into wolf or dhole.
At morning beware of fell tigers;
At night beware of long snakes.
Their whetted teeth will suck your blood,
They crop people like rows of hemp.
And though the Brocade City is said to be so pleasing,
Better it is to turn back home as quickly as you can.
The hardships of the way to Shu―
much harder than climbing the blue sky !
Turned to the side, I gaze off to the west, sighing long, alas! oh no!
– Li Bo. The Way to Shu is Hard