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“Drunken” Classics of Mountains and Seas, “Drunken” Self-narration

Author: Liang Shaoji Translator: Lu Jiang 2020


After drinking, I see illusive mountains and seas, vast obscurity and chaos, collapsing sky and earth, and emerging history of myths and religions. With reverence for nature and the universe, this is a grand ritual that gives birth to heroes, gods and demons. Regardless of the occasions and the tastes, wine permeates into the myths around the world that mirror the vicissitude of the times. Tao Yuanming, the great poet of Eastern Jin (c. 365-427), writes in “Reading the Book of Mountains and Seas”: “Alone I taste the new spring wine in leisure / And pluck my garden vegetable with pleasure / When gentle showers from the east draw near / Now a pleasant breeze approaches here / On such occasions, I leaf through King of Zhou / And Maps of Hills and Seas of long ago / Since I can tour the whole world at a glance / What can be better pastime than this chance?” Hence, it seems to be the wine that brewed the “Book of Mountains and Seas”. There are countless literary works created in drunkenness: the mythology “Hou Yi shot the suns”, Zhuangzi’s “A drunken mind is full of spirit”, Cao Cao’s “defining a hero while warming the wine”, the famous wine drinker Li Bai’s “facing the reflection of the moon, we become three” and “after one cup, one can write hundreds of poems”, Dionysus, the god of wine who guarded the vineyards of the sacred mountain at Olympia, Greece, Satan, the drunkard who devoured mankind, etc.

Humans have once mistakenly stepped into the vinasse of capital, power and high technology, drunk and arrogant, leaving mountains and seas dejected. The earth, hurt and in pain, is restless again at the moment due to the coronavirus, which achieves ironically the “globalization” that humans long for. This unforgettable experience of “being towards death” almost brings us to the end of the world. Hence, we reflect on ourselves and call for the wisdom and bravery of Hou Yi, the mythical bird Jingwei, Goddess Nüwa and Prometheus. Raising my cup and asking the blue sky, where is Pan Gu at present, the hero who is said to have saved humans and created the world?

This is exactly:
Drunken, it is the heaven, the earth, the mountains, the seas, the gods, the men, and the worms.
The sun, it is burning, chased, shot, incomplete, dim, white, and drunken.


In the chaos, thousands of peaks were covered with fog and black clouds were rolling. All of a sudden, the wind blew violently and the thunder crashed. Stones split into pieces and the waves surged, animals howling. I could not open my eyes.

When I sailed downstream, the ark swayed in the chilly wind, leaking the wine.

The acid rain poured down. How strange it is! Why is the acid rain so hot and burning? When the spherical glass flask was burned up, as expected, it exploded like a sunspot, splashing liquid all over the place. Afterwards, the pottery jar and the glass flask collided into a wine vessel. The distilled grain then turned red, like flame, blood, sun, or the remains of the earth placed on the altar.

Xun, the traditional Chinese musical instrument, let out a melodious sound, accompanied by the drumbeat of the heroes’ warpath. Faintly, there was the roar of the poor, the grunts of the drunk and the barks of the dog. Noisy, weird, and mysterious.

The curving branches, as strong as the dragon that lied across the earth, which one is the ancient weapon? Which one is the wooden fossil of the god? Which one is Hou Yi, and which one is Kua Fu? Which one is Dionysus, and which is Adam, the one banished from Paradise Lost? Look! The tips of the curving branches, like the fingertips, are connecting to the computer keyboard. Which one of them is to rise into the air? Which is to be knocked to the ground by an electric shock, or is drunk to wake up? Looking into the stained harrow in the distance, the iron arrow was released, whizzing. Under the feet of the three-legged bird, the cracks in the round mirror resembled the wings of an angel flying through the silken clouds. Was it the sun, or the bright moon? The sun rises and sets, and the moon dims and shines. Stars spread high above the vast sky.

Finally, I was able to open my eyes. I found that the platform seemed to sink and float at the same time and that the white clouds and waves diffused on the aluminum-plastic board were the traces of the heavenly worms - the silkworms. Wisps of silk, transparent and light, trembled like the breath of life. In the light, the ripples it created continued to expand. The flow of water never stops, neither does life. Additionally, the pieces of iron and pottery, silk foil and ancient wood were the materials that I collected and played with. What really vitalized them was the unexpected moment, just like the silk and light encountered poetry in the dark.

Drunken poetry, drunken silk.

Nevertheless, how can we describe the post-pandemic era with the single word “drunken”?

October 14, 2020

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