Staying up All Night on New Year’s Eve
The end of the year is drawing near
As a snake crawls back to its hole.
We see half its body disappear
And soon we’ll lose sight of the whole.
If we try to tie down its tail,
We can’t succeed whate’er we do.
Children will stay up and regale
Themselves with feast the whole night through.
Cocks, wake not the dawn with your song;
Drums, do not boom out the hour now!
The wick is burned as I sit long,
I rise to see the slanting Plough.
Will these be no New Year’s Eve next year?
I am afraid time waits for none.
Let us enjoy tonight with cheer
So that childhood will longer run.
Seeing the Year Out
Want to know what the passing year is like?
A snake slithering down a hole.
Half his long scales already hidden,
how to stop him from getting away?
Grab his tail and pull, you say?
Pull all you like – it does no good.
The children try hard not to doze,
chatter back and forth to stay awake,
but I say let dawn cocks keep still!
I fear the noise of watch drums pounding.
We’ve sat so long the lamp’s burned out.
I get up and look at the slanting Dipper.
How could I hope next year won’t come?
My mind shrinks from the failures it may bring.
I work to hold on to the night
while I can still brag I’m young.
（Burton Watson 译）