Inviting Liu (#19) – Bai Juyi
Green foam on fresh-brewed beer –
Small red clay stove aglow-
The sky at dusk bodes snow.
Come chug a mug of cheer?
wen4 Liu2 (shi2 jiu3)
lu4 y3i xin1 pei1 jiu3
hong2 ni4 xiao3 huo3 lu2
wan3 lai2 tian1 yu4 xue3
neng2 yin4 yi1 bei1 wu2
Green ant* new unstrained beer/wine
Red clay small fire stove
Evening come sky almost snow
Can drink one cup not?
Green foam on beer that’s newly brewed,
A little stove of red clay burns.
As evening comes, the sky’s about to snow,
Can you drink one cup with me?
I love this little vignette of warmth and informal hospitality. I took the liberty of imagining newly-brewed beer instead of rice wine, as being more likely to foam, and fitting the informal tone of the poem.
The current usage of 螘 in the fist line is simply “ant” but some internet research reveals that “green ant” was also used as a slang term to describe the foamy skim of newly-brewed rice wine.
饮 in the fourth line has the meaning of “give drink to animals” so I am assuming some slangy equivalent of “drink” would carry the original tone best.