Cao Cao was not only a feared Warlord, but a great and accomplished poet too. Along with his sons, Cao Pi and Cao Zhi, they are known as "Three Caos" in poetry.

Cao Cao, the Warlord, Founder of Cao Wei, Chancellor of the Han Dynasty

After writing about who Cao Cao was, and presenting you one of his most known poems , here is another poem written by Cao Cao just before the Battle of Red Cliffs, in the winter of 208 CE.

Short Song Style. (短歌行)

I lift my drink and sing a song,
for who knows if life is short or long?

Man’s life is but the morning dew,
past days many, future ones few.

The melancholy my heart begets,
comes from cares I cannot forget.

What can unravel these woes of mine?
I know but one drink – Du Kang Wine.

Disciples dress in blue,
my heart worries for you.

You are the cause,
of this song without pause.

Across the bank a deer bleats,
in the wild where it eats.

Honored my guests I salute,
strike the harp! Play the flute!

Bright is the moon’s spark,
when can I pick it apart?

Thoughts of you from deep inside,
cannot settle, cannot subside.

Friends drop by via a country road,
the respect they pay really show.

A long due reunion we fest,
sharing past stories we possessed.

Stars around the moons are few,
southward the crows flew.

Flying with no rest,
where shall they nest?

No mountain too steep,
no ocean too deep.

Sage pauses [from meals] when guests call,
so at his feet the empire does fall!

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