Drinking Alone under the Moon


Li Bai
s oft repeated poem inspires much thought. Were I to accompany Li Bai under the moon and the Milky Way, these would be mine to share — Alone we enter the world, alone we leave, and in the middle we have the chance to share a drink and dance. There were three there then, the moon, my shadow, and I. It was dimly lit, and two said not a word. In my pocket I found a poem, Li Bai, it was yours.

[Previously translated, December 2016]

Drinking Alone Under the Moon
Li Bai

A jug of wine among the flowers,
I drink alone, I think.
I tip my cup to the bright moon.
The moon, my shadow, and I make three.
The moon does not care to drink.
My shadow only trails along.
Fleeting friends we three, the moon, my shadow and I.
Still, let us make merry ’til the end of Spring.
The moon swaying as I sing.
My shadow dancing in step along with me.
Sober, we happily honor the hour.
Drunk, we part.
Our meeting beyond the heavens,
Until we gather again, these two and I,
Beneath the Heavenly River

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