Drinking Alone With the Moon

Updated: 2010-03-24



  花间一壶酒, 独酌无相亲;
  举杯邀明月, 对影成三人。
  月既不解饮, 影徒随我身;
  暂伴月将影, 行乐须及春。
  我歌月徘徊, 我舞影零乱;
  醒时同交欢, 醉后各分散。
  永结无情游, 相期邈云汉。
  Li Bai
  From a pot of wine among the flowers
  I drank alone. There was no one with me --
  Till, raising my cup, I asked the bright moon
  To bring me my shadow and make us three.
  Alas, the moon was unable to drink
  And my shadow tagged me vacantly;
  But still for a while I had these friends
  To cheer me through the end of spring....
  I sang. The moon encouraged me.
  I danced. My shadow tumbled after.
  As long as I knew, we were boon companions.
  And then I was drunk, and we lost one another.
  ...Shall goodwill ever be secure?
  I watch the long road of the River of Stars.

  Introduction to the Poet
  Li Bai (701-762) was also called Tai Bai or Qing Lian Ju Shi (the Blue Lotus Recluse) as his poetic name. He is one of the most renowned and admired poets in China.
  A diligent reader in his youth, he was influenced by both Confucianism and Taoism. He started out at 25 to travel in the country. At the age of 42, a friend recommended him to the court. He was greatly delighted at first and eager to serve the emperor like an ancient capable statesman. But the Emperor Xuanzong only had him as a palace poet to write trivial lyrics while the emperor and Yang Guifei, his favorite imperial concubine, were feasting themselves. Unwilling to serve such a meaningless function, Li Bai left the capital in less than two years.
  Then Li Bai went on with his aimless wandering all over the country. Unfortunately, he was charged of being an adherent of the rebel and sentenced to exile, though pardoned on the way. He died of illness at Dangtu in today's Anhui.
  Li Bai is considered as the foremost romantic poet in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). His political ambition was spoiled, so he turned to drinking to drown his sorrows and writing, which was described as "A hundred poems per gallon liquor." His poetry is still very popular and recited by Chinese children today. Here are some of his poems in English.





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