A Poem a Day: Li Bai, Boozy Chinese Poet

Drinking Alone in the Moonlight
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Li Po (c. 750, “translated” by Ezra Pound, 1915)
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Amongst the flowers is a pot of wine
I pour alone but with no friend at hand
So I lift the cup to invite the shining moon,
Along with my shadow we become party of three

The moon although understands none of drinking, and
The shadow just follows my body vainly
Still I make the moon and the shadow my company
To enjoy the springtime before too late

The moon lingers while I am singing
The shadow scatters while I am dancing
We cheer in delight when being awake
We separate apart after getting drunk

Forever will we keep this unfettered friendship
Till we meet again far in the Milky Way

(from Cathay, by Ezra Pound, 1915)

Li Bai

Li Bai

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