Monday, January 23, 2012

Alone And Drinking Under The Moon

Amongst the flowers I
am alone with my pot of wine
drinking by myself; then lifting
my cup I asked the moon
to drink with me, its reflection
and mine in the wine cup, just
the three of us; then I sigh
for the moon cannot drink,
and my shadow goes emptily along
with me never saying a word;
with no other friends here, I can
but use these two for company;
in the time of happiness, I
too must be happy with all
around me; I sit and sing
and it is as if the moon
accompanies me; then if I
dance, it is my shadow that
dances along with me; while
still not drunk, I am glad
to make the moon and my shadow
into friends, but then when
I have drunk too much, we
all part; yet these are
friends I can always count on
these who have no emotion
whatsoever; I hope that one day
we three will meet again,
deep in the Milky Way.

 — Li Po

(Alternately known as Li Bai (701-762) the great Taoist philosopher and poet Li Po roamed the China lands as a young man enjoying life and drink. Summoned by his benefactor the Emperor Xuanzong to the royal palace, a drunken Li Po improvised fantastic love poems that temporarily kept him in good stead. Following his dismissal from the royal court Li Po continued with his vagabond ways. One romantic legend has Li Po drowning after falling into the water in an attempt to embrace the moon. On the occasion of Chinese New Year and the Year of the Dragon we soberly recall the poetry of the inimitable Li Po.)

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