Li Po

(701-762 / Chu / Kazakhstan)

Drinking Alone - Poem by Li Po

I take my wine jug out among the flowers
to drink alone, without friends.

I raise my cup to entice the moon.
That, and my shadow, makes us three.

But the moon doesn't drink,
and my shadow silently follows.

I will travel with moon and shadow,
happy to the end of spring.

When I sing, the moon dances.
When I dance, my shadow dances, too.

We share life's joys when sober.
Drunk, each goes a separate way.

Constant friends, although we wander,
we'll meet again in the Milky Way.

Li T'ai-po
tr. Hamil

Comments about Drinking Alone by Li Po

  • Gold Star - 36,330 Points * Sunprincess * (9/13/2015 4:37:00 PM) beautiful, love this version, also ★ (Report) Reply

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  • Gold Star - 9,403 Points Charity Nduhiu (9/10/2015 2:35:00 AM)

    We have a lesson to learn here that we share life's joys when sober.
    Drunk, each goes a separate way. Wonderful (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 5,000 Points Elizabeth Padillo Olesen (11/10/2014 6:17:00 AM)

    I find this poem so beautiful with very good images... (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 5,000 Points Elizabeth Padillo Olesen (11/10/2014 6:16:00 AM)

    I find this very beautiful with beautiful harmonic images to the given theme. Keep on posting. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,051 Points Maya Hanson (4/5/2014 3:00:00 PM)

    beautiful! ! ! I love it (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 765 Points John S (4/1/2014 12:47:00 PM)

    I love this poem! I would like to learn more about different styles of poems and different terminology. This poem is almost surreal. He's drinking with the moon, the flowers, and his shadow. He's enticing the moon with his ale. I guess it's called personification when you talk about the moon and your shadow like they're real people. This poem really takes you on a beautiful trip. The moon and his shadow are dancing together and having a splendid time, and when they part ways, they'll meet again in the milky way. Li Po would have been a fun guy to drink with. (Report) Reply

    Gold Star - 11,360 Points Frank Avon (10/20/2014 1:04:00 AM)

    Oh, and by the way, the poem doesn't rhyme - in Chinese or in this fine English translation. Go figure!

  • Rookie - 406 Points Richard Blay (3/30/2014 4:26:00 PM)

    solitude! lovely one (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 18 Points Besa Dede (3/30/2014 3:35:00 PM)

    Beautiful poem. Li Po has a gentle way of describing even a simple event such as drinking in solitude :) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie William Goldman (3/30/2014 12:19:00 PM)

    I love those lines
    We share life's joys when sober.
    Drunk, each goes a separate way. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 826 Points Birgitta Abimbola Heikka (3/30/2014 10:31:00 AM)

    They say it's not good to drink alone. I like the way the poem ended. My favorite verses are the last 3- When I sing the moon dances.... (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 19,808 Points Ramesh Rai (3/30/2014 8:38:00 AM)

    An emotion write of Li Po will certainly attract the new generation to mend. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 59 Points Joe Hughes (3/30/2013 6:10:00 AM)

    A great discovery for me.
    Thank you LiPo though you lived so long ago.
    Joe Hughes on Poemhunter and at (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,483 Points Shahzia Batool (3/30/2012 9:01:00 AM)

    When the soul selects her own society, solitude turns into's very beautiful...... (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,776 Points Naida Nepascua Supnet (10/18/2010 8:46:00 AM)

    i remember in college when i found out about lipo, i collected his poems, i remember this one because i think it is funny, i love the poem and the poet. He is immortal. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Terence George Craddock (3/30/2010 6:46:00 AM)

    Li Po chooses beautiful natural surroundings and sits among flowers to drink and contemplate long before a generation of flower power take this conception to symbolize a desire for peace and love not war. Shadow and moon are a powerful influence at night in settings of unique interactive meditation. A challenging theme for an artists charcoal oils or a poets pen.
    'We share life's joys when sober.
    Drunk, each goes a separate way.'
    True often when drinking companions are few, but drunken football or rugby teams, worse still when staunch fans of major domestic or international teams, get out of control; suddenly the energy of an earthquake or title wave can be unleashed with amazing force in confined places. Alcohol and friends are poetry of enticing potential. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Nina .a. (3/30/2010 6:09:00 AM)

    congrats on making poem of the day, i liked it so i voted :) (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 15,816 Points Ramesh T A (3/30/2010 2:38:00 AM)

    Wine effect with the influence of Moon though taken alone will surely make one meet Moon, shadow and self in the Milky Way! A wise way to enjoy with Nature! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 192 Points Joseph Poewhit (3/30/2009 2:06:00 PM)

    Finding a reason for drinking is the keyword. Some drink for drunkenness, while some wine and flowers beauty, and a silent friend, we find a reason. Seeking a beauty, in the flowing world of wines intoxication. Elevated, insightful things appear. BUT, to lie in an alleyway with an empty bottle - WELL LI PO WAS RIGHT. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 9,016 Points Is It Poetry (3/30/2009 2:01:00 PM)

    It is a terrible shame that thier are not
    hundreds of these simple thoughts
    of friend ship inside this one head..iip
    on paper... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Michael Pruchnicki (3/30/2009 10:22:00 AM)

    Prissy comments about this poem in English translation having nothing to offer an expert reader and poet like Straw leaves me in dismay and feigned sorrow! What a bleeding pity for us all! He prefers classical music in the raw to the diluted versions on his iPod, mercy me! God help us, but I'll take a drunken Chinese poet any time to a pretentious wannabe nattering on about communication and translation and all that! (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: moon, travel, dance, spring, happy, alone, life, joy, flower, friend

Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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