Drinking Alone Poem by Li Po

Drinking Alone

Rating: 3.6


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 OF THE POEM
John S 01 April 2014

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.

8 4 Reply
Michael Pruchnicki 30 March 2009

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!

5 7 Reply
Terence George Craddock 30 March 2010

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.

5 6 Reply
Naida Nepascua Supnet 18 October 2010

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.

3 8 Reply
Shahzia Batool 30 March 2012

When the soul selects her own society, solitude turns into multitude......it's very beautiful......

5 6 Reply
Dr Dillip K Swain 28 August 2021

But the moon doesn't drink but my shadow.... beautifully expressed! A great poem!

0 0 Reply
Mohit Katyal 10 July 2017

this is an amazing poem.... inspired me a lot.. well done

4 1 Reply
Minx 33 11 March 2017

this is beautifully relatable, i love this

5 2 Reply
Sylvaonyema Uba 08 March 2017

But the moon doesn't drink Nicely communicated. Sylva A

4 2 Reply
* Sunprincess * 13 September 2015

....so beautiful, love this version, also ?

5 4 Reply
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Li Po

Chu / Kazakhstan
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