Li Bai Poem

Three Poems on Wine

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I.

        Among the flowers a drink of wine.
I sit alone without a friend.
So I invite the moon,
Then see my shadow, make us three.
The moon can’t know how to drink,
Since just my shadow drinks with me.
The moon brought shadow along
To keep me silent company.
Joy should reflect the season.
I sing. That makes the Moon reel.
Get up. Make my shadow sway.
While I’m here let’s celebrate.
When I’m drunk each seek the Way,
Tie ourselves to Eternal Journeys,
Swear to meet again in the Milky Way.

II

If the heavens were not in love with wine,
There’d be no Wine Star in the sky.
And if earth wasn’t always drinking,
There’d be nowhere called Wine Spring.
I’ve heard that pure wine makes the Sage.
Even the cloudy makes us wise.
If even the wise get there through drink,
What’s the point of True Religions?
Three times and I understand the Way,
Six and I’m one again with Nature.
Only the things we know when we’re drunk
Can never be expressed when we’re sober.

III

Third month in Ch’ang-an city,
Knee-deep in a thousand fallen flowers.
Alone in Spring who can stand this sadness?
Or sober see transient things like these?
Long life or short, rich or poor,
Our destiny’s determined by the world.
But drinking makes us one with life and death,
The Myriad Things we can barely fathom.
Drunk, Heaven and Earth are gone.
Stilled, I clutch my lonely pillow.
Forgetting that the Self exists,
That is the mind’s greatest joy.

Through the Yangzi Gorges
Thoughts On a Quiet Night

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