Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Friday, September 23, 2005

300 Tang Dynasty Poems: #6 Drinking Alone With The Moon

The Tang Dynasty was a Golden Age of Culture in old China. Poetry, in particular, was an important part of the culture. Everyone wrote poetry. There would be no occassion, a homecoming or leave taking, a birth or death; any event of import would have composed for it, an appropriate poem.

I spent the last week travelling on business. If I were more clever, I would compose a poem to celebrate my return to my home.

As it is, if you would click on the title of this post, you'll be directed to an online version of an anthology of Tang Dynasty Poems, the famous 300 Tang Dynasty Poems.

What follows is one of the most famous, by one of the most famous poets of that era, Li Po (aka Li Bai).

Li Bai
From a pot of wine among the flowers
I drank alone. There was no one with me --
Till, raising my cup, I asked the bright moon
To bring me my shadow and make us three.
Alas, the moon was unable to drink
And my shadow tagged me vacantly;
But still for a while I had these friends
To cheer me through the end of spring....
I sang. The moon encouraged me.
I danced. My shadow tumbled after.
As long as I knew, we were boon companions.
And then I was drunk, and we lost one another.
...Shall goodwill ever be secure?
I watch the long road of the River of Stars.

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