A jug of wine in the midst of flowers
drinking alone, no family or friends
I raise the cup to toast the bright moon
and my shadow-- that makes three of us.
The moon doesn't know how to drink
and my shadow is my servant
For now I'll take the moon and my shadow
happy until the end of spring
I sing, the moon swings back and forth
I dance, my shadow acts crazy.
When we're sober we're happy together
When drunk we scatter apart
Eternally bonded-- friendlessly wandering
Time together as far away as the clouds and the stars
--Li Bai (李白)(701-762) is probably the most famous of all Chinese poets. After brilliant success at the court of the Tang emperor, he fell into disgrace when he got drunk in the emperor's presence. A powerful eunuch was asked to pull off Li Bai's boots and the eunuch was so furious that he brought about Li Bai's fall from grace. The poet supposedly died while trying to embrace the reflection of the moon in the Yangtze River.
This is one of his most famous poems and there are many, many translations. Here are 43 more versions.