Friday, September 30, 2011

Li Po: Now and then, a glass of wine, or two or . . .

Li Po (701 AD--762 AD)

Drinking Alone In The Moonlight

Number One

Beneath the blossoms with a pot of wine,
No friends at hand, so I poured alone;
I raised my cup to invite the moon,
Turned to my shadow, and we became three.
Now the moon had never learned about drinking,
And my shadow had merely followed my form,
But I quickly made friends with the moon and my shadow;
To find pleasure in life, make the most of the spring.

Whenever I sang, the moon swayed with me;
Whenever I danced, my shadow went wild.
Drinking, we shared our enjoyment together;
Drunk, then each went off on his own.
But forever agreed on dispassionate revels.
We promised to meet in the far Milky Way.

-- Li Po --

Number Two

Now, if Heaven didn't love wine,
There wouldn't be a Wine Star in Heaven.
And if Earth didn't love wine,
Earth shouldn't have the town of Wine Spring.
But since Heaven and Earth love wine,
Loving wine is no crime with Heaven.
The light, I hear, is like a sage.
The heavy, they say, is called the worthy.
If have have drunk with the sage and worthy,
What need have I to search for immortals?
Three cups and I've mastered the Way;
A jarful and I am at one with Nature.
A man can get hold of the spirit of drinking,
But no point explaining to those who abstain.

-- Li Po --

Old Tai's Wine Shop

When Old Tai goes down below,
He may still make Young Springtime brew;
But there's no Li Po on the Terrace of Night,
So who in hell will he sell it to?

-- Li Po --

from World Poetry: An Anthology of Verse
from Antiquity to Our Time
Elling O. Eide, trans

(Now--where is that corkscrew?)

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