Facing Wine

Never refuse wine. I’m telling you,
people come smiling in spring winds:
peach and plum like old friends, their
open blossoms scattering toward me,
singing orioles in jade-green trees,
and moonlight probing gold winejars.

Yesterday we were flush with youth,
and today, white hair’s an onslaught.

Bramble’s overgrown Shih-hu Temple,
and deer roam Ku-su Terrace ruins:
it’s always been like this, yellow dust
choking even imperial gates closed
in the end. If you don’t drink wine,
where are those ancient people now?

Li Bai (701–762)

Drinking Alone With The Moon

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

Li Bai (701-762)