Drinking Alone Under the Moon

Drinking Alone Under the Moon

Amidst the blooms, a jug of wine I pour,
A solitary drinker, forever more.
With cup aloft, I toast the silvery moon,
And with my shadow, a trio, we swoon.

Oh Moon, where do you find such pleasure in drink?
Oh Shadow, why do you linger, on the brink?
Let us savor this moment, this spring so fair,
With moonbeams and shadow, as companions rare.

The Moon listens as I serenade the night,
Roaming the skies, a celestial sprite.
My Shadow dances to each step I take,
Bounding and rolling, for my shadow’s sake.

While we are sober, let us make merry,
But when we’re drunk, our paths will surely vary.
Oh Moon, let us be friends, till the end,
And meet again, on the galaxy’s bend.


This poem was written about the third year of Emperor Xuanzong’s Tianbao (744), when Li Bai was in Chang’an, at a time when he was frustrated in officialdom. Under the title of this poem, the word “Chang’an” is annotated in both Song and Miao versions, which means that these four poems were written in Chang’an. At that time, Li Bai’s political ideals could not be realized, and he felt lonely and depressed. But in the face of the dark reality, he did not sink, did not join forces with others, but pursued freedom and yearned for the light, because of this work.






Li Bai

Li Bai (701-762), considered one of China’s greatest poets alongside Du Fu, lived during the Tang Dynasty’s golden age of poetry. Known for his vivid imagery and deep emotion, Li Bai’s work spans about 1,000 poems on themes like nature, friendship, and existential reflections. Celebrated for his spontaneous verse and exploration of Taoist ideals, Li Bai’s poetry also deeply admires the natural world and ancient times, often challenging life’s ordinary constraints. His depiction of China’s landscapes combines natural beauty with personal sentiment. Earning the title ‘Poetry Immortal,’ Li Bai’s influential poetry is globally admired for its artistic and philosophical depth.


Image: MidJourney/DALL-E 2