the cloudy river of the sky…
- 花間一壺酒。 A cup of wine, under the flowering trees;
- 獨酌無相親。 I drink alone, for no friend is near.
- 舉杯邀明月。 Raising my cup I beckon the bright moon,
- 對影成三人。 For her, with my shadow, will make three people.
- 月既不解飲。 The moon, alas, is no drinker of wine;
- 影徒隨我身。 Listless, my shadow creeps about at my side.
- 暫伴月將影。 Yet with the moon as friend and the shadow as slave
- 行樂須及春。 I must make merry before the Spring is spent.
- 我歌月徘徊。 To the songs I sing the moon flickers her beams;
- 我舞影零亂。 In the dance I weave my shadow tangles and breaks.
- 醒時同交歡。 While we were sober, three shared the fun;
- 醉後各分散。 Now we are drunk, each goes their way.
- 永結無情遊。 May we long share our eternal friendship,
- 相期邈雲漢。 And meet at last on the Cloudy River of the sky.
poem Li Bai, translation Arthur Waley
image (cc) 2009 Hilary Farmer