(From the Chinese of Li Bai, 701-762AD)
Under flowering trees, a flagon of wine.
No friends to join me; solo am I.
I beckon the moon by raising my cup …
Ha! he, me, my shadow – a threesome will sup.
But what, now! The moon cannot gulp down a draught,
and my shadow jumps round me, this way and that!
Buuut – the moon and my shadow are still my good friends,
and we’ll toast to the Spring till it comes to an end.
I sing, and the moon swings and sways to the song.
I dance, and my shadow romps wildly along.
While I’m lucid, the pleasure remains, my good friends!
When I’m reeling… I’m sorry… our friendship must end.
But that friendship is pledged; we can roister at large
when we gather like this again under the stars!
From ‘Translations of Classical Chinese Poetry’