Treasure Island

Li Po

(701-762 / Chu / Kazakhstan)

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Amidst The Flowers A Jug Of Wine


Amidst the flowers a jug of wine,
I pour alone lacking companionship.
So raising the cup I invite the Moon,
Then turn to my shadow which makes three of us.
Because the Moon does not know how to drink,
My shadow merely follows the movement of my body.
The moon has brought the shadow to keep me company a while,
The practice of mirth should keep pace with spring.
I start a song and the moon begins to reel,
I rise and dance and the shadow moves grotesquely.
While I'm still conscious let's rejoice with one another,
After I'm drunk let each one go his way.
Let us bind ourselves for ever for passionless journeyings.
Let us swear to meet again far in the Milky Way.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Edited: Tuesday, June 07, 2011

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Comments about this poem (Amidst The Flowers A Jug Of Wine by Li Po )

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  • Hardik Vaidya (3/17/2013 3:12:00 AM)

    The most brilliant poems I have ever read and it is so refreshing, it brakes all stereotypes, I am humbled beyond words and expression. A man from the orient could write with such sensitivity and such depth, marvellous. Starting with the flowers and then connecting with a jug of wine, leaping to ones shadow as an Independant being and then the moon as a participant, so fresh thinking, so wild, so magnetic, it is ancient in its roots and so modern in its feel, like a young woman, dressed to reveal and yet her eyes conceal. (Report) Reply

  • Esmenio Galera (3/17/2012 9:25:00 PM)

    I like this poem. It brings me to places where I am alone. Sometimes I drink wine alone, and I enjoyed more when my companions talk on diverse things going to nothing. This is a poem of all times. (Report) Reply

  • ian Hathaway (3/17/2012 8:42:00 PM)

    I would like to say that i enjoyed the poem, and furthermore Straw's mild adaptation made it a little easier to feel and understand what was trying to be portrayed. Words may be substituted when translated because what word works in one language may not fit the emotion in another. Thusly Olivarez, i feel that although Straw could easily have chosen kinder words to explain, he is right. Side note the K is by the L on almost all keyboards so he likely typed in a rush to post and move on, not noticing his mild mistake. (Report) Reply

  • Smoky Hoss (3/17/2012 12:13:00 PM)

    Can anyone explain why Mr. Straw (who certainly appears to be a fine poet) seems so angry, so often?
    Does the sun refuse to shine into his window upon the world? (Report) Reply

  • Ink (3/17/2012 10:33:00 AM)

    hmm, I'm sure I read a translation of this that flowed heaps better (Report) Reply

  • Mohammad Akmal Nazir (6/7/2011 3:35:00 AM)

    Fine poem having conventional ideas of wine drinking. Full of rapture and ecstacy. Though the translation is a bit jerky yet it coveys the central theme of the poem successfully. (Report) Reply

  • Juan Olivarez (3/17/2011 10:49:00 AM)

    Unfortunately as I told you in our private letter, you seem to have appointed yourself the Judge Jury and Executioner for all of us on poemhunter and you also believe you know better than all the great poets, because you always change their words and substitute your own. I think you are just arrogant, and full of yourself. Nuff said. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (3/17/2011 10:47:00 AM)

    Okivarez - I was not changing a great poet's work, I was trying to better a fourth rate translator's translation. What you are saying is that no poem or translation can be faulted, that they are all perfect. What you want is that we all leave our critical faculties in the cupboard when we read poetry. Your attitude is, in a word, stupid. I suggest you wake up and smell the coffee, and bring your mind along with you when you read poetry! (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (3/17/2011 10:38:00 AM)

    Olivarez - If you had an ear and an eye you would see that this translation clunks along like an old jalopy. What you are saying is that every poem and every translation cannot be faulted. I suggest you wake up and smell the coffee! (Report) Reply

  • Juan Olivarez (3/17/2011 10:12:00 AM)

    You can no more change a great poets work by using your own words(that is the worst kind of egotism) as you can change a great story like Wuthering Heights and make it a movie. It has always astonished me that people think they know better than the author of the piece. I am sure the person or persons that translated the piece know so much better. Like Pope when he had The Odyssey translated, he hired the best translators he did not fly by the seat of his pants, or did additions and corrections on the spurr of the moment. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (3/17/2010 8:22:00 AM)

    I offer the following as a better express of this version, though not a translation:

    Among the flowers a jug of wine
    I pour alone, and lack companionship
    I raise the cup, invite the Moon
    Turn to my shadow making three of us.

    The Moon not knowing how to drink,
    My shadow moves but with my body
    The moon has brought my shade for company
    The act of mirth should walk with Spring.

    I start a song, the moon starts reeling
    I rise and dance, my shade’s grotesque.
    While I can think, let us rejoice
    And after, each one go his own way.

    Let’s bind us for impassioned journeys
    Let’s swear to meet far in the Mily Way (Report) Reply

  • Sadiqullah Khan (3/17/2010 7:47:00 AM)

    Drink Drink Sire

    Drink drink sire
    None other times
    Insistent more
    No other shadow
    But thyself
    Moon and stars

    Drink drink sire
    Thy creed to followers
    Lonely hearts
    Under the moon
    And in the flowers

    Drink drink sire
    What times other
    What seasons other
    Spring and stars
    And the moon
    And song of love

    Drink drink sire
    To the last drop
    Un satiated
    More and more
    From moon now
    To stars now
    To milky way

    Drink drink sire
    To the passion of drink
    To meet again in the journey

    For Li Po (Report) Reply

  • Adnan Khalifeh (3/17/2010 6:43:00 AM)

    I feel lonely without you.
    I drink my wine alone.
    The moon could not replace you.
    My own shadow tried the same.
    The three of us are missing you.
    We swore to meet again.
    in the place where we can see you
    In heaven or in the Milky-Way.
    Adnan, (Report) Reply

  • Terence George Craddock (3/17/2010 6:04:00 AM)

    What a wonderful way to hide the wine, a sweet adventure in the finding. To celebrate Li Po, we must arrange a festive open air drinking, and salute him in song. To invite the moon and shadow to drink with us, is a real love of La Luna, and inviting all the stars of the Milky Way is most serene. High in the mountains on a spring or even a cold winter’s night, far from civilization and pollution, you do not even have to drink to be drunk upon celestial wonder. ‘The Taste Of Wine’, ‘A Cup Of Wine Would I Give Thee’, so many poems celebrating the grape. What a party we could have drinking listening to the best of them. Raising our glasses to them in friendship and appreciation. This was a poem to get drunk upon. Cheers.

    I would give you wine and song
    to bless the startling memory

    of first reborn celestial day,
    veiled in radiance, you came along (Report) Reply

  • Adnan Khalifeh (3/17/2010 5:52:00 AM)

    I feel lonely without you
    I drink my wine alone
    The moon could not replace you
    My own shadow did the same
    The three of us are missing you
    We swore to meet again
    It is only where we see you
    In heaven or in the Milky-Way. (Report) Reply

Read all 29 comments »

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