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.
Li who? Yes, till today I didn't know a Li Bai. Till today I didn't know a single Chinese poet. It was only today while browsing through the growing collection of poems on this blog that I realized that despite having spent close to 20 months in China, I have remained woefully ignorant of this country's proud literary tradition. After reading such a poem as the one above, I can only berate myself more for such ignorance!
Li Bai is one of the Tang Dynasty poets and writes in the classical style. The Tang Dynasty is also known as the golden age of Chinese poetry - and Li Bai one of its finest poets. And well well, what have we here? Li Bai was a born traveler journeying for up to ten years at a time through vast stretches of north and eastern China! Now I am truly fascinated!!
There was something in this poem that drew me to it - it has been a sweltering evening here. Tiredness has dogged my every step today but after a drink with the moon and a rendezvous with the stars, life seems refreshed. Li Bai might never know it - but I raise a glass of wine and say "Xiexie" to him...
More about the romantic poet's wandering life can be found on Answers and here on Legacy.