Drinking Alone in the Moonlight

For other English-language translations of this work, see Yue xia du zhuo.
Drinking Alone in the Moonlight
by Amy Lowell

from the Chinese poem by Li Po. Based on the translation of Florence Ayscough

 A pot of wine among flowers.
I alone, drinking, without a companion.
I lift the cup and invite the bright moon.
My shadow opposite certainly makes us three.
But the moon cannot drink,
And my shadow follows the motions of my body in vain.
For the briefest time are the moon and my shadow my companions.
Oh, be joyful! One must make the most of Spring.
I sing--the moon walks forward rhythmically;
I dance, and my shadow shatters and becomes confused.
In my waking moments we are happily blended.
When I am drunk, we are divided from one another and scattered.
For a long time I shall be obligated to wander without intention.
But we will keep our appointment by the far-off Cloudy River.


  • From Fir-flower Tablets (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1921).
  • This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States before 1923.
  • "Cloudy River:" the Milky Way.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1927.

The author died in 1925, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 95 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.