Tao Yuanming Poems: Drinking Alone on Rainy Nights – 陶渊明《连雨独饮》


















Drinking Alone on Rainy Nights

Where there’s life, there will be death:

This truth is well known since old days.

Where can we find immortal breath

Exhaled in superhuman ways?

Old friends tell me a jar of wine

Would make me forget weal and woe.

After drinking nectar divine,

Even to Heaven I won’t go.

Is Heaven far from our good earth?

Following nature, you’ll go high.

The crane in cloud with wings of worth

Flies to and fro from earth to sky.

I have been firm in my belief

And in my life for forty years.

My mind is free of joy and grief,

Though long my body changed appears.


The poem “Drinking Alone on Rainy Nights” is a poem by Tao Yuanming, a great poet of the Jin and Song dynasties. This poem is about the experience of drinking alone in the rain, and discusses the philosophy of life in the midst of drinking. The poet firmly believes that the law of nature is that there is life and death, and that there is no immortal with longevity in this world. The poem expresses both the poet’s optimistic attitude towards life and his belief that he is willing to abide by the truth. The poem focuses on philosophical discussion and self-liberation, using questions several times, resulting in a turn of phrase and a change of tone, but also a back-and-forth, tightening the beginning of the thesis, thought-provoking and endless, showing the characteristics of Tao Yuanming’s philosophical poetry.

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