Wish you Long Life and Happiness – poem by Su Shi

Translation by Frank Clifford Chan


"When will there be silver moon?” I raise a cupful of wine and address to the sky.

I don't know where is the palace of heaven, nor what year tonight slips by.

If I sail to the palace of heaven, I will be afraid of the divinity.

It’s cold so high above the sky. I would rather dance with my own shadow, and live “heavenly on earth”!


Around the pavilion, through the window, the moon shines onto my eye. I can’t sleep.

I should not be angry, but why should you (the moon) shine so bright and fully when my friend departs!

Human has joy and sorrow, departure and re-union; moon can be bright and dull, full and crescent. Perfection rarely appears in life.

All I can do is to wish each other a long life, and to share the beauty of this graceful moon while we are miles apart.