The Green Door 1

Zhang, Xian (990 A.D.-1078 A.D.)

    It is warm one moment and cold the next. The wind and rain continue until night falls. As the Clear and Bright Festival 2 approaches, the house and garden are lonesome. The flowers shrivel. Drinking wine, I feel sorrowful as I did last year. The painted bugle is awakened by the wind. It is quiet at night after doors are locked. How can I endure seeing the shadow of a swing 3 that the moon casts over the wall?

1 The green door refers to the southeast city gate of Chang-an, China's capital in the Tang dynasty. Xian Zhang was sorrowful because the emperor failed to utilize his talent. In this poem, Zhang compares himself to a woman who complains that her husband has been away from home for a long time.

2 The Clear and Bright Festival observed on April 4th or 5th in China is a holiday during which the Chinese worship at the graves. It roughly corresponds to our Memorial Day.

3 "The shadow of a swing" of her neighbors reminds the woman of her happy days.