its quite fun to retranslate chinese poetry which is very amenable to it

this is my version of a poem by li po:

while i was waiting

the outside steps have become wet with the dew

that has soaked my stockings

letting down the crystalline blinds

i gaze at his absence in the clear autumn moon

some aspects of the sense are not really capturable to our culture since this is an upper class woman in the palace, maybe a lady in waiting to the emperor's concubine

'crystalline blinds' does dual service as literal blinds and tears


eraza pound's translation of the same poem by Li Po, which he titled "The Jewel Stairs Grievance"

The jeweled steps are already quite

white with dew,

It is so late that the dew soaks my

gauze stockings,

And I let down the crystal curtain

And watch the moon through the

clear autumn.


"jewel stairs, therefore a palace. grievance, therefore there is something to complain of.

gauze stockings, therefore a court lady, not a servant who complains.

clear autumn, therefore he has no excuse on account of the weather.

also she has come early, for the dew has not merely whitened the stairs, but has soaked her stockings.

the poem is especially prized because she utters no direct reproach."


david hinton's translation:

Night long on the jade staircase, white

dew appears, soaks through gauze


She lets down crystalline blinds,

gazes out

through jewel lacework at the autumn