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Poems

Cathay 1915

The Jewel Stairs' Grievance

The jewelled 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.

by Rihaku

Note.--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 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.

"The Jewel Stairs' Grievance" From Cathay 1915