Li Ching Chao

(1084 - 1151)

The Double Ninth Festival


To the tune of "Intoxicated Under the Shadow of Flowers"

Light mists and heavy clouds,
melancholy the long dreary day.

In the golden censer
the burning incense is dying away.

It is again time
for the lovely Double-Ninth Festival;

The coolness of midnight
penetrates my screen of sheer silk
and chills my pillow of jade.


After drinking wine at twilight
under the chrysanthemum hedge,

My sleeves are perfumed
by the fragrance of the plants.

Oh, I cannot say it is not endearing,

Only, when the west wind stirs the curtain,
I see that I am more gracile
than the yellow flowers.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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  • S. A. S. (7/26/2008 11:18:00 AM)

    This translation on poemhunter is a really bad translation.

    From SUNFLOWER SPLENDOR, Co-edited by Wu-chi Liu and Irving Yucheng Lo

    Tune: Tipsy in the Flower's Shade

    Thin mists-thick clouds-sad all day long.
    The gold animal spurts incense from its head.
    Once more it's the Festival of Double Nine;
    On the jade pillow-through mesh bed curtain-
    the chill of midnight starts seeping through.

    At the eastern hedge I drink a cup after dusk;
    furtive fragrances fill my sleeve.
    Don't say one can't be overwhelmed:
    when the west wind furls up the curtain,
    I'm more fragile than the yellow chrysanthemum.

    (Tr. Eugene Eoyang)
    The Double Nine refers to the ninth day of the ninth month by the lunar calendar (which corresponds to early October) , which the Chinese call Ch'ung Yang. On this day, the custom is to climb to high ground, take some wine in which chrysanthemum petals have been dropped, and compose poetry. The festival was especially important to Li Ch'ing-chao, because it was associated with T'ao Ch'ien, the poet whom she and her husband preferred to all others and who was known for his poems on the chrysanthemum.
    re: 'At the eastern hedge'-
    Referring to T'ao Ch'ien's famous lines 'Picking chrysanthemums by the eastern hedge/I catch sight of the distant southern hills'. (Report) Reply

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