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.

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1 Comment

  1. George Edwards says:

    Ezra pound once commented:

    “Jewelled Stairs, therefore a palace. Grievance, so she is aggrieved about something. Gauze stockings, therefore a court lady and not a servant who complains. She’s been there waiting for hours, because the dew has soaked the srairs and her stockings. She is giving up hope and closing (again, evidence of a palace) the crystal curtain. Clear autumn, so her man friend has no excuse for not turning up on account of bad weather. The poem is especially prized because it is elliptical, and she is not making any direct complaint.”

    If the Poem was translated into modern American English it might read

    Waiting on the battlements

    I waited until the morning hours when the dew had fallen
    The steps and my nylons got well soaked
    I gave up waiting and bolted the door
    In the clear, cold beautiful moonlight

    And an American English version would probably add

    “It’s the last time I’ll wait up for that inconsiderate rogue”

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