Title: Plans for a Guest 约客
Zhao ShiXiu ▪ 赵师秀
Poetic Form: júejù 绝句

Apologies, individual character links no longer available for this poem...

1. ((黄 + 梅) + (时 + 节)) + ((家 + 家) + 雨)
    ((yellow + plum) + (time + festival)) + ((house +
       house) + rain)
     gloss: During the festival of the yellow plum (the
     rainy season), the house is soaked in rain

2. (青 + 草) + (池 + 塘) + (处 + 处) + 蛙
    (green + grass) + (pool + pond) + (to dwell + to
      dwell) + frog
    gloss: In the green grass by the pond, frogs are

3. (有 + 约) + (不 + 来) + (过 + (夜 + 半))
    (to have + pact) + (not + to come) + (to exceed +
      ((evening + half))
     gloss: We agreed; my friend does not come
     until the night is half done (after midnight)

4. (闲 + (敲 + (棋 + 子))) + (落 + (灯 + 花))
   (idle + (to knock + (chess + seed))) + (to decline
      + (lamp + blossom))
   gloss: I idly knock around chess pieces by


Plans for a Guest
translation by Jessica Alexander ©

At the yellow plum festival, each and every house is
                                                                            drenched in rain;
Verdant grass beside the pond echoes and reechoes with
                                                                           the chant of frogs.
We agreed; but my friend does not come until the night is
                                                                                        half done.
I idly knock around chessmen by scattered lamplight.


In this poem, Zhao ShiXiu describes a single moment.  He sets the scene in lines 1 and 2 with the sounds outside his home: rain and the croaking of frogs.  This allows the reader to recognize the setting as spring evening.  But, then, in line 3, he tells us that it is not, in fact, early evening as we might have expected; it is past midnight and he is waiting up for a friend.  We sense a contrast in the supposed quiet of night with the plethora of sounds going on outside, which are emphasized by the reduplication of 家 and 处.  Finally, in line 4, the poet shows himself.  He adds to the scene another sound (the clinking of chess pieces) and the only light in the scene (the lamp by which he is playing with the chess piece).
Interestingly, the poet does not seem disturbed by his friend's tardiness.
Lines 2 and 4 rhyme.

Other Translations

Unable to find any current translations.  Please contact me if you know of one!