Rainbound in Autumn
Yellow chrysanthemums filling the yard
bloom beside the hedges;
ruddy cheeks in the looking glass
blush like scarlet blossoms.
Kept in by the wind and rain
on this autumn day,
I’d drink my fill of the golden cup
but know not where I may.
（Bannie Chow, Thomas Cleary 译）
On the Double Ninth, Kept in by Rain
Filling the courtyard, chrysanthemums bloom beside the hedge, 1
While, in the mirror, two lotus blossoms open. 2
Before Fallen-Cap Terrace, kept in by wind and rain, 3
I don’t know where I can get drunk from a cup of gold.
1. The Double Ninth festival falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. Nine is the culmination of the yang (odd) series of numbers, and the identity of the day’s number with the month’s suggests a harmonious alignment of celestial cycles. The day is therefore associated with the preservation of the yang energies and with long life. The custom on Double Ninth is to climb to high ground (heights being geomantically yang), drink wine in which chrysanthemum petals have been dropped, and compose poetry. Since the chrysanthemum blooms in autumn, it suggests a hale and hearty old age.
2. Lotus blossoms here represent a woman’s cheeks.
3. The warlord Huan Wen (late fourth century) was holding a banquet one Double Ninth when one of his ministers, Meng Jia, failed to notice that the wind had blown off his cap. Huan thought to tease him by keeping the fact concealed from him, and when Meng went to visit the privy, Huan composed a satiric essay extempore on the subject. Upon his return, Meng immediately countered with an essay of his own. The site of the banquet was thereafter called “Fallen-Cap Terrace.”
（Jennifer Carpenter 译）