Poems of Xue Tao
Lyric for "Spring Longings," in four verses
All blossoms are not equally admired and
When they fade are unequally mourned.
I want to ask where my lover is,
In this flower blooming, flower fading time.
I pluck long rushes to bind our hearts together,
To keep from losing the memory of your voice.
Spring worries at me, saying you have left me
And the sad cries of spring's birds here are her chorus.
Amid these falling blossoms, day grows old
And happy times fade into distant past.
I cannot tie our loving hearts together with
Useless stalks of this long knotted grass.
How can I bear these branches full of flowers
As I write this poem for separated lovers?
My tears fall down upon my morning mirror,
For what the spring wind knows it will not tell.
This, I think, is another entertainment poem. It is not terribly personal. And it is full of what you would call common double-meaning. Also, it is a 词 or lyric, set to a known tune. So this is probably a performed piece, perhaps sung by Xue Tao who might accompany herself on the lute (琴) or pipa (琵琶). Whether she is still an entertainer in Chengdu or the hostess of Wei Gao's house, this poem would be performed for men. And men are entertained by things related to sex. You knew this.
The translation above is the surface layer of the poem. But any modestly educated listener would hear the implied layer of sexuality. The character 花, alone or in many bigrams, denotes the objectified female. Lots of those in this poem for men who think of women that way. Spring (春) denotes passion. Sexual intercourse is "spring wind" or 春风. Happy times (佳期) can be "marriage" but it can also be a lover's tryst. The first two characters of line 5 can be interpreted loosely as a "rough embrace." There is nothing terribly overt here, no boinkers and honkers steaming in the darkness. But enough to elicit smiles from the men being entertained.
This is not a sophisticated poem. There is no literary language. Characters and phrases are often repeated, which is a literary no-no. It is an entertaining lyric for a song her listeners would know, pretty of itself, with a slight sauce of naughtiness added for your average man.