This poem describes the resentment of imperial court ladies waiting alone for their lovers at night, feeling lonely, with nothing to do but look at the lovely moon. The marble steps leading to her room are collecting white dew since they are not being stepped on by her lover entering. She sees the curtain lowering, anticipating her lover, but instead sees just the lovely moon. The imperial court in China at the time had hundreds of ladies in waiting for the emperor, so most of them spent their nights alone.
Resentment on the Marble Step
by Li Bai
Marble steps give birth to dew of white,
Collecting on the stockings as the night grows late.
But as the crystal curtain lowers,
I gaze at the lovely autumn moon.
Yù jiē yuàn
Yù jiē shēng báilù,
Yè jiǔ qīn luō wà.
Quèxià shuǐjīng lián,
Línglóng wàng qiūyuè.
Jade steps resentment
by Li Bai
Jade steps life white dew,
Night late encroach gather stockings.
But lower water crystal curtain, [water crystal = crystal]
Tinkling gem gaze autumn moon. [Tinkling gem = exquisite, fine]