Listening to the Zither

Li Duan (743 – 782?)
She plucks the zither, wood engrained in gold,
With silky hands beside a room of jade;
To make the gentleman there notice her
He sees at times her brushing hand has strayed.

聽箏Tīng Zhēng
李端Lǐ Duān
鳴箏金粟柱Míng zhēng jīn sù zhù
素手玉房前Sù shǒu yù fáng qián
欲得周郎顧Yù dé zhōu láng gù
時時誤拂絃Shí shí wù fú xián

Transliteration and Notes
Listening Zither
Shrieks zither gold grain pillar
Silk hand jade room by
Desire have Zhou gentleman notice
Often times err brush string
This poem tells the humorous tale of a beautiful woman playing the zither (“silk hands” means fair or delicate hands in this context, symbolizing beauty). She notices a gentleman from Zhou, probably the author, and tries to get his attention by occasionally plucking the wrong note.

Author of original: 
Li Duan