Ye Ye Ye

Whenever I hear the Beatles’ She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah, I think of a famous Chinese poem that we all learnt at school.

It has a line that goes: (in Mandarin phonetics) ye ye ye ban ti

夜夜夜半啼

Five characters that, word by word, means: night night night half crow

Translated into English, if such a thing is possible, it says:

Night after night, in the middle of the night, (it) cries

The pronoun ‘it’ is understood; it refers to a bird crying at the loss of its mother.  The character ti啼 refers to the cry of birds (crowing) but also human ‘loud sobbing’.  Now we know birds don’t sob, but that’s exactly what the poet wanted us to hear: the wailing of the grief-stricken. It is one of my favourite lines in Chinese poetry.

Yeah yeah yeah.

About Mary Tang

An urban orchardist everyday, a volunteer regularly, a poet sometimes and a blogger since March 2015. I travel when I can. Food is a constant.
This entry was posted in Poetry, Translation and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Ye Ye Ye

  1. robert okaji says:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah! I can see why this is a favorite line. It’s very rich.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for that

    Liked by 1 person

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