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
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.