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To the Tune of "A Butterfly Loves Flowers"

Bang-yan Zhou (1056-1121 CE)

The moon is bright.
A startled raven cannot decide which branch to perch upon 1.
It is almost dawn.
A chained bucket is hanging from the golden railing surrounding the well.
I awaken my love.
Tears fall from her sparkling eyes.
They soak the pillow and make the cotton stuffing cold.
We hold hands as the chilly wind dishevels her hair.
She hesitates to leave.
We have a hard time bearing the parting sorrow.
The Big Dipper hangs above the banister of the balcony.
The dew is cold.
From the crowing of roosters responding to her rumbling carriage,
I know she is moving further and further from me 2.


1 Cao Cao's poem says, "The moon was bright and the stars were sparse,/ A raven flew south./ It circled a tree three times./ There were no branches suitable to perch upon." Zhou's line refers to the fact that his girlfriend could not make up her mind to settle down with him.

2 Zhou was caring and sensitive. Even after he saw his love's carriage disappear, his ears continued to follow it through the crowing of local roosters.