During the Han Dynasty (206 b.c.e – 220 a.d.) in China, popular songs were returned to prominence by the Music Bureau (yueh fu), a government bureau charged with the collection of folk songs, ballads and ceremonial music. These songs, marked by a spontaneous lyricism and a greater formal freedom, in turn exercised considerable influence on the poets.
While the music was lost, the verses became the basis of the yue fu form. These poems were significant because they consisted of lines of varying lengths, some having a regular form of five syllables per line rather than the then-standard four-syllable line.
Now, I know no Chinese and I am taking this to mean that poems of the yue fu form are lyrical in nature. Here’s my take and I have to mention that in case I have misunderstood the form or fail to do it justice, I clearly do not mean to offend anyone.
I snatched this poem from the mouth of the Night
as it raced past me on its red-golden steed
into the deepening light
I stole these lines from the teardrop
on a white flower as it lay glittering and dying
in the morning sun
I will take these words to the bottom of the garden
where the toadstools groand light the fire
under the cauldron
I will gently breathe and watch the runes
as they tumble and fall softly into the laughter
of the fairies you say aren’t there
And you will know. Yes, you will know one night
when you wake and find my rhymes
waiting by your side.