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 Everlasting Sorrow

 18 November 2011

Once upon a time,
There was an empire.
It became incredibly rich and powerful
Through never-ending war
Against the nations of weak and poor.

At home, the Emperor neglected the 99 percent
Struggling to make their ends meet,
But lavished his money on bankers in endless bailout.
Though there were 400 million subjects,
All his gifts were devoted to one group
Whose dreamland lies somewhere else.

So the Earth reels.
War drums fill the empire's streets.

In despair Emperor remembered tales of a magic island
Hidden in the eastern Pacific, that is called country of luck.
Suburban houses and scattered beaches,
Where residents barbecuing in their backyards.
Among them one they called Girl Lard,
She offered the land as his empire's battleground.

When the Air Force One turned again westward
The Emperor clung to the island's dust, like holding a lifeboat.

But the empire rocks,
As people evicted from homes and parks,
They decided to occupy the streets.
The numerous banners, countless cardboards,
Surrounding the building of Stock Exchange,
Demanded to evict the fat cats.

Money notes in the pockets, no one could deposit;
Gold and solver in the safes, which could not be retrieved.

Closing his eyes the Emperor flew away.
Looked back at the centre of wealth that was in total disarray.

As the Pacific Ocean flows blue, Capital Hill shows white,
His majesty’s sorrow grew, day and night.

Time fades, Space fades, at the end of day.
But everlasting sorrow for an empire, will remain.






This tale is based on a true love affairs occurred during the Tang Dynasty between Emperor Minghuang and his darling consort Lady Yang. As the Lady gained special favour with the Emperor, her ambitious and greedy family was able to rise to top of power ranking and became the de facto ruler of the empire. Her sisters were bestowed titles with privileges and her brother took prime minister's job in charge of the kingdom's finance, while her adopted son with a dubious alien background headed the army and controlled the military industry. In the meantime the 99% population in the kingdom were neglected, and the country suffered rampant corruption and the ceaseless power struggle between the two dominant forces led by the Lady's brother and her adopted son respectively.

The fierce battle between the two major political parties resulted a nasty military coup in year 755 with a foreign connection, orchestrated by the Lady's adopted son, which was very much like 9.11 in the United States happened 1246 years later, that marks the beginning of the decline of a great empire.

At the time, the people in the kingdom were so fed up with the situation, that even the Emperor's escort troops refused to bail him out of the circumstance. They evicted the corrupt Prime Minister and his family from the human realm, and demanded the Emperor to do the same to Lady Yang.

The Emperor had no choice but to watch his beloved darling die before his mortal eye on a chilly autumn night.

After the forced eviction, troops escorted the Emperor further westward to Sichuan. One day when he took refuge in an abandoned tower called Terrace of Sword, the sky turned gloomy and began to shower through the night. Sitting alone in a wavering candle light, now bright now dim in the autumn wind, while registering the pattering sound of the rain beating on the tree leaves like the Lady's tears falling on the ground before her death, and that the bells under the eaves chiming on non-stop, the Emperor was drowned in everlasting sorrows.

The Sound of Bell Heard from Terrace of Sword is the most celebrated masterpiece in Jingyun Drum repertoires, while Luo Yusheng (骆玉笙), featured in the video, is the top master of the Drum art.

Jingyun Drum (京韵大鼓 Beijing Tune Drum) is an audio art form popular in Tianjin and Beijing. It's normally performed by one person who narrates a story in a melodic fashion and through role playing method while beating a drum to tune the rhythm and control the speed.


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