Monday, August 6, 2007

How The Buttercup Got Its Name

Li Liu lived in China in the province of Xi-ang,
Long before the dynasties of Ming and Song and Tang.
She lived out in the countryside with sixty-seven sheep,
And, very tired, she often lay down in the fields to sleep.

Her father was a kindly man, though desperately poor.
He toiled for eighteen hours a day, and sometimes even more,
They had a run-down house and very many stone-walled fields,
Although, because the land was poor, they suffered dismal yields.

Li Liu started early, ‘ere the ending of the night,
She’d gather up her sheep and she would bring them out of sight,
She brought them off to pastures new, where they would sit and graze
And she would lie down in the grass on gorgeous summer days.

She used to lie down on her front, with backside in the air,
Her yellow skirt the only sign that anyone was there,
For in the lengthy, wild grass, the one thing to be seen
Was a small and yellow backside in a sea of leafy green.

Sometimes her dad would come for her, when Mongols were abroad,
For he was loathe to see his daughter put to fire and sword.
And, as he searched the luscious heath, this ancient Chinese fellow
Would try to spot his “Little Buttock-Up” all dressed in yellow.

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