(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

The Crazy Lady Of Jiao Ba Lu

Jiao Ba Lu is an ancient street,
The cobbles are overgrown,
A few mean dwellings still bar their doors
The others are falling down;
They say a woman who lives down there
Is three parts gone to the moon,
While children mutter a curse, or pray
When she stumbles out in the gloom.

For Gao Fang Fang has pure white hair
That blows like a ghost in the breeze,
Her eyes are wild, and she never smiles,
And she often falls to her knees;
She falls to her knees with a cry of pain
At visions she only sees,
And wails at night when the moon is bright,
Or shadows form through the trees.

Over the hearth of her meagre home
Is a picture of Mao Zedong,
And she is there in the picture too
A girl with an armband on,
A girl with the light of reforming zeal
That shines from her hard black eyes,
Her hair tucked under a forage cap
With the rest of ‘The Helmsman's' lies.

D'eng Xiao Bei was her only love,
So young in those distant days,
But he was the son of a landlord who
Was threatened to mend his ways,
They took his land and his money too
And cast him out in the rain,
While D'eng Xiao Bei hid his head in sin,
And cried for his father's pain.

Then one dread day in the neighborhood
The Red Guards came in force,
So Gao Fang Fang put her armband on
But D'eng just hid in the house;
They dragged him out as a traitor then,
And put him up on the stage,
But D'eng Xiao Bei had nothing to say
To the Guards in their rabid rage.

They tied his arms, they made him kneel,
They beat him with sticks and a club,
‘Your father, he was a landlord pig,
So you are a turtle's egg! '
They tied a sign on his chest that said:
‘I love not the Chairman Mao! '
And tried to make him confess his sins;
They'd still be waiting now!

While others pelted with rocks and eggs
Fang Fang looked on with shame,
She'd loved Xiao Bei with a burning love,
But nothing was now the same,
Her comrades urged her to show her zeal
To punish the ‘running dog',
So she took a breath, picked up a rock
To fling at her one true love.

The rock was sharp, bitter and hard
And tore one eye from its core,
D'eng stared at her with his one good eye
As his blood seeped out on the floor,
Gao Fang Fang gasped, then looked aghast
And paled at the thing she'd done,
Then watched him die as the others cried:
‘Long life to Mao Zedong! '

Fang Fang went home like one deranged,
And flung the band from her wrist,
So soon, in front of the People's Court
She was termed a ‘revisionist! '
For ten long years in a prison cell
She wept and cried: ‘ Enough! '
But the years did nothing to soothe the pain
Of killing her one true love.

And still she lives at Jiao Ba Lu,
Alone, in the dark she cries
In a part of town that's coming down,
Just like ‘The Helmsman's' lies.
Those days have gone, but the lady wails
As she works away at the loom,
While the neighbours shake their heads and say:
‘She's three parts gone to the moon! '

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Pablo Neruda

If You Forget Me

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