There’s that cheery music.
There’s that childlike voice.
Four sets of counting to eight
In mysterious, joyful tones.
YI. ER. SAN. SI. WU. LIU. QI. BA.
What is she commanding?
What could she want from us?
She does not say, but counts
And counts on us to know.
ER. ER. SAN. SI. WU. LIU. QI. BA.
No one changes, no one stops.
Students jostle, eat, and walk
They do these things free form
And not in sets of eight.
SAN. ER. SAN. SI. WU. LIU. QI. BA.
There, an old man, a teacher.
Fingers pressed under his closed eyes,
Making gentle rhythmic circles.
SI. ER. SAN. SI. WU. LIU. QI. BA.
I found out that the daily song and chant is a leftover from these kids’ primary school days. The songs are supposed to encourage breaks and anti-fatigue exercises. By high school they could care less about such things.