the eerie

Notes on the erhu:


I was reading haiku on The Heron’s Nest last night. I came across a word new to me: “erhu.”

evening breeze
ruffling thoughts of her
echoes of the erhu

Chen-ou Liu
Ajax, Ontario


I used the “define” function on iPad’s Safari to look it up.

erhu |ərˈho͞o| (also erh hu)
a Chinese two-stringed musical instrument held in the lap and played with a bow.
ORIGIN early 20th cent.: Chinese, from èr ‘two’ + hú ‘bowed instrument.’


Maybe fifteen minutes later, I’m reading Teju Cole’s Open City, a hard cover copy from the library. I come across the following passage:

I walked under the trees, past the creak of children’s swings and, as I moved closer to the end of the arbor, I could make out the sound of an erhu. The line was breathy and nimble, the precise nimbleness of an old-fashioned thing. …

When I reached the other side of the park, I saw that there were actually two erhu players, not one. …

I sat in the grass for a long while listening to the erhu players and the singer. It was cold.


Spellcheck has a very difficult time with the word erhu. It is finally learning that I mean it when I type it. But I had to struggle to avoid “eerie” (left its choice in subject line), “erg” and “eh.” I got the impression spellcheck was trying to write a poem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.