Thanks to SeeaSea for sending me a link to this article!
"Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den," on top of being an awesome title in a variety of circumstances, is a classical Mandarin poem written by Yuen Ren Chao, a contemporary Chinese linguist.
In a stunning feet of tonal language acrobatics, the poem is 92 syllables, all of which are "shi." In Hanyu Pinyin, a method of Romanticizing Mandarin, it looks like this:
Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī.
Shì shíshí shì shì shì shī.
Shí shí, shì shí shī shì shì.
Shì shí, shì Shī Shì shì shì.
Shì shì shì shí shī, shì shǐ shì, shǐ shì shí shī shìshì.
Shì shí shì shí shī shī, shì shíshì.
Shíshì shī, Shì shǐ shì shì shíshì.
Shíshì shì, Shì shǐ shì shí shì shí shī.
Shí shí, shǐ shí shì shí shī, shí shí shí shī shī.
Shì shì shì shì.
The English translation:
In a stone den was a poet Shi, who was a lion addict, and had resolved to eat ten.
He often went to the market to look for lions.
At ten o'clock, ten lions had just arrived at the market.
At that time, Shi had just arrived at the market.
He saw those ten lions, and using his trusty arrows, caused the ten lions to die.
He brought the corpses of the ten lions to the stone den.
The stone den was damp. He asked his servants to wipe it.
After the stone den was wiped, he tried to eat those ten lions.
When he ate, he realized that these ten lions were in fact ten stone lion corpses.
Try to explain this matter.
Yes, fellow Westerners, in classical Mandarin, "shi" means all those things. Since it's a tonal language, the distinction comes from how each syllable is said (if your voice goes up at the end, for instance).
The poem isn't profound (unless there's an extended metaphor in there that went completely over my Western head), but still a really impressive example of constrained writing. I can't even crank out a decent villanelle.