Art and Aesthetics

Song of the Inner Palace

The Qing dynasty scholar Wang Guowei wrote of poems falling into two categories: close by or remaining at a distance. The Chinese character he uses for distance is ge(隔), whose ancient pictogram consists of three mounds, and a three legged urn. Shangyin’s poems often evoke a distance between the reader and the word, by referring…… Continue reading Song of the Inner Palace

Art and Aesthetics

Thirty Rhymes Delivered To Tai Yuanlu and Si Kong

I once dreamed Li Shangyin[1] was banished from court for speaking his mind.  He fell into a deep depression. On a dark day, he went to an oracle and asked the soothsayer to examine the turtle bones and divine his future path. The oracle looked at Shangyin and said: “My son, what is it you…… Continue reading Thirty Rhymes Delivered To Tai Yuanlu and Si Kong

relationships

Regards to Official Cui

Happy To Hear That Official Cui At Tai Yuan Served The Imperial Censor, And Also Sends Regards To The 3rd And 2nd Year Fellow Exam Candidates  One day, Shangyin told me, “I was summoned to the Emperor. Terrified and amazed, I kowtowed before him. He looked at me sternly and said “Shangyin, why do you…… Continue reading Regards to Official Cui

Art and Aesthetics

Mr. Xie Fang Memorized and Recited My Poems

Mister Xie Fang Memorized and Recited My Poems , On a Random Day I Sent Him This Epistle After Shangyin read one of his poems to me, he calmly rested his chin on his hands and said,  “We have Beowulf, The Bhagavad-Gita, , the Bayajidda, the Sorrow at Parting of Chu Yuan, but there is…… Continue reading Mr. Xie Fang Memorized and Recited My Poems

Art and Aesthetics · nature

Spearing the Fish

Africa is a place of sublime contrasts and savage indifference. To view for the first time a lion hunt and kill, muscles rippling in the sun, to see it pick up the body of an oryx with just its teeth – and all beneath  the  great  blue bowl of a sky that  seems to stretch …… Continue reading Spearing the Fish

Politics

24 Verses Lamenting The Fate Of Consul Xiao Of Suizhou

Authors note: To my knowledge this is the first translation into English of Li Shangyin’s great poem. When he wrote it, he had not yet passed the imperial examination. In it he laments the banishment of his friend and mentor Xiao Huan to Suizhou in distant Sichuan province. Enjoy! 遥作时多难,yáo zuò shí duō nán, 先令祸有源。xiān lìng huò yǒu yuán。 初惊逐客议,chū jīng zhú kè yì, 旋骇党人冤。xuán hài  dǎng…… Continue reading 24 Verses Lamenting The Fate Of Consul Xiao Of Suizhou

nature · Politics · romance

Sui Palace on the Night of Shou Sui

  ui Palace on the Night of Shou Sui [1] It was a sultry afternoon in Shenzhen, too early to eat and too late to sleep – about that time one doesn’t know what to do with oneself.  Li Shangyin and I were at a teahouse in the Zhuzilin area, otherwise known as Bamboo Forest.…… Continue reading Sui Palace on the Night of Shou Sui