Poem Without a Title 16

闻道阊门萼绿华,wén dào chāng mén è lǜ huá 昔年相望抵天涯。xī nián xiāng wàng dǐ tiān yá 岂知一夜秦楼客,qǐ zhī yī yè qín lóu kè 偷看吴王苑內花。tōu kàn wú wáng yuàn nèi huā Towards Chang Gate, it is said, where lived Liu Hua, For years I gazed, as though from the ends of the earth afar. I wish I had just one night in the Chin Tower To steal a glance at King Wu’s inner courtyard of flowers.[1] At last…… Continue reading Poem Without a Title 16

Art and Aesthetics · Death · relationships

Poem Without a Title 15

Once upon a time there was a beautiful woman who just couldn’t leave her home. Her wealthy father thought every suitor was not good enough for her and she never married. Too late, her face grew wrinkled and old. “It doesn’t matter,” she said to her weeping father. “I am changing into something else. It…… Continue reading Poem Without a Title 15


Poem Without a Title 14

Dear Friends: I am in Shenzhen, a large village of millions of souls from all over China. I am writing to you from a strange place called a café. It is like a tea house,  but they do not sell tea. Above me are flaming yellow globes. The windows are covered with an invisible but…… Continue reading Poem Without a Title 14


Poem Without a Title 13

Like a J.S.Bach fugue, an Escher drawing, a mystical mathematical iteration, even an oil painting, the words in my poems intertwine, mingle, overlap and repeat. Jia She was a beautiful woman who captured the heart of Han Chong, a minor government official. Mi Fei was the King Of Wei’s beautiful concubine. I wrote this poem…… Continue reading Poem Without a Title 13

Indignation · relationships

Poem Without a Title 12

How I long for those days of pens and ink, when calligraphy ruled, and bits and bytes were things around a dining table. 来是空言去绝踪,  lái shì kōng yán qù jué zōng 月斜楼上五更种。  yuè xié lóu shàng wǔ gēng zhǒng 梦为远别啼难唤,  mèng wéi yuǎn bié tí nán huàn 书被催成墨末浓。  shū bèi cuī chéng mò mò nóng 蜡照半笼金翡翠,  là zhào bàn lóng jīn fěi cuì 麝熏微度绣芙蓉。  shè xūn wēi dù xiù fú róng 刘郎已恨蓬山远,  liú láng yǐ hèn péng shān yuǎn 更隔蓬山一万重。  gēng gé péng shān yī wàn zhòng Arrive is just an empty word, you leave without a…… Continue reading Poem Without a Title 12

Indignation · relationships

Poem Without a Title 11

My poem draws from a popular Song Dynasty tune called the Lecher’s Rhapsody and another poem of mine, 士申七夕 (On The Seventh Evening Of The Seventh Month). According to legend, at a certain time every year, the Herd Boy and the Weaving Girl are allowed to meet. The legend alludes to lovers and couples forced…… Continue reading Poem Without a Title 11


Poem Without a Title 9

Keeping a second woman is like riding the back of a tiger – losing your balance can kill you. We government officials often keep beautiful women as mistresses. For those without little wives, it is just as expensive keeping up appearances. Even a minor government official like myself needs some relief. Therefore, when I was…… Continue reading Poem Without a Title 9


Poem Without a Title 7

Excerpts from an interview with Frederic Chopin, the noted musician and the Poet Li Shangyin (Around the Millennium): Paris Match: Welcome Monsieur Chopin and Master Li. Both: Thank you. Paris Match: Monsieur Chopin, let me first start by asking you, how do you manage to keep your hair so well fashioned? As you know the…… Continue reading Poem Without a Title 7


Poem Without a Title 6

The first time I met Chopin, I almost believed he was a stuck-up idiot. My beloved loves music, and has often talked to me of her favorite composer Chopin. Quite on a whim, I decided to travel to 19th century Paris and meet the man. An old general who is a friend of mine often…… Continue reading Poem Without a Title 6

Indignation · relationships

Poem Without a Title 5

This morning, the cup of tea beside me spilt over my tunic. The green liquid soaked into my skin and spread through my cassock. It was too hot to ignore and too cool to burn. The wetness brought to mind images of clouds and rain, as well as the blue sky over Zhengzhou. I was…… Continue reading Poem Without a Title 5

relationships · Work

Poem Without a Title 2

Sometimes cities are guarded by monsters that are not necessarily monsters. I once traveled to a city (it could have been a dream) where the inhabitants whispered tales of a Golem. The place was called Prague, or Pi Laji which sounded like the words for Horse Manure. When my friends laughed at my fantastic tale,…… Continue reading Poem Without a Title 2

Death · relationships

Poem Without a Title 1

I believe I am a great poet, but perhaps I am not. My name is Li Shangyin. I am a writer from the great Tang Dynasty. Well, not so great, unless one praises corruption, cabals, ostentation, endless battles between the Taoists and the new Buddhist religion from the West, and ignoring the poor and downtrodden.…… Continue reading Poem Without a Title 1