Death · Family and Friends · music

The Peony (or How Long Is The Path From Death To Birth?)

What wonderful virtue does the moon possess that allows it to rise each evening? Whether in Nairobi or Shenzhen, I see the same moon in the sky, just as I see the same sun rise and set in either city. If they are not the same, how many thousands of suns and moons trace a…… Continue reading The Peony (or How Long Is The Path From Death To Birth?)

Family and Friends · music · Politics

Opinion: The Lost Ones (or The Other 9/11)

Associated Press announced recently that 2,975 people died in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria.  At first, The New York Times web site placed a modest link beneath a flurry of headlines about a so called NAFTA deal, the passing of a statesman and the profile of an actor. Belatedly, it added an editorial. Most media…… Continue reading Opinion: The Lost Ones (or The Other 9/11)

Family and Friends · music

Guest Of The Sea (or The Gecko’s Virgin Blood)

In the Tang dynasty geckos were crushed in mortars to prepare a potion, which was then applied to mark a young girl’s arm. If she lost her virginity, its red color would change. This fantastic potion was used to regularly inspect and discipline women. The poet Li Shangyin wrote: The red Shou Palace lies in…… Continue reading Guest Of The Sea (or The Gecko’s Virgin Blood)

Art and Aesthetics · nature

Swallow Terrace Poems

As I was biking along the Shenzhen boardwalk, I looked up. The sky was a cool plastic slate that stretched from the west, where the sun blushed behind pearly screens. Around me the sounds of hip hop mixed with the tinkle of bicycle bells, the scent of jasmine and barbecued meat. Along the shore of…… Continue reading Swallow Terrace Poems


Thirty Four Rhymes Presented To The “Five Classics” Scholar Liu

Shangyin was deep in thought, his ice cold Frappuccino was melting drops of water over his fingers. The mall plaza outside the Starbucks in Shenzhen was light and airy. Gray marble tiles gleamed for hundreds of yards under the noonday sun. In the near distance, I could see a street sweeper and a mall worker…… Continue reading Thirty Four Rhymes Presented To The “Five Classics” Scholar Liu

Death · relationships


The Qingming holiday, otherwise known as the Tomb Sweeping  or Pure Brightness holiday, has just ended in China. It is a time to commemorate one’s ancestors and typically falls in early April. After the festival, the temperature often rises, along with rainfall and much ploughing and sowing. It is a time of sadness as well…… Continue reading Willow


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