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I was doing research in Hubei
Where they executed Yu,
That deity soldier glorified
By Buddhists, Taoists too,
I sat perusing manuscripts
That dated from the Ming,
And came across a reference
About Yu’s finger ring.

A ring of gold so broad that it
Would fit a peasant’s wrist,
For Guan Yu was a mighty man
His ring, an amethyst,
Set round with groups of diamonds
It was lost the day, they said,
That Sun Quan had ordered them
To lop off Guan Yu’s head.

They lost it for a thousand years
It turned up with the Ming,
Was lost again in battle with
That mighty force, the Qing,
I’d heard it round the market place
A whisper, now and then,
That ring, it might have surfaced
In the village of Maicheng.

I scoured the streets and alleyways
For signs of old antiques,
Researching as I went, I walked
Around the town for weeks,
I found a backstreet corner shop
One night, and open late,
Run by a dodgy Chinaman
A total reprobate.

He had links to the Triads, they
Would come into the shop,
A shifty group of gangsters with
Their stolen goods to pop,
From where I sat with manuscripts
Up on the second floor,
I’d look straight down the staircase
Watch them come in through the door.

One day they brought in a bundle
******* in a burlap sack,
Threw it down on the counter, said:
‘What do you make of that?’
Fang Zhang then opened the parcel and
He pulled out a giant hand,
The flesh the texture of leather with
A monstrous golden band.

The ring was almost immoveable
The hand, with fingers spread,
Could grasp a maiden around the waist
Or crush a warrior’s head,
I held my breath as the Triad tried
To disengage the thing,
And all the while the diamonds flashed
On that massive golden ring.

Fang Zhang paid over a block of notes
That looked more like a brick,
There must have been a million Yuan
From what I saw of it,
The Triad left and I caught my breath
Fang Zhang had pulled it off,
He threw the hand in a ******* bin
And then I left the shop.

He hid the ring as I walked on through
I had to get some air,
I’d caught a glimpse of a famous ring,
A thing I couldn’t share,
They’d say it didn’t exist, that I
Was dreaming, if I tried,
They thought that it had been lost to view
The day that Yu had died.

I went back down the following day
The Police were there in force,
They stood out front and barred the way
From normal *******,
They told me through an interpreter
Of the ****** of Fang Zhang,
His face was black, for around his neck
Was a massive, ringless hand!

David Lewis Paget

(Pronunciation: Guan Yu - Gwon you
Hubei - Who - bay; Sun Quan - Sun Chu-arn
Qing - Ching; Maicheng - My - cheng
Fang Zhang - Fang Shjang (soft J))
As the years go by, give me but peace,
Freedom from ten thousand matters.
I ask myself and always answer:
What can be better than coming home?
A wind from the pine-trees blows my sash,
And my lute is bright with the mountain moon.
You ask me about good and evil fortune?....
Hark, on the lake there's a fisherman singing!
Old age think good quiet
Everything not concern heart
Self attend without great plan
Empty know return old forest
Pine wind blow undo belt
Hill moon light pluck qin
Gentleman ask end open reason
Fisherman song enter riverbank deep

Now in old age, I know the value of silence,
The world's affairs no longer stir my heart.
Turning to myself, I have no greater plan,
All I can do is return to the forest of old.
Wind from the pine trees blows my sash undone,
The moon shines through the hills; I pluck the qin.
You ask me why the world must rise and fall,
Fishermen sing on the steep banks of the river.
Liam C Calhoun Jul 2016
We cannot
Because we seldom share
The token tongue,
But still,
We conquer –
We transmit
Smiles and fingers
Pointing towards
And what’s, “next,”
Egg cakes, soy and tea
For the son she’d never
Expected –
He who’d lose a tooth,
He who’d hold her daughter,
He who'd love
judy smith Apr 2015
fascinating and most amusing parts of fashion week.

And as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicks into gear in Sydney, it’s celebrities, all-important buyers and retailers, editors, stylists and a whole lot of self-anointed fashion bloggers who make the A-row cut.

The posturing and posing that goes on to secure a coveted front row seat at each and every one of the 47 shows can be hilarious.

No matter how high a heel you wear, how big your sunglasses are or how smartypants your designer blazer is, no-one gets seated front row if they can’t, literally, bring something to the style marketing table.

The main front row players are definitely editors. And buyers. Hands down.

But bloggers and digital media players have made their presence known over the last few years — with the better ones considered front row deities when it comes to seating.

Designer Kym Ellery snared the opening night slot of fashion week with the likes of Lindy Klim, Kyly Clarke, Margaret Zhang, Bambi Northwood Blyth and every magazine and style editor that mattered in the front row.

Model Gemma Ward attends the Tome show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia 2015 sitti
Meanwhile, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, marieclaire, Sunday Style and Elle are the main front row magazine players.

“The Ellery front row was an impressive mix of international guests, local fashion media and buyers and Sydney celebrities,” says Vogue Australia editor-in-chief, Edwina McCann.

“It was a well dressed crowd who turned up the following morning to the first show, Tome, looking equally well turned out and ready for business.

“Gone are the days when hangovers were in fashion!”

Yup, late nights, for real fashion workers, just aren’t in fashion.

McCann says not everything that is actually ‘on trend’ ends up in the front row.

“Flat shoes are well and truly in this season, but I didn’t see many front row,” she adds.

“At Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia it seems heels are absolutely always on trend.”

One of the world’s leading fashion commentators says he is genuinely knocked out by the improved calibre of dressing on this year’s front row.

Godfrey Deeny from Paris (he writes for Le Figaro) hasn’t attended the Australian event in five years but was overheard commenting that the front row looks better dressed and more sophisticated than his last visit.

As far as seating the front row, there are a solid group of public relations people working with their designer clients to put together each seating plan.

One of these people is Nikki Andrews from the NAC media group, who says seating can be a game of cat and mouse.

“It is like piecing together a big jigsaw puzzle,” says Andrews.

“Each designer has different priorities with key press and key buyers and of course celebrity still the main priorities.

“There is always a juggle on the day and of course a few extras that always insist on front row.

“But it is usually those who request front row who don’t really deserve it,” smiles Andrews.Read more
I was staying in the village
That was known as Banzhushan,
In the mountains, in the Province
That the Chinese call Hunan,
It was perched atop the mountain
You could reach, and touch the sky,
But there were no single women,
And the men up there were shy.

They were poor, could offer nothing
To entice a willing bride,
They earned little from their labours,
And their houses, poor inside,
So the girls would leave to travel
Down the mountain to the plain,
Where they’d find a richer husband
Than the farmer, sowing grain.

So the men would send out raiders
To the outskirts of the towns,
And they’d kidnap straying peasants,
All the women that they found,
And they’d target younger widows
Who would not put up a fight,
Then would carry them to Banzhushan
Protected by the night.

I had met a village elder
By the name of Zhang Fan Cheng,
He was ancient, a magician,
One the Chinese call yāorén,
He invited me to dinner,
It was simple, shoots and rice,
He was dignified and courteous,
But caught me by surprise.

In the further room, a mirror
Stood at length, both straight and tall,
The frame was wrought in silver
And it leant against the wall,
He showed it to me proudly
Then asked how much would I pay?
For just 5,000 R.M.B.
He’d sell it me, today!

I reached out to feel the silver,
Was it fake or was it real?
He sensed my hesitation
Then he motioned, ‘You be still!’
And plunged his hand into the glass
The mirror let him in,
His arm up to the elbow
Against science, against sin!

He reached his arm behind and pulled,
A girl came into sight,
She was standing in the mirror,
He was holding her so tight,
And she stared, while looking at me
And she said: ‘Qing bang bang wo!’
I could read it on her lips, and then
The wizard let her go.

She had said: ‘Would you please help me!’
But I’d stepped back in the room,
She was nowhere near behind me
Just reflected, in the gloom,
And I saw a tear forming at
The corner of her eye,
The wizard pulled his arm out, and
She waved to me, ‘Goodbye!’

I paid the man his money, and
I took the mirror down
On a wooden cart he lent me,
And I took it through Hunan,
Then I packed it on a train and went
Off speeding to Nanjing,
Where I kept a small apartment,
And I turned, and locked us in.

I stood the mirror over by
A meagre wooden shelf,
Then I stood quite still before it
Hoping she would show herself,
And I tried to put my arm inside
Like he had done before,
But the mirror was unyielding,
So I stood there, and I swore!

That night the girl appeared,
Standing right behind the glass,
And she pummelled on the surface
As if she’d be free at last,
But the mirror was ungiving,
And I couldn’t hear her voice,
So I took a ball pein hammer -
It had given me no choice!

She could see me through the mirror,
In alarm, she mouthed ‘Meiyou!’
But her beauty had beguiled me
Though I knew she’d shouted ‘No!’
I was fevered and impatient now
To set this beauty free,
So I swung the ball pein hammer
And it shattered, over me!

She fell out through the broken glass,
Lay trembling in my room,
Bleeding, sobbing in the silence,
Like the silence of the tomb,
And she said she’d been imprisoned
Since the days of Qin **** Huang,
Then she writhed upon the carpet
As her flesh turned into sand.

I had wanted to release her
To relieve those tender tears,
But her body, once released took on
The last two thousand years;
She took one last, despairing look
Then withered up to die,
And for years I’ve sought the answer
To the only question - ‘Why?’

David Lewis Paget

(Glossary -
R.M.B. - Ren-Min-bi - or yuan (Chinese currency.)
Yāorén - magician
Qing bang bang wo - (Ching bang bang wor) - Please help me!
Meiyou - (May yo) - No, nothing
Qin **** Huang - (Chin Sher Hwang)
1st Emperor of China - 246-210 BC)
****-zip-bang shenyang ang;
Mang mangue flang hang prang pang;
Pinang lalang unhang kang youth defang khang;
Marang schlang gang wolfgang ying-yang xuanzang.
Klang sea get wrang.

Sang tsang li-kang gangue langues.
Thang drang crang tang harangue sprang zhang shang siang whang strang hang verdinsgang chuang;
Brang lang nang bhang xiaogang mahuang durang huang.
Hange hsiang und;

Zang rang kuomintang ourang section gang hang.
Krang pahang boomerang fang guilt;
Spang gang;
Hangsang xinjiang tunkelang slang tangue nanchang clang chang bangue vang ziyangbaoguang hwang pang the tsiang alang dang ylang-ylang.

Tang liang.
Overhang langue pyongyang.
Cangue sangh mustang stang frang yang lange kukang farang **** care sturm t'ang;
Zamang drang chiang road a jang;

— The End —