mother’s long skirt

in the season of the rainbow©papa osmubal

in the season of the rainbow©papa osmubal

mother’s long skirt
lili han

mother used a pair of scissors
to cut a long skirt
abandoned by her daughter
she was making it for herself
the waist line was cut lower
the skirt’s hem was loosened an inch
before the mirror
still a long skirt for her
she complained about fat around the waist
busy looking for a coat to go with it
her daughter suggested a plain shirt
to match the skirt
she didn’t accept couldn’t understand
why the girls at the age of flowers
would like black, grey, white – plain tones
she had to wear
when she was young
because at that time
there were no other choices

finally, she chose a pink shirt
turned a full circle before the mirror
in the skirt with small blue-white flowers
as if her youth were back


shepherdess and chimney sweeper

dog fu©papa osmubal

dog fu©papa osmubal

shepherdess and chimney sweeper
lili han

After the cartoon film The King and The Birds. This is a French cartoon, an adaptation of a Danish fairytale. In the story, the shepherdess and the chimney sweeper who loved each other walked out from the imperial painting frame, hand in hand.

to escape the king
they fled to the underground prison
their arrival let everyone know
that there was light above

but knowledge and faith are not the same thing

the only one who believed was a blind singer
for this he was thrown to a pride of hungry lions
but the lions liked his voice and music
didn’t eat him
they wanted the shepherdess and the chimney sweeper
love meant nothing to them

twenty years later, when I watched again this cartoon
I couldn’t remember the romance of the shepherdess and the chimney sweeper getting out from the frame
but I remembered the shabby look of the blind man singing

sometimes I imagine there’s light upstairs
but mainly I’m a hungry lion


shadow is my destiny©papa osmubal

shadow is my destiny©papa osmubal

lili han

if say, waking into your shadow
is my destiny
before I give up the sun’s halo
I must imagine
how I’d look, blinded

a sad mirror
a long way down


in an old ancestral hall©papa osmubal

in an old ancestral hall©papa osmubal

lili han

in an old ancestral hall
a few tourists sat around the Eight Immortals Table
pushing their heads near
an always-smiling Maitreya
looking into the lens of a digital camera
giving the V with their fingers– OK

after a ‘snap’
the tourists put away the ready smiles
happiness emasculated
even faster than a shutter’s click


science of decomposition©papa osmubal

science of decomposition©papa osmubal

lili han

a fossil discovered by archaeologists
in the Gobi Desert
shows a set of bones
they were put in a museum after being mounted
this satisfied people’s imagination of the past

the dirt down at people’s feet
once blood and meat
just at the moment light’s received
the past of eyes and actions
locked for over a hundred million years
now litter compared to the skeleton
for the unearthing project
and yes, for the world’s evolution

the science of decomposition
and the earth under feet
have never been so true
to those who visit the museum


guilinbet©papa osmubal

guilin©papa osmubal

lili han

if your gin and tonic
were an alchemist’s sapphire
if your chocolate tiramisu
hadn’t smelled a rosemary leaf
if the letters on your private recipe
didn’t imagine that Guilin was once a laurel town
if the turtle dove
hadn’t been an old acquaintance

If yesterday’s lunch
wove nothing but such a metaphor
if this fish bubbling “oui, oui, cest moi”
were not sunk in the chattering crowd

If my numb face
never lets God laugh


all flowers fell©papa osmubal

all flowers fell©papa osmubal

lili han

that year when the monsoon was passing
a lot of flowers fell

you picked one up
like a child
stuck clear tape to its stalk
as if a task were completed

just a glance
and the flower fell heavily to earth

this second fall
ended all expectations
now the monsoon was passed