O Soul, go not to the West
Where level wastes of sand stretch on and on;
And demons rage, swine-headed, hairy-skinned,
With bulging eyes;
Who in wild laughter gnash projecting fangs.
O Soul, go not to the West
Where many perils wait!
O Soul, come back to idleness and peace.
In quietude enjoy
The lands of Jing and Chu.
There work your will and follow your desire
Till sorrow is forgot,
And carelessness shall bring you length of days.
O Soul, come back to joys beyond all telling!

Poem calling back the soul of the dead, 3rd century BC, from The Great Summons translated by Arthur Waley in Morris, I. (ed.), Madly Singing in the Mountains: An Appreciation and Anthology of Arthur Waley, Harper Torchbooks, New York, 1970.

Victoria and Albert Museum: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/b/burial-customs-china/

There’s at least one “ask” in my inbox – which I am researching, I promise! But in the meantime, have some cool poetry. 😀

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