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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oAdd MS 35313, f. 158v, from the British Library, c. 1500.

The Three Living and the Three Dead, or the Three Dead Kings, is a poem dating back to the 13th century. It, or imagery from it, is often used to open the Office of the Dead in books of hours. Perhaps because medieval skellimans are pretty cool.

You can read the poem in Middle English, with footnotes.

You listen to the poem (after a longish intro).

You can read the British Library’s blogpost on the poem and the imagery in manuscripts.

Happy Fall!

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The everyday mind: that is the way.
Buried in vines and rock-bound caves,
Here it’s wild, here I am free,
Idling with the white clouds, my friends.
Tracks here never reach the world;
No-mind, so what can shift my thought?
I sit the night through on a bed of stone,
While the moon climbs Cold Mountain.
-Verse 23, Words from Cold Mountain, Han-Shan, 9th century

(This isn’t necessarily the verse in the painting – it’s just a verse I like.)

From Wikipedia: 

Hanshan (Chinese: 寒山; pinyin: Hánshān; literally: “Cold Mountain”, fl. 9th century) was a legendary figure associated with a collection of poems from the Chinese Tang Dynasty in the Taoist and Chan tradition. No one knows who he was, or when he lived and died.

You can read Words from Cold Mountain translated into English here: [Poetry in Translation]

There is also a graphic novel. 😀 [Find it in a library near you!] [Painting: Hanshan and Shide (寒山拾得圖) Yintuoluo (因陀羅, late Yuan dynasty), Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368)]

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The everyday mind: that is the way.
Buried in vines and rock-bound caves,
Here it’s wild, here I am free,
Idling with the white clouds, my friends.
Tracks here never reach the world;
No-mind, so what can shift my thought?
I sit the night through on a bed of stone,
While the moon climbs Cold Mountain.
-Verse 23, Words from Cold Mountain, Han-Shan, 9th century

(This isn’t necessarily the verse in the painting – it’s just a verse I like.)

From Wikipedia: 

Hanshan (Chinese: 寒山; pinyin: Hánshān; literally: “Cold Mountain”, fl. 9th century) was a legendary figure associated with a collection of poems from the Chinese Tang Dynasty in the Taoist and Chan tradition. No one knows who he was, or when he lived and died.

You can read Words from Cold Mountain translated into English here: [Poetry in Translation]

There is also a graphic novel. 😀 [Find it in a library near you!] [Painting: Hanshan and Shide (寒山拾得圖) Yintuoluo (因陀羅, late Yuan dynasty), Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368)]

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