Chinese poem illustration: 召南 江有汜/Shao Wind – Dead in Yangtze River by Anonymous

召南 江有汜

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An elegy to his lord who passed away somewhere in Yangtze river. This poem used to be interpreted as a woman complaining poem(闺怨诗) which aroused a lot of arguments and ambiguities.

The key words of three rivers 祀, 渚, 沱 all strongly imply someone dead in the branch river of Yangtze by its homophony and radicals. By the last sentence He Sings Solemnly(其啸也歌), this poem turns out to be an evocation song(招魂歌) for the sake to settle down the ghost of his lord in peace. The evocation song is normaly for a dead of mishap whose ghost tend to be wandering in the wild. The song is to calm the ghost and summon the ghost back to where he should rest, normally the ancestor temple and cemetery.

召南 江有汜




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