Ghost Gate Pass

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This is the massive ghost's scull that drove fear into visitors from China.

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Ghost Gate Pass
Ghost Gate Pass
Hard to pass, 
Of ten who cross, 
Nine won't last!
Xīnglù nán,
Shí rén qù
Jiǔ bù huán!
Translator: Liam Kelley 翻譯者

From the Chinese perspective, Guimenguan was a ghoulish pass, beyond which sickness and death awaited. Malarial mists, deadly snakes and poisonous waters were on the southern side. Even the stream nearby was known to be polluted with poisonous 'qi' 汽.

This ditty was recorded in 976 in the 太平記.

From Liam Kelley's great book, Beyond The Bronze Pillars, Envoy Poetry and the Sino-Vietnamese Relationship, U of Hawaii Press.

"Poetry is the last preserve of honest speech. . . . All that matters about poetry to me now is directness and clarity and truthfulness. All that is twittery and lit'ry: no thanks, pal." Garrison Keillor

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