The Soul, Like The Moon

Arthur Dove, "Moon and Sea II," 1923, oil on canvas, 24 x 18 inches

Arthur Dove, “Moon and Sea II,” 1923, oil on canvas, 24 x 18 inches

The soul, like the moon,
is new, and always new again.

And I have seen the ocean
continuously creating.

Since I scoured my mind
and my body, I too, Lalla
am new, each moment new.

My teacher told me one thing,
Live in the soul.

When that was so,
I began to go naked,
and dance.

—Lal Ded, 14th century, Kashmir. Translated by Coleman Barks from Naked Songs, published by MayPop Books, 1992. Taken from PARABOLA, Volume 30, No. 3, Fall 2005: “Body and Soul.”

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