whole

XXII

To be full,
Become empty.
To become new,
Grow old.
Desire little,
Get it.
Desire much,
Do not.

The sage follow the way,
So others may follow in turn.
Outward-looking,
They are luminous.
Wanting nothing,
The world cannot overcome them.

To become whole,
Submit to breaking.

lane

On a turn in the road between ford and end, a lane breaks away. At first, bifurcated, encompassing a perfect triangle of lawn, negative space in the minor infrastructure – a kindness to turning automobiles from either west or south. The scattered outbuildings of houses built on generous rural plots, and, further from the road, pink plastered walls supporting a pristine thatch. Nearby, wind chimes intone a Corinthian chord. Here, a modest fence, a canvas for climbing plants since removed. Their shadows remain, etched into the wood, tributaries feeding mighty channels flowing up to the sky.

manifest

XXI

Though the way is ungraspable,
We know it exists.
Though evasive,
It is manifest.
Though secluded,
It brims with vitality.
It has been here
Since the beginning.
Where does it come from?
Look inside and see.

fool

XX

While others are joyful,
I am expressionless.
While others have abundance,
I possess nothing.
While others are bright,
I alone am in darkness.
While others are discriminating,
I am confused.

I am a fool,
With a mind in chaos.
What’s the difference
Between no and yes?
Between bad and good?
Why fear what others fear?
Forego knowledge,
And problems will dissolve.
I drift on the waves,
At the mercy of the wind.

righteousness

XVIII

When the quiet compassion
Of the way is abandoned,
Overt righteousness arises,
Hypocrisy close behind.

People only speak brotherly love
In the midst of family strife.
People only speak patriotism,
When the land is in chaos.

trusting

XVII

The worst leader is despised,
The next-worst, feared.
Better leaders, loved.
The best, hardly noticed.

Prizing words,
They use them sparingly.
Trusting the people,
Their trust is merited.

Accomplishments quietly earned,
So the people may claim them
As their own.