The Tao

 

 

The masters of the Way

In the old days knew deeply

The elusive mysteries, yet

 

They shuddered like those

Crossing an icy stream;

 

They stayed awake like

Those afraid of neighbors;

 

They were serious, as if

At dinner with the powerful;

 

They were pliable, like

Melting ice; plain like

Unworked wood; cloudy

Like muddy water; empty

Like a mountain gorge.

 

Muddy water left still

Will clear; things at rest

Can be moved again.

 

Those who practice this way

Of doing The Way stay empty,

Looking worn and unfinished.

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