Tao Te Ching



i apologize for putting these feelings, these experiences into words
this silly thing i call Tao has swept me up and my heart whispered childish poetry
whatever it is i am trying to say is not enough

if i were to write for the rest of my life
i could not summarize
it would fall short

i am but one voice, a single finger
pointing at Luna
Io, Triton, Proteus

your heart knows much 
about Tao without any words
Tao is as natural to you as sneezing

you, the perfect expression of Tao,
are the living scripture, the embodied hymn singing
deep cries out to deep

a mother stoops to help her child loosen a knot in her sneaker
she uses a fork tine
this will take a while
she is in no rush
the child is watching and learning

not about knots but about choices of patience

love is sometimes illustrative of Tao
the more it is celebrated and chosen
the more it spills over
love is not exhausted
Tao can never cease

a child wipes the food from her aged mother’s chin

you need not make war, Arjuna
you may rest your sword, Absalom

you champions of the battlefield have not won
you victims slain and buried in unmarked graves have not lost

you need not take sides in the debate
you need only listen well and act in truth

you see the banners, they wave futilely
you hear drum and fife they play a crooked tune

you need learn war no longer
you may make salt and weave instead

you see you have been ill served by hatred and bitterness
you work from fear towards release

you find stillness
you have always been the perfect expression of Tao

planted by streams of righteousness
raising eyes and voices in joy
pacific
rooted in patience and transparency
they have no ego to protect

empty of illusions they see past categories
celebrating all living beings
free
drinking from the common cup
they reside in community

bearing fruit of kindness
reveling in the freedom of non-want
eternal
sharing in the song of change
they join in the dance of creation

a young woman came to a village known for its lawlessness
the robbers soon found that they could not take from her
because although making hard-earned wages
she identified with the poor
and stored up riches in loving relationships
the slanderers could not diminish her reputation
because she spoke well of the slanderers openly
and her integrity was well established
the corrupt religious authorities
could not lay upon her shame and fear
because she was awake to the way of things

many years later when she old and dying
she was visited by a woman of the woods
who asked her,
“in all your years here
the village has not changed for the better
but in many ways become worse.
are you not frustrated?”
and she replied,
“it was never my intention
to change a person or village.
i was only living the way
i learned from listening to
frogs, and watching sparrows.”

she died having lived a very happy life

our universe one among many
is within the womb of caring motherhood

each life draws upon the same ever-giving source
an endless spring which flows through deferential sharing

the gift expands in graceful giving
kindness multiplies the humble meal among friends

the hymn of existence sings of you to you
nurturing listening you harmonize

all the original energies of creation
reside fully in you

energy to be used in any way you
choose

she is wonderful/ly alive
daring cartwheels and harmonies

she was born and life had long preceded her
she will pass on and life will continue long after her

ancient trees grow rings around her
soil will retake her

seeing the wholeness of her life
and death in any given breath

she leaps like Elizabeth’s womb
at each life’s appearance and passing

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