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Nothing and not

I've been reading Ursula Le Guin's English version of the Tao Te Ching. I love this piece:

Nothing and not

Nature doesn't make long speeches.
A whirlwind doesn't last all morning.
A cloudburst doesn't last all day.
Who makes the wind and rain?
Heaven and earth do.
If heaven and earth don't go on and on,
certainly people don't need to.

The people who work with Tao
are Tao people,
they belong to the Way.
People who work with power
belong to power.
People who work with loss
belong to what's lost.

Give yourself to the Way
and you'll be at home on the Way.
Give yourself to power
and you'll be at home in power.
Give yourself to loss
and when you're lost you'll be at home.

To give no trust
is to get no trust.


Lines 6 - 7 are wonderfully funny and serious at once in a way that reminds me of Terry Pratchett.

That part might also make eloquent words to favor keeping peerage speeches brief.
This entry was edited (1 year ago)

In collaboration with JP Seaton, professor of Chinese at UNC. I love her little footnote commentaries.