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HomePoems > Lao Tse, On the Nature of the Way > Ancient masters of the way     

  

Ancient masters of the way

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ancient
masters
of the way
comprehended
the mysteries
their spirits
subtly
supple,
too profound
to be labeled
because
they could not
be known,
we recall them
as they seemed--
tentative,
as if
crossing
a winter
brook
cautious
as if
afraid
of neighbors
all around
serious
as if
a guest
alert
to ceremony
irresolute
as ice
beginning
to sweat
and melt
shapeless
as wood
that has not
been carved
empty
as
a valley
obscure
as mud-mad
rivers
who else
could be
muddy,
then,
by being still,
become clear?
who else
could hibernate
breeding
life
slowly
from rest?
whoever
keeps
to the way
does not try
to be full
or fresh
being
used,
not
just
made,
they flow on
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