Tuesday, July 13, 2010

And prose depends on verse

(TaoBlog)A translation of the Tao that I like very much is by the Scottish poet, Charles A. Mackintosh (originally published in 1926 by the Theosophical Society in America). Here, Mackintosh presents the Tao as one unbroken whole—a poetic version that reads beginning to end in numbered verse. Verses 204 and 205 contain one of the sweetest grouping of words I have read in any Tao translation.

Thus everything in life depends
Upon its own reverse;
As enemies depend on friends,
And prose depends on verse.

And good on bad, as bad on good;
As courage rests on fear;
Only the rash and reckless could
Presume to interfere.

The day I read the above was a day I awoke in nightmare. An undefined fear stuck to my heart even as I poured a second cup of morning coffee. Truth sometimes appears smack in the middle of insignificant thought as "courage rests on fear" did for me. I had fear and I lived the day, anyway. I do not think this an unusual human phenomenon. It seems that life is a series of jumbled incidents that may make sense at the end of day as "prose depends on verse."

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