Tao Te Ching #29, gods and birds

Drawing a picture of the bird outside my window

gives me no control (none at all) over him.

No matter that the scarlet and ecru of the bird’s wings

are perfectly blended in an imagined water-color

flurry of feathers..

the bird is gone, flying away from the sound of my

commanding voice,

and beyond the reach of the prayers

with which I plead to the God of my bidding,

for the bird’s return.

Either God is not listening, or

I am irrelevant in Creation’s

thrusting toward tomorrow.

The bird doesn’t need me.

Nor, it seems-

at least in the way I believed it to be so-

does God.

I am free now to enjoy both.

Unencumbered by chains.

Tao Te Ching 28, Snake

Without the canyon,

there would be no river.

And without the river,

the canyon is not.

They are One.

It is the words I choose

that tear apart their Wholeness.

It is my inability to know One,

that causes me to imagine Two.

This is a confusion that does not exist for the



and nematodes

thriving within their known Universe.

They are unaware of the violence I do

to their world

with my thinking.


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Tao Te Ching #27, Secret

Do you want to know a secret?

Look down at your feet-

what does it feel like to be standing

on top of the Earth?

The answer, full of

sounds and wonderings,

overflowing in metaphors

and wholly inadequate-


is the secret.

Within that answer is

the answer

to everything else.


Now, you may or may not

believe that to be true.

But it is, and we can demonstrate

its veracity right now,

if you are willing.


Are you?


Good, look down at your feet.

Look, really look. And see.

What does it feel like to be standing

on top of the Earth?


Tao Te Ching #26, Still and Quiet

Only from a point of absolute, breathless


does the dance begin; and then..

from stillness, again

is it able to continue.

The symphonic sound of

strings and tympani

rise in crescendo only from


and then finish in memory

pregnant with music

afforded again only by

a return to  Silence.

Stillness and Silence

are alive within the

cacophony and chaos

of that which is


Tao Te Ching 25, Tree of Life

Before anything else, there was

something else;

and before that,


Now there is a rose,

a grasshopper, a cloud,

and a baby sucking her thumb.

Before those things there was

something else

and before that,

much more.

Things rise, toward the unity

of all things-

have you noticed?

And look below everything, too,

and see roots

reaching, twisting, winding

into the one root

of the one tree

planted by the

one water

and rising toward

the one rose

the one grasshopper

the one cloud

and the one baby sucking her thumb.

There is a psalm in the simplicity,

a song in the certainty.



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Tao Te Ching #24 Dog Story

The dog (small, curly-haired, smelling of shampoo)

did not know it was being carried in

a $4000 Louis Vuitton shoulder bag

or driven across town in a modified

Cadillac Escalade limousine

(On Call Transportation, 212-482-2512,

$100 /hr., 3 hr. minimum, ask about our

“all-weekend” rates!)

The dog did not compare

the sauteed-in-chicken-broth sirloin beef tips

served over brown rice

arranged in a

black leather-covered feeding station

from which it had been fed hours ago,

with the corner of a ham sandwich

given him by the

oily-shirted garage attendant

with a hangover, a pregnant girlfriend,

overdue rent,

and an abiding love for all dogs

no matter who they belong to, how they smell,

or whether they are being carried

in a designer bag

or are chewing through

a discarded McDonalds bag.

The owner of the Louis Vuitton bag

was due on the set of a movie later that day

and wanted the dog to be waiting there,

fed and ready to be seen.

The owner of the oily shirt and ham sandwich,


stayed in the mind of the small dog,

fondly, all day, and for many days and weeks


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Tao Te Ching 23, The Winter Dove

There, by the driveway,

below the bare lilac branches


a dove,

perfect in lines and delicate color

contrasting in curvature against

the new snow,




It died there sometime in the night

in temperatures that wrapped the

dying dove in its final

repose and held it there

gently- yes, gently:

she has been touched gently

in her final breaths-

every feather is perfect.


So perfect that I touch,

hoping that I will cause

a flurry of wings,

but it is not to be..

the dove has waited for

the end, without knowing of


knowing only, perhaps,

the anticipation,

after a short rest,

of another flight.

Tao Te Ching #22, The Name

They will say to me: What is his name?-

what shall I say to them?

God said to Moshe:

I will be-there howsoever I will be-there.

And he said:

Thus shall you say to the Children of Israel:

I-Will-Be-There sends me to you.*

Rigidity in the movement of life being lived is an

invitation for brokenness.

Pride in the context of inevitable change is a

preamble for pain.

Sure and certain knowledge in the New Creation

will become disabling; it will.


if we wait in readiness for the storm,

while also being ready to run,

and if we burn our idols

and watch the smoke

rising from the fire,

then we will know

Who-Is-There even if our eyes tell us


*Genesis 3:13,14. The Shocken Bible: Volume I, Everett Fox, translator, 1995.

Tao Te Ching #21, New Creation..

I know how the universe was created

and I know how the world came to be.

I do.

And you know, too.

You really do.

Neither of us knows the language

which we could use to properly describe

what we know;

and neither of us ever will.

But here’s part of it:

Love trumps fear;

Light trumps darkness;

And Joy always trumps ignorance.


(Peace be on the people of Egypt this day)

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