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 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 #19, Emptiness

The Servant emptied himself of

uniform, honor, and accolade

by kneeling on a plank floor

with a towel

and washing street dirt and shit

from the feet of his friends.


No volume of leather-bound

liturgical ritual, written on calfskin

in illuminated inks of gold and indigo

can change that dark and beautiful

scandal-filled night.

No doctrinal platitudes

spoken in sonorous sobriety

by centuries of bejeweled shamen

can drown out the sounds of

the wet towel, the filled basin, and

the guttural wonder of

men confronted by true


and perfect




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Tao Te Ching #18, Ruach

That which we see is shaped
by that which we cannot see.

When we see our Great Home as
a reflection of our will, however,
rather than formed by the
winds of the universe,
then we are inviting those with the
biggest voices, the
biggest fists, and the
biggest armies
to fly flags in the
shapes and colors
of their own wills,
and to hide from our perceptions
any recognition whatsoever
of the invisible winds..

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Tao Te Ching 17 (a response to, and an embrace of)

Beyond the gods of everyones’ words,

above the forest’s canopy

and below, far below

deep river-cut canyons,

there exists all of that which has no name,

and never will.


We will run out of answers

before we run out of questions

because the best answers

give rise to new questions.


It is in the throne room of silence then,

that galaxies become lovers

and give birth to bacteria.

And it is from nameless, invisible oceans

teeming with mysteries

that Brahms Symphony No.1 in C minor,

Jimi’s “Electric Ladyland”

and the colors of ecru, mauve, and

burnt umber (among millions more),


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Tao Te Ching #16, The Source

Whenever it was that I first saw them

(I know it was when my dad lifted me to see)

I saw chickens hatching

from their eggs. The chicks were wet,

I remember that they were wet,

and I remember that the coop was dark,

but that dad had a flashlight.


Years later, I saw a horse dying in a pasture.

I was riding a bike that day to a neighbor’s house

(which would mean I was about nine)

but when I walked (frightened, yes) toward the horse

lying there (dying there, I thought)

a little horse stood up,

and I was too surprised to run.

So I watched the mother,

who wasn’t dying, only waiting,

stand herself, and

lick herself and her colt clean.


And then today I wanted to see if

the finches, the junkos, and the titmouse

would come near if I stood

beside the feed I’d spread

on the snow-covered ground

near the pecan tree,

long enough, still enough, quietly enough.

I stood, motionless, intentionally breathing

slow and low, minutes and more minutes-

breathe in 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8……

breathe out 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8…..

then, in slow movement

as smoothly as possible

I knelt

to be even closer, when they returned

if they returned..

and they did.

One, a junko, landed about ten feet away then,

a thistle seed at a time, came closer and closer,

then another junko (charcoal and cream) and another.

A titmouse swooped-twice- then landed, then was gone.

Finch- two, four, ten, tiny, delicate, aggressive and golden

and more junkos

(the junkos chirping, the finches crunching).

I am still still and I am breathing quietly

and I am feasting, in memory and vision,

with hatching chicks

and standing horses

and (now) chirping, crunching birds

and it is proper that I am


and I am only there because I am

invisibly present

and I am


It would look to some

as if I am praying..

Tao Te Ching 15, Like A Cat

God is a jaguar:

where there are no words to hide behind,

he is aware of all.

He moves in stealth and grace,

with unintended injury to nothing,

and in calculated swiftness.

God is a jaguar:

lying low in the grass,

then leaping over it,

now crouching within it.

With golden black eyes-

eyes like glassine knives

piercing the darkness,

while caressing all that is seen

in the deep and widening

sweep of his view.

God is a jaguar:



patiently watching

and perfectly still.

Utterly Present.

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Tao Te Ching (11) emptiness

I lift my hands into the air

(a kind of prayer)

not because I might better grab

something I want,

but because my hands are already full

so full

so full that I must give what I have


so that I will be able again to feel the wind.


My hands fill easily with what I want.

But they must be empty to receive

what I need.


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Tao Te Ching, #10, an apple and snow

I can see this nighttime snowfall

in its prismatic whiteness,

deeply white:

layers of light on light

white so white

a fiery whiteness

and breathtakingly


I taste this apple

golden fine meat and sweet

red-yellow healing fruit

for the nations beginning with

my tongue, then yours,

then shared

in noisy gratitude.

But quiet now:

hussshhh in the silence and




because there is more

there is always more

world without end

white and sweet


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a dirty God- Tao Te Ching, Chapter 8

God lies in the humus,

buried there

by choice

and watching

as tap roots reach for his touch

and as nematodes circle

round and round

in his grace.


nobody on top knows he is there

while those dwellers in the deep,

sing Hallelujah

in celebration of God’s nearness:

his way

his truth

his life among them,

twisted around them,

giving rise to them,



He fills the berries, the nuts, the fruits,

the wild grasses, the grains,

the mushrooms soft like babies’ ears

with nurture

with blood to be

with Life

with love..


@David Weber, 2011

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