Saturday, June 11, 2016

Confucius and Lao Tzu (Additions to "The Apology Box")

            Confucius’s Sonnet

Mere force brings no true order since forced change
Warps from without and thus can never fit
An inner nature that’s rejecting it.
Without such fit, there’s but apparent change.

As mere force is deficient, sages thus
Discount it.  Righting wrong, they find a way
To change a man by his own choices. Thus,
They speak and do precisely. Sages sway

With virtue and right language of the kind
They’ve learned in studies of the old archives
Of ritual and common mythic mind.

Their teaching teaches them. Example drives
Without a whip. On earth, in heaven, too,
Truth bans all thrashings hells purport to do.

            Lao Tzu’s Sonnet

Would breath that loathed to make a sound in life
Somehow reverse itself in airless death?
Would it somehow convert itself at last
Into fools’ terms?  No--death is muter still.

I’ve neither arrogance nor wish to harm.
I’d not presume an ant cares how my mouth
Might label it.  I all the more of course
Would not presume that heaven gives a damn.

Man’s categories cause him needless ill—
A man can’t covet or despise a thing
Some category’s not disjoined from him.
Man's words spread categories' ills about.

Without air heaven must be wordless.  Hence,
I'm mute where no decrees expel me hence.

© Harold Anthony Lloyd 2016
The current contents of "The Apology Box" can be found here.

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