Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Lao Tzu: "We Are a River"

Our life has not been an ascent
up one side of a mountain and down the other.
We did not reach a peak,
only to decline and die.
We have been as drops of water,
born in the ocean and sprinkled on the earth
in a gentle rain.
We became a spring,
and then a stream,
and finally a river flowing deeper and stronger,
nourishing all it touches
as it nears its home once again.


Don't accept the modern myths of aging.
You are not declining.
You are not fading away into uselessness.
You are a sage,
a river at its deepest
and most nourishing.
Sit by a river bank some time
and watch attentively as the river
tells you of your life.

"We Are a River," from The Sage's Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for the Second Half of Life, William Martin's free-verse interpretation of the classic work by Lao Tzu (The Experiment, 2010).

Art credit: Untitled photograph from Autumn River, a series by Philip Brittan in which he "submerges himself and his camera in the currents of Bristol’s River Frome, capturing the movements of fallen leaves." See more of his remarkable series here. 

1 comment :

  1. This lovely poem reminds me of Rabindranath Tagore's poem "The Stream of Life."


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