Atanas Laskov

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Mastery

June 30, 2019 7:32 pm

This is my take on translating a chapter of the Tao Te Chin, based on the transliteration of the Chinese by Paul Carus [Chinese-English, P.Carus, 1898].

Surely, the ancients were true masters,
because they were subtle, profound and thoughtful.
I cannot explain their way of wisdom,
so I will illustrate it:

Cautious,
so cautious they were,
like a boat crossing a turbulent river at winter.

Reluctant,
so reluctant they were,
like a country fearful of its neighbours in the four directions of the compass.

Respectful,
so respectful they were,
like poor guests in a rich house.

Elusive,
so elusive they were,
like a stream flowing under a thin layer of ice.

Simple,
so simple they were,
like hemp rope.

Wild,
so wild they were,
like a hidden valley in the mountains.

Obscure,
so obscure they were,
like muddled waters.

Who can the disturbance quiet,
and thus gradually distil it to clarity?
He is like the ancient masters.

Who keeps with the way of things,
and does not care to be satisfied?
He is like the ancient masters.

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© 2019 Atanas Laskov

Atanas Laskov