Wednesday, July 2, 2014

from The Way of Life according to Laotzu [born c. 640 B.C.], translated by Witter Bynner

The less a leader does and says
The happier his people,
The more a leader struts and brags
The sorrier his people.
Often what appears to be unhappiness is happiness
And what appears to be happiness is unhappiness.
Who can see what leads to what
When happiness appears and yet is not,
When what should be is nothing but a mask
Disguising what should not be? Who can but ask
An end to such a stupid plot!
Therefore a sound man shall so square the circle
And circle the square as not to injure, not to impede:
The glow of his life shall not daze,
It shall lead.

I am thinking that this is as good a definition as any of the way in which I try to guide the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching. Of course I often fail, sometimes miserably. But I keep trying.

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