the lessons of water

david moses
from The Paris Review:

The Lessons of Water
The best way to conduct oneself may be observed in the behavior of water. - Tao te ching

When given a place to wait, it fills that place
By taking the shape of what contains it,
Its upper surface poised and level,
Absorbing, accepting what it can as lightly
Or heavily as it does itself.  If pressed
Down, it will offer back in all directions
Everything it was given.  If chilled, it will shatter
Daylight and whiten to stars, will harden and sharpen
And turn unforseeably dazzling.  Neglected,
It will disappear, being transformed and lifted
Into thin air.  Or thrown away, it will gather
With other water, which is all one water,
And rise and fall, regather and go on rising
And falling the more quickly its path descends
And the more slowly as it wears that path away,
To be left awhile, to stir for the moon, to wait
For the wind to begin again.

by David Wagoner



gz said...


Adullamite said...

Is that picture the right way up....?

J Cosmo Newbery said...

I can see that.

Sancho said...

I go to water under pressure; is that the same?

red dirt girl said...

xxx :-)

I'm not quite sure, Adullamite ...

I had forgotten that I posted this or perhaps I was in a fog (water again) and soub has just informed me that it is not a particularly good poem or list of musings on water.

What can I say? apparently it spoke to some part of my brain at some part of the day yesterday. I shall stand by my posting!


red dirt girl said...

I tend to water under pressure .....



goatman said...

I am a bit befused by the last line but I like the wearing away image.

Bulletholes said...

I like it. can you see this?