Dao De Jing 15
The ancient & skillful sages, subtle, mysterious, profound, were too deep to be fathomed. Because men could not fathom them, it’s best to describe their appearance:
Cautious as men fording a river in winter!
Trembling with fear at what surrounded them!
Grave & respectful as a guest!
Dispersing like melting ice!
Simple as uncarved wood!
Empty as a gorge!
Turbid as muddy water!
Who can turn muddy water gradually clear?
Who being quiescent can stir others to life?
Those who preserve the Way don’t desire fulfillment.
Not desiring fulfillment, they remain concealed & don’t ripen prematurely
Translation by John Hayes
The translation is is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Unlike with my original poetry & poetry translations, I don’t asset a copyright claim on my translation of the Dao De Jing. It may be freely used under the terms of the Creative Commons license.
Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Depiction of the Daoist immortal Lü Chunyang, also known as Lü Dongbin”: Zhang Lu (1464–1538) – Ink and light colors on gold-flecked paper; album leaf. Ming Dynasty.