Yang & Tao


When you have two coins left, buy bread with one and a lily with the other.


What flower is not broken?
What hour do we not march?
What man is not seized
To guard the Empire’s borders?

What plant is not withered?
What man is not torn from his wife?
Weep for us soldiers,
Treated as though we were not men at all?


Life is fleeting. 
Our destinies are, in part, for us to shape, 
but external forces also make or break us. 
This sad but beautiful poem speaks from feudal China,
where the emperor could order men to war as he wished. 
The proverb thus urges us to enjoy each day 
by ensuring that we have not just the necessities 
but that we also delight in the ordinary wonders of everyday life: 
flowers, our families – all that we take for granted. 
Find the Tao that makes each day special.

©Loes Raaphorst 10/2005