Okay so I am working on this poetry book inspired by the Tao Te Ching. I plan on adding my own translation of all 81 verses. I am not going to alter it to the point where the meaning is lost; I am going to just change a few words. I am not sure but I think you need to alter the translation so you do not do any copyright infringement. So I am going to include the verse then after the verse I am going to include 1-4 poems inspired by the corresponding verse. I plan on self publishing this title as I did for the last two since publishing a poetry book with a publishing house is damn near impossible. I am enjoying working on this project because it causes me to look deeper into the Tao Te Ching, and develop a deeper understanding of the great Tao. I would like to include the first verse along with my two rough drafts poems to go along with it. Please any feedback would be helpful.

Verse 1

The Tao that can be spoken, is not the eternal Tao

The Tao that can be named, is not the eternal name

The Tao is both named and nameless

As nameless it is the origin of all things

As named it is the Mother of the universe

Ever desiring one can only see her manisfistations

Ever desireless, one will see her mystery

These two spring from the same source, but differ in name

The mystery is the doorway to all understanding

This doorway is the gateway to heaven

Lao-tzu

I constructed this verse with four separate translations. I added two things first I said “the Mother of the universe.” The original verse uses the “Mother of 10,000 things.” I have never really liked this usage. I believe the Tao is the Mother of everything and I believe she gave birth to the universe when the big bang happened. I was always turned off by the ten thousand things reference. I also added at the end “this doorway is the gateway to heaven.” I hope this will not turn people away from this book, I just think a few things can be added to explain the meaning more. Okay so now I am going to include my two poems.

Verse 1 Poem

I am unknowable

Unseeable

Yet I am in your thoughts

I am right before your eyes

Everything comes from my center

Just as the center of your chi

everything that has or will be is my essence

Let go and allow me in

I will show you understanding

Stop trying to make your life work

Let it be

Allow me to show you the Way

Tim Lundmark

Verse 1 Poem

I cannot be named

Try and I will escape you

Strictly desiring me; all you will see are things

If you choose to desire your possessions

And I will flow through your fingers

Be desireless

And I will flow with you

Stop trying

Simply allow

Then I will show you the mystery of the Way

Tim Lundmark

The tough part I am finding is capturing the main message of the verse in poetry form. I am not too happy with my first drafts and definitely feel like there is room for improvement. For now I am going to continue studying these verse’s and find the true meaning. I do not expect to find understanding within the Tao within a short period of timed. This will probably take me a year or so to finish. I just wonder since I am self-publishing if this is even worth my time.

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Comments
  1. Johanna says:

    I’m not sure the Tao should be translated per se. Isn’t the beauty of it that each person interprets the meaning for themselves at that particular moment in their lives? You may read one verse and it means one thing to you at one time, and later, it means something else for you. Isn’t the interpretation supposed to be personal?

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Johanna,

      From my knowledge I believe you need to alter because of copyright laws. The changes I have made thus far have been minor, while not compleatly losing the message of the verse. I suppose those changes are personal for me though. I have read many different translations and I have found minor changes in all of them

  2. My central critique is the use of the word “I” when referring to Tao. It turns Tao into a specific entity. If Tao is everything, then the word “I” is too constrictive.

    I have had to address this same issue in my Tao Bible series. I find myself often using the word “it” in reference to Tao. Tao isn’t an it and so that word does an injustice. Consequently, I have to watch myself to insure I don’t accidentally slip up and slip an “it” in here and there.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Rambling,
      I remember when you first started reading you made it a point to tell my the Tao is not an “it” I have watched my wording ever since. I am sure I slip here and there

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