Who serves a ruler with the Way

refrains from force of arms.
For who wields weapons, weapons can betray.

Where troops have camped, the brambles grow.
Where war has raged, the harvest's low.

Who leads an army well resolves his purpose,

absent force, absent reward.
He meets the purpose, not to boast of power.
He meets the purpose, not to bask in fortune.
He meets the purpose, not to brag with glory.
Rather, he meets the purpose with full regret
because the purpose must be met.

All things flourish, then decay.
One cannot ever force the Way.
What goes against it soon dies away.

© Douglas Allchin 2002