What is Tao?

Erasure from the Zhuangzi translated by Thomas Merton

out     a hand
down     a foot
a knee
like a dance     what
is Tao?

when I first began
I would see me
all in one mass

after three years I saw

but now I see
with the eye free to work
space finds its own way
I cut no joint chop no bone

a year I have used this
it has cut
its edge
keen
when this finds space
there is all the room

I feel     slow down     watch
hold back     move
and whump the part falls away
like a clod of earth

then I the blade
stand still
clean     and put it away

From A coat of ashes. First published in The Authorised Theft: Writing,
Scholarship, Collaboration Papers
, the proceedings of the 21st Conference
of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs.

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