"Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values"
- Dalai Lama quote on peace wall
When you smash walls with sledgehammers,
one must expect a reasonable amount of debris
to form at their feet, and for your footprints
to be identifiable in the resulting dust.
Every swing of the mallet leaves a bruise
no matter the skill or grace of your grip
sliding over the handle.
It is the crack that defines all,
what is removed and taken
away as much as what remains.
With that new shape with enforced contours,
one must bend.
Imagine two hands
the channel tunnel
or two fists
tearing an infrastructure
only looking to swell their own range
rather than overlap.
An old fisherman is teaching two young boys how to catch fish. (There’s always an elderly fisherman in ancient Chinese proverbs, so let’s borrow him and place him in this story.) One boy is using a net, and the other a hook and bait. The boy using the net manages to succeed in trapping a fish, and pulls it out of the river. The fisherman considers the fish flopping about on the riverbank, and then throws him back into the water. The boy asks why did he let the fish go. The fisherman replies, it did not ask to be caught.
This is the difference between the net and the hook. With the net, the fish is swimming away, and suddenly finds himself surrounds by the knots and lengths. Nothing in the fish’s actions has invited this: he is entrapped. In contrast, the hook idly floats and bobs, waiting for a fish to bite. The fish that complies risks the snare of the hook in order to feed. He is taking the bait, and the hook method relies on the fish to strike first before any chance of reeling him in.
The results are the same, but the processes that help create the results are very different. With the net, it is the fisherman that manipulates the current, so that fish may swim helplessly into the path of the net. With the hook, all the fisherman does is wait for an opportunity: it is his patience contested against the patience of the fish.
Mad dogs, the lot of them
with only one bone to slobber over:
the bone of extradition,
outside their kennel clubs and kennel houses,
sniffing for some foreign blood;
their world is a butcher shop’s window
and you wonder how hungry
the dogs will be today.
Sweet flash of fang
and dropped snarls
bray in neighbouring airs,
a sniff of the fight;
then it’s worthless to throw
your money into the ring:
no one wins here,
no one breaks from the leash.