When a person is young,
they are soft and tender.
When a person dies,
they are rigid and stiff.
When the Ten Thousand things are alive,
they are delicately tender –
when they are dead, they are brittle and dry.
unyielding hardness is death’s companion.
The soft and gentle are life’s companions.
Forceful armies will not win.
Trees unable to bend will ultimately yield the axe.
The strong and stiff will fall.
The soft and supple will endure.