76 – The Brittle May Fall

Pine tree covered with frost, blue toned


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.


  1. This reminds me to be more flexible as I go about living. Thanks Amy.
    Suzanne McRae recently posted…Year in Review – my most popular blog posts in 2012My Profile

  2. What a lovely peice, thank you for sharing.
    Athena Brady recently posted…What do books mean to you?My Profile

  3. Wow! This is lovely.

    At work, my corporate office has just come out with a 9 page contract that I have to go to all my clients and get them to review and sign. It goes against my grain in so many ways. Others in our industry have a 3/4 page contract, and they are national firms. We are this little regional firm that suddenly thinks we need to outdo everyone on legalese. To me, it looks like we are trying to drive business away by being difficult. The other thing that it made me think is that we are shouting to the world that You Can’t Sue Us. We’ve gotten every possibility in writing. And that looks so Strong (to some), and looks stiff, terrified, brittle-will-break to me.

    Is it any wonder, I am not long for this job? (Shh. Still Secret.)
    Liesl Garner recently posted…Would we have been Friends if we’d Met when we were Kids?My Profile

    • This reminds me of pre-nuptial agreements. I can see where it would be scary if you had a ton of money going into the marriage to a spouse that had very little, but where is the trust? In your case, it does sound a bit stiff and is a perfect example of what Lao Tzu is talking about here. I know for myself, if someone tells me I can’t do something, I want to do it. Will people ever learn?

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