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The following fairly late writing is in prose, rather than poetry per se. It is from the philosopher Chuang-Tzu's Writings, xxii, VIII, sixth century BCE.

Here, the tone, imagery, and personification are heavily influenced by Taoist thought in the Tao-Te Ching, including the Taoist emphasis on the inability of language and logical categorization to encompass reality. The attempt to put a label on something can falsely reify a non-existent thing, as Starshine discovers when he questions Non-Being, the darkness. The conceptual categories that separate what "is" from what "isn't" accordingly become paradoxical.

"Starshine and Non-Being "

Starshine asked Non-Being,

"Master, do you exist? Or do you not exist?"

Since he received no answer at all,

Starlight set himself to watch for Non-Being.

He waited to see if Non-Being would appear.

He kept his eyes fixed on the deep Void,

hoping to catch a glimpse of Non-Being.

All day long he looked.

He saw nothing.

He listened.

He heard nothing.

Then Starlight cried out at last: "This is IT!"

"This is the farthest yet! Who can reach it?

I can understand the absence of Being.

But who can understand the absence of Nothing?

If now, on top of all this, Non-Being exists,

Who can understand it?"




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