I’m fixated on the glint of diamond
light that never wears out on stone.
Grinding endangers your life’s ship
being mobilized with blood,
sweat and tears as if in war.
It can make you obscenely rich—
your nose in a flame like a snorting bull,
or it can give you a widow-maker
before you are 50 years old.
Why hunger so much for money
or fame, for things you don’t have?
When the sea gets rough, hang on
to your binnacle so you can navigate
by compass and keep steady on course.
When you make too many demands
of your ship it can flounder and fill up
with the stink of bilge water to sink you.
Keeping your nose to the grindstone
not only wears out your nose, but
sabotages your ship, endangering
its longevity by half. The Daoist’s advice:
The key to happiness is being content
with what you have and not longing for more.