27. Skill

Good walkers leave no track.
Good talkers don't stammer.
Good counters don't use their fingers.
The best door's unlocked and unopened.
The best knot's not in a rope and can't be untied.

So wise souls are good at caring for people,
never turning their back on anyone.
They're good at looking after things,
never turning their back on anything,
There's a light hidden here.

Good people teach people who aren't good yet;
the less good are the makings of the good.
Anyone who doesn't respect a teacher
or cherish a student
may be clever, but has gone astray.
There's a deep mystery here.

"[Commentary by Ursula Le Guin]: The hidden light and the deep mystery seem to be signals, saying "think about this' — about care for what seems unimportant. In a teacher's parental care for the insignificant student, and in a society's respect for mothers, teachers, and other obscure people who educate, there is indeed illumination and a profoundly human mystery. Having replaced instinct with language, society, and culture, we are the only species that depends on teaching and learning. We aren't human without them. In them is true power. But are they the occupations of the rich and mighty?"