This book is inspired by the great and ancient book The I Ching.

If you are not already introduced to The I Ching, I recommend the translation by Richard Wilhelm and Cary F. Baynes, with the foreword by C. G. Jung.

When casting a hexagram, each line may be yang, yin, or changing, that is, old yang becoming yin, or old yin becoming yang. Reading the hexagram without the changes gives the primary meaning; reading the hexagram with the changes gives a secondary meaning. This is why most of the poems in this book have secondary titles and maybe alternative interpretations.

I tossed coins and reckoned the subject of each poem first by carefully reading text for the chosen hexagrams and second by examining the reading’s application to my life and interests.

The desired result in each case was a poem to honor what I have been given. A good reading balances the archetypal with the personal. I hope that these poems reflect both.

I ordered the poems as they were written instead of as the hexagrams are numbered. If an understanding were to grow into a representation of wholeness, this would be expressed not only over time but from one page to the next.

When selecting the same hexagram more than once, each repetition could introduce new changes and interpretations. Therefore, I wrote a new poem on the same hexagram each time the coins selected it.

Otherwise, we cannot always merely invent; we must search for and work hard to understand the great teachings.

Tom Sharp, then and now

Tom Sharp’s initials