This is my take on translating the first chapter of the 道德經.
It is based on the gloss of the Chinese characters, and cross-referenced with other English translations, for extra accuracy.
This way could be the true way,
but it is not always so;
This name could be the true name,
but it is not always so.
it is of Heaven and Earth (天下 tiānhià) the true beginning;
Give it a name,
and it becomes of ten thousand things the mother.
always without having desires,
one unlocks the temple gate of wonders.
Always having desires,
one stumbles at the temple gate,
and this is by sheer luck.
Twofold this appears,
two different names alike are spoken;
They speak of the dark mystery.
Darkness and of the dark again,
it is the same;
Multitude of different names
all leading to the gate.
– Atanas Laskov, 2016
Mostly sketches of people’s backs because it’s easier to sneak from behind.