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25 The Leader

hexagram-25-leader‘CREATIVELY LEVERAGE THE passion of your Tao self-branding. Run your followers
delicately, as if cooking tiny fish.’

A kingfisher in the gloaming is the only signatory to a compromise
hammered out on a duck punt. Back home there’s a kill list, encrypted;
drones patrol his dreams. The native quotas are unattainable without
patrician support. Loathing meetings, where there’s no place for the
mellow, he relishes decanter politics, glimpses of tradition, of children.

1st – The Liberating Leader
The helmsman’s next obsession is the sparrows: if every peasant bangs
pots and pans they’ll fall out of the sky, exhausted. True, grain is saved,
but the cost is huge: relieved of predators, locusts descend and strip the
land of strength and skill, while he orchestrates the war of the bedbugs.

2nd – The Humble Leader
In hand-me-down brogues she treads the cobbles of moorland mill towns,
handing out leaflets, smiling. Elected, she surrounds herself with a coterie
of potmen, lamplighters and dinner ladies. She foresees the end times, the
blaze of her father’s books, and border people turned into gibbons.

3rd – The Leader in Exile
Charisma grows in silence at the unofficial heart of the nation – a train
running clockwise inside the frontier. Mail is redacted, gifts dismantled.
One day we see skywriting: a voter’s cross, dispersing back into the blue.
Celestial birthmark. Wavelets of courage ripple across the rice fields.

4th – The Leader at Bedtime
Raised eyebrows are televisual, but not this outrageous hamming
magnified by marriage. Undressing always brings out the mischief in
him, with an unparliamentary audience of one. Their intimacy makes him
funnier: the comedian trapped in the fridge, thriving on inconvenience.

5th – The Leader’s Statue
A painted statue sleek as a bowling pin stands erect, like a warning model
child a stone’s throw from a school – but giant-sized, to match the people’s
pride in their bountiful leader. His thousand-room hotel in the new
capital, monolithic, not yet populated, ruthlessly practises its welcome.

6th – The Eloquent Leader
Advertising seduces and the glister rubs off – you should hear the talk in
the mewsier pubs of Mayfair and the estuarine laxity of Number Ten sofa
meetings with the spin circle. Sincerity is a social skill, a thermal on which
to fly highest – a soaring hawk, bringing peace to the world’s naïveté.

All six – The Spiritual Leader
His surgeries, though codified, are never copied, since ink is no juice of
the desert. His mind is a case of scalpels, materialised out of a cloud on
Ararat. The seers of the heart are long occluded, yet he with the fan-like
beard knows the truth by its word, which is all humankind can endure.

Introduction to Six-Way Mirror | The Index of Hexagrams and Cantos



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