The Art of Writing

Here's a passage from The Art of Writing: Teachings of the Chinese Masters, which I've borrowed from one of my students.

A sentence may contradict what comes before
or trespass on what follows.
Sometimes the idea is good but words fail,
and fine words may make no sense.
In such cases it is wise to set the two apart
since they harm each other when put together.
It is delicate to judge which idea or word works better--
a difference finer than a wheat ear's hairs.
Weigh each word on a scale;
use a measuring cord to make your cuts.