Soft without hard--
Like a mosquito on an iron bull:
Impossible to penetrate the mystery.
Hard without soft--
A torpedo on a mission:
Seeking to obliterate surface vessels.
Neither posture proficient alone.
Hard within the soft:
An iron fist in a velvet glove
Unyielding but plush
—Getting closer but not yet thoroughly cooked,
The pit within the peach hurts if you bite too deep.
Hard and soft refined together
The base transformed into gold:
So malleable it spreads across the entire surface
So dense it plumbs the very depths.
—Appears perfect, but remains indigestible
The same ingot before and after traversing the intestines
Its shape dependent on the designs of the alchemist.
The marrow in the bones has always been juicy soft
Once it cracks open in the stewpot
The marrow spills out into every nook and cranny
Infusing the entire dish with its soft buttery flavor.
The hard bone, no longer necessary, discarded before serving others.