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Jerry Katz
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Nondual Highlights Issue #2154 Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The old temple,
rusting among the parsley -
a baking pan.

- Buson, posted to AdvaitaToZen

Ode to My Socks

Maru Mori brought me

a pair

of socks

that she knitted with her own

sheepherder hands,

two socks as soft

as rabbits.

I slipped my feet

into them

as if they were




with threads of


and the pelt of sheep.

Outrageous socks,

my feet became

two fish

made of wool,

two long sharks

of ultramarine blue


by one golden hair,

two gigantic blackbirds,

two cannons:

my feet

were honored in this way





They were

so beautiful

that for the first time

my feet seemed to me


like two decrepit

firemen, firemen


of that embroidered


of those luminous



I resisted

the sharp temptation

to save them

as schoolboys



as scholars


sacred documents.

I resisted

the wild impulse

to put them

in a golden


and each day give them


and chunks of pink melon.

Like explorers

in the jungle

who hand over the rare

green deer

to the roasting spit

and eat it

with remorse,

I stretched out

my feet

and pulled on




and then

my shoes.

And the moral of my ode

is this:

beauty is twice


and what is good is doubly


when it's a matter of two

woolen socks

in winter.

- Pablo Neruda, translated by Stephen Mitchell and published in
Ten Poems to Change Your Life, by Roger Housden, Harmony Books, New York, 2001

The Wind, One Brilliant Day

The wind, one brilliant day, called
to my soul with an odor of jasmine.

"In return for the odor of my jasmine,
I'd like all the odor of your roses."

"I have no roses; all the flowers
in my garden are dead."

"Well then, I'll take the withered petals
and the yellow leaves and the waters of the fountain."

the wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:
"What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?"

- Antonio Machado, translated by Robert Bly

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

- Mary Oliver

Where The Mind is Without Fear

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

- Rabindranath Tagore, from

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