It is a simple garment, this slipped-on world.
We wake into it daily—open eyes, braid hair—
a robe unfurled
in rose-silk flowering, then laid bare.
And yes, it is a simple enough task
we’ve taken on,
though also vast:
from dusk to dawn,
from dawn to dusk, to praise, and not
be blinded by the praising.
To lie like a cat in hot
sun, fur fully blazing,
and dream the mouse;
and to keep too the mouse’s patient, waking watch
within the deep rooms of the house,
where the leaf-flocked
sunlight never reaches, but the earth still blooms.
“The Task” by Jane Hirshfield, from The October Palace.
Harper Perennial, 1994. (buy now)
Suzuki Harunobu Japanese, 1724-1770. The Poetess Ono no Komachi, 1767/68
Meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh penetrates to the heart of Buddhist morality when he urges us to “make peace right in the moment we are alive.” A cup of tea, poured with clarity, taken mindfully, can help heal the world, although it might require a decade of meditation in preparation.