Wednesday, March 9, 2011

when the lamp went out






When they plow their fields
and sow seeds in the earth,
when they care for their wives and children, 
young brahmans find riches.

But I've done everything right
and followed the rule of my teacher.
I'm not lazy or proud.
Why haven't I found peace?

Bathing my feet 
I watched the bathwater
spill down the slope.
I concentrated my mind
the way you train a good horse.

The I took the lamp
and went into my cell,
checked the bed,
and sat down on it.
I took a needle
and pushed the wick down.

When the lamp went out
my mind was freed.


~ Patacara, (6th B.C.E.)
from Women in Praise of the Sacred
edited by Jane Hirshfield

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