Western Koans

Click here to hear a wondeful talk from Ross on the subject of western koans

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
King James Bible: 1 Corinthians 13:12

To see the world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
William Blake

Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
William Blake

I is an other.
Arthur Rimbaud

I feel a peace fall in the heart
of the winds, and a clear dusk settle
somewhere far in me.
Christopher Brennan

Perhaps we are here in order to say: house,
bridge, fountain, gate, pitcher, fruit-tree, window–
at most: column, tower. . . . But to say them, you must understand,
oh to say them more intensely than the things themselves
ever dreamed of existing.
Rainer Maria Rilke 


When I sleep every night
What am I called or not called?
And when I awake who am I
if I was not I while I slept?
Pablo Neruda

The world is a mist. And then the world is
minute and vast and clear.
Elizabeth Bishop

There is no person without a world.
Anne Carson

We are ourselves the void in contemplation.
We are its only nerve and hand and eye.
Don Paterson

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

I have decided to find myself a home
in the mountains, somewhere high up
where one learns to live peacefully in
the cold and the silence. It’s said that
in such a place certain revelations may
be discovered. That what the spirit
reaches for may be eventually felt, if not
exactly understood. Slowly, no doubt, I’m
not talking about a vacation.

Of course at the same time I mean to
stay exactly where I am.

Are you following me?

from Mary Oliver A Thousand Mornings



On-going compilation by Ross Bolleter, November 2013