On the Number 55

55 in Philosophy & Religion
271) On the Oracle: Heaven is one, earth is two; heaven is three, earth four; heaven is five, earth six; heaven is seven, earth eight; heaven is nine, earth ten. There are five heavenly numbers. There are also five earthly numbers. When they are distributed among the five places, each finds its complement. The sum of the heavenly numbers is 25, that of the earthly numbers is 30. The sum total of heavenly numbers and earthly numbers is 55. It is this which completes the changes and transformations and sets demons and gods in movement.
I Ching, Book II.9.1-2 (circa 1000 B.C.)

Sum of 5 odd heavenly numbers = 1+3+5+7+9 = 25
Sum of 5 even earthly numbers = 2+4+6+8+10 = 30
Sum of the heavenly & earthly series (I Ching) = 25 + 30 = 55
272) Platonic Lambda Platonic Lambda: The Soul of the Universe is the sum of the two series (Timaeus 35b):
Sum of the double interval series (powers of 2) =
20 + 21 + 22 + 23 = 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 = 15
Sum of the triple interval series (powers of 3) =
30 + 31 + 32 + 33 = 1 + 3 + 9 + 27 = 40
Sum of the double & triple interval series (Timaeus) = 15 + 40 = 55

“Now God did not make the soul after the body, although we are speaking of them in this order; for having brought them together he would never have allowed that the elder should be ruled by the younger... First of all, he took away one part of the whole [1], and then he separated a second part which was double the first [2], and then he took away a third part which was half as much again as the second and three times as much as the first [3], and then he took a fourth part which was twice as much as the second [4], and a fifth part which was three times the third [9], and a sixth part which was eight times the first [8], and a seventh part which was twenty-seven times the first [27]. After this he filled up the double intervals [i.e. between 1, 2, 4, 8] and the triple [i.e. between 1, 3, 9, 27] cutting off yet other portions from the mixture and placing them in the intervals” (Benjamin Jowett's translation of Plato's Timaeus 35b)

273) In Pythagorean arithmetic, 2 is the first even number, 3 the first odd number.
The even and odd tetractyes both radiate from the One, which is the source
of all numbers. The sum of these two series is 55
274) Aristotle postulated a complex arrangement of 55 concentric spheres with varying differential
speeds, all of them constructed of a transparent crystal of infinite purity and perfection.
(Charles-Albert Reichen, A History of Astronomy, Hawthorn, NY, 1961, p. 15)
“Since, then, the spheres involved in the movement of the planets themselves are— eight for Saturn and Jupiter and twenty-five for the others, and of these only those involved in the movement of the lowest-situated planet need not be counteracted the spheres which counteract those of the outermost two planets will be six in number, and the spheres which counteract those of the next four planets will be sixteen; therefore the number of all the spheres— both those which move the planets and those which counteract these— will be 55.”
Aristotle, Metaphysics 1074a6 (Bk XII or Book Lambda),
translated by W. D. Ross, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1924
275) Number of stars (29 stella + 26 stelle) Dante scattered in his Commedia = 55. (Table)
(Ernest Hatch Wilkins, Thomas G. Bergin, & Anthony J. De Vito,
A Concordance to the Divine Commedy of Dante Alighieri, 1966)
276) Dante's 55 & The Platonic Lambda
is an essay by Peter Y. Chou written for Professor John Freccero's "Dante's Paradiso"
class at Stanford University, Spring 2001. An examination of Verses 55 in Dante's
Commedia cantos shows how he uses this Platonic Lambda #55, "soul of the universe"
as a marker to guide the reader in the pilgrimage from earth to cosmic illumination paradise.
277) Thomas Taylor & Floyer Sydenham translated 55 Dialogues of Plato from Greek to English,
published in 5 volumes (R. Wilks, London, 1804). These translations influenced
the romantic poets Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Byron, and Blake.
(see Stanford Library copy; also Kane Antiquarian Auction, 10-5-1997, auction lot #320)
Harvard Library: Gp 82.560F The Works of Plato, viz. his fifty-five dialogues, and twelve epistles
278) Hymn 55 in Book 1 of the Rig Veda is an invocation to Indra:
1. Though even this heaven's wide space and earth have spread them out,
nor heaven nor earth may be in greatness Indra's match. Awful and very mighty,
causing woe to men, he whets his thunderbolt for sharpness, as a bull.
2. Like as the watery ocean, so doth he receive the rivers spread on all sides
in their ample width. He bears him like a bull to drink of Soma juice,
and will, as Warrior from of old, be praised for might.
7. Drinker of Soma, let thy heart incline to give; bring thy Bays hitherward,
O thou who hearest praise. Those charioteers of' thine, best skilled
to draw the rein, the rapid sunbeams, Indra, lead thee not astray.
8. Thou bearest in both hands treasure that never fails; the famed One
in his body holds unvanquished might. O Indra, in thy members
many powers abide, like wells surrounded by the ministering priests.
Rig Veda, Book 1, 55.1-2, 7-8 (circa 1500 B.C.)
279) Chapter 55 in The Theban Recension
of The Book of Going Forth by Day
which do not appear in The Papyrus of Ani
in Egyptian Book of the Dead:
Giving breath in the God's Domain—
I am the jackal of jackals. I am Shu who draws the air
into the presence of the sunshine to the limits of the sky,
to the limits of the earth, to the limits of the plume
of the nebeh-bird, and air is given to those youths
who open my mouth so that I may see with my eyes.

Egyptian Book of the Dead: Book of Going Forth by Day
Complete Papyrus of Ani, Chapter 55 (circa 1250 B.C.)
(translated by Raymond Faulkner),
Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 1994, p.105
280) 55th Hexagram of the I Ching (circa 1000 B.C.)
Fêng / Abundance
ABUNDANCE has success.
The king attains abundance.
Be not sad.
Be like the sun at midday.
Both thunder and lightning come:
The image of ABUNDANCE.
Thus the superior man decides lawsuits
And carries out punishments.
Lao Tzu (604-517 BC), Tao Te Ching, Verse 55:
He who contains virtue in abundance
resembles a newborn child
wasps don't sting him
beasts don't claw him
birds of prey don't carry him off
his bones are weak his tendons are soft
and yet his grip is firm
he hasn't known the union of sexes
and yet his penis is stiff
so full of essence is he
he cries all day
yet never gets hoarse
so full of breath is he
who know how to breathe endures
who know how to endure is wise
who lengthens his life tempts luck
who breathes with his will is strong
but virility means old age
this isn't the Way
what isn't the Way ends early
(translated by Red Pine, Taoteching,
Mercury House, San Francisco, 1996, p. 110)
282) Lao Tzu (604-517 BC), Hua Hu Ching, Verse 55:
The holistic practices of the ancient masters integrate science, art, and personal spiritual development. Mind, body, and spirit participate in them equally. They include:
    1. Yi Yau, the healing science which incorporates diagnosis, acupuncture, herbal medicine, therapeutic diet, and other methods;
    2. Syang Ming, the science which predicts a person's destiny by observing the outward physical manifestations of his face, skeleton, palms, and voice;
    3. Feng Shui, the science of discerning the subtle energy rays present in a geographic location to determine whether they will properly support the activities of a building or town constructed there;
    4. Fu Kua, the observation of the subtle alterations of yin and yang for the purpose of making decisions which are harmonious with the apparent and hidden aspects of a situation. The foundation of Fu Kua and of all Taoist practice is the study of the I Ching, or Book of Changes.
    5. Nei Dan, Wai Dan, and Fang Jung, the sciences of refining one's personal energy through alchemy, chemistry, and the cultivation of balanced sexual energy;
    6. Tai Syi, the science of revitalization through breathing and visualization techniques;
    7. Chwun Shi, the transformation of one's spiritual essence through keeping one's thoughts in accord with the Divine Source;
    8. Shu-Ser, the attunement of one's daily life to the cycle of universal energy rays;
    9. Bi Gu, the practice of fasting on specific days in order to gather life energy emanating from the harmonized positions of certain stars;
  10. Sau Yi, the science of embracing integral transcendental oneness in order to accomplish conception of the 'mystical pearl';
  11. Tai Chi Ch'uan, the performance of physical exercises to induce and direct energy flows within the body to gain mastery of body, breath, mind, the internal organs, and life and death;
  12. Fu Chi, the science of reforming and refining one's energy with pure food and herbs;
  13. Chuan Se, the inner visualization of the unity of one's inner and outer being;
  14. 'Dzai Jing, the purification of one's energy through ascetic practices;
  15. Fu Jou, the drawing of mystical pictures and the writing and recital of mystical invocations for the purpose of evoking a response from the subtle realm of the universe;
  16. Tsan Syan, the process of dissolving the ego and connecting with the Great Oneness through the study of classical scriptures and daily dialogue with an enlightened master;
  17. Lyou Yen and Chi Men, the mystical sciences of energy linkage for the purpose of influencing external affairs. Of these, the most important for beginners is the study of the I Ching, which enables one to perceive the hidden influences in every situation and thus establish a balanced and spiritually evolved means of responding to them. All are instruments for attaining the Tao. To study them is to serve universal unity, harmony, and wisdom.

(translated by Brian Walker, Hua Hu Ching: The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu,
Harper SanFrancisco 1992)
283) Verse 55 of Pythagoras's Golden Verses:
Wretches! they neither see nor understand
that their Good is close at hand.

Pythagoras (580-500 B.C.), Golden Verses, Verse 55
(translated by A.E.A., Collectanea Hermetica, Vol. V, 1894)
reprinted in Percy Bullock, The Dream of Scipio, Aquarian Press,
Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, UK, 1983, p. 55
284) Aphorism 55 of Symbols of Pythagoras:
Ex curru, ne comedito.
Eat not in a chariot.
— Dacier
In the olden Greek, cxurru was diphros,
a seat as well as a carriage.
Life may be symbolised as a drive through time,
and the meaning may be that life is not for enjoyment alone.
Pythagoras (580-500 B.C.), Symbols of Pythagoras
(translated by Sapere Aude, Collectanea Hermetica, Vol. V, 1894)
reprinted in Percy Bullock, The Dream of Scipio, Aquarian Press,
Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, UK, 1983, p. 81
285) Section 55 of Plato's Philebus— Socrates to Protarchus on pleasure & knowledge:
Well now, we should all admit that the opposite of becoming is passing away.
Hence it is an alternation of passing away and becoming that will be chosen
by those who choose a life like that in preference to the third life we spoke
of, the life which included neither pleasure nor pain, but the purest possible
activity of thought... We have been trying every possible method of reviewing
pleasure, but don't let us show ourselves overtender toward reason and knowledge.
Rather let us test their metal with a good honest ring, to see if it contains
any base alloy, for by so doing we shall detect what is really the purest element
in them, and so use, for the purpose of our joint decision, their truest parts
together with the truest parts of pleasure... Now we may, I think, divide the
knowledge involved in our studies into technical knowledge, and that concerned
with education and culture, may we not? Then taking the technical knowledge
employed in handicraft, let us first consider whether one division is more
closely concerned with knowledge, and the other less so, so that we are justified
in regarding the first kind as the purest, and the second as relatively impure.
Plato (428-348 BC), Philebus 55a, 55c, 55d (360 BC)
(trans. R. Hackforth), Edited by Edith Hamilton & Huntington Cairns,
Plato: The Collected Dialogues, Bollingen Series LXXI,
Princeton University Press, 1961, pp. 1136-1137
286) Section 55 of Plato's Timaeus— Timaeus to Socrates on generation of elements from triangles:
The first will be the simplest and smallest construction, and its element is that
triangle which has its hypotenuse twice the lesser side... The second species of solid
is formed out of the same triangles, which unite as eight equilateral triangles and
form one solid angle out of four plane angles, and out of six such angles the second
body is completed. And the third body is made up of 120 triangular elements, forming
twelve solid angles, each of them included in five plane equilateral triangles, having
altogether twenty bases, each of which is an equilateral triangle. The one element
having generated these figures, generated no more, but the isoosceles triangle produced
the fourth elementary figure, which is compounded of four such triangles, joining their
right angles in a center, and forming one equilateral quadrangle. Six of these united
form, eight solid angles, each of which is made by the combination of three plane right
angles; the figure of the body thus composed is a cube, having six plane quadangular
equilateral bases. There was yet a fifth combination which God used in the delineation
of the universe with figures of animals... To earth, then, let us assign the cubic form,
for earth is the most immovable of the four and the most plastic of all bodies, and
that which has the most stable bases must of necessity be of such a nature. Now, of
the triangles which we assumed at first,that which has two equal sides is by nature
more firmly based than that which has unequal sides, and of the compound figures which
are formed out of either, the plane equilateral quandrangle has necessarily a more stable
basis than the equilateral triangle, both in whole and in the parts.

Plato (428-348 BC), Timaeus 55a-e (360 BC)
(trans. Benjamin Jowett), Edited by Edith Hamilton & Huntington Cairns,
Plato: The Collected Dialogues, Bollingen Series LXXI,
Princeton University Press, 1961, pp. 1180-1182
287) 55th Verse of Buddha's Dhammapada: Flowers
Sandalwood, crepe jasmine,
blue lotus, and flowering jasmine—
of the fragrances born of these,
incomparable is the scent of virtue.

Buddha, Dhammapada Verse 55 (240 B.C.)
(translated by Glenn Wallis, Dhammapada: Verses on the Way,
Modern Library, NY, 2004, p. 14)
288) Chapter 2, 55th Verse of the Bhagavad Gita
(Krishna instructs Arjuna on karma yoga):
When a man surrenders all desires that come to the heart and by the
grace of God finds joy of God, then his soul has indeed found peace.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2, Verse 55
(Translated by Juan Mascaro, Penguin Books, 1962, p. 53)
289) Chapter 11, 55th Verse of the Bhagavad Gita
(Arjuna asks Krishna to show the glory of the Supreme Being):
He who works for me, who loves me, whose End Supreme I am,
free from attachment to all things, and with love for
all creation, he in truth comes unto me.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2, Verse 55
(Translated by Juan Mascaro, Penguin Books, 1962, p. 95)
290) Chapter 18, 55th Verse of the Bhagavad Gita
(Krishna's lecture to Arjuna on renunciation):
By love he knows me in truth, who I am and what I am.
And when he knows me in truth he enters into my Being.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18, Verse 55
(Translated by Juan Mascaro, Penguin Books, 1962, p. 120)
291) 55th Verse in Chapter 18 of Astavakra Gita
(Sage Astavakra's dialogue with King Janaka):
The yogi is not in the least agitated even when scoffed
and abused by servants, sons, wives, grandsons and relatives.

Astavakra Gita Chapter 18, Verse 55 (circa 400 B.C.)
translated by Radhakamal Mukerjee, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, 1971, p. 152
292) Aphroism 55 Patanjali's Yoga Sutra:
Nescience is the field for the others, whether
dormant, tenuous, alternated or fully operative.

Vyasa: Nescience is the field, the breeding ground for the Egoism.
What is dormancy? It is the existence in the mind as power alone in the germinal
state. It is awake when it turns its face towards its objects... The wise man
with discernment, whose afflictions are gone, is said to have had his last birth.
This is because his seeds of desire have been burnt up and can no longer sprout,
so desires do not awaken even when an object comes in front of him.

Patanjali (circa 200 B.C.), Yoga Sutra II.4: Aphroism 55
translated by Rama Prasada, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi, 1995, p. 92
293) 55th Tetragram of the T'ai Hsüan Ching: Chien / Diminishment
August 22 - August 26 (a.m.):
Correlates with Human's Mystery;
Yang; the phase Metal; and the Yi Ching
Hexagram no. 41, Decrease; the sun
enters the Wing constellation, 15th degree;
the Dipper points WSW; the musical note is A-flat.
Head: Yin ch'i waxes; Yang ch'i wanes. Yin prospers; Yang declines.
The myriad things by this [process] are made very, very small.
This tetragram opens the third and final phase in the triadic Mystery
of Heaven-Earth-Man... It is autumn. The decline of the myriad things
is increasingly evident. In the midst of growing troubles, the wise
person does well to remember that there is "a time for decrease...
and a time for increase. In decreasing and in increasing,... one must
go with the time." Self-restraint perseverance in the Good, and
"a decrease in faults" are advised by the Changes. Only by such
methods can one hope to escape the downward course associated with
the end (whether the end be the end of the annual cycle, the end
of a lifespan, or the end of a project).
Yang Hsiung (53 BC-18 AD),
Canon of Supreme Mystery ( T'ai Hsüan Ching)
(translated by Michael Nylan, 1993, pp. 331-332)
294) Book VII, Section 55 of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD):
Don't pay attention to other people's minds. Look straight ahead,
where nature is leading you— nature in general, through the things
that happen to you; and your own nature, through your own actions.
New translation of the Meditations by Gregory Hays
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Modern Library, NY, 2002, pp. 93-94
295) Book VIII, Section 55 of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD):
The existence of evil does not harm the world. And an individual act
of evil does not harm the victim. Only one person is harmed by it—
and he can stop being harmed as soon as he decides to.
New translation of the Meditations by Gregory Hays
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Modern Library, NY, 2002, p. 113
296) Stanza 55 of Nagarjuna's Seventy Stanzas on Emptiness:
The eye, eye consciousness and its object arise and immediately
disintegrate, so they cannot exist as abiding in their natures and so
those three cannot assemble. When these three cannot assemble, contact
cannot exist and if contact cannot exist, so there cannot be feeling.

Nagarjuna (circa 150-250 A.D.), Seventy Stanzas on Emptiness
(translated by David Ross Komito, Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, NY, 1987, p. 92)
297) 55th Trigraph of the Ling Ch'i Ching: I Tsai / Repressing Disaster
The image of sacrificing to avert disaster
Yang below controls yin
Chen (Thunder) * True east

Metal's essence is about to arise.
Trust to Yüan Shih, for with his left hand,
he will repress it, and then you will gain rest and respite.

The leopard, ever changing, hides for years in the fog,
One day the great p'eng bird soars straight up to Heaven.
If you manage to gain the strength of men in the western quarter,
Glory and honor will naturally follow in that year.
In fierce winds one will know unbending grass,
In the tumult of revolution recognize loyal ministers.
Relying on this to rectify sustaining strength,
The things of Heaven and Earth will be renewed.

Tung-fang Shuo,
Ling Ch'i Ching (circa 222-419)
(trans. Ralph D. Sawyer & Mei-Chün Lee Sawyer, 1995, pp. 139-140)
298) Text 55 of On Prayer: 153 Texts
of Evagrios the Solitary (345-399 AD)
He who loves God is always communing with Him as his Father,
repulsing every impassioned thought.

The Philokalia (4th-15th century AD),
translated by F.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, & Kallistos Ware,
Faber & Faber, London, 1979, p. 62)
299) Text 55 of On Those who Think that They are Made Righteous by Works: 226 Texts
of Saint Mark the Ascetic (early 5th century AD)
One man received a thought and accepted it without examination.
Another received a thought and tested its truth
Which of them acted with greater reverence?

The Philokalia (4th-15th century AD),
translated by F.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, & Kallistos Ware,
Faber & Faber, London, 1979, p. 130)
300) Text 55 of On Spiritual Knowledge and Discrimination: 100 Texts
of Saint Diadochos of Photiki (400-486 AD)
The soul will not desire to be separated from the body unless it becomes
indifferent to the very air it breathes. All the bodily senses are opposed to
faith, for they are concerned with the objects of the present world, while faith
is concerned only with the blessings of the life to come. Thus one pursuing
the spiritual way should never be too greatly preoccupied with beautifully
branched or shady trees, pleasantly flowing springs, flowery meadows, fine
houses or even visits to his family; neither should he recall any public honours
that he happens to have been given. He should gratefully be content with bare
necessities, regarding this present life as a road passing through an alien land,
barren of all worldly attractions. For it is only by concentrating our mind
in this way that we can keep to the road that leads back to eternity.

The Philokalia (4th-15th century AD),
translated by F.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, & Kallistos Ware,
Faber & Faber, London, 1979, p. 269)
301) Text 55 of For the Encouragement of the Monks in India who had Written to Him: 100 Texts
of Saint John of Karpathos (circa 680 AD)
Outwardly men follow different occupations: there are money-changers, weavers,
fowlers, soldiers, builders. Similarly we have within us different types of thoughts:
there are gamblers, poisoners, pirates, hunters, defilers, murderers, and so on.
Rebutting such thoughts in prayer, the man of God should immediately shut
the door against them— and most of all against the defilers, lest they defile
his inward sanctuary and so pollute him.

The Philokalia (4th-15th century AD),
translated by F.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, & Kallistos Ware,
Faber & Faber, London, 1979, p. 311)
302) Text 55 of On the Character of Men: 170 Texts
of Saint Anthony of Egypt (251-356 AD)
Why was man created? in order that, by apprehending God's creatures,
he might contemplate and glorify Him who created them for man's sake.
The intellect responsive to God's love is an invisible blessing given
by God to those whose life by its virtue commends itself to Him.

The Philokalia (4th-15th century AD),
translated by F.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, & Kallistos Ware,
Faber & Faber, London, 1979, p. 337)
303) Section 55 of the Lankavatara Sutra:
    The Citta [Mind] is bound up with the objective world; the intellect's
function is to speculate; and in the excellent state of imagelessness
there is the evolving of transcendental wisdom (prajna).
    As to the Yogins there is one reality which reveals
itself as multiplicity and yet there is no multiplicity in it;
so is the nature of the false imagination.
    As is pure gold, water free from dirt, they sky without
a cloud, so is the Mind pure when detached from the false imagination.
    What is imagined being subjected to further imagination,
there are various views from which rises the doctrine of causal origination;
when the dualistic discrimination is got rid of, there indeed is perfect knowledge.
The Lankavatara Sutra, Ch. 2, Section LV (before 443 AD)
(translated from the Sanskrit by D. T. Suzuki, 1932, pp. 112-114)
304) In the 99 Names of Allah, the 55th Name is Al-Mateen: The Firm One,
The One with extreme Power which is un-interrupted and He does not get tired.
305) Chapter 55 of Mohammed's Holy Koran is titled "The Beneficent"
[55.1] The Beneficent God,
[55.2] Taught the Quran.
[55.3] He created man,
[55.4] Taught him the mode of expression.
[55.5] The sun and the moon follow a reckoning.
[55.6] And the herbs and the trees do adore (Him).
[55.7] And the heaven, He raised it high, and He made the balance
[55.8] That you may not be inordinate in respect of the measure.
[55.14] He created man from dry clay like earthen vessels,
[55.15] And He created the jinn of a flame of fire.
[55.17] Lord of the East and Lord of the West.
[55.22] There come forth from them pearls, both large and small.
[55.50] In both of them are.two fountains flowing.
[55.55] Which then of the bounties of your Lord will you deny?
[55.66] In both of them are two springs gushing forth.
[55.68] In both are fruits and palms and pomegranates.
[55.70] In them are goodly things, beautiful ones.
[55.78] Blessed be the name of your Lord, the Lord of Glory and Honor!
Mohammed, Holy Koran Chapter 55 (7th century AD)
(translated from by M.H. Shakir, Koran: The Beneficent, 1983) The Magic of Surah 55
306) Section 55 of Hui-Neng's Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (714)
The Platform Sutra was compiled by the head monk Fa-hai, who on his death
entrusted it to his fellow student Tao-ts'an. After Tao-ts'an died it was assigned
to his disciple Wu-chen. Wu-chen resides at the Fa-hsing Temple at Mount Ts'ao-chi
in Ling-nan, and as of now he is transmitting this Dharma.

Hui-Neng (638-713), Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, Section 55
(translated by Philip B. Yampolsky, Columbia University Press, NY, 1967, p. 182)
307) Verse 55 of Chapter 7 in Santideva's Bodhicaryavatara:
All is to be conquered by me, I am not to be conquered by anyone—
this is the pride which I shall bear, for I am a son of the Conqueror-Lion.

Santideva's Bodhicaryavatara: Entering the Path of Enlightenment
V.55 (Perfection of Strength: Virya-paramita) (circa 700 AD)
(translated by Marion L. Matics, Macmillan, London, 1970, p. 191); Bodhisattva Path
308) Verse 55 of Chapter 9 in Santideva's Bodhicaryavatara:
The Void (sunyata) is the opposite of the dark hindrances
of passion and of intellect. Why does the one who desires
all knowledge not cultivate it at once?
Santideva's Bodhicaryavatara: Entering the Path of Enlightenment
IX.55 (Perfection of Wisdom: Prajna-paramita) (circa 700 AD)
(translated by Marion L. Matics, Macmillan, London, 1970, p. 216); Bodhisattva Path
309) Verse 55 of Chapter 10 in Santideva's Bodhicaryavatara:
As long as the existence of space and as long as the existence of the
world, that long let my existence be devoted to the world's sorrows.
Santideva's Bodhicaryavatara: Entering the Path of Enlightenment
X.55 (Consummation: Parinamana) (circa 700 AD)
(translated by Marion L. Matics, Macmillan, London, 1970, p. 232); Bodhisattva Path
310) 55th Saying of Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu:
A monk asked, "Men of today are honoured because of their wealth.
For what is a sangha member honoured?"
The master said, "Shut your mouth right now."
The monk said, "If I shut my mouth, do I have it or not?"
The master said, "If you don't shut your mouth, how will you realize it?"
Chao Chou (778-897),
The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu, Sayings #55
translated by James Green, AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek, CA, 1998, p. 28
311) Section 55 of Shankara's Atma Bodha:
Realise that to be Brahman which, when seen, leaves nothing more
to be seen, which having become one is not born again in this world,
and which, when knowing leaves nothing else to be known.
Shankara (788-820),
Atma Bodha, (Knowledge of the Self), Section #55
translated by Swami Chinmayananda, Chinmaya Publications, Madras, 1975, p. 107
312) Section 55 of Huang Po's Zen Teaching on the Transmission of Mind:
Q: But how can we prevent ourselves from falling into
the error of making distinctions between this and that?
A: By realizing that, though you eat the whole day through, no single grain has
passed your lips; and that a day's journey has not taken you a single step forward—
also by uniformly abstaining from such notions as 'self' and 'other'.
Only by acting thus can you earn the title of 'A Liberated One'.
    Never allow yourselves to mistake outward appearance for reality.
Avoid the error of thinking in terms of past, present and future. The past has
not gone; the present is a fleeting moment; the future is not yet to come. When you practise
mind-control, sit in the proper position, stay perfectly tranquil, and do not permit
the least movement of your minds to disturb you. This alone is what is called liberation.
    Ah, be diligent! Be diligent! Of a thousand or ten thousand attempting
to enter by this Gate, only three or perhaps five pass through. If you are heedless
of my warnings, calamity is sure to follow. Therefore is it written:
                Exert your strength in this life to attain!
                Or else incur long aeons of further gain!
Huang Po (died 850 A.D.),
Zen Teaching on the Transmission of Mind,
The Wan Ling Record, Section 55
(translated by John Blofeld, Rider & Co., London, 1958, pp. 131-132)
313) Section 55 of Rinzai's Lin-chi Lu:
The master asked Takuho: "Hitherto, one used the stick,
another the Katsu. Which one is nearer the truth?"
Rakuho said: "Neither is near."
The master said: "What is it to be near?"
Rakuho gave a Katsu.
The master hit him.

Rinzai Gigen (died Jan. 10, 866 A.D.),
The Zen Teaching of Rinzai, #55
(translated from the Chinese by Irmgard Schloegl)
Shambhala, Berkeley, 1976, p. 72
314) Section 55 of Record of the Chan Master "Gate of the Clouds":
Someone asked Yunmen, "I did all I could and came here. Will you accept?"
The Master said, "Nothing wrong with this question!"
The questioner went on, "Leaving aside the question: will you accept?"
The Master said, "Examine carefully what you first said!"
Master Yunmen (864-949),
Record of the Chan Master "Gate of the Clouds"
translated by Urs App, Kodansha International, NY & Tokyo, 1994, p. 113
315) 55th Teaching of Teachings of Quetzalcoatl:
A wealthy merchant had come closer to listen. He then asked:
"What can you say to us, the ones who carry the load of the people?"
Ce Acatl answered him: "One must receive inheritance and fortune
with worry and sorrow. Warm is the house and the home of the poor,
and his wife and children are tranquil."

Quetzalcoatl Ce Acatl (b. 947 A.D.),
Gospel of the Toltecs: The Life & Teachings of Quetzalcoatl, XI.55
by Frank Díaz, Bear & Company, Rochester, VT, 2002, p. 151
316) Case 55 of Hekiganroku: Dogo's "I Would Not Tell You"
Main Subject: One day Dogo, accompanied by his disciple Zengen, went to visit
a family in which a funeral was to take place, in order to express sympathy.
Sengen touched the coffin and said, "Tell me, please, is this life or is this death?"
Dogo said, "I would not tell you whether it is life or it is death." Zengen said,
"Why don't you tell me?" Dogo said, "No, I would not tell you." On their way home,
Zengen said, "Osho, please be kind enough to tell me. If not, I will hit you."
Dogo said, "Strike me if you like, but I would not tell you." Zengen struck Dogo.
    Later Dogo passed away. Zengen came to Sekiso and told him the whole story.
Sekiso said, "I would not tell you whether it is life or it is death." Zengen said,
"Why don't you tell me?" Sekiso said, "No, I would not tell you." Upon these words,
Zengen attained sudden realization.
    One day Zengen, carrying a hoe, went up and down the lecture hall
as if he were searching for something. Sekiso said, "What are you doing?"
Zengen said, "I am searching for the spiritual remains of our dead teacher."
Sekiso said, "Limitless expanse of mighty roaring waves; foaming waves
wash the sky. What relic of the deceased teacher do you seek?"
[Setcho says, "Alas! Alas!"] Zengen said, "It is a way of acquiring strength."
Taigen Fu said, "The deceased teacher's spiritual remains still exists."

Setcho's Verse:
Hares and horses have horns,
Cows and goats have none.
It is quite infinitesimal,
It piles up mountain-high.
The golden relic exists,
It still exists now.
Foaming waves wash the sky.
Where can you put it?— No, nowhere!
The single sandal returned to India
And is lost forever.
Setcho (980-1052), Hekiganroku, 55 (Blue Cliff Records)
(translated by Katsuki Sekida, Two Zen Classics, 1977, pp. 298-299)
317) Chang Tsai (1020-1077), Correcting Youthful Ignorance, Section 55:
"Everything is destiny. A man should accept obediently what is correct
[in his destiny]." [Mencius, 7A.2] If one obeys he principles of his nature
and destiny, he will obtain what is correct in them. If one destroys principle
and indulges in desires to the limit, he will be inviting evil fortune.
(Wing-Tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, 1963, p. 514)
318) Ch'eng Hao (1032-1085), Selected Sayings, Section 55:
"By thoroughly investigating spirit, transformation may be understood."
[I Ching, "Appended Remarks", Part 2, Ch. 5]
Spirit is the mystery of transformation.

(Wing-Tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, 1963, p. 539)
319) Ch'eng I (1033-1107), Selected Sayings, Section 55:
Followers of Zen Buddhism always talk about the realms of human nature
and human destiny in high-sounding words. As to human affairs, very often
some of them are just totally ignorant. This is simply because they really
achieve nothing by their talk.

(Wing-Tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, 1963, p. 565)
320) Chapter 55: Fulfillment of the Dakinis' Prophecy
from Mila Grubum or The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa:
Once when Milarepa was dwelling in the upper valley of Tsar Ma at Nya Non,
some of his patrons fought one another over the dowry of a new bride.
When they came to Milarepa for meditation he reconciled them with good
advice, and preached much Dharma for them... After some time, the people
of Nya Non heard that Milarepa was about to leave for other hermitages.
They all came with good offerings, and besought him not to go. Milarepa
replied, "I have been staying here for quite a long time, and must go to
another place. In the meantime, you should all try to practice these things":

Property and possessions
Are like dew on the grass—
Give them without avarice away.

A human that practices Dharma is precious—
To attain you should keep the Precepts well
as if protecting your own eyes!

Anger brings one to the Lower
Realms, so never lose your temper,
Even though your life be forfeit.

Inertia and slackness never bring Accomplishment—
Exert yourself therefore in devotion.

Through distractions Mahayana can never be understood—
Practice therefore concentration.

Since Buddhahood cannot be won without,
Watch the nature of your mind within.

Like fog is faith unstable—
When it starts to fade, you should
Strengthen it more than ever.

Milarepa (1040-1123), The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, Ch. 55
(translated by Garma C. C. Chang, Shambhala, Boston, 1999, pp. 624-629)
321) Aphroism 55 of Guigo's Meditations:
If you should be as a lamb toward the worst man what should
you be toward God when He catches you up by some scourge?

Guiges de Chastel (1083-1137), Meditations of Guigo, Prior of the Charterhouse
translated by John J. Jolin, Marquette University Press, Milwaukee, 1951, p. 13
322) Section 55 of Hildegard von Bingen's Liber Vitae Meritorum
is titled "The Sign of Victory over the Ancient Serpent Is in the Church":
And there is a capricorn in the moon, that is, in the Church. The Church has
carried the sign of victory over the ancient serpent from all different regions,
for the devil has been conquered. The sun shone above heaven and in heaven and on
earth and beneath the earth. this means that the mystery of the Son of God having
been made incarnate is above all heavenly mysteries. He also is in other mysteries
that are known only in heaven. The heavenly mystery of the incarnation brought
many miracles to the creatures of the earth and it penetrated by the abyss with
the splendor of its power. And the sun thus proceeds by rising because this mystery
brought forth virtues which had not been seen before. And the sun returns by setting
when it twists the crookedness of sin into nothingness with its knowledge.

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), The Book of the Rewards of Life (Liber Vitae Meritorum)
translated by Bruce W. Hozeski, Garland Publishing, NY, 1994, pp. 33-34
323) "Man of worth"
in Line 55 of Book 10 in Eschenbach's Parzival:
Forthwith the two went riding
To a heath, near by abiding.
He saw an herb upon the ground,
Whose root, he said, would cure a wound.
This man of worth uncounted
Upon the earth dismounted:
He dug it and rode his horse once more.
To speak, this lady ne'er forbore:
Quoth she, "If this escort of mine
Can be both knight and doctor fine"
Wolfram von Eschenbach (1165-1217) Parzival (1195)
Book X: "Gawan and Orgeluse", Lines 51-60
(translated by Edwin H. Zeydel & Bayard Quincy Morgan, pp. 238-239)
324) Section 55 in Chapter II:
"The Essentials of Learning" of Chu Hsi's Chin-ssu lu (1175):
One who knows learning will surely love it. He who loves it will surely seek it.
And he who seeks it will surely achieve it. The learning of the ancients is
a lifetime affair. If in moments of haste and in times of difficulty or
confusion one is devoted to it, how can one fail to achieve it?

Section 55 in Chapter IV:
"Preserving One's Mind & Nourishing One's Nature" (1175):
Question: When one's mind is attached to something that is good
and he dreams about it, is that not harmless?
Answer: Although the thing is good, nevertheless the mind is aroused.
There is no harm if one dreams of something which is an omen.
Otherwise, the mind is aroused erroneously. One's mind must be calm.
It should think only when it is directed to do so. But people today
let their minds operate without direction.
Question: Who directs the mind?
Answer: When the mind directs the mind, it is all right.
To let the mind operate without direction is to lose it.

Chu Hsi (1130-1200), Reflections on Things at Hand (Chin-ssu lu)
translated by Wing-Tsit Chan
Columbia University Press, NY, 1967, pp. 63, 148-149
325) Section 55 of William of Auvergne's The Trinity, or the First Principle:
It is another lessening and imperfection of a potency that it can be prevented
or impeded from its operation. Fire is once again such a potency, since it can be
checked by the strength of its contrary, and thus it is not perfectly sufficient
for its operation... In the same way, a potency that can be forced is not the
mightiest, because coercion is always from a mightier one. Therefore, the best,
most perfect and mightiest potency is that which by itself has power over both
opposites and whose total operation flows from itself alone and through itself
alone and which in its own strength can neither be forced nor checked...
Likewise, power through itself is prior to power through another. It is
clear that he is the mightiest, since he is mighty through his essence;
otherwise he would not be first in might.
William of Auvergne (1180-1249), The Trinity, or the First Principle, Chapters VIII-IX
(translated by Roland J. Teske & Francis C. Wade,
Marquette University Press, Milwaukee, 1989, pp. 97-98)
326) Chapter 55 of Rumi's Discourses (Fihi ma fihi):
May the good memory of anyone who speaks well of us remain long in the world.
If you speak well of another, the good will return to you. The good and praise
you speak of another you speak in reality of yourself. A parallel would be when
someone plants a garden and herb bed around his house. Every time he looks out
he sees flowers and herbs. If you accustom yourself to speak well of others,
you are always in a "paradise". When you do a good deed for someone else you
become a friend to him, and whenever he thinks of you he will think of you
as a friend— and thinking of a friend is as restful as a flower garden.
When you speak ill of someone else, you become detestable in his sight so that
whenever he thinks of you he will imagine a snake or a scorpion, or thorns and
thistles. Now, if you can look at the flowers in a garden day and night, why would
you wander in a briar patch or a snake pit? Love everybody so that you may always
stay among the flowers of the garden. If you hate everybody and imagine enemies
everywhere, it would be like wandering day and night in a briar patch or snake pit.
    The saints love everybody and see everything as good, not for anyone
else's sake but for their own, lest a hateful, detestable image come into their
view. Since there is no choice in this world but to think of people, the saints
have striven to think of everybody as a friend so that hatred may not mar their way.
    So, everything you do with regard to people and every mention you make
of them, good or evil, will all return to you. Hence God says, "He who
doth right, doth it to the advantage of his own soul; and he who doth evil,
doth it against the same"
, and "Whoever shall have wrought evil of
the weight of an ant, shall behold the same."

Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273)
Signs of the Unseen: Discourses of Rumi, Chapter 55
(Translated by W. M. Thackston, Jr., Threshold Books, Putney, VT, 1994, pp. 210-211)
327) Section 55 of Meister Eckhart's Latin Sermon VI:
On the Epistle (I John, 4:8-21)— "God is love"
In the third place, God is love because he loves totally. On God's love toward
us note first how much he loves us who loves us totally with his whole being;
second, how much he loves us with the very same love by which he loves and cherishes
himself, his coeternal Son and the Holy Spirit. Third, it follows that he loves us
with the same glory in mind by which he loves himself, as the texts say: "that you
may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom" (Luke 22:30), and "where I am there
also shall my servant be" (John 12:26). Fourth, the love with which he loves us
is the Holy Spirit himself. Fifth, Hugh says he loves us "as if he had forgotten
everything else," or almost everything else." Sixth, he loves us in such a way that
it is as if his blessedness depended on it. "I have loved you with an everlasting love",
(Jeremiah 31:3) and "My delight is to be with the sons of men" (Proverbs 8:31).
Seventh, he loved us when we were still his enemies, and so he gave us himself
before his gifts, as if he could not wait for preparations and arrangements. Eighth,
he gives himself and everything he has. Nothing created gives its own, nor the whole
of it, nor itself. In the ninth place declare that God's nature, existence, and life
consist in sharing himself and giving himself totally. "The First is rich in itself."
He is absolutely the Absolute. Hence according to Dionysius, he gives himself
without thinking about his loving, but as the sun shines forth.
Meister Eckhart (1260-1329), Latin Sermon VI, Section 55
Meister Eckhart: Teacher and Preacher
(Translated & Edited by Bernard McGinn, Paulist Press, NY, 1986, p. 213)
328) Section 55 of Johannes Tauler's Sermons is titled "Feast of Our Lady's Nativity"
"Come all to me who desire me, and be sated by my fruits." (Wisdom 24:19)
These words are applioed to the Heavenly Father, and they lead and draw us to the birth
of the Son in eternity. But the same words Wisdom applied with equal propriety to the
Virgin, for the birth which occurs within the Heavenly Father eternally was effected in
her in time. And so she bids us to rise above ourselves, so that we, too, may be sated
by the fruits of this wondrous birth... Holiness does not consist in exclaiming "Lord, Lord",
or in reciting a lot of prayers, reading fine books, and impressing the world with my
brilliance and eloquence. Something more radical is needed... you should be filled with
an active and universal love, not merely for those of your own kind, but for all men—
no matter whether they are virtuous or not— and particularly for the poor, without
excluding anyone. Such was the love expressed by Our Lady's parents, who were so much
beloved by God... We should rid ourselves of such worthless and transitory things with
great eagerness. Whoever gives will receive, who forgives will be forgiven, and with what
measure you mete out, it will be returned to you again... And hence we wish to ask the Virgin
today most devoutly that she may take us under her care and that she may deliver us anew,
on her birthday, into our true origin. May God help us to attain this. Amen.
Johannes Tauler (1300-1361), Sermons, Section 55
(Translated by Maria Shrady, Paulist Press, NY, 1985, pp. 158-162)
329) Section 55 of Catherine of Siena's Dialogue:
Now I have shown you how, everyone gifted with reason must behave if they would escape
from the world's flood and not drown and come to eternal damnation. I have also shown you
the three stairs, that is, the soul's three powers, and I have shown you that no one can
climb any one of them without climbing them all. I have told you also about that word spoken
by my Truth: "Whenever two or three or more are gathered in my name"— how this is the
gathering of these three stairs, the soul's three powers. When these three powers are in
harmony they have with them the two chief commandments of the Law, love of me and love
of your neighbors, that is, to love me above all things and your neighbor as your very self.
    When you have climbed the staircase, that is, when you are gathered together
in my name, you are immediately thirsty for the living water. So you move forward and cross
over the bridge, following the teaching of my Truth who is that bridge. You run after his
voice that calls out to you... that every state of life is pleasing and acceptable to me
if it is held to with a good and holy will. For all things are good and perfect, since
they were made by me, and I am supreme Goodness. I made them and gave them to you not
for you to use them to embrace death, but that you might have life through them.
    It is an easy matter, for nothing is as easy and delightful as love.
And what I ask of you is nothing other than love and affection for me and for your
neighbors. This can be done any time, any place, and in any state of life by loving
and keeping all things for the praise and glory of my name.
Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), The Dialogue, Section 55
(Translated by Suzanne Noffke, Paulist Press, NY, 1980, pp. 109-110)
330) Letter 55 of The Letters of Marsilio Ficino:
De humanitate:
On humanity
Marsilio Ficino to Tommaso Minerbetti,
a humane man: greetings.
Why are boys more cruel than old men, madmen more cruel than the sane,
stupid men more than the clever? Because the former are, so to speak, less human
than the others. Hence those who are more cruel are called inhuman and brutish.
For those who fall far short of the full nature of Man, through lack of years,
mental defect, physicl disease or an unfavourable position of the stars, mostly hate
or ignore the human race as if it were something alien and unconnected to them.
Nero was not a man, I would say, but a monster in a man's skin. For if he had
really been a man, he would have loved all other men as members of the same body.
    Individual men, formed by one idea in the same image, are one man.
It is for this reason, I think, that of all the virtues, wise men named only
one after man himself: that is humanity, which loves and cares for all men
as though they were brothers, born in a long succession of one father.
    Therefore, most humane man, persevere in the service of humanity.
Nothing is dearer to God than love. There is no surer sign of madness
or of future misery than cruelty.
    Remain a friend to Carlo Valguli of Brescia; for he is a man
of outstanding humanity, as well as excelling in the humanities
through his studies of Greek and Latin.

Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499),
Letter to Tommaso Minerbetti
The Letters of Marsilio Ficino, Vol. I, Shepheard-Walwyn, London, 1975, pp. 100-101
331) Section 55 of Lo Ch'in-shun's Knowledge Painfully Acquired:
Many eminent officials of the T'ang and Sung periods were inclined toward Ch'an,
and those who achieved consummate mastery of it derived ample benefits. For not
only were they refined in their inborn endowment, they also thereby achieved purity
and tranquillity of mind. If in addition they had the accomplishment that goes along
with the study of antiquity, then their operations and dealings, even if they did not
hit the mark, would nonetheless not be far afield. Moreover, those who engaged in this
practice neither concealed the name nor disguised the reality of their practice, so that
there was never a question of its damaging their integrity. Although the practice was
mistaken, they were often enough praiseworthy. However, in later generations there are
those who are nominally Confucian but actually Ch'an and who disguise the reality and make
much of the name. I do not know what would happen if they were to return to their own minds.

Lo Ch'in-shun (1465-1547), Knowledge Painfully Acquired or K'un-chih chi
translated by Irene Bloom, Columbia University Press, NY, 1987, p. 91
332) Section 55 of Wang Yang Ming's Instructions for Practical Living:
I asked what sort of person Wen-chung Tzu [Wang T'ung, 584-617] was.
The Teacher said: “He can just about be described as 'complete in
all respects but not great.' It is regrettable that he died young.”
I asked, “Then why has he been criticized for imitating the Classics
[by writing supplemts to them]?” The Teacher said, “It is not
entirely wrong to imitate the Classics.” “Please explain.”
After a long while the Teacher said, “I realize all the more
that 'the mind of an expert is singularly distressed.”

Wang Yang Ming (1472-1529),
Instructions for Practical Living or Ch'uan-hsi lu (1518), I.55
(translated by Wing-tsit Chan, Columbia University Press, NY, 1963, p. 43)
333) Verse 55 of Nostradamus's Centuries I & IV:
Sous l'opposite climat Babylonique,
Grande sera de sang effusion,
Que terre et mer, air, ciel sera inique:
Sectes, faim, regnes, pestes, confusion.
Under the climate opposite to Babylon
There will be great effusion of blood,
The unrighteous will be on land and sea, in air and sky,
Sects, famine, realms, plagues, confusion.
Nostradamus (1503-1566), Centuries I.55 (1555)
Edgar Leoni, Nostradamus: Life and Literature
Exposition Press, New York, 1961, pp. 146-147
Nostradamus prophecies Iraqi conflict in Quatrain I.55?
334) Jacob Boehme's The Way to Christ (1622)
There are 55 sections in Book 2 of The Second Tract on True Resignation
Book 2, Section 55:
Beloved brethen! Now is a time of seeking, of finding, and of sincerity.
Whome it hits, it hits. He who watches shall hear it and see it. But he who
sleeps in sin and spends his fat days for the belly says, "All is peaceful and
quiet; we hear no call from the Lord." But the Lord's voice has sounded
in all the ends of the earth and a smoke rises up and in the midst of the
smoke there is a great Light of Lights. Amen! Halleluja! Amen!
Jacob Boehme (1575-1624), The Way to Christ (1622), II.2.55
(translated by Rufus M. Jones, Harper & Brothers, NY, 1947, p. 73)
Bibliography, Online texts
335) Chapter II, Verse 55 of Angelus Silesius The Cherubinic Wanderer (1657):
Gott ist, er lebet nicht

Gott ist nur eigentlich; er liebt und lebet nicht,
Wie man von mir und dir und andren Dingen spricht.
God Is, He Does Not Live

God is; he does not love or live
as it is said of me and you and other things.
Angelus Silesius (1624-1677), The Cherubinic Wanderer II.55
translated by J. E. Crawford Flitch,
Maria M. Böhm, Angelus Silesius' Cherubinischer Wandersmann
Peter Lang, New York, 1997, pp. 87-88 (German version, II.55)
336) Section 55 of Swedenborg's Worlds in Space (1758):
I was further informed by the spirits from that world [Jupiter] about various matters
concerning its inhabitants, such as their way of moving, and their food and houses...
While walking they always keep their faces up, as we do, so that they can see the sky
as well as the ground... they take great care, not only when walking, but also when
sitting, to avoid being seen from behind, but only in the face. In fact, they rather
like to be seen face to face, since this displays their mind. They never dispaly a
facial expression which does not match their mind, something they find impossible.
Those present can by this means see quite plainly what another's intentions towards
them are, since they do not hide them, especially whether their apparent friendliness
is genuine or forced. The spirits from there demonstrated this to me and their angels
confirmed it. As a result their spirits too do not appear to walk upright, but rather like
swimmers to assist their progress with their hands, looking around them from time to time.

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), The Worlds in Space, 55
(translated from Latin by John Chadwick, Swedenborg Society, London, 1997, pp. 37-38)
337) Section 55 of Sage Ninomiya's Evening Talks: The Doctrine of Returning Virtue for Virtue
Of all the natural laws governing the world, there are four which one should keep
and abide by. These are the way of Heaven and Earth, the way of parent and child,
the way of husband and wife, and the way of agriculture. All these being perfect and
complete in themselves, one who acts upon them has no fear of falling into errors.
To elucidate what I have in mind I have composed a short verse which runs:
                "Were one to make his love for his child
                        the law of his conduct,
                Even though unlettered,
                        he would pursue the right path."

Heaven endows all with life and receiving it Earth makes all spring up and grow.
Parents bring up their children without thinking of gain or loss and take pleasure
in seeing them grow up, while the young ones so brought up are deeply attached to
their parents. Husband and wife are mutually happy by loving each other and beget
offspring to succeed them. Farmers work hard on the land, taking delight in making
plants grow and flourish, while the latter joyfully grow thick under their care.
In all these cases, all parties concerned have no grievance one against another,
but have nothing but the feeling of joy. Business should be conducted in such manner
as both seller and buyer are glad... My teaching emphasizes this sharing of joy and
happiness by all parties concerned. It is inspired by the life-giving spirit of Heaven
and Earth and stands on the foundation of parental and conjugal love. It does not take
into account gain or loss and aims at making people well off as at developing unused land.
It cannot be practised unless one is moved by such spirit, feeling and purpose. In my
method of lending money free of interest, increase in the amount of principal is not
prized, but increase in the amount of money advanced valued... It is just like the sun,
which gives life to all things but remains one and the same sun year in and year out...
When born, one is certain to die, so that if one is prepared beforehand for death
he is a gainer every day he is alive. This is in my teaching what corresponds to
Buddhist enlightenment. Do not forget that when one is born, death will overtake
him some day or other and that when day breaks night will succeed it.
Sontoku Ninomiya (1787-1856),
Sage Ninomiya's Evening Talks, Section 55
translated by Isoh Yamagata from Ninomiya-Ô Yawa,
Tokuno Kyokai, Tokyo, 1937, pp. 109-112)
338) "The Real and the Unreal" is the title of Chapter 55 in Franklin Merell-Wolff's
Pathways through to Space (1936)
We are in a position at this point to arrive at a clearer understanding of what is meant
by the "Sangara" of the Buddhists, the "Maya" of the Vedantists, and the "illusive nature
of the phenomenal world" of the Hegelains. The State of the High Indifference is absolutely
Real, and most emphatically not an airy abstraction. However, It may seem to be such an
abstraction from the standpoint of relative consciousness. It is incorrect to imagine that
when a man has Awakened to Real Consciousness then the objective universe vanishes in the
photographic sense. In the Higher Consciousness the Inward and the outward blend, as do
all other dualities, and are at once an eternal fact. So it is incorrect to regard the outward
as unreal while, at the same time, predicating reality of the inward. No branch of any
duality is real by itself. It is the separation of one or the other phase of inter-knit
dualities that results in the vicious kind of abstraction, i.e., the kind that produces
an illusion or Maya. It is because subject-object consciousness has characteristically
produced such a disjunction of inseparables that it has been the great creative cause of
unreality. When Shankara speaks of the universe, or the Buddhists of Sangsara, each means
the subject-object manifold. And it is just because of the false abstraction in this manifold
that life here below is essentially one of misery. Awakening is re-integration for the individual
consciousness of the inseparable parts that have been apparently, divided. Thus, this
Awakening may focus attention upon and act within the relative universe at will,
but the significance of his doing so is precisely that of entering a dream
and consciously play a part in it.
    For the fully Realized Man, Sangsara or the illusive universe is without value.
This is very difficult for the egoistic man to understand, and so the latter may be led to
question the value of the Awakening. The Realized Man largely ignores those values which
still seem important to the unawakened. The latter sees the apparent lack of ambition and
desire in the former, and thus finds Him an utter mystery. Thus, for example, the man of
the world makes a god of what he calls progress and laborious accomplishments; yet he sees
these things, if not despised by the Illumined Men, at least looked upon with a certain
detached aloofness. Quite naturally he resents this, though he may be forced to give
respect when he finds that the Awakened Man, when acting within the relative manifold,
wields an extraordinary and unconquerable skill. But, on the other hand, the Realized Man
may choose not to act, in an apparent sense, and His life then is often judged as a wasted
one both for Himself and for society. But the egoistic man is quite wrong here. In fact he
is just as wrong in this attitude as would be the judgment of an animal, if it were capable
of judgment, in viewing the scorn of the cultured man toward the essentially animal field
of interest. The cultured man knows the superiority of his field of interests, when compared
to anything possible to the strictly animal consciousness. Far more clearly, the Awakened Man
Knows the superiority of the Infinite when contrasted to anything within the finite universe.
This superiority is not measurable in finite terms, but is in fact infinitely superior. Life
in the infinite is one with everything, and so the finite cannot possibly add anything to it.
The last possible value of the finite, or subject-object domain, is realized once the Awakening
has culminated within it. The Awakened One, who returns, does so not to learn more but to
be of aid to those who are still sleeping. The best possible growth in this lower world
is growth toward the Awakening in the Infinite. For Him who has Awakened
in the Infinite, all Real Life is Life in the Infinite.
    Too much emphasis cannot be placed upon the fact of the Reality and substantiality
of the State of the High Indifference. Nothing here below is felt so immediately, so fully,
and with such utter completeness. Nothing here is so completely solid or dependable in
the essential sense. The Higher Reality merely seems abstract to the relative consciousness.
Actually, what we call concrete here is abstract in the real and invidious sense. The higher
we rise in what we commonly call abstraction, the nearer we approach substantial actuality.
It thus follows, that he who can arouse in himself the sense that the apparent abstractions
of our language in fact mean real and substantial actualities, will be preparing himself
for the Awakening.
Franklin Merrell-Wolff (1887-1985)
Pathways through to Space (September 11, 1936)
LV: "The Real and the Unreal"
(2nd Edition, Julian Press, NY, 1973, pp. 138-140)
339) Aphorism 55 of Franklin Merrell-Wolff's Consciousness Without an Object (1973):

The GREAT SPACE comprehends both
the Path of the Universe and the Path of Nirvana.

Commentaries: Essentially this aphorism is a reassertion
of previous formulations in terms of Consciousness-without-an-object.
The two Ways of the Subjective and the Objective are embraced in
the one Way of the universal and transcendental comprehender.
A consciousness that is sufficiently awakened would find Nirvana
and the Universe to be coexistences capable of simultaneous realization.

Franklin Merrell-Wolff
Franklin Merrell-Wolff (1887-1985),
Philosophy of Consciousness Without an Object
(Reflections on the Nature of Transcendental Consciousness)
(Julian Press, NY, 1973, p. 117, p. 262)
Verse 55 in Jack Kerouac's Sutra,
Scripture of the Golden Eternity (1960):

There's the world in the daylight. If it was completely dark
you wouldn't see it but it would still be there. If you close your eyes
you really see what it's like: mysterious particle-swarming emptiness.
On the moon big mosquitos of straw know this in the kindness
of their hearts. Truly speaking, unrecognizably sweet it all is.
Don't worry about nothing.

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969)
The Scripture of the Golden Eternity
Totem/Corinth Book, NY, 1970, p. 40
341) Chapter 55 of Wei Wu Wei's Ask the Awakened (1963)
is titled "Sidelights on Some Ko-ans, 4":
That same ausing Mu-mon, commenting Joshu's answer— to the ritual query
as to why Bodhidharma came to China— 'An oak-tree in the garden',
almost as ritual as the query, says:
            'Words cannot describe everything,
            The heart's message cannot be delivered in words,
            If one receives words literally, he will be lost,
            If he tries to explain with words, he will not attain
            enlightenment in this life.

    The fingers of the Master, of both Maters, Joshu and Mu-Mon, point
in the same direction as in the other koans cited. Words are not only valueless,
as conveying concepts they constitute a barrier. A pure perception, be it what
we know as an oak-tree in the garden, a fig-tree or a post in the court-yard,
or any other object, on the other hand comes direct from the original nature or
whole-mind. So important is this that Mu-mon declares that: 'If one sees Joshu's answer
clearly, there is no Shakyamuni Buddha before him and no future Buddha after him.'
    The inefficacy of words is evident indeed, and did not another Master
say to his disciples who was worrying a sutra, 'Do not let yourself be put out by a
sutra, put out the sutra instead!' That may have been all very well at that period in
China, when there were several enlightened Masters in the province, but we have none
to tell us when we are on the wrong path. Before we dare make free with the sutras
we must find out what they mean, and what the Master meant when they condescended
to speak. We have to use words, fully realising their limitations, before being
in a position to discard them. Then indeed they must be abandoned.
Wei Wu Wei (1895-1986), Ask the Awakened (1963), pp. 120-121
342) Chapter 55 of Wei Wu Wei's Open Secret is titled
"Observations concerning Causation":
Only that which is objective can be bound
Only that which is objective can be dependent upon the law of causation,
can be an effect of cause, or can experience the effect of causes.
The process of cause-effect is dependent on time (duration) and necessarily
is phenomenal; therefore every phenomenon must be dependent on
temporal causation. That which is dependent of causation, being the result
of causes no volitional element can interfere with the operation of this
process, and there can not be any entity therein to exercise 'freedom of will'.
On the other hand non-objectivity can never be dependent on causation,
and, not being phenomenal, can never be bound, or ever suffer any experience.
Moreover whatever is non-objective cannot be an entity (whcih is an objective
concept), and so there cannot be any noumenal exercise of volition either,
and there can be no 'ill' to be bound or to be free.
    Volition (acts of 'will'), therefore, necessarily are illusory;
they can only be an apparent interference in the operation of causality which
inevitably is ineffectual. Thus 'purpose' and 'intention' on the part of an
imaginary entity can only find fulfilment or frustration when they are in
accordance with, or in opposition to, an effect of causation, and such
frustration or fulfilment can only be psychological phenomena.
    This is the meaning of yu-wei and wu-wei.
The former implies attempted volitional action on the part of a pseudo-entity,
that which self-identified sentient beings regard as every acxtion they perform,
apart from those over which they cannot claim or pretend any control— such as
the circulation of the blood, or digestion. The latter, wu-wei, implies
every effective action 'they' appear to perform as a result of causes antecedent
in 'time', regardless of any attempted volitional interference with such action,
as of the absence of any such attempted interference. The former is conventionally
indicated as phenomenal or 'false' action, the latter as non-phenomenal or 'true'
action... Voiding of all that which is objective does not leave an object
which voids or is voided. There is just no 'thing' of any kind, physical or
psychic, therein. Thus in what has been referred to as 'non-objectivity'
there can be no entity, and therefore no volition, nor any causation—
for therein can be no thing to be caused, so that all these notions are seen
to be merely phenomenal concepts. This which can only be suggested as pure
voiding of objectivity is the pure functioning of prajna.
Wei Wu Wei (1895-1986), Open Secret,
Hong Kong University Press, 1965, pp. 122-123

Paul Brunton (1898-1981),
Notebooks of Paul Brunton,
XV, Paras #55
from various chapters
Volume 15:
Advanced Contemplation
& The Peace Within You
Larson Publications,
Burdett, NY, 1988,
Part I: pp. 10, 61, 135, 222;
Part II: pp. 9, 21, 44, 84

Para #55 from Volume 15 of Paul Brunton's
Notebooks: "Advanced Contemplation"—
It is not good to live in unwholesome memories of what we ought
not to have done but did do, and never put a period to them.
Such repeated self-flagellation keeps the ego immersed in its
own little circle. It is better to turn away from them and live
in the sunshine of the Overself.
Entry into the soul's dark night is an unpleasant affair, marked
by a loss of the capacity to practise meditation upon spiritual themes,
an inability to enter into the mood of spiritual ecstasy, and yet a
repulsion toward giving his mind over to anything else. Although he
does not know it, although he feels bereft and forlorn, this is actually
a result of the Overself's working within the subconscious regions of
his being. It is intended to carry his development to a further stage
which can appear only when the dark night comes to an end.
And although it may seem useless in his own view to impose such
seemingly unprofitable suffering upon him, it is bringing him more
and more out of the clutches of his ego. Quite often, he fears
that this is some punishment fallen upon him for his own errors
or omissions, but he is wrong.
Because the Short Path is an attempt to withdraw from the ego's shade
and to stand in the Overself's sunshine, it must be accomplished by
the deliberate cultivation of a joyous attitude. And because it is so
largely a withdrawal from the Long Path's disciplines, it must also be
accompanied by a sense of freedom. Hence its proper physical facial
expression is the radiant smile. Its votary should look for beauty
and seek to come into harmony at all times— in Nature, in art,
in the world, and in himself.
In this deep stillness there occurs the event which will hold his
remembrance for long afterwards— the passage from his mere
existence to his glorious essence. It is brief but transforming.
Para #55 from Volume 15 of Paul Brunton's
Notebooks: "The Peace Within You"—
It is a quiet kind of happiness, not so apparent as the gay
and exuberant kind but much more worthwhile because
much more solid and permanent.
The fidgety, restless movements of the moderns merely betray
their neurotic lack of self-control. The Buddhist seeker and
the Taoist sage value and practise calm.
If he is to keep this wonderful inner calm, he must be vigilant that
he does not accept from others the pressures they would put upon him.
That is, he must be true to himself, his higher self.
Whatever method of meditation is used, the last phase
must always be the Great Silence.
344) Page 55 of Master Subramuniya's Reflections (1971):
Realization of the Absolute
is simple. Our thoughts
and concepts make it
seem difficult.
Master Subramuniya (1927-2001), Reflections
Tad Robert Gilmore & Co., San Francisco, 1971, p. 55
345) "Turning to the Inner Light" is Lesson 55
of Subramuniyaswami's Merging with Siva (1999):
    Thousands of young aspirants who have had bursts of inner light have evolved quickly. Assuredly, this has been their natural evolutionary flow. This over-sensitization of their entire mind structure, so suddenly intensified into transcendental realms, caused the materialistic states to decentralize attachments to their present life-pattern, school interests and plans for the future. A springboard is needed. A new balance must be attained in relating to the materialistic world, for the physical body still must be cared for to unfold further into the human destiny of nirvikalpa samadhi, the realization of the Self beyond the states of mind. Enlightened seers are turning inward to unravel solutions in building new models to bring forth new knowledge from inner realms to creatively meet man's basic needs, and to bring through to the external spheres beauty and culture found only on inner planes, thus heralding the Golden Age of tomorrow and the illuminated beings of the future who, through the use of their disciplined third eye and other faculties, can remain "within" the clear white light while working accurately and enthusiastically in the obvious dream world.     Should he come out too far into materialism in consciousness, the inner voice may be falsely identified as an unseen master or a God talking into his right inner ear, but when in the clarity of white light, he knows that it is his very self. Realizing he is the force that propels him onward, the aspirant will welcome discipline as an intricate part of his internal government, so necessary to being clear white light.
    It is a great new world of the mind that is entered into when first the clear white light dawns, birthing a new actinic race, immediately causing him to become the parent to his parents and forefathers. When living in an expanded inner state of mind, he must not expect those living in materialistic consciousness to understand him. On this new path of "the lonely one," wisdom must be invoked to cause him to be able to look through the eyes of those who believe the world is real, and see and relate to that limited world in playing the game as if it were real, thus maintaining the harmony so necessary for future unfoldments. To try to convince those imbedded in materialism of the inner realities only causes a breach in relationship, as it represents a positive threat to the security they have worked so hard to attain. First we had the instinctive age, of valuing physical strength and manly prowess, followed by the intellectual age, facts for the sake of facts, resulting in the progress of science. Now we are in an age of new values, new governing laws, an actinic age, with new understanding of the world, the mind, but most of all, the Self. Understanding is preparation for travel, for it is an age of the mind, and in the mind, much more intense than the speed of light, exist spheres which seers are only willing to speak of to those who have the inner ear with which to listen.
    The mind of man tends either toward light or toward darkness, expanded awareness or materialistic values. Depending upon the self-created condition of the mind, man lives either within the clear white light of the higher consciousness, or in the external mind structure which reflects darkness to his inner vision.
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001)
Merging with Siva: Hinduism's Contemporary Metaphysics
Himalayan Academy, Kapaa, Hawaii, 1999, pp. 113-115.
346) Chapter 55 of Zen Master Seung Sahn's
Dropping Ashes on the Buddha is titled "Plastic Flowers, Plastic Mind":
One Sunday, while Seung Sahn Soen-Sa was staying at the International Zen Center
of New York, there was a big ceremony. Many Korean women came, with shopping bags
full of food and presents. One woman brought a large bouquet of plastic flowers,
which she smilingly presented to an American student of Soen-sa's. As quickly as he could,
the student hid the flowers under a pile of coats. But soon another woman found them and,
with the greatest delight, walked into the Dharma Room and put them in a vase on the altar.
    The student was very upset. He went to Soen-sa and said, "Those plastic flowers
are awful. Can't I take them off the altar and dump them somewhere?"
    Soen-sa said, "It is your mind that is plastic. The whole universe is plastic."
    The student said, "What do you mean?"
    Soen-sa said, "Buddha said, 'When one's mind is pure, the whole universe is pure;
When one's mind is tainted, the whole universe is tainted.' Every day we meet people
who are unhappy. When their minds are sad, everything they see, hear, smell, taste,
and touch is sad, the whole universe is sad. When the mind is happy, the whole universe
is happy. If you desire something, then you are attached to it. If you reject it, you are
just as attached to it. Being attached to a thing mens that it becomes a hindrance in your
mind. So 'I don't like plastic' is the same as 'I like plastic'— both are attachments.
You don't like plastic flowers, so your mind has become plastic, and the whole universe
is plastic. Put it all down. Then you won't be hindered by anything. You won't care
whether the flowers are plastic or real, whether they are on the altar or in the
garbage pail. This is true freedom. A plastic flower is just a a plastic flower.
A real flower is just a real flower. You mustn't be attached to name and form.
    The student said, "But we are trying to make a beautiful Zen Center here,
for all people. How can I not care? Those flowers spoil the whole room."
    Soen-sa said, "If somebody gives real flowers to Buddha, Buddha is happy.
If somebody else like plastic flowers and gives them to Buddha, Buddha is also happy.
Budhha is not attached to name and form, he doesn't care whether the flowers are real
or plastic, he only cares about the person's mind. These women who are offering
plastic flowers have very pure minds, and their action is Bodhisattva action. Your mind
rejects plastic flowers, so you have separated the universe into good and bad, beautiful
and ugly. So your action is not Bodhisattva action. Only keep Buddha's mind. Then you
will have no hindrance. Real flowers are good; plastic flowers are good. This mind is
like the great sea, into which all waters flow— the Hudson River, the Charles River,
the Yellow River, Chinese water, American water, clean water, dirty water, salt water,
clear water. The sea doesn't day, 'Your water is dirty, you can't flow into me.'
It accepts all waters and mixes them and all become sea. So if you keep the Buddha mind,
your mind will be like the great sea. This is the great sea of enlightenment.
    The student bowed deeply.
Seung Sahn (1927-2004),
Dropping Ashes on the Buddha:
The Teaching of Zen Master Seung Sahn
, Ch. 55
Edited by Stephen Mitchell, Grove Press, New York, 1976, pp. 121-123
347) Koan 55 of Zen Master Seung Sahn—
Sword Mountain:
Young Master So Sahn visited old Zen Master Tu Ja, who asked him,
"Where age you coming from?"
So Sahn answered, "From Sword Mountain."
"Then did you bring your sword?"
"Yes I did."
"Then show it to this old monk." So Sahn pointed one finger to the ground
in front of Tu Ja, who abruptly stood up and left the room.
    Later that afternoon, Tu Ja asked his attendant to invite
So Sahn to have a cup of tea with him. The attendant told him that after
the morning's event, So Sahn had left immediately. Tu Ja then sang a gatha:
            "For 30 years I have ridden horseback,
            And today I was kicked from the horse by a small donkey."
  1. When the old monk asked "Did you bring your sword?"
    the young monk pointed to the ground.
    If you were the old monk, what could you do?
  2. So Sahn pointed to the ground. What does this mean?
  3. "Today I was kicked from the horse by a small donkey."
    What does this mean?
Beware of this donkey. If you open your mouth, then the donkey has already kicked you.
If you close your mouth, then he has also kicked you. What can you do?
The donkey already kicked Master So Sahn. Tu Ja was already on horseback.
But this donkey kicked both monks out of this world. How can they find their bodies?
All that appears is sound, "Aio, aigo, aigo!"

Seung Sahn (1927-2004),
The Whole World Is A Single Flower
365 Kong-ans for Everyday Life
Tuttle, Boston, 1992, pp. 45-46
55 in Poetry & Literature
348) Apollo moved light night down the mountain in Line 55 from Book I of Homer's Iliad
Apollo heard his [Chryses] prayer and descended Olympus' crags
Pulsing with fury, bow slung over one shoulder,
The arrows rattling in their case on his back
As the angry god moved light night down the mountain.

Homer, The Iliad, I.52-55 (circa 800 BC)
(translated by Stanley Lombardo)
Hackett Publishing Co., Indianapolis, IN, 1997, p. 3
349) "So long, separated from his dear ones" [Odysseus]
in Line 55 from Book 1 of Homer's Odyssey
"Yes, O our Father [Zeus] who art most high—
That man [Aegisthus] got the death he richly deserved,
And so perish all who would do the same.
But it's Odysseus I'm worried about,
That discerning, ill-fated man. He's suffered
So long, separated from his dear ones,
On an island [Ogygia] that lies in the center of the sea,

Homer, The Odyssey, I.50-56 (circa 800 BC)
(translated by Stanley Lombardo)
Hackett Publishing Co., Indianapolis, IN, 2000, p. 2
350) Han-shan's Poem 55 of The Poetry of Han-shan:
Peach blossoms want to live through the summer,
But the wind and the moon press on— they won't wait.

You may look for men of Han times;
Not a single one still remains!

Day by day blossoms alter and fall;
Year by year people transform and change.

Today where we kick up the dust
In olden times was the great sea.
Han-shan (fl. 627-649), The Poetry of Han-shan,
Poem 55 (translated by Robert G. Henricks, 1990)
( Red Pine translation, 1990; Burton Watson translation, 1962)
351) Poem 55 of The Poetry of Wang Wei:
Visiting the Residence of Official Lu and Watching
Him Provide a Meal for Monks; Composed Together
    The three virtues differ from the seven graces,
    But both look with dark pupils on the blue lotus.
    Begging for food, they seek fragrant spiritual meals,
    When cutting garments they copy rice paddy patterns.
    Monks bearing flying staffs of tin—
    Their benefactor gives them pieces of gold.
    They sit cross-legged in the sun beyond the eaves,
    While burning incense wafts smoke below the bamboo.
    The cold void: land of the Dharma cloud;
    The autumn scene: the five heavens of purity.
    Their bodies obey dependent origination,
    But their minds transcend all levels of meditation.
    They need not lament the descent of the sun:
    Within themselves a lamp is always alight.
Wang Wei (701-761), The Poetry of Wang Wei, Poem 55
translated by Pauline Yu,
Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 1980, p. 136
352) Poem 55 from The Manyoshu:
Princess Oku: Upon the departure of Prince Otsu for
the capital after his secret visit to the Shrine of Isé.

    The lonely autumn mountains
    Are hard to pass over
    Even when two go together—
    How does my brother cross them all alone!

The Manyoshu, Poem 55 (circa 750 AD)
(The Nippon Gakujutsu Shinkokai translation of One Thousand Poems
Foreword by Donald Keene, Columbia University Press, NY, 1965, p. 21) Japanese text
353) Poem 55 of Selected Poems of Po Chü-I:
If I don't do Zen meditation to wipe out deluded thoughts
then I must pace around drunkenly, spouting crazy songs.
Otherwise in the autumn moon, evenings of springtime breeze,
how to cope with these idle yearnings for the past?
Po Chü-I (772-846), Selected Poems, Poem 55
translated by Burton Watson,
Columbia University Press, New York, 2000, p. 68
(translated by David Hinton)
354) Poem 55 of The Poetry of Li Shang-yin:
Early Rising
Light breeze and dew in the early morning—
By the curtains I rise, all alone.
The oriole cries while the flowers smile:
Who owns this spring after all?
Li Shang-yin (813-858), Selected Poems, Poem 55
translated by James J. Y. Liu,
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1969, p. 135
(translated by David Hinton)
355) Section 55 from The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon
is titled "Nothing Can Be Worse":
Nothing can be worse than allowing the driver of one's ox-carriage to be poorly
dressed. It does not matter too much if the other attendants are shabby, since they
can remain at the rear of the carriage; but the drivers are bound to be noticed and,
if they are badly turned out, it makes a painful impression... When a messenger or,
a visitor arrives it is very pleasant, both for the master and for the members
of his household, to have a collection of good-looking pages in attendance.

Sei Shonagon (965-c. 1017),
The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, Section 55 (circa 994 AD)
Translated & Edited by Ivan Morris
Columbia University Press, NY, 1967, Vol. I, p. 57)
356) Poem 55 of Su Tung-p'o (1036-1101)
is titled "Prose Poems on the Red Cliff" (1082):
In the autumn of the year jen-hsü, the seventh month, when the moon had just
passed its prime, a friend and I went out in a small boat to amuse ourselves at
the at the foot of the Red Cliff. A fresh breeze blew softly across the water, leaving
the waves unruffled. As I picked up the wine jar and poured a drink for my
friend, I hummed a poem to the moon and sang a phrase on its strange beauty.
    In a little while, the moon rose from the eastern hills and wandered
across the sky between the Archer and the Goat. White dew settled over the river,
and its shining surface reached to the sky. Letting the boat go where it pleased,
we drifted over the immeasurable fields of water. I felt a boundless exhilaration,
as though I were sailing on the void or riding the wind and didn't know where to
stop. I was filled with a lightness, as though I had left the world and were
standing alone, or had sprouted wings and were flying up to join the immortals.
As I drank the wine, my delight increased and thumping the edge of the boat,
I composed a song that went:
                With cassia sweep and
                Oars of orchid wood,
                Strike the empty moon,
                Row through its drifting light.
                Thoughts fly far away—
                I long for my loved one
                In a corner of the sky.

    My friend began to play on an open flute, following my song and
harmonizing with it. The flute made a wailing sound, as though the player were
filled with resentment or longing, or were lamenting or protesting. Long notes
trailed through the night like endless threads of silk, a sound to make dragons
dance in hidden caves, or to set the widow weeping in her lonely boat.
    He replied,
                "'The moon is bright, stars grow few,
                  Crows and magpies fly to the south.'

That's how Ts'ao Ts'ao's poem goes, doesn't it?... It grieves me that life is so short,
and I envy the long river that never stops. If we could only link arms with the
flying immortals and wander where we please, embrace the moon and grow
old with it... But I know that such hopes cannot quickly be fulfilled,
and so I confide these lingering notes to the sad air."
    I asked, "Do you know how it is with the water and the moon? 'The water flows
on and on like this,' but somehow it never flows away. The moon waxes and
wanes, and yet in the end it's the same moon. If we look at things through
the eyes of change, then there's not an instant of stillness in all creation.
But if we observe the changelessness of things, then we and all beings
alike have no end. What is there to be envious about?
    Moreover, everything in the world has its owner, and if a thing doesn't belong
to us, we don't dare take a hair of it. Only the clear breeze over the river, or
the bright moon between the hills, which our ears hear as music, our eyes see
beauty in— these we may take in abundance, these we may make free with
and they will never be used up. These are the endless treasures of the Creator,
here for you and me to enjoy together!"
    My friend was pleased and, laughing, washed the wine cups and filled them
up again. But the fruit and other things we had brought to eat were all gone
and so, among the litter of cups and bowls, we lay down in a heap in the
bottom of the boat, unaware that the east was already growing light.
translated by Burton Watson,
     Su Tung-P'o: Selections from a Sung Dynasty Poet,
     Columbia University Press, New York, 1965, pp. 87-90
357) Verse 55 of Rubáiyát, of Omar Khayyam (1048-1122):
You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse
I made a Second Marriage in my house;
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.
(translated by Edward Fitzgerald, London, 1st edition 1859, 2nd edition 1868)
358) Verse 55 of Saigyo's Mirror for the Moon:
Passion for a blossom which still is not fallen:
Hidden away
Under leaves, a blossom
Still left over
Makes me yearn to chance upon
My secret love this way.

Saigyo (1118-1190), Mirror for the Moon,
(translated by William R. LaFleur, New Directions, NY, 1978, p. 29)
359) Verse 55 of Kenreimon-in Ukyo no Daibu's The Poetic Memoirs of Lady Daibu:
A lady in the Empress's service was being ardently wooed by the poet
Fujiwara no Kinhira (1158-93). She complained time and again that
this brought nothing but unhappiness. She replied:
No season to these constant tears,
Which deepen the color of my sleeves;
But can you know
To what dark tints they turn,
Now autumn adds its melancholy rain?

Kenreimon-in Ukyo no Daibu (1151-1232),
The Poetic Memoirs of Lady Daibu, Poem 55
(translated by Phillip Tudor Harries, Stanford University Press, 1980, p. 107)
360) Verse 55 of Dogen (1200-1253):
"Zazen practice":
The moon mirrored
By a mind free
Of all distractions;
Even the waves, breaking,
are reflecting its light.

(translated by Steven Heine,
Zen Poetry of Dogen,
Tuttle, Boston, 1997, p. 116)
361) Verse 55 of Rumi Daylight:
Each moment contains
a hundred messages from God:
To every cry of "Oh Lord,"
He answers a hundred times, "I am here."

Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273), Mathnawi, I.1578
Rumi Daylight, Verse 55
(Edited by Camille & Kabir Helminski, 1994, p. 43)
362) The 55th Canto of Dante's Commedia is Canto 21 of Purgatorio
the 5th Terrace, the Avaricious and the Hoarders.
Virgil & Dante meets the Roman poet Statius (45-96 A.D.)
who explains the earthquake and great cry—
they occur only when a soul arises from its final
purification and begins its ascent to Heaven.
Trema forse più giù poco o assai;
ma per vento che 'n terra si nasconda,
non so come, qua sù non tremò mai.

Tremaci quando alcuna anima monda
sentesi, sì che surga o che si mova
per salir sù; e tal grido seconda.
Below that point, there may be small or ample
tremors; but here above, I know not why,
no wind concealed in earth has ever caused

a tremor; for it only trembles here
when some soul feels it's cleansed, so that it rises
or stirs to climb on high; and that shout follows.
  Purgatorio XXI.55-60 (Allen Mandelbaum translation, 1981)
363) 55th line of Dante's Inferno:
Inferno 2.55: Beatrice's eyes compared to splendor of stars.
Inferno 14.55: Brunetto Latini tells Dante to follow his star.
Lucevan li occhi suoi più che la stella;
e cominciommi a dir soave e piana,
con angelica voce, in sua favella:
Her eyes surpassed the splendor of the star's;
and she began to speak to me— so gently
and softly— with angelic voice. She said:
Ed elli a me: "Se tu segui tua stella,
non puoi fallire a glorioso porto,
se ben m'accorsi ne la vita bella;
And he to me: "If you pursue your star,
you cannot fail to reach a splendid harbor,
if in fair life, I judged you properly;
(Allen Mandelbaum translation, 1980)
364) 55th line of Dante's Purgatorio:
Purgatorio 9.55: The angel Lucia lifts Dante up Mt. Purgatory.
Purgatorio 17.55: The Divine Spirit guides us to Paradise.
Purgatorio 27.55: A voice guides Dante to climb upwards.
Purgatorio 30.55: Beatrice calls out Dante's name.
venne una donna, e disse: "I' son Lucia;
lasciatemi pigliar costui che dorme;
sì l'agevolerò per la sua via".
a lady came; she said: 'I am Lucia;
let me take hold of him who is asleep,
that I may help to speed him on his way.'
"Questo è divino spirito, che ne la
via da ir sù ne drizza sanza prego,
e col suo lume sé medesmo cela.
"This spirit is divine; and though unasked,
he would conduct us to the upward path;
he hides himself with that same light he sheds.
Guidavaci una voce che cantava
di là; e noi, attenti pur a lei,
venimmo fuor là ove si montava.
A voice that sang beyond us was our guide;
and we, attentive to that voice, emerged
just at the point where it began to climb.
"Dante, perché Virgilio se ne vada,
non pianger anco, non pianger ancora;
ché pianger ti conven per altra spada".
"Dante, though Virgil's leaving you, do not
yet weep, do not weep yet; you'll need your tears
for what another sword must yet inflict."
(Allen Mandelbaum translation, 1980)
365) 55th line of Dante's Paradiso:
Paradiso 4.55: Beatrice tells Dante to honor Plato's ideas.
Paradiso 13.55: The Living Light pours out from God's Word.
Paradiso 15.55: All our thoughts flow to us from God.
Paradiso 24.55: Beatrice initiates Dante with his inward fountain.
Paradiso 30.55: Beatrice's words lift Dante to the Empyrean
e forse sua sentenza è d'altra guisa
che la voce non suona, ed esser puote
con intenzion da non esser derisa.
but his [Plato's] opinion is, perhaps, to be
taken in other guise than his words speak,
intending something not to be derided.
ché quella viva luce che sì mea
dal suo lucente, che non si disuna
da lui né da l'amor ch'a lor s'intrea,
because the living Light that pours out so
from Its bright Source that It does not disjoin
from It or from the Love intrined with them,
Tu credi che a me tuo pensier mei
da quel ch'è primo, così come raia
da l'un, se si conosce, il cinque e 'l sei;
You think your thoughts flow into me from Him
who is the First— as from the number one,
the five and six derive, if one is known—
poi mi volsi a Beatrice, ed essa pronte
sembianze femmi perch'io spandessi
l'acqua di fuor del mio interno fonte.
then I turned to Beatrice, who promptly
signaled to me that I should pour
the water forth from my inward fountain,
Non fur più tosto dentro a me venute
queste parole brievi, ch'io compresi
me sormontar di sopr'a mia virtute;
No sooner had these few words entered me
than I became aware that I was rising
beyond the power that was mine; and such
(Allen Mandelbaum translation, 1980)
366) Poem 55 of The Zen Works of Stonehouse:
The path of the Buddha is too singular to copy
but a well-hidden hut comes close
I planted bamboo in front to make a screen
from the rocks I've led a spring into the kitchen
gibbons bring their young when cliff fruits are ripe
cranes move their nests when gorge pines turn brown
lots of idle thoughts occur in Zen
the deadwood I gather for my stove

Ch'ing-hung (1272-1352), The Zen Works of Stonehouse, Poem 55
translated by Red Pine (Bill Porter),
Mercury House, San Francisco, p. 29 (Zen Poems)
367) Verse 55 of Hafiz: The Tongue of the Hidden:
With virgin heart I loved the fragrant pine;
Then fell the blast of lust on me, on mine;
    It passed my garden... Wonder! still remained
The rose's lips, the scent of jessamine.

Hafiz (1320-1389), Hafiz: The Tongue of the Hidden, Verse 55
adaptation by Clarence K. Streit, Viking Press, NY, 1928
(Author on Time cover, March 27, 1950)
368) Verse 55 of The Divan of Hafez:
The pupils of my eyes are seated in blood from crying.
Behold how the people in quest of you fare!
If the sun of your face rises from the east end of the street,
My fortune is auspicious.
Please my heart, for your stature is like a heart-pleasing cypress.
Speak to me, for your speech is tender and melodious.
How can my sad heart choose to be happy?
For this is not a matter of choice.
In vain does Hafez desire his beloved,
Like an indigent who desires Korah's treasure.

Hafiz (1320-1389), The Divan of Hafez, Verse 55
translated from the Persian by Reza Saberi,
University Press of American, Lanham, MD, 2002, p. 68
369) "Christ's comfort" in Line 55 of the Pearl Poet's The Pearl:
I playned my perle that ther was spenned
Wyth fyrce skylles that fast faght;
Thagh kynde of Kryst me comfort kenned,
I mourned my pearl that was imprisoned
With fierce arguments that fought hard
Though the nature of Christ offered me comfort,
The Pearl (c. 1370-1400), Lines 53-55
(Ed. Malcolm Andrew & Ronald Waldron, 1987, p. 57)
(Other Pearl translations: by Bill Stanton, by Vernon Eller)
370) Line 55 from the Pearl Poet's Sir Gawain and the Green Knight:
"the most favoured people in the world"
And he the comlokest kyng that the court haldes;
For al was this fayre folk in her first age, on sille,
the hapnest under heven,
Kyng hyghest mon of wylle.
And he who holds court is the handsomest king;
for this fair company in the hall were al in their first youth,
the most favoured people in the world,
the king a man of the noblest temperament.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (c. 1375-1400) Lines 53-56
(Verse translation by J. J. Anderson, J.M. Dent, London, 1996, p. 169)
371) Verse 55 of Songs of Kabir:
Subtle is the path of love!
Therein there is no asking and no not-asking,
There one loses one's self at His feet,
There one is immersed in the joy of the seeking;
    plunged in the deeps of love
    as the fish in the water.
The lover is never slow in offering his
    head for his Lord's service.
Kabir declares the secret of this love.
Kabir (1398-1448), Songs of Kabir, Verse LV
(Translated by Rabindranath Tagore, Macmillan, NY, 1916, pp. 100-101)
372) Song 55 of Kabir's Raga Gauri-Purabi:
If light blends with light,
can it again be separated?
Those hearts empty of His name
burst and die.

My tawny, beautiful Ram,
my heart is devoted to you.

By meeting a saint you gain perfection—
what use is yoga and sensual pleasure—
when you two meet all things are worked out
because you blend with Ram's name.

People think that this is merely a song—
it is a meditation on Brahma;
as in Benares, men hear Shiva's saving word
at the time of their death.

Whoever sings or hears
Hari's name intently,
Kabir, say, "There is no doubt
that person will reach the supreme stage."
Kabir (c. 1398-1518)
Songs of Kabir from the Adi Granth (translated by Nirmal Dass)
State University of New York Press, Albany, 1991, pp. 84-85
373) Sloka 55 of Kabir's Slokas of Kabir:
my mind has become holy
like the water of the Ganges.
Hari follows me around,
calling out, "Kabir, Kabir."
Kabir (c. 1398-1518)
Songs of Kabir from the Adi Granth (translated by Nirmal Dass)
State University of New York Press, Albany, 1991, p. 269
374) Chapter 55 of Wu Ch'eng-en The Journey to the West:
Perverse form makes lascivious play of Tripitaka T'ang
Rectified mind safeguards the indestructible body.

We were just telling you of the Great Sage Sun and Chu Pa-chieh, who were
about to use magic to render those women immobile when they heard the shouts
of Sha Monk and the howl of the wind..."Who is it that has abducted the Master?"
asked Pilgrim, and Sha Monk said, "It's a girl. She called up a cyclone and took
away Master." When Pilgrim heard this, he leaped straight up to the edge of the clouds;
using his hand to shade his eyes, he peered all around and found a rolling mass of wind
and dust heading toward the northwest. "Brothers," he shouted to them down below,
"mount the clouds quickly to pursue the Master with me."... The Great Sage Sun,
meanwhile, displayed his magic power: making the magic sign with his fingers,
he recited a spell and with one shake of his body changed into a bee—
truly agile and light. Look at him!
    His thin wings go soft with wind;
    His waist in sunlight is trim.
    A mouth once sweetened by flowers;
    A tail that stripe-toads has tamed.
    What merit in honey-making!
    How modest his home-returning!
    A smart plan he now conceives
    To soar past both doors and eaves.
"That woman was a huge female scorpion." replied Pa-chieh. "We are fortunate
to have received the revelation from the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin, whereupon
Big Brother went to Heaven to acquire the assistance of the Star Lord Orionis.
He came here and subdued her, and she has been reduced to mud by old Hog...
Lighting up a fire, they burned out the entire cave-dwelling before they found
the main road to the West once more. Thus it was that
    They cut worldly ties to leave beauty and form:
    Two phoenixes bringing luck—
    The golden sea they drained to enter the mind of Zen.

Wu Ch'eng-en (1500-1582),
The Journey to the West or Hsi-yu chi (1518), Volume 3, Chapter 55
(translated by Anthony C. Yu, University of Chicago Press, 1980, pp. 69-85)
375) Book II, Chapter 55 of Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote
is titled "Of What Befell Sancho on the Road, and other Things that Cannot Be Surpassed":
Sancho and Dapple fell into a deep dark hole that lay among some very old buildings. As he fell he commended himself with all his heart to God, fancying he was not going to stop until he reached the depths of the bottomless pit; but it did not turn out so, for at little more than thrice a man's height Dapple touched bottom, and he found himself sitting on him without having received any hurt or damage whatever... "Alas," said Sancho, "what unexpected accidents happen at every step to those who live in this miserable world! Who would have said that one who saw himself yesterday sitting on a throne, governor of an island, giving orders to his servants and his vassals, would see himself to-day buried in a pit without a soul to help him, or servant or vassal to come to his relief?... "God Almighty help me!" said he to himself; "this that is a misadventure to me would make a good adventure for my master Don Quixote. He would have been sure to take these depths and dungeons for flowery gardens or the palaces of Galiana, and would have counted upon issuing out of this darkness and imprisonment into some blooming meadow; but I, unlucky that I am, hopeless and spiritless, expect at every step another pit deeper than the first to open under my feet and swallow me up for good; 'welcome evil, if thou comest alone.'"... they fetched ropes and tackle, as the saying is, and by dint of many hands and much labour they drew up Dapple and Sancho Panza out of the darkness into the light of day.
Part II, Chapter LV: Sancho leaves his governorship and falls into a deep pit.
Miguel de Cervantes (1549-1617),
Don Quixote de La Mancha
376) The beloved is immortalised by the poet
in 55th Sonnet of William Shakespeare:
Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword, nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death, and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Sonnets LV, Commentary
377) Haiku 55 of Basho's Haiku (1678):
Sparrows! Do not eat the horseflies
Playing on the flowers,
They are also your friends!
Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), Basho's Haiku, Vol. 1, Haiku 55
(translated by Toshiharu Oseko, Maruzen, Tokyo, 1990, p. 55)
378) Haiku 55 of Basho's Haiku (1678):
In Musashino,
A deer looks only one inch!
And its voice is faint!
Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), Basho's Haiku, Vol. 2, Haiku 55
(translated by Toshiharu Oseko, Maruzen, Tokyo, 1990, p. 33)
379) "Ancestral lumber, stuffed and packed"
in Line 55 of Goethe's Faust:
Beschränkt mit diesem Bücherhauf,
den Würme nagen, Staub bedeckt,
Den bis ans hohe Gewölb hinauf
Ein angeraucht Papier umsteckt;
Mit Gläsern, Büchsen rings umstellt,
Mit Instrumenten vollgepfropft,
Urvüter Hausrat drein gestopft—
Das ist deine Welt! das heißt eine Welt!
Hemmed in by many a toppling heap
Of books worm-eaten, gray with dust,
Which to the vaulted ceiling creep,
Against the smoky paper thrust,—
With glasses, boxes, round me stacked,
And instruments together hurled,
Ancestral lumber, stuffed and packed—
Such is my world: and what a world!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832),
Faust, Scene I: Night (Faust monologue)
Verse translation by Bayard Taylor (1870), Lines 49-56
Modern Library, New York, 1950, p. 16 (German, English)
380) Poem 55 of Goethe, the Lyrist: 100 Poems
"Die Spröde" ("The Coy Girl"):
An dem reinsten Frühlingsmorgen
Ging die Schäferin und sang,
Jung und schön und ohne Sorgen,
Daß es durch die Felder klang,
So la la! le ralla!

Thyrsis bot ihr für ein Mäulchen
Zwei, drei Schäfchen gleich am Ort.
Schalkhaft blickte sie ein Weilchen,
Doch sie sang und lachte fort,
So la la! le ralla!

Und ein andrer bot ihr Bänder,
Und der dritte bot sein Herz;
Doch sie trieb mit Herz und Bändern
So wie mit den Lämmern Scherz,
Nur la la! le ralla!
In the dawn of spring, the rarest
Shepherdess went forth and sang,
Carefree, young, and of the fairest,
Through the fields her singing rang.
So la la! Lay ral-la!

Thyrsis for a kiss would proffer
Two, three lambs without delay.
Roguishly she heard the offer,
Sang and rocked with laughter gay,
So la la! lay ral-la!

And another offered ribbons,
And a third his heart, poor boy!
But the maid with heart and ribbons
As with lambs would only toy,
Ah la la! Lay ral-la!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), "Die Spröde"
Goethe, the Lyrist: 100 Poems, (translated by Edwin H. Zeydel
University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 1955, pp. 120-123)
381) Poem 55 of The Zen Poems of Ryokan:
Several miles beyond the city wall stands the house of To.
I walk toward it, led by the woodcutter I chanced to meet.
On either side of the footpath rises a row of green pines.
Over the valley, the scent of a wild plum is wafted to me.
Each visit to this place yields me a fresh spiritual gain.
Where else can I lay aside my cane and stand at full ease?
In the ancient pond swarm fishes big enough to be dragons.
Quiet holds the enclosing woods, and the day moves slowly.
Within the house itself, not a hoard of worldly treasures,
But a jumble of books in verse and prose spread on a desk.
Flushed with inspiration, I loosen myself and my garments.
Gleaning some words from old masters, I make my own poems.
When the twilight comes, I stroll out ot the east veranda.
A spring bird, an earlier visitor, greets me on its wings.
Ryokan (1758-1831), The Zen Poems of Ryokan, Poem 55
translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa,
Princeton University Press, 1981, pp. 57-58
(Poet-Seers, Zen Poems)
382) Haiku 55 of Issa's Haiku:
What a bliss: spring
rain, watching
flames lick the pot.
Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827),
The Dumpling Field: Poems of Issa, Haiku 55
(translated by Lucien Stryk, Swallow Press, Athens, Ohio, 1991, p. 18)
383) Poem 55 of Thomas Cole:
The Summer Days are Ended
Summer is gone! The summer days are ended!
A voice mysterious sounded through my ear;
As o'er the hills and through the vales I wended
Rejoicing in the glory of the year.
I paused to listen to the plaint of sadness
It was the wailing of the Autumn wind;
Quick fled my breast its joy and gladness
And sorrow cloud-like brooded o'er my mind.
Wide spread the scene; beauty was still around
And more than beauty; for the glowing earth
In regal crimson and in gold was bound;
And every tree and lowly shrub gave birth
To tents that evening's sun-lit dome no dye
Ethereal shows, their richness could outvie.
Thomas Cole (1801-1848), Thomas Cole's Poetry,
Poem 55, Stanza 1 of 9 (Compiled & Edited
by Marshall B. Tymn, 1972, p. 120)

Thomas Cole, Self-Portrait (1836)

384) Monstrous Pictures of Whales in Chapter 55 of Melville's Moby-Dick (1851):
    the most ancient extant portrait anyways purporting to be the whale's, is to be found in the famous cavern-pagoda of Elephants, in India. The Brahmins maintain that in the almost endless sculptures of that immemorial pagoda, all the trades and pursuits, every conceivable avocation of man, were prefigured ages before any of them actually came into being. No wonder then, that in some sort our noble profession of whaling should have been there shadowed forth. The Hindoo whale referred to, occurs in a separate department of the wall, depicting the incarnation of Vishnu in the form of leviathan, learnedly known as the Matse Avatar. But though this sculpture is half man and half whale, so as only to give the tail of the latter, yet that small section of him is all wrong. It looks more like the tapering of an anaconda, than the broad palms of the true whale's majestic flukes.
    But these manifold mistakes in depicting the whale are not so very surprising after all. Consider! Most of the scientific drawings have been taken from the stranded fish; and these are about as correct as a drawing of a wrecked ship, with broken back, would correctly represent the noble animal itself in all its undashed pride of hull and spars. Though elephants have stood for their full-lengths, the living Leviathan has never yet fairly floated himself for his portrait. The living whale, in his full majesty and significance, is only to be seen at sea in unfathomable waters; and afloat the vast bulk of him is out of sight, like a launched line-of-battle ship; and out of that element it is a thing eternally impossible for mortal man to hoist him bodily into the air, so as to preserve all his mighty swells and undulations.
    For all these reasons, then, any way you may look at it, you must needs conclude that the great Leviathan is that one creature in the world which much remain unpainted to the last. True, one portrait may hit the mark much nearer than another, but none can hit it with any very considerable degree of exactness. So there is no earthly way of finding out precisely what the whale really looks like. And the only mode in which you can derive even a tolerable idea of his living contour, is by going a whaling yourself; but by so doing, you run no small risk of being eternally stove and sunk by him. Wherefore, it seems to me you had best not be too fastidious in your curiosity touching this Leviathan.

Herman Melville (1819-1891), Moby-Dick, Chapter 55: Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales
385) Fruits for her brother in Letter 55 of Emily Dickinson:
Dear Austin.
    Father has just decided to go to Boston. I have no time to write.
We send you a few of our grapes— wish they were nicer— wish too we had
some peaches. I send one remaining one— only a frost one. It expresses
my feelings— that is pretty much all. Was so glad to hear from you—
even a word is valued... Love

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Letter 55 (to her brother Austin Dickinson, 7 October 1851)
The Letters of Emily Dickinson, Volume I (Biography)
(edited by Thomas H. Johnson, Harvard University Press, 1955, pp. 142-143)
386) 55th Poem of Emily Dickinson:
By Chivalries as tiny,
A Blossom, or a Book,
The seeds of smiles are planted—
Which blossom in the dark.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, Poem #55
(edited by Thomas H. Johnson, 1955, p. 30)
387) 55th New Poem of Emily Dickinson:
The Bird would be a soundless thing
without Expositor.

Emily Dickinson (Letter 333 to Susan Gilbert Dickinson, autumn 1869)
New Poems of Emily Dickinson
(edited by William H. Shurr, University of North Carolin Press, 1993, p. 24)
388) There are 151 lines in Walt Whitman's poem A Song for Occupations (1855).
Line 55 tells that what is grand:
I do not know what it is except that it is grand, and that it is happiness,
Walt Whitman (1819-1892), A Song for Occupations, Line 55
A Textual Variorum of the Printed Poems, Vol. I, Poems, 1855-1856
(Edited by Sculley Bradley, Harold W. Blodgett, Arthur Golden, William White
New York University Press, 1980, p. 88)
389) "great mountains and Wind river" in Line 55 of Walt Whitman's Passage to India (1871):
I see in glimpses afar or towering immediately above me the great mountains,
    I see the Wind River and the Wahsatch mountains,
I see the Monument mountain and the Eagle's Nest, I pass the Promontory,
    I ascend the Nevadas,
I scan the noble Elk mountain and wind around its base,

Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Passage to India Section 5, Lines 55-56
A Textual Variorum of the Printed Poems, Vol. III, Poems, 1870-1891
(Edited by Sculley Bradley, Harold W. Blodgett, Arthur Golden, William White
New York University Press, 1980, p. 566)
55th Verse in Tagore's Gitanjali:

Languor is upon your heart and the slumber is still on your eyes.
Has not the word come to you that the flower is reigning in splendour
among thorns? Wake, oh awaken! let not the time pass in vain!
At the end of the stony path, in the country of virgin solitude,
my friend is sitting all alone. Deceive him not. Wake, oh awaken!
What if the sky pants and trembles with the heat of the midday sun—
what if the burning sand spreads its mantle of thirst—
Is there no joy in the deep of your heart? At every footfall of yours,
will not the harp of the road break out in sweet music of pain?

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
Gitanjali: Song Offerings (1912), Verse 55

391) Page 55 in A. E.'s Song and its Fountains:
The blue dusk ran between the streets. My love was winged within my mind.
It left day and yesterday and thrice a thousand years behind.
To-day was past and dead for me, for from to-day my feet had run
Through thrice a thousand years to walk the ways of ancient Babylon.
On temple top and palace roof the burnished gold flung back the rays
Of a red sunset that was dead and lost beyond a million days.
The tower of heaven turns darker blue, a starry sparkle now begins.
The mystery and magnificence, the myriad beauty and the sins
Come back to me. I walk beneath the shadowy multitude of towers.
Within the gloom the fountain jets its pallid mist in lily flowers.
The waters lull me and the scent of many gardens, and I hear
Familiar voices, and the voice I love is whispering in my ear.
Oh real as in dream all this; and then a hand on mine is laid,
The wave of phantom time withdraws; and that young Babylonian maid,
One drop of beauty left behind from all the flowing of that tide,
Is looking with the self-same eyes, and here in Ireland by my side.
Oh, light our life in Babylon, but Babylon has taken wings,
While we are in the calm and proud procession of eternal things.

A. E. (George William Russell) (1867-1935)
Song and its Fountains, Macmillan, New York (1932), p. 55
(New Edition, Larson Publications, 1991)
[Note: Typesetting on page 55 is from the 1932 edition.
Poem cited is "Babylon" from Collected Poems
by A.E., 1913. Last four lines appear on page 56.]
392) Poem 55 of Rilke's New Poems [1908]
is titled "The Parks" ("Die Parke I"):
Unaufhaltsam heben sich die Parke
aus dem sanft zerfallenden Vergehn;
überhäuft mit Himmeln, überstarke
Überlieferte, die überstehn,

um sich auf den klaren Rasenplänen
auszubreiten und zurückzuziehen,
immer mit demselben souveränen
Aufwand, wie beschützt durch ihn,

und den unerschöpflichen Erlös
königlicher Größe noch vermehrend,
aus sich steigend, in sich wiederkehrend:
huldvoll, prunkend, purpurn und pompös.

Irresistibly the parks rise up
from the softly decomposing transience;
heaped with heavens, superstrong
traditions, which overcome

in order on the clear grassy plots
to spread out and withdraw themselves,
always with the same sovereign
extravagance, as if protected by it,

and still adding to the endless
profits that accrue to royal greatness,
rising from themselves, returning to themselves:
resplendent, crimson, gracious, grandiose.
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), "The Parks I"
(translated by Edward Snow, New Poems (1908), Poem 55
North Point Press, San Francisco, 1987, pp. 118-119)
393) "saints would have heard" in Line 55
of Rilke's Duino Elegies I [1923]:

Stimmen, Stimmen. Höre, mein Herz, wie sonst nur
Heilige hörten: daß sie der riesige Ruf
aufhob vom Boden; sie aber knieten,
Unmögliche, weiter und achtetens nicht:
So  waren sie hörend. Nicht, daß du Gottes ertrügest
die Stimme, bei weitem. Aber das Wehende höre,
die ununterbrochene Nachricht, die aus Stille sich bildet.

Voices, voices. Hear them, my heart, as once only
saints would have heard, whom the colossal called raised
right off the ground, and yet these impossible
ones heeded it not and continued to kneel:
thus were they hearing. Not that you could endure
the voice of God, far from it. But hear the suspiration,
the uninterrupted message that is formed out of silence.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926),
Duino Elegies, I.54-60
(translated by Patrick Bridgwater)
Menard Press, London, 1999, pp. 8-9)
(Other translations: Edward Snow; Robert Hunter)

394) 55th Page in James Joyce's Ulysses,:
Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls.
He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart,
liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods' roes...
    The coals were reddening.
    Another slice of bread and butter: three, four: right...
Cup of tea soon. Good. Mouth dry. The cat walked stiffly
round a leg of the table with tail on high.
    - Mkgnao!
    - O, there you are, Mr Bloom said, turning from the fire.
The cat mewed in answer and stalked again stiffly round a leg
of the table, mewing. Just how she stalks over my writingtable.
Prr. Scratch my head. Prr.
James Joyce (1882-1941), Ulysses, (1st edition, 1922)
Random House, New York (1946), p. 55
395) 55th Page lines in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, (7 samples):
(I tell you no story.) Smile! (55.2)
Fennyana, but deeds bounds going arise again. Life, he himself (55.5)
the chestfront of all manorwombanborn. The scene, refreshed, (55.10)
reroused, was never to be forgotten, the hen and crusader ever- (55.11)
(retired), (hurt), under the sixtyfives act) in a dressy black modern (55.14)
with eddying awes the round eyes of the rundreisers, back to back, (55.23)
leaved loverlucky blomsterbohm, phoenix in our woodlessness, (55.28)
and far!) spoke of it by request all, hearing in this new reading (55.33)
James Joyce (1882-1941), Finnegans Wake, (1939), page 55.
396) "Ourselves in the tune as if in space" in Line 55
of Wallace Stevens's, The Man with the Blue Guitar (1937):

A tune beyond us as we are,
Yet nothing changed by the blue guitar;

Ourselves in the tune as if in space,
Yet nothing changed, except the place

Of things as they are and only the place
As you play them, on the blue guitar,

Placed, so, beyond the compass of change,
Perceived in a final atmosphere;

For a moment final, in the way
The thinking of art seems final when

The thinking of god is smoky dew.
The tune is space. The blue guitar

Becomes the place of things as they are,
A composing of senses of the guitar.

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955),
The Man with the Blue Guitar, Lines 53-66 (Section VI)
Collected Poetry and Prose, Library of America, NY, 1997, p. 137

397) Chapter 55 of Ezra Pound's Cantos (selections):
... saying: I follow to the nine fountains'
So SIUEN decreed she shd/ be honoured as First Queen of OU-TSONG
Ruled SIUEN with his mind on the 'Gold Mirror' of TAI TSONG
        Wherein is written: In time of disturbance
        make use of all men, even scoundrels.
        In time of peace reject no man who is wise.
HIEN said: no rest for an emperor. A little spark
        lights a great deal of straw...
Dry spring, a dry summer
locusts and rain in autumn...
Reason from heaven, said Tcheou Tun-yi
        enlighteneth all things...
Ezra Pound (1885-1972), The Cantos (1-95), LV
New Directions, NY, 1956, pp. 36-46
398) Poem 55 of e. e. cummings's W [ViVa] (1931):

speaking of love(of
which Who knows the
meaning; or how dreaming

if your heart's mine)i
guess a grassblade
Thinks beyond or
around(as poems are

made)Our picking it. this
caress that laugh
both quickly signify
life's only half(through

deep weather then
or none let's feel
all)mind in mind flesh
In flesh succeeding disappear

e. e. cummings (1894-1962), W [ViVa], "Poem LV"
Complete Poems: 1913-1962,
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, NY (1972), p. 364

399) There are 71 poems in e. e. cummings's
Xaipe (1950)
Poem 55:


g field o
ver forest &;

o could



e. e. cummings (1894-1962), Xaipe, "Poem LV"
Complete Poems: 1913-1962,
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, NY (1972), p. 653

400) Poem 55 of e. e. cummings's 73 Poems (1963):

guessed any
thing(even a
universe)might be
so not quite believab
ly smallest as perfect this
(almost invisible where of a there of a)here of a
rubythroat's home with its still
ness which really's herself
(and to think that she's
warming three worlds)
who's ama

e. e. cummings (1894-1962), 73 Poems, "Poem 55"
Complete Poems: 1913-1962,
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, NY (1972), p. 827

401) There are 59 poems in William Carlos Williams' Poems: 1949-1953.
Poem 55 is titled "Descent" (1951):

From disorder (a chaos)
order grows
— grows fruitful.
The chaos feeds it. Chaos
feeds the tree.

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams,
Volume II 1939-1962, New Directions, NY, 1988, p. 45

402) "central to the sky" in Line 55 in William Carlos Williams'
"Asphodel, That Greenery Flower" (1955):

    It will not be
        for long.
I have forgot
    and yet I see clearly enough
central to the sky
    which ranges round it.

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), Journey to Love,
"Asphodel, That Greenery Flower", Lines 50-56
Random House, NY, 1955, p. 45

403) Page 55 in William Carlos Williams' Paterson (1958):
Let us be reasonable!

                                Sunday in the park,
limited by the escarpment, eastward; to
the west abutting on the old road: recreation
with a view! the binoculars chained
to anchored stanchions along the east wall—
          beyond which, a hawk

— a trumpet sounds fitfully...

— beyond the gap where the river
plunges into the narrow gorge, unseen

— and the imagination soars, as a voice
beckons, a thundrous voice, endless
— as sleep:     the voice
that has ineluctably called them—
                                that unmoving roar!

— his voice, one among many (unheard)
moving under all.

                                The mountain quivers.

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), Paterson (1958)
Edited by Christopher MacGowan
New Directions, NY, 1992, p. 55
(Published in Book II, Section 3, 1948)
404) There are 79 poems in Charles Reznikoff's Jerusalem the Golden (1934)
Poem 55
You tell me that you write only a little now.
I wrote this a year or two ago
about a girl whose stories I had read and wished to meet:
The traveller
whom a bird's notes surprise—
his eyes
search the trees.

And when I met her she was plain enough.
So is the nightingale, they say—
and I am glad that you do not belong
to those whose beauty is all song.
Charles Reznikoff (1894-1976),
Jerusalem the Golden, LV
The Objectivist Press, NY, 1934, p. 17
Poems 1918-1975: The Complete Poems of Charles Reznikoff,
Black Sparrow Press, Santa Barbara, 1989, p. 118
405) Rafael Alberti's Sonnet 55 of 101 Sonetos [1924-1975]
is titled "A la luz" (Impresionismo) ["To light" (Impressionism)]:
A ti, temblor y halo del paisaje,
recortadora del perfil y ciega
para el pincel abierto que disgrega
la mancha de la mar y del celaje.

A ti, lavado, líquido lenguaje;
dura al color que su color restriega
contra el árbol preciso que doblega
a imprecisión la copa del ramaje.

A ti, mano del sol, cono perfecto,
denunciadora, igualadora, efecto
desvanecente de la línea pura.

El ala de la sombra en ti se afila.
Te quema el ser que tu cristal destila.
A ti, esperjo y fanal de la Pintura.
To you, tremulous halo of the fields,
cutter of silhouettes, and turned to dark
by the dusk-creating brush: the sea yields
its color to the clouds, its shine and spark.

To you, gold aquarelle, liquid language,
hard on the forms 'gainst which your softness scrapes:
tree branches reaching out to you in homage
give up to imprecision their clear shapes.

To you, hand of sun, tracing a cone's design,
diffuser of the thinness of a line,
flatt'ner at noon, discloser, causing fear.

In you, the shadow's wing tapers away.
A lens can create fire from your ray.
To you, Painting's lamp, and Painting's mirror.
Rafael Alberti (1902-1999), 101 Sonetos, Sonnet 55
Seix Barral, Barcelona, 1980, pp. 137-138)
To Painting: Poems by Rafael Alberti, trans. Carolyn L. Tipton
Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL, 1997, pp. 96-97
406) Sonnet 55 in Pablo Neruda's 100 Love Sonnets (1960)
Thorns, shattered glass, sickness and crying: all day
they attack the honeyed contentment. And neither the tower,
nor the walls, nor secret passageways are of much help.
Trouble seeps through, into the sleeper's peace.

Sorrow rises and falls, comes near with its deep spoons,
and no one can live without this endless motion;
without it there would be no birth, no roof, no fence.
It happens: we have to account for it.

Eyes squeezed shut in love don't help,
nor soft beds far from the pestilent sick,
from the conquerer who advances, pace by pace, with his flag.

For life throbs like a bile, like a river: it opens
a bloody tunnel where eyes stare through at us,
the eyes of a huge and sorrowful family.

Pablo Neruda
Love Sonnet LV, Cien Sonetos de Amor [100 Love Sonnets]
Editorial Losada, Buenos Aires, 1960 (trans. Stephen Tapscott, 1986, p. 119)
407) Poem 55 in Pablo Neruda's The Book of Questions (1974)
Why don't they send moles
and turtles to the moon?

Couldn't the animals that engineer
hollows and tunnels

take charge of
these distant inspections?

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)
The Book of Questions, LV
(translated by William O'Daly)
Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend, WA, 1991, p. 55
408) There are 330 titles in Louis Zukofsky's Poem beginning "The" (1935)
#55 Not by art have we lived
Louis Zukofsky (1904-1978)
55 Poems: 1923-1935
All the Collected Short Poems: 1923-1958
Norton, New York, p. 13
409) Poem 55 in Louis Zukofsky's 80 Flowers (1978) is
"55 Grape-Hyacinth":
Where wildered anemones hay-lei moony
'a-dutch-treat' fingerhigh nightblue spring's last
grape-hyacinth sations wilt minúte turned-down
urns segment dense perianths pale-teeth
musk harries raceme owes scented
plum earth-channelled leaves wild hyacinth
squill reads no script hyacinth-throes
name love-in-absence regret to regret
Louis Zukofsky (1904-1978)
80 Flowers, "55 Grape-Hyacinth"
The Stinehour Press, Lunenburg, Vermont, 1978
[Stanford: PS3549.U47.E36.1978F "facsimile pirated copy"]
410) There are 82 lines in Section XVII of Kenneth Rexroth's
"The Silver Swan" from The Morning Star (1979).
Line 55: "I am dispossessed, only" (lines 55-62):
I am dispossessed, only
An abyss without limits.
Only dark oblivion
Of sense and mind in an
Illimitable Void.
Infinitely away burns
A minute red point to which
I move or which moves to me.
Time fades away. Motion is
Not motion. Space becomes Void.

Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982)
The Complete Poems of Kenneth Rexroth
"The Silver Swan" XVII.55-64
Edited by Sam Hamill & Bradford Morrow
Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend, WA, 2003, p. 738
411) Lawrence Ferlinghetti's What is Poetry? (2000) contains 64 images of poetry.
Image 55:
It [Poetry] is the humming of moths
as they circle the flame

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (b. March 24, 1919),
What Is Poetry?
Creative Arts Book Co., Berkeley, CA, 2000, p. 55
412) Allen Ginsberg's HOWL (1956) contains 112 lines.
Line 1:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
Line 55:
who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccessfully,
      gave up and were forced to open antique
      stores where they thought they were growing
      old and cried,

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997),
Howl and Other Poems, City Lights Books, 1956, p. 16
413) There are 68 poems in Allen Ginsberg's last book Death & Fame (1999).
Poem 55 is "Variations on Ma Rainey's See See Rider"—

"Ive' been down at the bus stop
    By my jellyroll there
If I can't sell it in Memphis
            you can
    buy it in Eau St. Claire.
See see Rider
        you got me
            in your chair
        But if I have
            my fanny
                can sell it anywhere
        See what I want today
            yes yes yes
        Need a man who
            really can do
    anything I say
        Do that for me
            Then I
               guess I
        won't go away.

Go way go way go way from here
    look for all old gray home
    I can live by myself and
        ring my telephone
    Dirty pictures on my new TV
        Just now turned them on
    I don't need you and your
            mamma's long time gone
                March 3, 1997

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), Death & Fame
HarperFlamingo, New York, 1999, p. 82)
414) There are 56 poems in Denise Levertov's Oblique Prayers (1984).
Poem 55 is titled "Of Being":

I know this happiness
is provisional:

        the looming presences—
        great suffering, great fear—

        withdraw only
        into peripheral vision:

but ineluctable this shimmering
of wind in the blue leaves:

this flood of stillness
widening the lake of sky:

this need to dance,
this need to kneel:

                this mystery:

Denise Levertov (1926-1997),
Oblique Prayers, "Of Being"
New Directions, New York, 1984, p. 86)
415) There are 60 poems in Denise Levertov's The Life Around Us (1997).
Poem 55 is titled "Open Secret":

Perhaps one day I shall let myself
approach the mountain—
hear the streams which must flow don it,
lie in a flowering meadow, even
touch my hand to the snow.
Perhaps not. I have no longing to do so.
I have visited other mountain heights.
This one is not, I think, to be known
by close scrutiny, by touch of foot or hand
or entire outstretched body; not by any
familiarity of behavior, any acquaintance
with its geology or the scarring roads
humans have carved in its flanks.
This mountain's power
lies in the open secret of its remote
apparition, silvery low-relief
coming and going moonlike at the horizon,
always loftier, lonelier, than I ever remember.

Denise Levertov (1926-1997),
The Life Around Us, "Open Secret"
New Directions, New York, 1997, p. 70)
416) Gary Snyder's poem "Raven's Beak River At the End" (1988)
contains 57 lines. Line 55 is "flying off alone"
At the end of an ice age
    we are the bears, we are the ravens,
We are the salmon
    in the gravel
At the end of an ice age
Growing on the gravels
    at the end of a glacier
Flying off alone
    flying off alone
    flying off alone

Off alone

Gary Snyder (b. May 8, 1930),
Mountains and Rivers Without End
"Raven's Beak River At the End", Lines 47-57
New Directions, New York, 1996, pp. 122-124
417) Poem 55 of Michael McClure's Ghost Tantras:
byoor krohnee nakgreebresh — bwohh thahlltoom.
Behind I leave thee in my soaring.
Roooshoobwooeth gruhn kooolnakturnie.
August. Summer. Air.
Rooh ordaineth hrukk grooshameth dahhn
oohr eecze nak-tree-ohbreshk. Leaf flocks
in clusters gathering
for their flight.
Sheep, rabbits, sharks — awake or dreaming.
The seasons are plushy banners of Maya
waving about me where I stand.
And I ah oohh I am solid velvet.

Michael McClure (born Oct. 20, 1932),
Ghost Tantras, City Lights Books, 1967, p. 61)
418) There are 63 poems in W. S. Merwin's The Lice
Poem 55 is titled "Avoiding News by the River":
As the stars hide in the light before daybreak
Reed warblers hunt along the narrow stream
Trout rise to their shadows
Milky light flows through the branches
Fills with blood
Men will be waking

In an hour it will be summer
I dreamed that the heavens were eating the earth
Waking it is not so
Not the heavens
I am not ashamed of the wren's murders
Nor the badger's dinners
On which all worldly good depends
If I were not human I would not be ashamed of anything

W. S. Merwin (born September 30, 1927),
The Lice, Atheneum, NY, 1967, p. 71
419) There are 130 short poems in Kathleen Raine's On a Deserted Shore (1973):
Poem 55 is about mussel-pearls:

From Sandaig shore
Held in a shell
As God worlds
In the palm of his hand:
These our treasure,
Sea-life's toil,
Seed more rare
Than barren sand.
Kathleen Raine (1908-2003),
On a Deserted Shore, Poem 55
Dolmen Press, London, UK, 1973
420) There are 60 poems in Kathleen Raine's The Presence (Poems 1984-87):
Poem 55 is titled "LONDON WIND":

Wind, lifting litter, paper, empty containers, grit,
Even here blows the element of air—
Between post-office and supermarket still the caress
Of earth's breath cool on my face
As gusts in spirals and eddies whirl
Spent leaves from London's plane-trees, to let fall
Perfect forms so lightly poised on a vandalized lot.

Kathleen Raine (1908-2003),
The Presence (Poems 1984-87), Poem 55
Golgonooza Press, Ipswich, UK, 2000, p. 73
New York Times Obituary, July 10, 2003
421) Poem 55 of The Crane's Bill:
The grand Dream Palace, six windows shut—
How refreshing the breeze across my pillow.
Such have always been Buddhas and Patriarchs.
Peals from the belfry— I listen to each.

— Kaiseki, 13th century
Zen Poems of China and Japan: The Crane's Bill
(translated by Lucien Stryk & Takashi Ikemoto, Anchor Books, NY, 1973, p. 33)
422) There are 95 short poems in Kenneth Koch's "On Aesthetics"
Poem 55 is titled "Aesthetics of Feeling Fine":
Feel fine
Then go away.

Kenneth Koch (1925-2002), "On Aesthetics"
from One Train: Poems, Random House, NY, 1994, p. 65
Interview by Anne Waldman; Interview by David Kennedy; NY Times Obituary (7-7-2002)
423) "The vine of the honeysuckle" in Line 55
of Mary Oliver's's poem "Work" (Lines 55-59):
The vine of the honeysuckle
perks upward—
the fine-hold of its design
did not need to be so wonderful, did it?
but is.
Mary Oliver (born 1935), The Leaf and the Cloud, "Work", Section 2
Da Capo Press, 2000, p. 11
424) There are 68 poems in Charles Simic's Night Picnic: Poems (2001):
Poem 55 is "Night Picnic":
There was the sky, starless and vast—
Home of every one of our dark thoughts—
Its door open to more darkness.
And you, like a late door-to-door salesman,
With only your own beating heart
In the palm of your outstretched hand.

All things are imbued with God's being—
(She said in hushed tones
As if his ghost might overhear us)
The dark woods around us,
Our faces which we cannot see,
Even this bread we are eating.

You were mulling over the particulars
Of your cosmic insignificance
Between slow sips of red wine.
In the ensuing quiet, you could hear
Her small, sharp teeth chewing the crust—
And then finally, she moistened her lips.

Charles Simic (born May 9, 1938),
Night Picnic: Poems, "Night Picnic", Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, NY, 2001, p. 73
425) There are 70 poems in Joyce Carol Oates' The Time Traveler: Poems (1989)
Poem 55 is titled "The Time Traveler":
By degrees, days
and years,
another voice
Another presence.
The facial skin betrayed
by old smiles.
Death's-head nostrils,
too deep.

Behind the eyes—
another inhabitant.
Candles entrusted
to trembling hands.
I don't recognize
that person,

you whisper,
who is that person?
A stranger's face
in a mirror.
        In remembered dusk
strolling behind
the boarded-up
train depot—
broken glass,
scattered papers,
tall sinewy weeds—
but the flowers
tiny, pinched,
exquisitely blue—

To have the luxury,
now, of picking a
mere handful!—
a mere handful.
Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938),
The Time Traveler: Poems, E.P. Dutton, NY, 1989, pp. 89-90)
426) There are 57 poems in Joyce Carol Oates'
Poem 55 is titled "I Am Krishna, Destroyer of Worlds":
Another Monday morning!
At 30,000 feet hurtled through the "sky"!
What does it mean to dwell among strangers
with whom we would not wish to die?

Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938),
Tenderness, Ontario Review Press, Princeton, NJ, 1996, p. 89)
427) There are 69 poems in Stephen Mitchell's Parables and Portraits (1992).
Poem 55 is titled "Narcissus":
It was not the image of his own face that transfixed him as he bent down over
the pool. He had seen that face often before: in mirrors, in a thousand photographs,
in women's eyes. It was an undistinguished face, but handsome enugh, with its long
eyelashes, full lips, and stately nose sloping to a curious plateau near the tip.
    No, it was something else now that rooted him to the spot. Kneeling
there, gazing into the so taken-for-granted form, he grew more and more poignantly
aware that it was mere surface. When the water was calm, it was calm; when the water
rippled at the touch off a leaf or a fish, it too rippled; or broke apart when he churned
the water with his hand. More and more fascinated, he kept staring through the image of
his face into the depths beneath, filled with a multitude of other, moving, shadowy forms.
He knew that if he stayed there long and patiently enough, he would be able to see straight
through to the bottom. And at that moment, he knew, the image would disappear.
Stephen Mitchell (born 1943),
Parables and Portraits, Harper & Row, NY, p. 67)
428) There are 72 poems in Heather McHugh's Dangers (1977).
Poem 55 is titled "What the Palmist Knows":
The newspaper will keep, huddled
in its box. Snow dispenses
a soft aquatic dark to homes, the tame
cars creep into garages. Nothing

makes noise. Your five dogs named for senses
play alive, pillowing the air
with their paws. The snow drives off
the murderer but you

will pummel someone soon from speech.
At the door the latest
victim knocks with gloves. You know
the news already. Opening for her

your hands have their own
interrupted headlines.
Heather McHugh (born 1948),
Dangers, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1977, p. 72
429) 00:05:55:05 is a chapter from the novel by Lance Olsen (2005)
The setting is at an I-Max theater in the Mall of American, Bloomington, Minnesota.
The random thoughts and fantasies of the movie audience is projected on screen
as the clock ticks the time digitally on the page. Online text.
He [Kenneth Jehovah Vrooman] knows he has to hurry to complete his lifework: writing
the perfect critical study of Julia Ward Howe, the minor nineteenth-century poet who
accomplished nothing of note in her ninety-one years except composing the remarkably
shallow lyrics for "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" for The Atlantic Monthly
for five dollars. Kenneth has been laboring at his lifework since February 14, 1979.
He is still on chapter one.
Lance Olsen (born 1956), 10:01,
Chiasmus Press, Portland (2005), pp. 93-94), Lance's Website
430) There are 100 poems in Janet Gray's A Hundred Flowers (1993).
Poem 55:
Now a dream of complicated lips
pursed. Not solid but stiff
cream wrapped around a gold tusk.
(Because this is artifice.) So close
she could be a prominent feature of landscape:
silk dunes, crushed nacre, swept
in whorls around a fault.
You've made her tired: eyes in bloom
purple & fruit
colored around the budges. You do not own
anything here. But take it. Take whatever,
load 'er up. You get your wish.
Janet Gray
A Hundred Flowers, Thumbscrew Press, San Francisco, 1993, p. 72
431) Peter Y. Chou's poem "Speculations on the Soul" (1993)
relates to the Platonic Lambda and Soul of the Universe:
First & Last stanzas:
Mineral, plant, or animal— Is the soul
absent, asleep, or awake in them?
What about iron?— liquid core of earth,
atomic weight 55, numerical sum
of the Lambda series which Plato
called the soul of the universe.

Does the soul have a phone number?
How about 55?— sum of one to ten,
Plato's 55 Dialogues, the stars
Dante scattered in his Commedia.
What about 5 and 5 coming together—
our fingers touching in prayer?
55 in Numerology
432) Numerology: words whose letters add up to 55:

HEMOGLOBIN = 8 + 5 + 4 + 6 + 7 + 3 + 6 + 2 + 9 + 5 = 55

LIGHTNING: 3 + 9 + 7 + 8 + 2 + 5 + 9 + 5 + 7 = 55

SEPHIROTH: 1 + 5 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 9 + 6 + 2 + 8 = 55

BREATH NUMBER: (2+9+5+1+2+8) + (5+3+4+2+5+9) = 27 + 28 = 55

CHRIST-LOGOS = (3+8+9+9+1+2) + (3+6+7+6+1) = 32 + 23 = 55

CHINA HORSE: (3+8+9+5+1) + (8+6+9+1+5) = 26 + 29 = 55

EIGHT TWELVE: (5+9+7+8+2) + (2+5+5+3+4+5) = 31 + 24 = 55

GARY SNYDER: (7+1+9+7) + (1+5+7+4+5+9) = 24 + 31 = 55

HEAVEN CHILD: (8+5+1+4+5+5) + (3+8+9+3+4) = 28 + 27 = 55

HERO LOVER: (8+5+9+6) + (3+8+9+3+4) = 28 + 27 = 55

LOVE PARADISE: (3+6+4+5) + (7+1+9+1+4+9+1+5) = 18 + 37 = 55

MONDAY'S CHILD: (4+6+5+4+1+7+1) + (3+8+9+3+4) = 28 + 27 = 55

ONE MILLION: (6+5+5) + (4+9+3+3+9+6+5) = 16 + 39 = 55

RAINBOW DANCE: (9+1+9+5+2+6+5) + (4+1+5+3+5) = 37 + 18 = 55

SEVENTY-ONE: (1+5+4+5+5+2+7) + (6+5+5) = 39 + 16 = 55

SEVENTY-SIX: (1+5+4+5+5+2+7) + (1+9+6) = 39 + 16 = 55

SQUARE NUMBER: (1+8+3+1+9+5) + (5+3+4+2+5+9) = 27 + 28 = 55

TWENTY-THREE: (2+5+5+5+2+7) + (2+8+9+5+5) = 26 + 29 = 55

UNIVERSAL SELF = (3+5+9+4+5+9+1+1+3) + (1+5+3+6) = 40 + 15 = 55

WHITE CRYSTAL: (5+8+9+2+5) + (3+9+7+1+2+1+3) = 29 + 26 = 55

WORLD JUBILEE: (5+6+9+3+4) + (1+3+2+9+3+5+5) = 27 + 28 = 55

| Top of Page | Number 55 (Part 1) | Meditations on 55 | Numbers | Dates | A-Z Portals |
| Art & Spirit | Books | Enlightenment | Enlightenment News | Poetry | Home |

© Peter Y. Chou, WisdomPortal.com
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (8-5-2006)