from an evolving collection entitled Stirrup of the Sun & Moon

If you don't enter the Grieving Lands fully
that spirit will set itself up deep inside you
twisting your spine
warping your bones
until you can no longer stand on your own.

There is a Cosmic Anvil
stored behind one's own rib cage.
The ancient ones say: Put it to good use.


In the bending light of early dawn
two memory strands
suddenly came crashing through.
Their combined shimmer became a mirror.

I whispered under my breath:
I thought I'd rid myself of this old grief.
A stark reflection in that mirror revealed
my purification was not yet complete;
the weight of hurts I'd held in my bones
had bent me into a strange shape.
I'd become a creature devoid of hope or belief.

This was when I committed
to the long wandering road
leading to the smithy of the self
and made use of that hidden anvil there
and the hammer that is the soul.

Late into the night
I cracked and fired my bones
until gold poured out
and nothing was left of my grief.
Only when I'd fashioned myself
into something else
did I comprehend the power of release.

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: EVA / Birds Like Earth / Remote Vision


Codices of the Foregone


Codices of the Foregone

from a forthcoming collection, Stirrup of the Sun & Moon

It is possible to reach other worlds

without the use of technology. The

different truths of those worlds are

a great value, and of great personal

comfort. — Trade Minister Tagomi,

The Man in the High Castle

Serpentine trail through rocks and trees.

City far behind.

Shuffling of feet.

Walking staff in hand.



Entering the within.


Stone bridge.


Green hillock.

First taste of mist.

Quiet valley.

Moonlit lake.

Silent mountain.



Emptying out.

Emptying out into Empty-Silence.

Resting at Inner Radiance Pavilion.

Pushing onward to Blooming Void Precipice.

Bathed in clouds.

Weeping at the sight.



Emptying out.

Sitting like a mountain.

Ch’an stillness.

Inner merges with outer.

No divisions.

No obstacles.

No encumbrances.

Eyes settle softly on the land.

No divisions.

No obstacles.

No encumbrances.

Heart-Mind becomes the quiet valley.

Heart-Mind becomes the moonlit lake.

Heart-Mind becomes the silent mountain.

The traveler

could be anyone

in any pristine place.

Students of the East Mountain School recount

a curious monk once asked Master Hongren:

Why do we enter the mountains rather than study

the way of awakening in the city?

Hongren replied:

One should find refuge for the spirit

in remote mountain valleys, sidestepping

troubles of the dusty world. One should

nourish their true nature in deep mountains, keeping

away from worldly affairs for an extended time.

When not always confronting common affairs,

the mind will naturally become at ease. Studying Zen

in this way is like planting a tree. The end result bears fruit.

— from the Xiu Xin Yao Lun (trans. John R. McRae)

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Sylvan Rotation / Meridian [EX] / Ascendant





from an evolving collection entitled Sun Lake Moon

In the back of my skull is a knot.

A knuckle-like knob where the skull is fused.

Dog owners sometimes say: smart bump, wisdom node.

A scientist of the veterinarian variety might say:

occipital protuberance; an armored spur

to protect the part of the brain responsible for vision.

Some of the old medicine people of the woodlands,

the islands, and back behind the mesas out West,

tell how an invisible cord comes out of the knot

and links wolves to ravens

wolf people to wolf people

wolf people to fox people

wolf people to raven people.

Sounds crazy to most white folks, I know,

but the wisdom-people of hidden earth

have long known that some two-leggeds

evolved from wolves and bears and feathered ones.

I've only met two other two-leggeds who had a medicine knot.

One woman was a jaguar.

The other shapeshifted into a fox at night.

I was too practical then; wasn’t prepared for all their visions.

Onward I went, me and my occiput.

But now, I must admit, every time I meet

a woman

a hound

a wolf

a kai'yot

I’m tempted to reach back
or bend low

and check the back of their skull

to see if we’re relatives.





from an evolving collection entitled Sun Lake Moon

Birds on wires watching people.

People in chairs watching birds.

Clouds flowing over birds and people.

Autumn-tinted pine branches sway.

A quiet wind is having its say:



scattering birds and people.

We fly and flee.

Head back to our nests and nooks.

Hunker down for when the season of the sun returns.

We’re all bones and feathers passing through,

but, for some reason, we come to settle on so little

and call it: connection.

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Spirit Passage / The Desert Inbetween / Steve Roach & Brian Parham


How This May Go


How This May Go

from an evolving collection entitled Sun Lake Moon

In the next five seasons there may be a time

when — light on pillow —

the bright midnight moon

whispers in your upturned ear:

Sit up, Lazy Bones.

I know you're weary

but you have work to do, my dear.

If this is something you hear,

spirits of inner-blooming have come for you.

The Mother of the Tao is leaning closer.

Odin's raven of visions is tapping on your window sill.

Ghosts of priestesses

from the inner chambers of Epidaurus

are singing:

You have no more time to spare.

You have no more time to spare.

You have no more time.

Now you know

you must work out The Great Matter

…once and for all.

Now you know you must be mentored

by what the body needs most.

Now you know

you must become a good ancestor.

Now you know

you must complete that book

of incantations and recipes

for the ones who will come after you.

Now you know

you must reach for the tattered map again

and take back up the old custom

of night-flying on your own soul-lit wind.

In the next season

there may be a time

when you'll see that

none of your daydreaming

has ever been

a random brainwave.

Powers of earth and earthing

are choosing you for rebalancing.

Powers of earth and earthing

are choosing you as a shaping-ally.

Powers of earth and earthing

are choosing you

to wipe the red dust from your eyes

and become an apprentice

to the true meaning of new beginnings.

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Zazen / Lotus Rising / Chronotope Project


Amnesty Within


Amnesty Within

a poem about meditation / from an evolving collection entitled Sun Lake Moon

There is a world

beneath the world.

A ‘world’


the ‘world’.

There is a world

behind the world.

A ‘world’


the ‘world’.

There is a world

inside the world.

A ‘world’


the ‘world’.

There is an inner world

out of reach of the outer one

and when a traveler goes there

it is the sensation

of standing

on the soft ocean floor

peering up at sunlit waves.

The surface is moved

and moving

by the weather

of emotion



In the depths

there is a stillness

that knows no want or disturbance;

only bounty

slow motion


You are not a foreigner there.

Your passport has not been revoked.

You are not an exile.

There are no walls

or guards

separating you.

Cross over the demarcation.

Climb the great inward-downward.

Transcend the dividing line.

You are no longer a refugee.

The Great Spirit of Being

has granted you


and given you

a golden key

to the rest of the city.

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Mercurius / from Mercurius / Steve Roach





from an evolving collection entitled Sun Lake Moon

End of another week.

Solid-heeled in our walking.

Yet there is a fatigue

only resting-deep can remedy.


as mountains after rain

before the song of fog sets in.

We step out the door

with all the invisible ‘ride-alongs’

who travel with us.

We fan out

scramble over rocks

hunt a soul-filled place

to sit with the half-moon.

To outside eyes you appear

as a solitary walker of green hills.

But the Immortals know you

and see you


digging deep

until you hit

that hidden spring

that’s waiting

inside you.

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Navigating the Flow / Endless River / Roy Mattson


Only A River Now


Only A River Now

final poem of Stirrup of the Sun & Moon

I was sitting beneath the damp night trees

listening to their squeaking branches

in the breeze

— what one wizard in the North

called ‘tree-rubbing-tree music’ —

and there

in a place no more special

and no less than any other

I felt a supernova

start to boil

under my ribs.

The Teachers

had carried me

as far as they could.

I might as well

have been standing

at the same Western Gate

the Old Man used

when he departed the province

on that ox.

The only teacher left:

the river of the Dao

in my own bloodstream.

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Petrichor / Flora and Fauna / Roy Mattson


What is The Way?


What is The Way?

from an evolving collection entitled Sun Lake Moon

She asked:

What is The Way?

Like a new river

bursting forth

from an underground spring,

I heard myself say:

The path that leads

beyond disappointment

in a culture of the crestfallen.

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Thunder Chord / Coyote Oldman


Abacus of Expenditures


Abacus of Expenditures

from an evolving collection entitled Sun Lake Moon

What a strange existence

we have fashioned —

clicking away the hours

hunched over a desk.

Hours made of minutes

we will wish we had spent

with loved ones once they’re gone.

Minutes made of seconds

that will become long flowing days

wandering through

the dreamland of grief.

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Kailash / Tibet: Nada Himalaya 2 / Deuter