from a collection entitled Stirrup of the Sun & Moon

36.2218° N, 121.7593° W

Then Helen, daughter of Zeus, took other counsel.

Straightaway she cast into the wine they were drinking

a medicine to quiet all pain and strife, and bring forth

forgetfulness of every ailment to the soul.

Odyssey, Book 4, Homer

I know it may seem strange to speak of flourishing

in this windswept time of trouble

but now is precisely the time

to have a conversation

about our allegiance to cultivation.


Hold your heart-shaped hand into the wind.

Ask yourself, with your comrades as witness:

"In this time of brittle cracking,

am I being as soft as I can

with the wounded creature of myself?

Am I being as soft as I can

with my fellow neighbors in this burning house?"


Surround yourself with Clear-Mirrors —

those who will call you out if you delude yourself;

those who will tug on your sleeve

and pull you back toward Life

if you seek the fruitless way of senseless martyrdom.


Every great being started off with the same seed-center as you.


The heaven-striving cedar.

The blue-eyed monk who brought Zen to China.

The girl with the curls at the lemonade stand.

The 90 year old kyudo grandmother.

The one lost, out on the road tonight,

trying to find the flame of their Nepenthe.

The one by the hospital bed 

guiding souls over to the other side as we speak.


I know it may seem strange

to speak of the fruit of practice and loving

in this time of famine and burning,

but if we are ever to ripen, together,

we have to join heart-minds

and conjure the proper weather

for actual growth and becoming tender.


What does the wisdom of your Winter Body

have to teach the longing of your Summer Body?

What can your Lotus Body

offer freely

to your Pain Body?

(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Farewell / Vacant

image: Obon / Miya Ando