Yu: Apprenticing to Your Rainbow Body

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Yu: Apprenticing to Your Rainbow Body

--a poem written to myself, with the accompanying challenge of reading it every morning for a year.

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--dedicated to the soul-clarifying work of

Dr. Bairavee Balasubramaniam (The Sky Priestess)

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"Yu literally means 'to play,' 'to enjoy oneself in a leisurely fashion,' or 'to go on a journey.' Zen inherits this term from Taoism and suggests free and easy wandering is the way we should experience the world."--William Scott Wilson, The One Taste of Truth: Zen and the Art of Drinking Tea


Go through this world of illusion

in free and easy wandering.

--from the Kannon-kyo, Chapter 25, Lotus Sutra

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I used to doubt the astrologers.

After a year of listening to the stars, now I pay heed.

 

I used to doubt oracles.

Having witnessed the free-flowing dance

of thunder, sky, water, wind, mountain, lake,

The Book of Changes is now a daily companion.

 

I used to keep a strong scaffolding in place.

It separated Pure Land from Zen

Zen from Dao

Dharma quarantined from the way of mountain spirits.

Hell, like a Pure Hell separated from Paradise,

I quarantined the Dharma from the rest of my life.

 

With a sudden glance in the middle of a storm,

the bottom dropped out

the scaffolding fell

along with my mind

and all of these nectars poured into the same vat.

 

Human speech falls short on this one;

another poem that is not a poem.

 

It is about the moment you realize

you have been a stranger to yourself, 

and, thus, to everyone else.

 

It is about the moment you realize

there is no outside to your inside.

 

It is about the moment you realize,

if you let go

your breathing and summer breezes will become enjoined allies.

 

I only share it with you

to break the trance of constructed worlds;

to inform you that, just like me,

those shackles you wear

have a lock

whose key

is resting

in your

own

hand.


 

Student: How will it be when Maitreya, the Future Buddha, comes?

Master Taewŏn: Truly, it will be just like this.

--from Garden Chrysanthemums and First Mountain Snow:

Zen Questions and Answers from Korea, trans. Hongjin Park


(c) 2018 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com

image: "Brocken Spectre," Tanzawa Mountains, Kanagawa Prefecture, Honshu, Japan, Shigeru Rokujuu

To learn more about Kanagawa, Japan-based electronic musician Sugai Ken, visit his On The Quakefish Bandcamp page.

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The School of Soft Attention Is Now Taking Students

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The School of Soft Attention Is Now Taking Students

Here we are again, fellow traveler.

Here. 

Again.

You.

Me.

 

Have the memories started for you yet?

 

Here we are again, fellow traveler

in yet another troubled time.

 

Hearts are burdened.

Families are being broken.

Bonds of trust have been dissolved 

all with the quick-flick

of jet-black ink

on rough-feeling paper

that has never known empathy.

 

Here we are again, fellow traveler.

The curriculum is now set.

The School of Soft-Attention is now taking students.

 

Grandmothers of the Buffalo Nation

are out there crying and bleeding in the snow again.

The latest 'Great White Father' doesn't remember,

and hasn't really

let the full history

settle into his bones.

 

Here we are again, fellow traveler.

Mothers of the Desert

are out there fighting

to protect their young

along some unknown fence line.

 

And you and me...

students of the School of Soft-Attention...

 

...we're the witnesses

that have to see

because our hearts can't not

and our minds

are of The Way,

and it is our way

not to turn away

from what's really happening.

_______________________________________________

For more info about the music of Robert Rich, visit robertrich.com

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

 

 

 

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Acoplamiento (Coupling)

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Acoplamiento (Coupling)

 

 

I. Tug Of War

 

They're at it again.

Raised voices. Gnashing teeth.

Barking like rabid dogs.

Toxic cells spooling up rage, spinning out of control.

Couples who fight don't make any sense to me.

Who are the 'two' that think they are actually 'two'?


II. Troubled Lands and Dwelling Places

 

The only thing worse than erecting battlements is pretending,

or going numb for years in each other's presence.

What is this territory everyone is fighting for?

Point to it!

With as much conviction as you can muster,

describe its actual boundaries.


III. Will You Be Conscious of Your Breathing When Your Partner Is Gone?

 

I have finally become that "old Zen goat" I always talk about.

The Grasping-Logic of the Floating World escapes me.

 

Why fill your nights with door-slamming conflict

when your bride could be the quiet falling rain;

your husband could be the gentle songs emerging

from a dharma-realm of crickets and night herons

hidden in a grove of moon-lit bamboo?  


IV. Why Old Men Look At Younger Women

 

Apparently

the 45th President of the United States

likes to "grab-pussies"-by-force.

His words, not mine.

 

What must a person be 'cut off from' to try to seek connection that way?

 

I guess when you feel

your life slipping away

and you're finally realizing you weren't truly present for most of it,

and your "worth" on paper

isn't worth a pile of manure

at the gateway of your own.....slow......mind-drifting death,

 

the luscious vitality of a blossoming maiden

with her dimples

and curves

and smiles

and stories about the day

 

must really feel like a last straw

at having a semblance of a chance

at ever having felt truly alive.

 

The only thing worse than speaking like this

is blatantly undressing her in public

with your eyes.

 

V. The Key

 

The manna of life is found in the giving, not the taking.

 

VI. I've Only Known One Truly Ecstatic Couple...and They Weren't Married

 

He was handsome. Scottish.

She was beautiful. Dark Irish.

 

He would say, "Yes, dear", with his right hand over his heart.

She would say, "What can I do for you, honey?"

 

He would say, "I like the black dress because it matches your eyes and hair."

She would say, "Play that song for me again, dear. It makes me 'see' things."

 

He would serve her breakfast in bed.

His only question: "Coffee, Lyons, Earl Grey, or Oolong?"

She would blush and reply, "You know I always want it ooooo-long."

 

She would massage his injured shoulder from football

as if it were her last act on earth;

then, they would "do each other's feet"...simultaneously.

 

She was really into gardening.

He learned everything he could about plants

because he was addicted

to the delight in her eyes

when she had harvested a basket

of color, life-force, sweetness, succulence. 

 

She became self-conscious about her hips in her 30s,

and her ass in her 40s.

He would make her and her girlfriends laugh

when he'd cook dinner in his kilt and refer to himself with:

"Built for comfort, not for speed, honey"...

or her with: "More lovely cushion for the pushin', baby".

 

He channeled the music of the spheres;

his guitar could morph into the pipes or even a sitar.

Her voice was a majestic accompaniment -- complete with flute, whistle and drum.

 

One day, I asked them their secret.

 

They smiled and looked each other in the eye

as if, indeed, they shared an ancient story between them.

 

"Only when you've learned to find peace in your soul alone

can you sustain it with another who has learned how to do the same."


(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen purelandpoetry.com

To learn more about the music of Jeffrey Ericson Allen and the CHRONOTOPE PROJECT, visit the Chronotope Project Bandcamp page.

 

 

 

 

 

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Here's The Catch

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Here's The Catch

...a love poem...of sorts


part one: the longing

 

Are you fishing in your sleep again?

Oh, come on. We all know how it starts.

A deep pang inside. A longing.

That old familiar question rattling around inside your mind:

“Where is the one for me?”

 

And so, you start imagining a soul.

What do they look like?

What does their laugh sound like?

What does the curve of their body feel like in the dark?

 

All of this imagining gets the best of you.

It stokes an image inside...The Ideal One.

 

Don’t stand too close to the heat, pilgrim,

for a fire has been lit

and it’s burning up all of your commonsense.

 

This longing is ancient and powerful and vast.

It feels like it might even swallow you up

if you chose to stay with it.

 

We can’t have that, now can we?

 

So, you aim it all outward.

You become a Human Movie Projector.

 

“Hey you! Stand still! Stop moving! I’m busy projecting onto you.

No. No. Don’t speak. You might ruin the moment.”

 

Like a fisherman on the shoreline,

you attach this inner image of The Ideal One

onto a hook of your own making.

You don’t realize you fashioned a hook, but you did.

It happened somewhere between sleep and waking.

 

Don’t be so hard on yourself.

You were just following instructions;

the same troubled, outworn instructions

given to everybody else,

and you followed them impeccably.

 

You cast that inner image out --

out into the world, every day.

Multiple times a minute even.

 

And so, there you are...hoping

and hoping...and hoping "The One" will come and bite the hook.

 

You're fishing in your sleep again

fishing in your sleep again

not realizing the real prize-catch

has been swimming inside you all along.

 

Until you embrace the Indwelling One

there is only exile in the Territory of Love

...even

if you somehow arrange

to have a stranger’s warm body

sleeping next to you.


part two: the feast

 

We were never taught how to properly relate to the Indwelling World.

None of us were,

and our world isn't even set up for it.

So when longing shows up…

all hell breaks loose.

We become our own bull in our own china shop.

 

It has become so ingrained

to interpret longing-as-lack

instead of the fullness that it is.

 

And so, like cosmic clockwork,

we assume the longing is empty

instead of boundless and full

rich and fertile

ripe for the planting and eventual harvest.

 

Like the poor fools

in the Running of the Bulls

who get trampled

and are somehow shocked when they are,

the human condition is one of endlessly running around

trying to fill the longing

with something or someone.

 

It cannot be done, and never will,

as long as longing is seen through the eyes of poverty.

The longing in the soul

is the soul itself

wanting to know

the fullness of the soul itself.

It isn’t empty anymore than the darkness of space is.

It is a doorway into a vast realm that has no edges, no bottom.

 

It is an endless expanse

and the solidity we take to be reality

is formless and empty,

and the emptiness contains

an incomprehensible fullness.

 

"It"

--if we can even say that, for it is no-thing--

includes the person on the bus beside you,

the checkout girl in the grocery store,

the man who delivered your mail;

they all have a doorway

to the same endless expanse within them too.

 

And many of them are looking outside themselves

for something or someone

to fill the vast boundless longing

they are feeling right alongside you.

 

What is already inside this space

within you, them, everyone

is an energy --

a life-giving

life-bestowing

life-sustaining fullness;

 

but rather than bringing forth

the abundant feast that is there,

we go outward

and onward

hunting for scraps and crumbs instead.

 

This longing is ancient and powerful and vast.

It feels like it might even swallow you up

if you chose to stay with it.

 

Stay with it.

Stay with it.

If you do, it will lead you.

And one day,

maybe one day,

you will cross paths with someone

whose inner doorway reminds you of your own.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

To learn more about the music of Steve Roach, visit The Timeroom.

To learn more about the music of Greg Ellis, visit RhythmPharm.

 

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Medicine

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Medicine

The look on your face

is one I have seen in my own mirror.

 

I know you didn't think

you would feel this tired at this age

but this is just a phase.

 

You’re in-between lives within this life.

 

As the old woman used to say out in Peyote Land:

'Right on time, deary. Right on time.'

 

For now,

in the place beyond words

just know:

breathing is enough.

 

The world falls away in silence.

 

Whoever is secure enough

to let you enter the quiet-dark without them

is your ally.

 

Whatever is left standing

after your simmering ‘death-sleep’

is faith-worthy.

 

In these times,

when even a simple day

can feel like a firing pin,

stretching corpse-like

upon the earth

is not leisure.

 

It is medicine.


(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

This poem will appear in the forthcoming September 2018 release of The School of Soft-Attention (now available for pre-order from Homebound Publications or Amazon.com

sound: Chronotope Project

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Instructions Hanging From A Weather-Beaten Branch

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Instructions Hanging From A Weather-Beaten Branch

"Seek not the paths of the ancients;

seek that which the ancients sought."

--Matsuo Basho, Words by a Brushwood Gate


To illuminate The Way

study the wayfarers of old.

 

Take up the timeless work

of untangling the soul.

 

Align Heart-Mind

with nature's flow.

 

Journey into the dark

to mine the hidden gold.

 

When the lantern-lit mind

abides in silent illumination,

the wayfarer's poems bear the mark

of the Great Transformation.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

image: "Full Moon over Sacramento Mountain Range," by Rebecca Thao

sound: "The Janggos of the Ancient and Modern Times," Jonghun Jo

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The Seed - The Gate - The Path

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The Seed - The Gate - The Path

 

THE GATE

I know it seems hard to grasp

but it's about opening your hand,

reaching for the Cup of Truth

hidden within your silent life.

 

Hand the script back to the director of the drama;

tell the playwright to cease adding words to the page.

Dare to be alone,

to meet yourself for the first time--really

realizing that unless you enter the life of your Great Story

no one

and nothing around you

can ever really offer you

a gift worth receiving.

 

It's about pulling back the curtain,

revealing what you've long hidden in shame,

and coming to understand for yourself

how it was always a treasure.

 

It's about comprehending

the hard-edged fact

that if you don't love yourself enough to take care of yourself

no one can ever trust you

when you tell them that you love them.


THE PATH

It all started as a seed...

of consciousness, that is, beneath the World Tree;

which is any tree if you are there properly.

 

It was there that He sat,

and was tested, and challenged,

until he cast off the husk of the self.

From there, a seed was passed

across time and great distances

from hand to hand.

 

When the seed

was planted at Koyasan,

a golden mandala bloomed;

a resting place for flowers thrown.

 

When the seed was planted at Kailash,

turquoise-colored birds

with flowing red scarves in their beaks

began flying East;

the true governors of Shambhala.

 

When the seed was planted at Angkor Wat,

even the roots of the trees cried out,

"Liberation!"

 

When the seed was planted

atop Linh Son mountain

the moon and sun held council

and drank tea.

 

Now the seed

drinks from the earth out on Beara's land,

deep in the dreaming Catskills.

 

The seed has been passed.

It is small and indestructible

but easily lost.

 

The seed contains a map.

The map leads to a gate

and the gate to a path.

Here, open your hand.

(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

This poem will appear in the forthcoming September 2018 release of The School of Soft-Attention, now available for pre-order from Homebound Publications or Amazon.com

To buy Steve Roach's album Light Fantastic, visit The Timeroom.  

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Layers and Receiving

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Layers and Receiving

-- Full Moon, August 2017 --

 

Let us speak of it clearly. 

A deeper part of you knows

you were sent here with an inborn understanding --

a thorough fluency in a vision

of arriving-beyond-striving.

 

Not unlike dreaming,

subtle memories of effortless belonging

enveloped you in peaceful-abiding

as natural and inseparable from you

as your own breathing.

 

With a slow cascade of

          descending

                       arriving

                   rooting

                              unfurling

                   rising

          expanding

embodying --

               you bloomed.

 

Woven into the silent tapestry of you

was a closely-held assumption

there would be a soft place to land --

a trait of our forgetfulness

of where we were all going.

 

Then, it happened.

 

Your second day

your second year

perhaps your second decade in,

you came to a harsh realization:

 

Not every corner

of the fabricated Overlay World

is rooted in the softness you needed.

Not every place, or person,

flows with the Heart-Mind-River

of evolving, becoming, blooming, Being.

 

This tumultuous 'coming to your senses'

had all the same color, taste, and dark texture of betrayal.

As you gazed out at the Samsaric World,

you may have whispered to yourself:

'This is not what I signed up for.'

You may even have said:

This is not the place for me.

And,

you would be right,

ultimately.

 

This is why

it is so important

to finally let go

and turn the page;

to realize

your original vision was true

but on the other side of it

was a list of instructions.

 

Among them:

 

Found within that which you long to steep

is the very thing you must eventually create.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

Soundscape: "3,000 Years," by French/Malagasy ethno-ambient musician Ujjaya

Image: lotus flower underwater in tempura, by morgan mocha

 

 

 

 

 

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On the Morning of Your Birth

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On the Morning of Your Birth

--in celebration of Byron Metcalf and Jennifer Grais' new soundscape project They Were Here.

"Every morning is a rebirth

if you've brought the proper eyes

and an awake heart-mind

to the gift of sunrise."

doña Río

On the morning of your birth
the animal of your body
had a yearning.

It flexed its tendons
and caused your eyes to open briefly.

Even in those first fierce moments
some part of you
was already wise to the world;

it wanted to throw off
the harsh unnatural light

to join in
with the wild and unconstrained.

Buried deep
behind your tightly-bound
cage of ribs

that ancient yearning
to be received by the untamed
is still pulsing within you
despite all of your other disappointments.

The keeper
of the old library of souls
knows
until your need
for galloping through
the terrain of your wild-belonging is met

all manner of trouble
and destruction
can occur.

The conversation
can be put off
for a while

but at some point

if you are to remain alive to yourself

you'll have to swing yourself up
onto the windhorse of your original yearning
and join-up with the part of you
that already began the journey without you.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

To learn more about the music of Steve Roach, visit The Timeroom and the PROJEKT Records Bandcamp.

To learn more about They Were Here by Byron Metcalf and Jennifer Grais, visit They Were Here

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Tapestry

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Tapestry

 

My first teacher taught Letting-Go Mind.

She was human,

very human,

but also a woman

made of thunder and lightning.

 

Her slate-gray robe

and long strand of mahogany-red neck beads

placed her centuries before

despite what the calendar said.

 

Toward the end, she pulled out an unmarked box.

From it, she pulled a map.

'The World,' it said

which I read

as she spread

the tattered brown paper across the table in front of us.

 

Enso-like circles

made from wine stains

covered the map.

Clearly, late night discussions

had occurred over it.

 

Spirals inside of smaller circles

covered the world, East and West, North and South.

Without speaking, my eyes made their own inquiry.

Seeing this, she nodded and slowly

moved her hand over the unfolded paper. 

 

"A network of courtyards, linked, dedicated to The Way," she announced.

"Each one has a Keeper.

In time, you will visit them.

In time, you too will become

a Tender of the Long-Night for others."

 

My new teacher teaches No-Adding-To Mind.

 

She is not human,

but rather

the rain of summer

falling

from the edge of the roof.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

To learn more about Roy Mattson's newest album, Melancholy Moon, visit the album's Bandcamp page here >> Melancholy Moon

 

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This Way of Seeing

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This Way of Seeing

The soul is not a land-locked entity.

It can grow feathers.

Given a scent trail of tea or rice wine

sweetgrass or rose jam

and the one that has me

can follow the aroma of soil

to where the feast of ancients is still happening in a cathedral of pines.

I do not know the solutions

to this world's great ailments of pain and power run amok

but I do know the way of the feathered soul

and I sit like a watchful child

as mine takes wing

and flies into things

and comes away with greater understanding.

______________________________________________________

(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com

This poem will appear in the forthcoming September 2018 release of The School of Soft-Attention, now available for pre-order from Homebound Publications or Amazon.com

To learn about the music of Saif Al-Khayyat and Nora Thiele, explore their collaboration Ahlam Babiliyya

image: "Nani with Leaves - Portland, Oregon" by Douglas Beasley

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The Flower in the Mountain

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The Flower in the Mountain

--with gratitude to the 'mountain' guides I've known

 

There is a flower waiting to bloom.

You have to travel to it to help it along.

 

It needs lots of water

but not just any water --

 

pure water

like river-water dreaming itself.

 

It needs plenty of light

but not just any light --

 

the kind of radiance absorbed

from the energy of a soul-brightening place.

 

It needs plenty of air

but not just any air --

 

clean air of open space

flowing and constant

so it can move and sway

and strengthen its roots.

 

You cannot reach this rare mountain flower

relying on your usual avenues.

 

The path is long and winding,

sometimes dark, stormy, rocky,

but nothing compares to the views.

 

Like all pilgrimage routes

it is best to purify yourself

and not carry unnecessary weight;

 

but if you do, rest assured,

the natural wisdom of the energy-body

will off-load what does not serve you

for your travels the final way up.

 

The flower is housed in an invisible temple.

The path to the temple starts at the base of your spine.

Go at your own pace.

There is no timeline.

 

You

are the mountain.

You

are the path.

You

are the Limitless Samadhi Flower

that has been waiting for you all along.

 


(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com

Learn more about the ambient sonic weavings of Frore at the Bandcamp page for the album Last Place of Wonder.

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When Your Spirit Eyes Are Tired

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When Your Spirit Eyes Are Tired

You have two sets of eyes --

the physical ones

and the vast eyes

placed within you

by the spirit land

through which you move.

 

You may think

the rocks and trees from your land of birth

are just rocks and trees of your land of birth

 

but your second set of eyes are on loan from them

by unseen fearless things around you

that you can never fully understand.

 

If you awake one day

with tired spirit eyes,

pay heed;

that's a different type of fatigue --

 

a signal arriving

from your own ground of being

telling you in no uncertain terms

that a big rusted lock

is about to be busted open within you.

 

The question The Teacher will ask

on the path between mountain top and parking lot:

 

Are you brave enough

to embrace what awaits

on the other side of the door?


(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com

This poem will appear in the forthcoming September 2018 release of The School of Soft-Attention (now available for pre-order from Homebound Publications or Amazon.com)

Learn more about Chronotope Project's Dawn Treader album at the Dawn Treader Bandcamp Page.

 

 

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The Perfumed Breeze

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The Perfumed Breeze

--written 33,000 feet over Abiquiú

 

If your first meals were taken

with the helpless

the hapless

rageful withholders of the Great Love Spark

you can be pardoned...for a while...

for reaching out to the wrong crowd.

A thirsty soul will drink most anything.

False, tasteless company can seem like sturdy shelter in a sandstorm.

 

The empty promise of their elixirs is well known.

Once your eyes have cleared,

if you keep drinking their poison

can you really keep blaming them

for continuing to serve it to you?

 

The Teacher says: Seek softer company now.

 

There is a whole world hidden inside this one.

 

The quiet faithful are showering in The Presence,

creating new gardens of belonging

behind city walls

out in the jungle

deep in the mountains

preparing for the return

of the Many-Becoming-One.


(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com

This poem will appear in the forthcoming September 2018 release of The School of Soft-Attention, now available for pre-order from Homebound Publications or Amazon.com

Sound: "A Passage In Bronze," Robert Rich, Rainforest

 

 

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turn, look

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turn, look

in memory of Jack Collom (Nov. 1931 - July 2017)


"It is only with the heart

that one can see rightly.

What is essential is invisible to the eye."

--Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince


Wave-washed feet

teary eyes dried by wind,

you've turned to face

the last direction of travel now.

 

Your words still vibrate in the shimmering air

and land like a hot iron musket ball at the back of this skull.

"There are no maps, so stop looking for one."

 

The mapmaker, you taught us, is none other than these senses here

and the messages and lessons presented at every corner.

 

Like an old crow at dawn, you'd squawk:

"Turn, turn, turn...look, look, look!"

 

Now the signs come from everywhere.

The inner and outer worlds have collapsed into one

like Basho's frog offering up crystal-clear instructions with a...

Plop!

 

There is no approaching the world the same way after today.

Nothing to do but

turn, turn, turn

look, look, look.

 

 Jack Collom / image:  Boulder Poetry Tribe

Jack Collom / image: Boulder Poetry Tribe


(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com

Jack Collom was a poet and essayist who taught in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. His courses ranged from haiku and world contemplative poetry to courses focused on the evolving lineage of ecological poetry. All poetry involves observation; Sir Jack specialized in teaching this to poets.

soundscape: "Ollin Arageed," by the late, great Hamza el Din - Nubian Egyptian composer, oud and tar player, who also studied biwa in Tokyo, and worked closely with both the Grateful Dead and the Kronos Quartet. His Sounds True-produced album, A Wish, can be found here: A Wish.

image: "Looking Up Into Maple Leaves," Breitenbush Hot Springs, Oregon, Douglas Beasley. To learn more about Douglas Beasley's photography or his Vision Quest Photo Workshops, visit: Earth Meets Spirit

 

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Practice-Ground

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Practice-Ground

Date: 11 June 2017 / Coordinates: 32, 27, 44.315 North, 90, 6, 42.332, West

Path-Crossing: Comparing Notes

(Talking of Practice-Grounds Over Rice Wine

With the Householder Bright Mountain Forge)

 


In the early afternoon, I lost myself for hours

watching the slow winding roll

of the sun's golden hem edging the clouds.

 

In the late hours, I met up with Bright Mountain Forge ---

a householder, traveling through the region on business, heading home to the West.

 

Though his eyes were bright

his belly happy and round from feasting

his beard long and full in the Daoist-style,

his heart seemed stone-like, heavy.

 

He spoke of marriage, children, the Way of the Householder ---

precious memories and gifts he would never trade.

But he also spoke of mourning things ---

things that would not come to pass midway through his householder's life.

 

He explained that no one understood this grief,

which could break through any time, without a moment’s notice.

He said everyone he knew sang the same chorus: You have it all. What else is there?

 

Knowing that I currently 'live-into the call'

to long draughts of solitude, deep-flow artistry, and wandering,

he formally requested I "keep on keeping on"

and not lose my "practice-vigor."

 

"Practice for practice sake," he said,

"practice for yourself

in memory of our teachers

for a world that needs wisdom and beauty;

but think of me in your practice, too,

and when you doubt it, please push through."

 

I nodded with deep understanding,

having mourned my own list of things

that don't seem to be in the stars for this life.

I spoke of the Hermit Way;

moving from bright gleaming idleness to movement to poetry,

then into nights of dimly-lit Silent Illumination.

But I also told of my own visit to the 'stations of mourning'

including grieving some of the very things

that are part of his daily practice-ground.

 

I replied:

 

"Practice for practice sake

practice for them

practice in memory of the lineage of householders

practice for a world that needs wise children and beauty;

but think of me in your practice, too,

and when you doubt it, please push through."

 

We parted that night, hearts gladdened,

feeling a new spark of solace

for who, what, where, and how we are.

He resumed his journey on the road.

I resumed my meditations beneath the stars.


(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com

This poem will appear in the forthcoming September 2018 release of The School of Soft-Attention, now available for pre-order from Homebound Publications or Amazon.com

To learn more about the ambient soundscape collaborations of Chihei Hatakeyama and Federico Durand, visit the Bandcamp page for Chihei Hatakeyama.  

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Cradle of Sunlight

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Cradle of Sunlight

--for a warrior on the path


I went to the well tonight to draw water

looked over the edge

down into the darkness

that has always been a reliable mirror,

a quencher of deep thirsts.

It was empty.

 

At first, it made me think of my Irish ancestors

and all their striving and starving and yearning and stories...

of how old wells could run dry

and the underground rivers that fed them

could 'Up and Move'

if someone hadn't honored them, properly.

 

I wondered what ancient river inside of me

I had ignored for the water of life to run dry on a rainy night.

 

Then, I realized the vision wasn't about me.

 

Like the Hawk of Achill taking flight,

the eyes of my heart-mind were whisked up

on the high winds of night.

I was carried across nine glowing waves

and shown a moment in time when life made more sense;

when there was a magic order to things

and every moist day was saturated in mystery.

 

I needed to see that, freshly, to be able to see you, clearly.

 

Time has passed.

You've taken your warrior-self on another adventure.

Tenacious. Beautiful. Fighting your way through, as always.

And now I know, that this place is the empty well

and you are the life-giving river that has moved on

because you were not honored here.

 

This is not a poem...even though you asked for one. 

It is a katana-prayer slicing through air.

 

My deepest wish for you

is that the deepest parts of you

can one day put down the battle

and let yourself truly be held

in a cradle of loving sunlight.


(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com

This poem will appear in the forthcoming September 2018 release of The School of Soft-Attention, now available for pre-order from Homebound Publications or Amazon.com

To learn more about the work of composer Charles B. Kim, visit his site.

image: "The Bath - Portugal", philosopher-photographer, Ted Seymour

 

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Encounters

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Encounters

One Practice Samadhi means

at all times

whether walking, standing, sitting, or lying down,

always practice with a straightforward mind.

--Hui-Neng, 6th Chan (Zen) Patriarch, China (638-713)


This morning Change-Maker met us at the door

with his bride, Dark-Enigma, from whom all things arise.

 

She whispered:

"Pay attention to your inner pattern.

Work with mind

for what it was always meant to be --

a sword for cutting-through mind."

 

From there it is hard to relate the full tapestry.

One moment -- the peace of Dawn Light Clarity.

Another -- mourning a lost lover for the final time.

Then -- the first visitor from the cicada tribe arrives;

the clicking and buzzing in the dark announcing the start

of this season's Falling-Silent-Dropping-Away.

 

Soon, the rainy season will come

and we'll be back to our old ways again.

Two eagles grasping, free-falling through air.

The only real faith left in us --

that somehow

the Great Net of Being

still has us in Her clutches.


(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com

To listen to more of Kelly David's lush Cambodia-inspired ambient soundscapes, visit the Angkor Bandcamp Page

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Embrace

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Embrace

With the high clouds

hugging close to the treetops

 

the pine and spruce

hugging close to the mountain

 

the hawk and osprey

hugging close to upper branches

 

the starling and wren

hugging close to lower branches

 

the red-wing blackbird

hugging tight to the swaying cattail stalk

 

and the deer hugging close

to the mist of the high grass meadow

 

it would seem

we are the only ones

who have forgotten

the way of holy embrace.


(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com

This poem will appear in the forthcoming September 2018 release of The School of Soft-Attention, now available for pre-order from Homebound Publications or Amazon.com

To purchase Roy Mattson's album MESMER visit his Bandcamp page

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Nepenthe

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Nepenthe

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) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com

To learn more about the music of VACANT, visit their Bandcamp Page.

All imagery by the great Miya Ando, priestess of steel, light, earth.

 

 

 

 

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