"Even when you think you are "lost",

remind yourself:

you are never not on the path."


Pre-Ambulatory Preamble

Let us speak of phases.

We will get to the matter of 'faces';

but first, we must start with phases.

There will be phases

when you lose track of the number of days

you have wandered in the land of dark clouds.


Don't hold it against yourself.

Your heart-mind is a wise dragon uncoiling in space-time.

In 'the phases', once again, you are casting-off your old skin.


The hiss and weight of the passing hours may even numb your senses.

Weather-worn signposts will all seem to say the same thing,

but because you can't make out the markings used, the signs will be no good to you.


Keep moving.

Stay with the body and your breathing.

The saltwater song in your spine will start singing

and your feet will inform you of the direction you must go. 


If you must lie down

for one of your famous "death sleeps" I've heard about,

make sure to keep something

or someone


to revive you.


For that,

there's almost nothing better than 'ancient' music,

boiled and simmered-up,

that has flowed through the cells and bones of one of your relatives.  


In these phases, even the gleaming mirror of morning may fail you.

Though you may attempt to gather up the loose threads of lost clarity,

until your spirit has come home you are a ghost to yourself.


I speak from experience, friend. I have been a ghost many times.


Once, it was the sound of an explosion that sent my spirit out, the day The Towers fell.

I wandered along the streets of D.C.

gazing at thousands of people

becoming ghosts to themselves right alongside me.


Another was a betrayal

from a lover

whom I thought was a friend.


Another, a death,

followed by another, then another; followed by another.


All of that to say,

these phases are part of The Way.

Why do you think they call us "wayfarers" after all?


It's like that time when I was lost to myself

and then I heard you, as if through a thick fog bank,

and the shimmering love in your voice reminded me of home.


And you...you moved along a nightingale floor, in indigo.

Branches swayed in the warm Spring breeze.

Blossoms fell like snow.

A sunbeam cut through the husk I took to be a 'self'

and I've been bleeding ink ever since.

What was your Original Face

before your parents were born?

--traditional Zen koan

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

For more information about the live recording of "Lotus Feet" with John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain, T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram and Hariprasad Chaurasia, visit this link

For more information about the sonic artistry of Robert Rich, visit his Bandcamp page.