I really don't mean to stare
but this is the way I approach prayer.
When people enter the gathering place
- man, woman, elder, child -
I put down my tea
and find myself paying attention
not to their face
not to their shape
but to the back of their heels
and that invisible line
that stretches behind
their present 'standing-in-place' place
into the day they're just arriving from
into their past
all the way back...all the way back...
to that day when they took
their first marvelous, miraculous, eye-sparkling steps.
I see them standing there, grinning,
like the child that they were on that day
regardless of the Heavy Spirit they've managed to drag into the cafe.
And I want to reach out
and place my hand on their back
and say: "How did you become so burdened little one?"
even days and days later,
sitting like a mountain
breathing like a forest,
their face will return to me
and I will think about the burdensome weight I saw
in their eyes, their heart, the beleaguered steps of their weary feet
and I will say out loud to the quiet air:
"It shouldn't take an entire lifetime to find what makes your heart light up."
Surely it is never too late to grow into the widening gyre of our soul.
Surely it is never too late to remember the Old Way of Seeing
from Immortal Lantern Mountain
which the old guides call Skyward Gaze of Childlike Wonder.
(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com
sound: Anugama / Magic Flow