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?"


And sometimes,

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