from a collection entitled Stirrup of the Sun & Moon

trident / ˈtraɪdənt / (“three teeth”): a three-pronged spear. Classically, the weapon of Poseidon (“Earth Shaker”), or Neptune, the God of the Sea. In Hindu mythology, it is the weapon of Shiva — creator, protector, transformer of the Universe. In religious Taoism, the trident represents the Taoist Trinity (the Three Pure Ones — symbols of the three expressions of life-force in the cosmos).

I. FLASH IN THE PAN (The Domestic Level)

'Round these parts,
'round this time of year,
people eat black-eyed peas
and collard greens —
a longtime Southern tradition
for conjuring the spirit of abundance
for the next trip around the Sun.

Though I'd be lying if I said
I didn't miss such cooking
made by my late Nonnie's hands,
for me, it was blue corn cumin-green chile scrambled egg tacos,
washed down with molasses-tequila coffee,
to lure the traveling Spirit of New Year Clarity to my own door jam.

Some lines of Joseph Stroud and Sharon Olds
sent my way by Sir Johnny Evans,
some long naps like a sleeping earth dragon,
some sitting like a mountain in silent illumination,
and New Year's Day came and went
like every other New Year's Day —
a flash in the pan.

II. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (The National Level)

But something's different this year.
We all know it and feel it.
It's taking our breath away.
Invading our dreams.
Causing us to walk on eggshells
as if we're all in an abusive marriage.

At least we're not cowering.
At least we're talking about it.
At least the true patriot-soldier-warriors of this land
are breaking rank and calling an ugly spade an ugly spade.

Humor me a momentary tirade.

The great boat of our citizenship
has drifted way off-course
from the original cartography of the first captains
and if you listen very closely,
you can hear the click-click-click
of Karma's Great Abacus
tallying the real cost of it.

The vast chasm
being made in a nation's soul
by a wedge called greed, hate, and fear.

The inherent worth and dignity of every human being
being put on a back burner
for a different simmering batch of disgrace.

A government
ripping children
from their parents' arms
at the Southern border.

Small children, unprotected,
being held in iceboxes until they shake;
or shaken like ragdolls by those tasked
with their care and feeding.

Only those with hearts of stone,
numb to their own ancestors' sojourn,
could look upon such fashioned plans and think:

This is in the best interest of the nation…

when, in fact, it is a domestic violence situation.


But all is not lost.

Despite the pain of 2018,

despite this domestic Machiavellian terror

and the obvious-non-obvious cost,

all is not lost.

All is not lost.

Sleeping serpents in Winter

will hatch as fierce dragons in Spring.

An invisible tide is swelling.

It is rising; slowly rising.

An invisible tide is coming,

and it comes bearing a trident.

(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: On the Threshold of Liberty / Vapor Drawings / Mark Isham