Back When – April 22, 1591

by Frank LaRue Owen

Winner 2017 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize 

 

I was sitting on a rough-hewn bench

eating a meager meal

in a small roadside saké shop.

 

A large jar of saké sat in front of me.

 

I ate, I sipped, I watched:

 

…an ant walk across the table

 

…rain drip-drip-dripping down a rain-chain

 

…the shuffle-shuffle-swish of a fine lady in late Spring kimono.

 

Two women at a nearby table,

maybe sisters, maybe aunt and niece,

gossiped.

 

Disturbing news rippled through the village.

 

Sen no Rikyū had committed seppuku.

 

I awoke from the dream, crying, openly,

in this life,

having comprehended

the profound teaching

lost on tyrant Hideyoshi.

Frank LaRue Owen

Frank LaRue Owen

 

Born into a family of artists, clergy, cowboys, fly fishermen, and poets, Frank LaRue Owen studied for a decade with a New Mexican wise woman and wilderness guide who guided him through a “curriculum” of Zen meditation, dream-tracking, poem-incubation, and earth-spirit work in the mountains, forests, and arroyos of Colorado and New Mexico. Influenced by the Chan (Zen)/Daoist/Pure Land hermit-poet tradition, American eco-poetry, and the wider human lineage of cross-cultural mystical poetry, Owen’s poems are shaped by dreams, the seasons, diverse landscapes, myth-lines in the deeper strata of ancestral memory, and experiences with a practice he calls “pure land dreaming.” Currently, he is working on his second book of poetry. Owen’s other poetry and writing can be found at: www.purelandpoetry.com.

The School of Soft-Attention

by Frank LaRue Owen

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