The Bouquet of the Last Direction

by Frank LaRue Owen

Winner 2017 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize 

When the soul becomes unburdened
it’s like a new saddle on a fresh horse.

Suddenly the trail feels right again,
and the strong horizon line in front of you as you turn
becomes its own form of soothing medicine.

Something of the sting and burn of the old poison may linger
but having crossed over from the Shadowlands into new open territory,
one can almost pick up the scent of blooming flowers within.

You start to notice all the things you hadn’t been
all because you’d been so bound up
with the echoes of losses and hauntings.

You know you’re ready when ghosts
start chanting from the edge of your life:
Traveler! Good Traveler!
Your ‘Crying for a Vision’ Time is over.
Time to re-inhabit the Human World!

Then, the simplest of the ten thousand things
start to reach out to you to welcome you home again.

The Morningstar.
The blue sky with its utter completeness.
The serrated clouds coming over the rising pine-covered hills.
Even the food tastes better in the Land of the Great Eastern Sun.

You may find the wandering wild animal of your heart
is somehow more free to travel back through time…
…to pick back up with sources of beauty and power you had put down.

And maybe, just maybe,
you’ll see yourself now
through your childhood eyes
and you’ll stand forgiven and realize
the magic you had then never left you;
you just forgot how to listen.

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