Forest Bathing

by Frank LaRue Owen

Winner 2017 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize 


There is a way of entering the forest
when the breeze of the trees
becomes your guide

when the cool gray-green days
and humid blue-green nights
become your own skin

where the unfurling paths
through the emerald light
become flowing streams.

Paths as luminous rivers
for your two uncovered feet,
salmon-like and aching,
to work out their
strange haunted yearning
for a home
whose vista
they haven’t yet seen
yet somehow know
just the same.

There is a way of approaching the self
without a heavy hand
when the heart-mind
slowly becomes unburdened by the past,

where the body
listening with the whole of itself
finally becomes attuned
to all the subtle happenings
in the realm not yet stained
by the faithless world of man.





Frank LaRue Owen

Frank LaRue Owen


Frank LaRue Owen’s poetry is influenced by diverse sources including the teachings embedded within dreams, the seasons, the energies of various landscapes, and the churning gyre of the soul’s journey, resulting in a poetic path his late teacher referred to as “deep-mapping of unseen reality, inner, outer”.

Owen studied for a decade with a New Mexican wise woman and wilderness guide who — inspired by her own training in Zen and Mesoamerican spiritual traditions — blended contemplative practice, dreamwork, and nature spirituality rooted in the forests, arroyos, and mountains of the American Southwest. The practice of poetry was inseparable from this path…along with lots of green chilies and pan-fried tortillas.

He also studied eco-poetry and eco-literature with the late Jack Collom of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

Visit him at

This article is from The Wayfarer’s 5th Anniversary Collectors’ Edition

Visit our store and purchase the entire issue in print or digital format. It edition features: Wayfarer of the Issue: Krista Tippett, host of On Being. In this extended interview our Editor-in-chief L.M. Browning and Krista, discuss poetry’s role in the current world climate and its place in the husbandry of the soul. Reimagining the Possible: An Interview with Indie Singer-songwriter Melissa Ferrick. The featured photographer of the issue is James Scott Smith. The Mindful Kitchen: Acorn Squash Old Fashioned by Kristen Williams. The Contemplative Column: Contemplating Fatherhood by Theodore Richards. The Environmental Column: Light-Time by Gail Collins-Ranadive. Poetry by: Saizan Owen, Jasmine McBeath, Andrew Jarvis, Ben Colandrea, Elizabeth Bolton, David Amerman, Amy Nawrocki, Jason Kirkey, Ellen Grace O’Brian, J.K. McDowell, David Anthony Sam, Leath Tonino, Dede Cummings, Gunilla Norris, and more!

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