—for Cliff & Gay Hall

The man gets up from where
he sits, and walks across the room
unnoticed by me. Then he's there,
at my side. He puts his arm around me.
Later he says, I'd like to be your friend.
We work together with the elderly,
elderly ourselves, friends already
beyond this time we keep
with time's keepers.
We are friends, my friend.
My life is not mine to give.
You have it now, knowing
I belong elsewhere, as do you,
first source of friendship and love.

Jim Bodeen
27 September 2010


I don't know much about.
But I believe this to be true.
If I can't tell it to you
in a way that makes sense
to you in your place,
then it isn't true in your listening.

I'm talking here about
every aspect of my life.
If you don't get it,
there's nothing to get.
My love, my poems, my prayers.
My all or nothing.
Yes or no.

Jim Bodeen
23 September 2010


When my father was dying in Seattle
by luck I found Christopher Smart
chained to his bedpost writing praise poems
to the Lord. I would take match books
from my back pockets and write
what I saw taking place before my eyes.
I would write praise before and after
the given image. If someone was talking,
no matter the horror or confusion,
I would do the same thing,
praise before and after.

I knew I had been given a great gift.
The door of poetry had opened.
I did not know I stood before the door of prayer.

Jim Bodeen
24 September 2010


So many things stood in my way.
Or seemed to. And then,
in the way things happen,
I found myself walking
with the monk who had walked me home
from the war. It's simple,
he said, of the telling.

If the telling doesn't ring true
as you're listening,
then it's not true. More than that,
it's without sound, absurd,
you can't hear it
because it isn't there.

So there it is, in a nutshell,
my faith, my way to God,
a watershed. From that day on,
so many things were told me,
so many wonderful things
knocking me off balance.

Jim Bodeen
24 September 2010

1 comment:

  1. interesting combination of balance and listening, the idea of the inner ear and its dual sense of things. kjm