Animal Orientation


Trekking poles shorten
coming off the mountain
leading me, bringing
body closer to earth,
a turning  angle,
animal orientation
more sure of self
one of the four-leggeds,

Jim Bodeen
28 June 2015


It’s somebody’s pickle jar.

Jim Bodeen
26 June 2015


This hike to the alpine lake—it’s all about the trees,
            the fallen trees—walking through them
on the way to the lake. Standing there.
            The invitation in silence.

O fallen ones, your movement
            restoring community—
standing there, the charred ones—
            As I go out.

I will never forget you—you stood
            for the camera on the way in.
I didn’t see you coming—
            and there it was—
your invitation in silence.

The portraits, present—
            My God—
You’re part of the trail—
            burned black before me
already composed. You, who have been
            so patient—

as it was in your green life
            when you were making leaves
and candles—making leaves and candles—
            your story in your needle making,

in your deep rootedness,
            and in your deep belonging,
your belonging, and our entrance
            asking for treaties and interdependence—

In your great burgeoning forth
            of the cosmos, in which you played
(and so do you still),
            as it is in the great legacies—
you stood there.

            You thought you were
just walking to the lake with your pack
            and your water pump?
You stood there. You stand so still.

            You, the great trees,
in a wilderness place set aside for your well-being,
gave yourself up in flames.
You war word and witness.
            Word in witness—

Greeting me. You greet me,
            and the camera follows you
off trail. You watch as I walk out,
            thinking I know you—
recognizing you in your individuality—
            knowing you as you
went up in flames.

            You are kept as you stood
in mid-flame. The individual flame
            marking you where it took your life.

The point where the camera
            interacts with the flame
calls me out.
                        I recognize you now,
walking out. Walking out,
            I know you.
            My reach in accompaniment
is always greater than the actual walk.

            You stopped me on the trail.
I left the trail at your invitation—
            unable to resist your dark beauty.
There was no choice—

            You stood as the beloved stands,
and the cameras, which I carry,
            captured your light
coming from all that is unknown
            within me.
                        Who are the lost ones?
                        What might they need to be found?

And all that is unknown and on fire,
            lights up in flames—
the flames remain.
            One follows the beloved
in an easiness, without guarantee.
            This is true as you are true.

Long ago, a young man, in another war,
            my country defoliated you
as part of a conscious plan
            aimed at the destruction
of your jungle family.
                        It was my job
to evacuate soldiers
            who had survived the battles,
the wounded ones—burned monks
            in monasteries, eschatons—
and the trees burned before us.

            Totems on the northern shores
of Haida Gwaii—

            How we saw the other—

It was my job to evacuate soldiers
            who had survived the battles,
the wounded ones, to burn centers.

There are no burn centers for the trees.

You have stood for the camera.

You are beautiful in fact, wound, flame.
            Beautiful in texture—
your blond wood shining
            under and after flames.

With and among you.
With and among you.

Asking for that.
Asking what you need.

You are the elders.
You are children of elders.

You are word out of silence.
Word into silence.

Jim Bodeen
26-29 June 2015

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