Rumi in a found pocket
in those trail pants
with more pockets
than you have use for
and what happened there
reaching for him
when breath wasn’t right
or when it was
and this became the way
around the mountain

and the mountain itself
dry and in drought,
and then a quirky
four day rain
joy like remission
water running on the trail
in dry stream beds
and the music of water
everywhere surrounding

He had no idea
what would come
it came or it didn’t
he couldn’t control
or stop it
even if there was anything
let it come, if it came
if you can
get it down while walking
his mother walked
past her own dying
and his father
he walked off the job
from work right
into the hospital
and never came out
now this mountain

spoke and sang
and riffed for him
listening too
and he’d pull out
Rumi when he’d feel
him on his leg
from his pocket
and without stopping
rhythm breath
at trail speed opening
at random what he read
as much a surprise
as that tripping root
anchoring his feet
truth was
he loved those poems
coming forth Rumi
Stay low, stay low,
Wordsworth walking Coleridge
over the alps
that one local laughing

Jim Bodeen
11 September 2015


One thing to be taken seriously,
but from that arose the nasty question of belief.

No script on this walk. What comes out
comes out in breath and syllable,

jeopardy of beauty. Photography
has as much to do with impermanence

as it does with death. Sorrow
on the other hand, embedded

in joy, wires itself
to the myelin sheath,

becoming a deeper part of us.
My friend catalogues suffering

objectively, like a grocery list,
as is the poet’s responsibility.

Jesus is a man of the road.
Contingency is how we meet Christ

says the poet in crisis. Basho
on his long walk throws food

scraps to the abandoned child.
The act of compassion we can do

nothing about. Nevertheless—
Nevertheless, this walk,

our way. Basho’s courage.
Putting it in the poem,

carrying, suffering. The poet
rides the Celestial Bus.

The ones who take him
at his word will not believe.

Jim Bodeen
10 September 2015


500-year old Doug Fir across stream,
morning light on red bark,
a red way in red light.
Sitting on branches
of dappled pages of the poem,
deepened in shade. Last
of the shadow time before ascent
of the trail. The unfinished poem of Rumi's,
but Kabir can read me
out of the sorrows of the ascent.

Open the mountain, let the mountain
open you. Clockwise
circumambulation tradition.
Porous boundaries
between spiritual and mundane.
Trekking poles as water witchers.
Did not ignore the storm.
Shambhala Rumi,
"Drink before you fall to pieces...."
As the mountain goes, so go we.

Jim Bodeen
20 August--8 September 2015

Part I: Walking the Wonderland Trail on Mt. Rainier during 10 days in August, 2015, carrying two notebooks, two cameras, the Shambhala pocket edition of Rumi, serves as breath and guide. Open the Mountain, let the mountain open you, serves as seed thought, inspiring and sustaining the walk.

Part II: Mt. Rainier's 96-mile trail around the Mountain, is 100 years old this year, 2015. Part II of this 10-day walk, guided by Rumi's poems, involves a surprise encounter with a line from Ray Carver's poem, "...new path to the waterfall," with a brown trout in the story of a walker on the way around the mountain.

Part IIII: Mt. Rainier's Wonderland Trail turns towards home in the walker's back yard, emerging from a late summer storm at Mystic Lake, before walking Sky Scraper Pass, White River, Summerland, Panhandle Gap, Ohanapecosh Park, and Indian Bar, listening to Gary Snyder's admonition: Bring back a good story.

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