Mountain Haiku


Ten days in the heart

Notebooks at high altitude

Travels with Karen

Three days in the Park

But what can match McGee Creek

Or Joy Harjo’s poems

Jim Bodeen

25 August 2021

Eastern Sierras




We would drive to farms and orchards.

We wore masks.

We listened to music

but we were without music ourselves.

These were the days of the temperatures

and burning trees

and plenty smoke

and we made pies.

Two stick double crusted pies.

Rhubarb, sweet cherry, sour cherry, blackberry,

blueberry—and from sunshine itself,

peach—I remember this--

there were 5 peach pies.

We quit counting at 20.

We were grieving and we made pies.

Jim Bodeen

14-15 August 2021





The boat comes from the museum shop

in Victoria, British Columbia, we were

celebrating our 50th anniversary,

Karen and I, and picked it out

calling for me to carry it

to Gary Higgins, one of Barry’s

deepest friends, hiker, companion

who carried the fire, Viet Nam

vet at the same time as me,

Tet, a marine, we shared

time and space—and we went

to the same high school,

north Seattle. He was two years

behind me, we didn’t know,

then. He’s prominent

in the hiking notebooks, early on.

He carried fire, heavy roots.

He was dying when we ferried

to Victoria. Crossing water.

I bought the boat for his crossing

and he had already disappeared

from us as we left the ferry.

Here, in Yakima, it’s hot, 99,

and I’m out back, having placed

wild Sock-eye Salmon fillets

on a soaked cedar plank, new

consumer item designed

during the time of droughts

to allow well-to-do North Americans

Sunday afternoons to pretend

they have native practices.

Wood charcoal pieces cut

side to side. I smell fish

on my fingers, grateful

as I lick them, drawing flies

to the sweetness of smoke.

Aroma comes from Weber Grill,

sweet cedar and salmon. Good

smoke, medicine smoke,

fighting for itself during a time

of big fires. Air vents mostly closed

keeping heat low. Higgins

is dying and we’ve lost contact,

unable to see him, the little boat

with its hand carved oars, now

a gift for his old friend, altered

and altared, sacred vessel

for the living. This was in the year

before the plague, I believe now

we have lost track of time before

the pandemic, such uncertainty

in these lines. I am drinking iced tea,

stems and branches from Japan,

a gift from Mayumi. This morning

I bicycled around the development

when temperatures were low,

mid 80s. For the past two weeks

I’ve been writing an essay--

an attempt—on a book of poems

on the weather, with hand-painted

international weather symbols

by an artist, the book called

Rain Violent, a collaboration

between mother and son.

The mother, Ann Spiers, the poet.

I have tasted the fish.

Nobody deserves a meal

like the one I am preparing here.

A small plane overhead. Everyone

lives indoors now. Smoky,

even beyond my garden full of large

trees, working hard to turn

toxins back into oxygen.

It is spooky. I believe

it is spooky for the large trees,

too, the Jaquemonte Birches,

Autumn Blaze canopied over us,

and the two Bloodgood Maples.

Large and small trees together.

The small ones bonsais in lovely pots,

suffering greatly in heat, suffering

and dying, their fired clay

serving as furnaces instead of beauty.

Clay boats for the journey,

reminding me of the time after

World War II, when Japanese gardeners

orphaned their trees to avoid suspicion

by the conquerors. Some of these,

survivors, have been restored

and collected by a community

of Japanese and American artists

in a new bonsai gallery near Seattle.

I have taken my grandchildren

to see these bonsais now under shade

of an old growth forest.

There is space for speechlessness

in any poem, if one goes slow enough.

When Barry came by, he gave me

a small book for my birthday.

Barry is the poet of birthdays

and he’s been bringing me poems

for 45 or 46 years. He’s practicing

The Art of Peace by Morihei Ueshiba,

founder of Aikido. The book

is smaller than your Iphone

and fits in its hollowed

glass screen like a passenger

in a cyber boat (I’m looking

at this now, broken circle brush

stroke on yellow paint.

We are not children, and we do

and we don’t practice like children.

We have the children’s love of repetition

as part of our practice. The salmon

has yielded up its flavor,

and the soaked, red cedar plank

it’s moisture and bouquet.

Karen and I will breathe this in

as I put on my gloves

and take this dark treasure-pink

sweetness inside to our table.

Our table of gratitude a blessingway.

The neighborhood, is, to be frank,

also spooky, and needs to be sung for

and blessed, prayed over,

if that is your language.

I’m bringing in another here,

entering the house, a threshold,

the singer Frank Mitchell,

buried in Chinle, Arizona. He

is a Navajo Blessingway Singer,

and his way is to sing us whole,

perhaps you’ve felt his presence

in this poem. He is here

from start to finish. He’s singing

for Gary and all of us. This way,

a way of peace, a way of practice,

you might call another way

of being the same way, however

one gets to source, and one, and peace.

Peace and blessings to all living things.

Jim Bodeen

3-6-9 August 2021




Winter light,

Karen says

coming back

to bed

from the bathroom

It’s the 29th of July, 2021.

What’s that? I ask

It’s the title, she says

Of What?

Of something

we’re making together

Jim Bodeen

29 July 2021



When email comes in

Drought Sprinklers come on with dings

Her brother deported

Jim Bodeen

2 August 2021