Holden Village Talk and Listen


He is the stranger, the one who does not fit—and yet makes an undismissable claim upon those who meet him,  whether in the flesh, as in the encounters of the New Testament itself, or in the Spirit, through the  witness of the Scriptures, of the church, preaching.

Douglas John Hall, The Cross in Our Context: Jesus and the Suffering World



            —for the Holden community

The photographs of the fire
Are spectacular. Domke Mountain at night
Looks like a luminaria of 1000 candles.
These candles are majestic Douglas Fir
And I don’t know how this photograph
Was taken—can’t tell—or even know
Who took it. Nevertheless,
Its terrible beauty in the night sky
Lights up my soul. This fire,
Caused by a lightning strike,
Caused the evacuation
Of a small community of pilgrims
Living and worshipping
In an abandoned mine.
No canary in a mine shaft this time.
The fire reached the road
Shortly after the pilgrims
Went into exile. We sat with them
Last evening singing songs, breaking bread.
A man put his arms around me
And wept. “I’ve missed you so much.”
He said that. This is what the valley is like.
Fire in the road empties us.
Fire burns through us burning through
The forest. The gods can be found
Making fire in sand paintings.
This is what the Forest Service
Had a difficult time understanding.
We were wrong about the fire.
Fire is what we were looking for.

16 September 2007




Thanks to Carol and Holden Village for having me here.
Thanks to Anna and Matt for greeting me, and making the jelly and the juice a part of my journey, and accessible to the Holden Community.

And for this Road to Emmaus, which goes through the heart of my heart, and right to Holden Village, thanks. I ask for your help tonight that I may be adequate to your trust.


When Karen recalls this remote village
she doesn’t see glacial lakes or copper mines.
She sees two things: Prayer around the Cross
And fresh-made bread. She smells it, too,

And tastes it. She puts a peanut butter
Sandwich in her purse and walks to the Crafts Cave.
She believes God is in that bread
And wants more.

This jelly is for the breadmakers
Who give all to Karen through their bread.
Bread is one path to the angels,
A common trail that never closes.

25 Oct 2007


None of us at this table
Know much about who’s here.
I brought some jelly to go
With your fresh-baked bread.

Bread and jelly don’t start out ready to go.
They both know fire. Do you want to start there?
Talking about fire? It’s up to you.
Fire finds us again in tall shadows.

We’re still having trouble with strangers,
Still afraid. This is jelly to ease the conversation.
Those two men walking with Jesus.
Their gift was in asking him to stay.

Oct 30, 2007


This is the jelly that was taken away
By the fire. This is the jelly
Of ministry unable to be shared.
All was ready, too. The table was set.

And then the fire came down the road.
You couldn’t get here and we had to leave.
This is the Jelly of Service and Exile.
When the fire reached the road

They took us to bed and breakfast.
We passed our days in the absence of fire.
The fire of our love had been our gift.
Some of what was lost is here, in the jelly.



“Excuse me,” my mother asks,
Entering the supermarket. “Can you tell me
Where the face powder is located?”
Mom is showing us she knows how to get around.

Mom’s question is a kind of jelly
That makes her way possible.
Mom’s on a journey
And we’re walking together to the cross.

Sometimes it’s more important
Than other times to know where
We’re at. Mom stops and asks.
I hear a different question.

“Excuse me, is this the road to Emmaus?”

Those two men walking up the road in their grief, traumatized, couldn’t believe Jesus was gone. Yet I can imagine the way my own denial system works. The blindness of denial is not a metaphor. So these two men, one named—Cleopas, and one unnamed—are right where they ought to be in denying Jesus’ death. And in rejecting death, we’re also denying life. These twins walk together.

It doesn’t take much for me to imagine myself walking with these two.

Let me read the next part from Luke though. I don’t want to risk paraphrase or interpretation here.

“And he said to them, ‘What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?’

“And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cle’opás, answered him, ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem, who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’

“He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent. So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.”

This is my experience of Holden Village. Every time.

They told what happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of bread.

What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?

They ask him to stay. They sense he is going further and they ask him to stay.

Strangers talking. Strangers walking up the road. Strangers asking strangers to stay with them. Strangers telling stories. Listening and telling stories.

This is one of the ways we learn to see. But seeing, whole sight, includes all of our senses—listening with our entire bodies is as essential to our seeing as our eyes are.

Any discussion of what happened on the road to Emmaus must include awareness. We trust ourselves on awareness, when we get it. Oh. Aha. Yes. We know when it’s happening. When it happens and when it doesn’t.

Carol Hinderlie is sitting in our living room and talking with Karen and I about a month-long conversation at Holden. About how we know each other in the making and baking of the bread. Of listening and talking in the kitchen.  Of these two strangers walking with Jesus. Of Jesus as a stranger. He’s not in hiding now. No costumes. He’s not seen for who he is. He’s a stranger.

Carol asked what we might bring to a conversation like that.

We were just back from the Oregon Coast. We’d been sleeping in a tent I called the dream canoe. Karen was with our grand children and I was spending days with Arnie Mindell.

Mindell is a Jungian therapist. He’s interested in dreams, the dreambody—how our dreams interact with our physical bodies and conscious selves, path making, stories, the subconscious and how we become aware.

He came into my life over twenty years ago through a conversation with a friend. Mindell was interested in the journey that people make at the time of their deaths. He was working with the elderly in coma states. He believed that in the final hours of a person’s life, important transformational work was being worked out and completed. He was doing this work from his background as a Jungian psychologist, and as a trained scientist in physics.

I would be reconnected with Mindell’s work as my mother came to live with us in Yakima. I would unexpectedly find myself weaving my life with you at Holden, my walking with my mother, the dreambody, Holden Elderhostel, and The Road to Emmaus. Hopefully, it all fits under the road to Emmaus.

Let’s see.


“Then they told what happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.”

“And he said to them, ‘What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?’

“And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cle’opás, answered him, ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem, who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’

“He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent. So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.”

They told what happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of bread.

What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?

Are you the only visitor who does not know? It is always this story that speaks to me.

He appeared to be going further but they asked him to stay.

Their eyes were opened and they recognized him and he vanished.

Raymond Carver has a short story collection called What we talk about when we talk about love. Carver comes from Yakima where I live. His spare stories of human survival are also stories of violence, failed love, and alcohol. What we talk about when we talk about love is a true title, a deep an accurate truth. It is all too often the way it is when we talk about love.

The people coming up the road are talking about love. They are. What they talk about when they talk about love on the road to Emmaus.

These are the Raymond Carver stories. They are why we are here.

This week a mother told me a story about her daughter. “What’s your connection? She asked. “That school gave a home to my daughter’s mind.”

A brother and sister told me a story about Thomas Merton. And they introduced me to Richard Rohr, and his ministry to men. He told me stories about Thomas Merton only the monks who lived with Merton could tell.

While making bagels, a woman told me how this place was given to her by her parents—how her father got off the boat and walked up the road.

This summer, the campesinos at Abriendo taught me story of Torribio Romo, the patron saint of immigrants.

Los caminos que los hispanos caminas desde lugares lejos y desconocidos.

Caminantes somos, y en el camino andamos.

—Sucedió que, mientras hablaban y discutían, Jesús mismo se acercó y comenzó a caminar con ellos.

A guest told me about a peace march in Washington DC. Out of 500,000 people in the streets, he was the first person I saw when I went to the Viet Nam Memorial Wall.

Holden Village sets the table. The people make the bread.

How do our eyes get opened? Thirty years ago, my son and I hiked in here from Darrington on the Seattle side of the mountains. We walked into a vespers service. I found a copy of C.S. Lewis’ book, Preface to Milton’s Paradise Lost.” The book was out of print at the time. It was the first book I ever knowingly stole. I kept it for almost 20 years before returning it. In another place, Lewis wrote, “Probably the only books that will be found in Heaven will be books that have been lost or stolen.”

What we talk about when we talk about love.

What the guests choose to tell us. How we choose to listen.

How the ministry of Garbo has its own language, but maybe can help save our planet.

What we leave behind crossing water. Every instance that I can think of in literature regarding the crossing of water is a death experience. Something dies in order that something can be reborn. It’s more than a boat ride.

What we talk about when we talk about love.

The only thing I have to give you for all of this is a jar of jelly. The only thing. It’s the only thing I have to give anybody.

Here we can talk about dreams. About how we see and hear.

You give me this conversation. The greatest conversation in the world. What we talk about when we talk about love.

This is the road to Emmaus.

De camino a Emaús.

Los dos, por su parte, contaron lo que les había sucedido en el camino, y cómo habían reconocido a Jesús cuando partió el pan.

I’d like to end by reading one short jelly poem.

Or, The Law of the Story

Or, The Kiss

30 October 2007


Here’s a kind of poetic monologue of Arnie Mindell’s voice, built from my notebook, using his words, taken from 4 days talking about the Spirit of New Orleans, in the wake of the Katrina tragedy, and put together since I’ve been at Holden this week, as we begin this Emmaus conversation during the Days of the Dead.


I’m sad about the end. Mardi Gras is coming out of the earth.
It was resurrected. The old girls needed to dance.
Let’s listen for the lessons of those who passed.
What the dead have to tell us about our lives—our personal lives,
Is as important as how we might help New Orleans.
You know when you’re in a relationship
You don’t know what you’re doing.
Give your life to what you do.
Have courage to honor the dreaming.
Be with Karen, Jim. Dream her.
Look for what’s common in your sketching.
Name the common core. You know who you are.
You’ll see something repeating.
Who died in New Orleans?
Listen to what this person has to say to you,
And what you should do for world work.
What am I supposed to do for the world?
What is wanted from me? What is death?
Develop a bigger rear end, and roll around on it.
The process mind flows very easy.
The process mind is your greatest ally.
Your ally helps you move through the world of dreaming.
Some of this can be taught, some of it can’t.
It’s up to others to do their own practice.
Give your whole life to what you’re doing.
Your process, your fears, your strengths.
Give all of what you have.
My awareness of my parts will help others
Become aware of their parts.
What’s missing are all of these voices
That are missing from the world.
Voices from the bottom up.
Be the change model the world wants you to see.
This isn’t just momentary dreaming.
But to those who have died, feed the dead.
The dead aren’t fed enough.
What we can give the dead is our awareness.
Ask them what they need.
Maybe our reality of the dead hasn’t been dealt with enough.
Maybe that’s why history repeats itself.
What is death? Music understands death as process.
In particle physics, a particle enters into a field.
Our opposite annihilates us, knocks us out.
We come out of that field altered.
There is a woman in front of those who would shoot her,
But she’s so much herself, that none can pull the trigger.
Go through the death walk and not be shot down.
How do you feed the dead?
Death is the timeless tradition—a seeking of a totem spirit.
Death is finding your basic nature.
Underneath the catastrophe is a river goddess.
The ancestors are there and we’re constantly marginalizing them.
Can the dead effect us now?
I rode with her coming into the notebook.
Use the bridge to bridge the gap.
Through her death people would find their rhythms
And know their songs.
Sometimes you don’t need to do too much.

6 September—29 October 2007
Yuchats, OregonHolden Village, North Cascades

Reading Mindell, we can look for what he has to say about:

Our own direction finding abilities.
Path awareness is a natural inheritance.
Taking least action.
Path of the heart

Poetry Pole—east and west, north and south

The Road to Emmaus: What we talk about when we talk about love.

Those two men walking with Jesus, unable to see, carrying their trauma, come to sight.


And so the Franciscan monk
Leading the retreat asked to stay
In the quarters of the poet
Who opened the church to the world.

He quoted the famous monk
Liberally as he taught. Each brother
Looked down and away each instance
His name was named. “What is happening

When I remember your brother? The Franciscan
Asked. “Our brother would return
From the world, and scold us,” one said.
You’re not contemplatives, You’re a bunch

Of introverts. That’s what he said of us.”
This jelly is for monks praying for all of us.





—for John August Swanson

“It is in the small things that we see it.”
            Anne Sexton, “Courage”

Just off the boat, loading the bus
With 50-pound flour sacks, a man squeezes
Into an already tight line passing provisions.
“What’s your name?” he asks as the second
Flour bag empties into my arms. I’m already
Learning to use my legs or go down. That’s how
This bus gets loaded, how the food gets
Up the hill. “Jim,” I say to the man,
Who’s passing me the next bag of flour.
This flour will make the bread that makes
This community, but the spirit’s
In this man asking me my name.

The man is getting on the boat.
I’m getting off. He’s telling jokes
As we’re being introduced.
“Why did the dyslexic French cook
Go into the kitchen with dynamite?”
This is what he asks me.
“He wanted to see linoleum blown apart.”
He won’t get on the boat
And he keeps me from getting on the bus.
The bus is full, and my wife is calling,
“Jim, get on the bus.”
“Will you come back when I come back?” he asks me.

I take out my notebook and read him
The love poem I wrote to Karen on the boat.
The two of us laughing in our dyslexia.
“Write it down,” the man says. “Write it down.”


Marv and Nancy have Karen and I
Up to their place after Vespers.
We climb the stairs and hang our coats
And wonder about miners talking

After work about the quality of copper.
Marv toasts our glasses, saying, Saturday.
Last week Marv made lumber
From a fallen great grandfather pine.

Wood made by his hands
Will go inside the walls of Koinonia.
His wine, made from wild currants,
Swirls around the inside of glass,

Clear, with a tart bouquet. Nancy
Has rooms assigned for the guests.
She’s assigning rooms for next summer.
Their ministry: like boards and home-made wine.

Marv and Nancy know about jelly, too.
One year they made 300 jars of jelly
From fruit. Sold it for three bucks a jar
And sent it on a mission trip to Poland.


I’ve dropped the word jelly
From the jelly poems,
But they’re still jelly poems,
And they’re still invitations

To tell the story. And I don’t
Have much to tell. I’m here to listen.
This story of disciples opening
Their eyes to each other

In the making of the bread.
How do you tell this story?
Salt, water and yeast trusting
Strangers with stories of praise.


—for Pastor Jack Coffey

When I say, Beginner,
The pastor says, Newcomer.
Newcomers, I say,
Repeating his word.

Karen and I have walked
This road for 40 years.
We came to Holden
33 years ago, Karen eight months

Pregnant with Krista and Leah.
They’re grown kids with kids.
Karen and I are newcomers
Stranger than we’ve ever been.

Karen makes quilts into purses,
Weaving stories into stories.
The pastor builds with two more:  love and hope.
Enduring words for all comers.


—For Will C.

The breadmaker says he started
This sourdough with starter
He picked up from A to Z
Produce and Bakers out at

Ted and Robbies’s Farm in Wisconsin.
He added some oatmeal and wheat flour.
It’s Sunday morning and he’s baking bread
For brunch. He’s a piano player,

This breadmaker, and the music
In his kitchen is Keith Jarrett,
Live at Dearhead, Jarrett’s home town.
The baker forms the loaf, stretching

And shaping. He folds the dough
Under, at the bottom. When he gets
To here, he turns towards music,
But talks bread. “If you twist it,”

He says, “Interesting things happen
To the landscape as it rises in the oven.”
He takes a razor blade and scores the dough.
Another baker has shown him

How to slice the dough to make a ridge
So sharp the crust might cut you
When it comes from the oven.
This is the landscape of the crust.

The breadmaker talks about music.
“He’ll start one way and go as far
As he can. Then he’ll turn around
And make his way back.” There’s

A trail in the crust that can be traced.
Eurydice, the beloved, is gone.
Orpheus could have walked her back
To this world, but he looked back.

This is more than a man can stand.
Now there was only music and bread.
He had music. He had this kitchen.
He could try to put the beloved

Into his bread. When he was right
With himself, he could put her into the music.
He could bake bread cut with treacherous
Landscape for the People of God.


—for Matt L.

There’s a room made up
For Matt in our house.
Karen calls it the Holden Room.
Matt runs the show during Abriendo

With Norma. Matt has a room
In Norma’s rancho, too. Norma
Wants Matt to visit her rancho
In Michoacán. Matt’s ER—

He’s emergency service.
He’s on his way to Peru
With his tocayo.
Matt’s wanted all over Latin America.


--for Rebekah

The young woman on the sitting porch
Sees me with my camera as I come up
The steps. “One of the things you might do
Is take photographs from each porch in the village.”


Sorting garbage may not
Be the highest calling,
That goes to making compost,
But we do this first to get there.

Overcome the nasty factor.
Don’t wipe your nose.
Trying to understand excess
In an ascetic community

Helps prepare one for the city.


Are out in the snow
In their yellow uniforms.
They’re shooting water
And ice into the forest,

Practicing for what
Might save our lives
And the collective memory
Of this village parable.

This is no nonsense stuff,
This life with parables.
It is God’s blessing
Of the water.


This jelly is from God for God.
We can say that up front
To make the mystery that much greater.
Stick your finger in the jar

And get yourself a big scoop.
My wife and I are both dyslexic
When it comes to direction
And it seldom gets in the way.

She laughs first because she thinks
I’m funnier. You’d think
We were just having fun.
We bet our life to ride this boat.


The light that found its shape
Fell into my notebook
When I wasn’t paying attention.
I didn’t know what to do with it

So I started this poem.
I wanted to give it back
To where it came from.
I wanted to give it to the monks.

I could put it in one of two places,
The beginner accepts his robe, or,
Sledding with the monks.
How many times they’ve saved my life!


Karen and I take the Lady of the Lake
To Holden and Karen reads
To me and knits. There’s a Native American
Film festival we’re leaving behind
And it sounds good in the paper.
I’m interested in the story on tears.
There are three kinds. Basal tears keep
The eyes moist. Without them our eyes
Would turn to sandpaper. We produce
Between five and ten ounces a day.
I’m crying now and am not certain why.
We’re on our beds in the Holden Hotel.
Karen’s still knitting. We’ve just come
From Prayer Around the Cross.
Nothing to frighten, nothing to fear,
We sang over and over, looking into candles.
Reflex tears come from cutting onions,
Or a finger in the eye. Emotional tears,
The third kind, are the only tears
That dispel toxins. Earlier today
I read a poem by Bob Corday
About St. Ignatius. Bob says, St. Ignatius
Was a great crier. His poem is called,
The Weeper. St. Ignatius, according to Bob,
Never knew when the throat would threaten.
“He wept, they say, because he’d suddenly feel
Entirely empty, entirely grateful....
All the doors of his heart swinging wide open.”
Women produce 60% more prolactin
Karen tells me—the same hormone
Used for breast feeding—in their tears than men.
This doesn’t account for St. Ignatius, though.
Tears contain mucus, water and oil.
That reminds me that an ear, nose and throat doctor
Diagnosed Karen’s pregnancy by looking
Up her nose. The lining of the nose and vagina
Are one and the same. “It’s raining,” I say to Karen,
Who just said good night to me. “Is it?” she asks.
“I thought it was your writing in the notebook.”
I’m wondering about how it sounds,
if our cries might be changed by our tears.
Prolactin is what I write in the notebook though.
There were years when I didn’t cry at all.
I was that far from St. Ignatius. And how far
Was I from Karen? Those toxins are pouring
From my body now. Now I can make that connection
To the rain, tap tap tapping the roof,
Beating in time to Karen’s quiet breathing.


“Hate can’t hold a candle
To courage and hope,” Pastor Eric says.
And underneath that, from another day,
“Exploratory word

Needs an unsaid word
To free the final word—
To keep it from being final.
“Release us, God, from any

Ultimate breath or thing.”


--for Karen H.

When the business manager
Heard that I had a movie
About silence, she said
I better make an announcement.

“There’s no speaking?” she asked.
“None,” I said. “How long is it? She asked.
“164 minutes,” I said.
She said she’d make cookies.

“And what’s it about?” she asked.
“Carthusian monks,” I said.
“What do they do?” she asked.
“They read psalms,” I said.

She said, “Make an announcement
About the cookies.”

12 Nov 2007


--for Chris

Before vespers a man
Walked into my room
And said he wanted
To show me a poem.

I read it to myself
On his computer screen
And felt my stomach
Fall after the last line.

Tell me the story
Of the poem, I asked.
She was an old woman.
She and her husband

Published little books
Of poems. Both of their lives
Had unhappy endings.
Waiting, the hardest

Of all the arts.
This was the last line.
I asked the man
To hold the computer

Screen open on his lap.
I asked him if I could
Take his picture this way.
I asked him to read the poem.

We made a little video
With the digital camera.
This poem walks a wire
Across the abyss.

There’s more of course
To the story. This is all I was given.
I carry it buckling grandchildren
Into car seats.


—for Dawn

“You shall go out in joy and be led back in peace.”
            Isaiah 55: 12

The pastor tells how these readings
All got started. The tradition began
In 1722 when Nicolaus von Zinzendorf
Offered his property to provide shelter

For religious refugees arriving
From Bohemia and Moravia.
Under the watch of the Lord.
Zinzendorf gave a daily watchword.

I listen as the story is read to me.
Great are the works of the Lord,
Studied by all who delight in them,
Reads Psalm 111. I am grateful

For how the word enters my ear
And a book is placed in my hand.
My daily regret is that I cannot
Rest in what I’ve been given.

May I enter the room this morning
Without doing. May my response
Be adequate, a marmot’s whistle
Tucked into a piece of bread,

Delightful, if not recognized.


A monk is a man like any other man, who loves life and seeks happiness. However, he does not always find it right away. He follows his quest in the world, in his hert, and is aware of others’ fellings: the beautiful and the less beautiful; laughter and tears; good and hard times; peace and anguish born from the awareness of sin and fault.

He allows everything to touch him too, and welcomes it in his heart to look for coherence…until the moment he hears a voice talking to him, pointing out a direction to follow. This voice shines a light on what was, creates an aperture towards the future and invites him to not be afraid and to engage on the road to the unknown.

For the Carthusians, this Voice is Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, who invites him to come and to put his full faith into him. Next to him, he learns to unify everything in the Only One.

He is solitary, not isolated. He is a gatherer. During his long meditations at night, surrounded by the chant of the psalms and an attentive open ear to the Word of God, he brings, as much as possible, all things to himself: the wide range of human experiences and historical events, desires and hopes that fill men’s hearts, in order to include all of it in the reconciliatory energy of the Cross of Christ.

He is himself subject to forgiveness. The Carthusian monk learns to forgive others and is therefore being taught compassion. He lives spiritually and welcomes in him all of Being to recreate it in its Origin that is also its End: God who can be called Father by all humanity through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Because of his small but significant part, the Carthusian monk is a canal of life: a very thin artery that has the capacity to spread the spiritual energy of the divine grace all over the surface of the earth and even in the whole body of creation.

What immense action of Grace!

October 22, 2006

A Carthusian

From the liner notes to music from the Soundtrack, Into Great Silence, a film by Philip Groning.


This doesn’t ring like a hymn
To me, but there it is in song
At Vespers. Oh, Christ on the road.
Like one more time, recognized

Or not. Christ did appear
These past days, too. Walked
Right up the road, took the bus.
I didn’t get it every time,

But I was given my share
Of dizziness. One man,
Walking with my gifts
Showed his truth last evening.

Oh, Christ on the road.
The beauty of the snow
Has turned to coverup.
May I be capable of response.


“Glimpses of the divine—What does that mean?”
—Matt Perry

This awe is the transformed
Transported human state—one of free
And full entering into essential reality—
Nature in all of its weirdness

So I want to talk about
What I don’t want to talk about.
Let me read this first:… where there is no space
For the inner life….

Richard Feynman was an avowed skeptic
Of most attempts to bring the conclusions
Of science to bear on what he would
Probably have called ‘other disciplines.’

I feel like a shy boy who knows
A disappointing secret about his parents’ marriage—
That it isn’t going to work out so well in the end.
Feynman played bongo drums—was a visual artist.

To Feynman, an ‘honest’ scientific endeavor
Was one that begins with creation,
But without a favored conclusion—
One that submits itself completely

And simultaneously to pure impulses
Of love/mind/bliss—he often spoke
Of the joy of his work—and the strictures
Of reality—honesty precluded any agenda.

Setting out—with creation…radical detachment.
Shiva energy, the risk. The experiment
Is the body of the quest…the individual risks
All with no guarantee that the wildness

Of the unknown world will conform
To the truth of creative conjecture.
Just exactly how honest do we want to be?
Is the truth really what we want?

Perhaps only in a state of ecstasy
Science is a spiritual practice.
The scientist climbs beyond…
Into direct contact with nature

And returns transformed and sanctified.
Obligated to tell others. Too terrifying
For any purpose other
Than the pursuit of bliss.


Matt, last night I glimpsed disappearance.
But I didn’t get it tonight until I sat down again
With your email. It is a poem, Matt.
It’s everything the journey is about, too—

Walking the wire across the abyss.
What I couldn’t do in Koinonia
Was share the bliss. I went back inside,
Allowed someone else to surface.

I couldn’t give it to Luke.
And I couldn’t get the stretch to deceit.
Two parts of the cross do intersect
And things do vanish at a point.

The local and spiritual do meet.
One becomes common again.
It’s that easy. That’s how the journey
Is made. And it is ok. One isn’t a freak

For walking this way. And neither
Is it ego. And it’s available, too, for all.
We can walk off the road.
The invisible nature of the journey

Allows the bliss to go on.
Disappearance is a common thing.









Classics let you get to see the world
Through minor characters, She says.
You get to understand human behavior from
Another time. “I was a writing tutor

In college. I write poems but don’t
Show them so much.” We work a garbo shift
Together. She talks of her favorite music.
Two singers from Portland, by chance—

Eliot Smith—his best is Figure 8—
And M. Ward. She shows me how chipboard
Doesn’t get recycled like cardboard.
It’s from an in-between place.


It’s not time yet, but two lines
From an unfinished poem arrive early
And repeat themselves. Another voice
Says if I don’t write them down
They’ll be gone when I get up.
So I get up, read through poems
I’ve been given, and wonder—

In wonder, too—waking in Room 12
Of God’s Hotel in the North Cascade Mountains.
I walk down quiet stairs listening
To cooks on a Slow Day, where preparations
Ask us to consider world hunger.
I descend with The Prayer of Departure,
…to ventures of which we cannot see the ending…

Knowing that here, one step into the kitchen
Could change my life. That’s what I’m walking into.
Good courage, I say to myself, standing before
The coffee machine. I love the quiet voices
In the kitchen, don’t have a clue which way
This day will go, or whose hand will lead me.
If I can leave myself behind I’ll be found

In somebody’s story over breakfast.
Poetry gave me this passage with people,
This time of fragments, between times,
In this in-between town. A man says Jesus
Allows himself to be taken to the common place,
Where nothing depends on worth, where
A man’s laughter will expose my poverty.

15 November 2007


The high school kids reading poems
Yesterday with such good courage
Are the ones who taught me to listen,
Who gave me back to my mother
With ears to hear her story.
They were so good, so tall in their words
At the podium, that one singing line,
We would hurt from the need to hurt
Standing over the reading like God’s love.
I don’t have those voices any more
To make me strong. Now there’s time to see:
How well they taught me to sit with Mom.
Even if I could never please her,
Mom was the best teacher in the room.

November 15, 2007


“And God is not present apart from the imagination of the poets.”
--Walter Brueggeman, Interview Image 55

That robe is usually in you before you find it.

“We are afflicted in every way but not crushed.”

“If you preach a Theology of the Cross, you will have to become a community of the cross. Anything else would represent a kind of hypocrisy.” Douglas John Hall

“The end of the suffering is life-oriented.”

“The cross is not and cannot be loved.”

“…the coincidence of opposites, called the cross.” Richard Rohr Soul Brothers


—for Paul Hinderlie

Cross-country skis lead me
Away from the village
And my bet’s that no one
Will be at the museum.

I follow ski tracks on foot
With a camera in white light.
The door to the museum’s
Unlocked and blown open,

A sign reads: Danger, Drink
Only water from pipe line
Running from #2 Shaft.
Back fill from mine contains

Cyanide. I kick snow from
Feet, looking at old photos
Of moving ore. Riches pour
From Holden Mine, reads

Wenatchee World, Wednesday
April 26, 1939. 300 employed,
Daily payroll reaches $2000.
Ben E. Bothan, Staff Writer,

All the cycles of eternity
Have left on their summit
This records—the silent
And hidden romance

Of air and wind and storm.
I wrestle with the sentence,
And agree. I, too, have come
This far to be myself

With God. The obituary
Of Carroll Hinderlie
Freezes my breath.
They managed to survive

By starting community,
They started a school.
The digital camera
Records it in four photos.

Paul’s mom and dad
Escaping the Nazis
In Norway. Leaving shortly
For China, from the U.S.,

Imprisoned by Japanese—
Along with their three week old
Daughter—imagine a few
Tears, here?—for more than

Three years. A disturber
Of the peace, an odd sort
Of radical, his son says.
I carry this back with me

In the snow. Stepping
Onto the foot bridge,
Stamping my feet on boards,
The covered roof lets loose

Last night’s cover of snow,
Startling me, catching my anger
Off guard. Back in the village,
Meeting Paul, the son,

Over a cookie, he says
He was caught off guard.
I thank him for it.
Who would come this far

For God? Not 10 per cent,
Not even that. The Quisling
Paul refers to is the one
Who put Nazis in office.

I would come this far
To be myself, I said to myself.
That is why crucifixion
Takes place for me

At Holden, each time
I cross water, disembark
From the boat, and start
The bus ride into the village.

I would go this far
With intersecting lines
Bringing me face to face
With a chance at new life.


I have been given more
Than I could ever give.
On the night before I left
I sat with a parable

Knowing what poetry
Does and doesn’t do.
I wanted to know
All of your names

And put them into this poem
And I’ve failed.
You did not fail me.
At every encounter

You have made
Safe passage safe for me.
You make worship possible
For me in my own house.

You teach me to open doors.
I am learning to sing (if off key).
I love the daily steps
Taking me to compline.

Your ministry is wider
And deeper than any poem.
I photograph your waving hands
Over and over and over.


The Canadian poet Robert Bringhurst writes, “A story is not a solid object or a solitary entity but a transformative relationship.” Bringhurst is writing about the story that pertains to us, the story of Jesus and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, by telling a story of a painting by Diego de Silva y Velásquez, Kitchen Maid with the Supper at Emmaus, c. 1618. He begins his book, A Story as Sharp as a Knife: Classical Haida Mythtellers and their World, with this story. He is putting things in context. Listen:

“Diego Velásquez saw the story afresh through the eyes of a kitchen maid, and painted it as no one had ever painted it before—and as no one except a few copyists have ever painted it since….We have to know the story beforehand in order to grasp what Velásquez has done with it—how he has pulled it back, tautly, into a corner, over the woman’s shoulder, and suddenly let it go, so we can see it ricocheting through her eyes. What dawns on us as we s tand in front of the painting is what is dawning on the woman in the kitchen: one of the three men sitting in her restaurant died three days ago, yet there he is, elbows on the table, talking with his friends. In that instant of recognition, the real world and the mythworld collide…”

Bringhurst is showing us how story and art bring us to awareness. Listen again:

“Even for non-Christians (I am one) the young Velásquez’s painting opens a door; it confirms what every mythteller, physicist, biologist and hunter-gatherer knows: that man is not the manager and measure of all things.”

What interests me about the kitchen maid is how she comes to her awareness. How she sees Christ through his commonness when others can’t. One last thing. A post script on the Velásquez painting. This scene with Jesus breaking the bread that we know so well from Luke—this was all painted over—only the kitchen maid remained, for much of the history of this painting. Only in the 1930’s was this rediscovered, and the painting restored. What we know becomes invisible to our own eyes.

Riding into Holden Village on a bus, our luggage on our laps, the road to Emmaus in my head, what dawns of me is this: What Holden does, without doubting, is to set the table. Holden sets a place for the stranger.

Jim Bodeen
Holden Village
November, 2007

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