I stopped to explore a tunnel that had been a major hazard on the Canyon Highway until the highway department finally bypassed it. “It must have been only wide enough for one-way traffic at any time,” I observed one Sunday afternoon on the drive back to my apartment.

“They used to have traffic lights at each end,” Erik replied, repeating a story heard many times.

“Wow, I’m glad we don’t have to use it any more. Look at all these huge rocks that have fallen from the ceiling!”

The bypassed asphalt was covered with boulders bigger than our VW Beetle.

It isn’t the only tunnel in the canyon. Some, the siphons, carry irrigation water through mountains. Every year somebody rafting the river is swept through one and drowns. In accord with Far West tradition — and bloated political leverage — the railroad long ago claimed the choicest spots along the narrow river passage. As a consequence, the highway twists a lot. When there’s little traffic, this can be a sporty drive.

Our alternate route was longer but faster — miles traded for time. The freeway opened out into marvelous vistas. As we came to know each roadway, we anticipated the coming views.

“Think Mount Stuart will be visible around the next curve?” he’d ask.

“No, it’s too cloudy.” Then, detecting a solitary crag ripping through a dramatic storm, I’d recant. Sometimes both Rainier and Adams stared like brothers with heads at table level. Watching for cattle and sheep, we viewed foxes and deer.

In winter, freezing rain or drifting snow often forced the state to close the expressway. Even when that highway stayed open, its surface could be treacherous.

Everywhere I turned, once I was out of the orchards and well beyond town, I could see all too clearly, this was the kind of place you could leave somebody to die.

Or be left to die.

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These field notes from religious aspiration and practice spring from a muse of fire. As much as Dr. Bronner’s bottle-label diatribes arose from a splash of water, at least when we read them, usually while showering or bathing.

A brief flash. Something that sparkles or shimmers. A half-seen motion, perhaps recollected later. Illumination. A beacon. A guide. A break in the night. Sometimes, this is something even the blind perceive. A word of truth. Prophecy or healing. A vision of eternal mysteries. A star or hint of coming dawn. And then, as James Nayler instructed: “And as thou followest the light out of the world, thou wilt come to see the seed, which to the world’s wisdom and glory is crucified” (Journal, 349). Everything is transformed and made new. Mind the Light.




Tat Ekam
that one thing

prakriti, pra = before
or kriti, creation
a sutra is only a note / a stitch / a knot

Wading into holy waters

to sink or be overwhelmed
decades later,


returning to art
“keeps my feet on the ground”
carving wood and marble, “It’s so smooth”

these steps leading down to the water
in the sense water
is always below you
unless, that is, you’re in
up to your neck, as it were
some calm other than drowning

“We’re descended from lower-level gods
who mated with apes.”

Now outraged at other deities

next, we’ll encounter human brains
in tigers prowling along the street
all thanks to science.

Mine owners will be confined to the lands they’ve debauched / despoiled.
The Hidden Way –
Sometimes it’s Tao
Sometimes, passion
Sometimes, only a sunset
Or fog lifting

The saved love letters
become curled, black crumbling leaves
falling from the fire.


first, burn all of the out-dated financial records,
then all of the old passionate drivel

that is, to MAKE FEW

as the Hidden Way
Is the route that opened
Through Glint’s own sea of reeds

Parting, at the base of mountains
she’s come through

a prayer of the earth, actually, of Seed
clearing, recentering


painted at the top
of a barn roof

Poem copyright 2017 by Jnana Hodson
For more, click here.



What opens with a dance tune perchance deflects into the reaction to a blow or injury, to a fly fisherman’s reel, the canisters of a movie, or even a soaring eagle. These poems span experiences of touch and coupling, however chaste at times, and of flight and emerging lightness. To be light on one’s feet, then, and light-hearted in the end, if not a little dizzy.



First, the snow a sheet of ice
shiny as cake frosting.

Then the Asian dental hygienist greets me:
“Sorry to make you waiting.”

Maybe it’s all in the skin.
A flourish we extend. A touch or care.

Excellence in a small thing, somewhere,
a note of gratitude or worship

placing everything in the larger context
of conception, especially through its monotonous stretches.

A few hours later, lavender mountains at sunset:
the Monadnocks, viewed from my studio window,

incredibly purple, even more than blue.
That night:

Sing. Dance. Fiddle. Doodle.
And away I go.

Poem copyright 2017 by Jnana Hodson
For more, click here.



1 a decrepit mess / pit put them away a cat, a dog, an auto executioner gone, finally, by dawn desperate houses plunked down in rock face where will everyone live? 2 Warren Farm’s disastrous pick-your-own corn experiment DeMerritt Hill Farm now owned by New York City refugees who need to make the mortgage while […]