How strange that so much later, these lines still stir up conflict within me

I am surprised how much the seemingly disjointed distillations of the prose-poem experiments I’ve been publishing here still capture my experience of my first years in New Hampshire some 35 or so years ago. All the hope, confusion, redirection that accompanied the upheaval.

And so much that evaporated, for the better, after meeting the woman I adore.

The weekly series continues, all the same. As I say, thanks for the memories, to all those who have been companions and positive influences in my zig-zag journey through life.

What are you thinking and feeling, looking back and looking ahead?


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.



People typically listen with their heads, attentive to logic and thought, or with their hearts, to feeling and insinuation. But there is also a frequently untapped ability to listen with one’s hands, as I recognized at a Susan Stark concert in Brunswick, Maine. There, two Quaker pastors from Kenya (themselves excellent, forceful singers) sat with arms flexed out before them, as if each held an invisible beach ball squeezed slowly. They were appraising the vibration of the room, the presence of Holy Spirit moving. This time, the current was plentiful and active. Try it, in public – at a governmental hearing, a poetry reading, a concert or play, a sporting event – and you, too, may observe how the sense of each occasion may differ. Watch a master carpenter or a first-rate baker, as well, to see how hands ponder a task, running ahead of mental comprehension. A musician often seems to hear music through the fingers, as if playing, even when no instrument is present. Perhaps a surgeon does the same with medicine.

These poems celebrate the movement of Spirit perceived through a Third Ear, between the hands. The tactile response. Here’s one:




four fingers and thumb
sometimes, double

into the fire, and out
a pot, a pan, or a skillet

with or without a lid
and its handle

extending to a blade
or straw, depending:

All the wonder of the work at hand
cooking, keeping house,
gardening, splitting wood –

to say nothing of the factory,
farm, boat, or mine –

hunting or warring –

Even basic parts we touch
with each other

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



Just a heads-up for anyone who might want to show up in Amesbury, Massachusetts, tonight. I’m the featured reader at this month’s Prime Time Poets gathering. The open mic starts at 6:30 in the Market Square Bakehouse, 5 Market Square, just a few blocks from John Greenleaf Whittier’s home. And, yes, I’ll be paying homage to Whittier in his more topical, acerbic vein.

Once again, Bryan P.T. Riley has put together a lively slate of reader for the coming months. Here we go!


Those first years out on your own introduce their own drama. Typically, you split an apartment with others who just might also be friends. On that entry-level wage, your address will likely be in a rather marginal neighborhood. And then there’s the life on the street, day and night.

Maybe you move on to something better. Or maybe this simply continues. But it has its own unmistakably funky nature.

For me, it’s found in a few blocks near the Riverside. Stop over when you can. There’s always tea or coffee. We’re up on the third floor.


Riverside 1To see more, click here.


I’ve already written of living along the Susquehanna and being introduced to the trail that wove through a wooded strip between the water and the freeway.

The site included a bridge that stood closed to vehicular traffic and a low dam that once diverted water to power cigar factories along the riverbanks. Only part of the foundations of the mills remained, along with some of the weir, which filled with moody water after a heavy rainfall.

At the time I was living in an inner-city neighborhood – Italian by day, Afro-American by night. The riverside provided a mostly private escape into nature.

It was enough, though, to give rise to poetry. Follow its seasons and flow in my new chapbook by clicking here.

Susquehanna 1


As I said at the time …

To what extent can we break free of prose narrative cloaked in verse form? (What the critic Paul Chowder calls “slow prose.”) Sing and shout! Chant! Evoke incantation! It’s always comforting to know of others who feel the same way! Keep it up! The night is friendly, indeed.


Sometimes, even the galaxy seems to drum along with the crickets.