Wednesday, June 17, 2009

mid June in the Smokies!

Just back from the Smokies. Wrote some, some about writing, some about actual experiences in the Smokies. Enjoy!

a poem has two masters

in the juggling that writing a poem entails,
the writer has two actions to release and catch at the same time,

first is to write real--
to be specific as to one’s actual experience--
thoughts, feelings, place & event,
centered by the authentic,

second is to choose a filter,
an organizing principle,
to cull out from the real what is also right
for this particular take on this particular part of it all,
the creative touch upon the heart,

I also take pictures
and I like each to be real,
yet when I add my own choices
of what, when, where, and how,
I have taken what is real
and added just enough of me
so that I can sometimes release
much of what was only potential before,
at least for a time,
but a time is all each of us has.

by Henry Walker
June 15, ‘09

just desserts

to me the mountains are like dessert:
they don’t mean as much
unless I haven’t had ‘em for awhile,
the first taste is amazing,
and, unfortunately,
it’s too easy for a treat to become common,

I love for my consciousness
to open onto the world
as if both the world and I awake to the first morning,

we need to earn the sweet.

by Henry Walker
June 13, ‘09

slapped awake

the calendar gives only some openings
and weather and fortune often like
to restrict the possibilities even more,

today we get an early start on the road,
we check the sky for what it will allow,
and, as we approach the mountains midday, it looks hopeful,
we turn off the interstate and climb up to the ridge line,
park the car, lather on the sunscreen, grab the camera,
and hike straight up the rolling meadows of Max Patch,

the beauty of the moment,
the beauty of the view,
the beauty of the wildflowers,
almost slap us with their immediacy,
their gratuitous glory only slumbers if we are not here, asleep,
and, when they slap us, they and we both awake,

at our feet is a sky of yellow buttercups
with clouds of white yarrow,
we lift our eyes to the abruptness of mountains rising,
near and far,
clear and hazing into distance,
their substance solid and real
as if frame to the painting of the flowers,
or maybe the flowers frame them,

I love how the ephemeral contrasts with the lasting,
the rock and its age-old shaping gives a platform
upon which our friends, the flowers,
strut their stuff for a few days,

just above the high ridges the clouds flatten into a darkening grey
and tower white up and up,
whipped to reveal what that which was within them can become,

just below the meadowed top a light forest has been allowed to succeed,
and we find the absurd beauty of a flame azalea,

who slaps us hard with how extreme a flower can manifest in beauty,
its orange and red, voluptuous,
nearby a laurel stands at the ready
to release itself in just as magnificent a flowering,
though subtler in its shadings,

today we have received a gift
and I hope I can stay awake and alert long enough
to appreciate what can be waiting around every turn of the path
for the next few days calendar and all allow us to be up here.

by Henry Walker
June 13, ‘09

mist & sun dance

today the mist and the sun dance with each other,

when the grey one leads

these are misty mountains,
with everything still and all blurred together,
only the shading varies,
and every step up the mountain is hardwon
as if the dreamy world without prefers stasis over change,

when the bright one leads,
the world awakens,
the mood lightens,
shafts of sunlight knife through the trees
and connect ground to sky,
the yellow within the green awakens,
as does the individuality of leaf & rock & moment,

the wind kicks up as if the music speeds up to match the mood,

the lead shifts again, and again, and again,

galax and laurel are like debutantes

presented to the world, perfect in their first flowering,

while the high rhododendron drops off bloom after bloom to the
though the flowers still on the bush
have enough left for the bees to court them,

we’re at the tail-end of spring,
which has a full week till the sky calls it summer,
how magnificent it is today
to climb up to the high rocks where Earth meets Sky,

and the mist and the sun dance
to let the best of itself and of the other
whirl before us for our wonder.

by Henry Walker
June 14, ‘09


Bill said...

Very nice Henry, as I work away in the lab I particularly appreciated your thoughts on dessert. I'm ready for it.

Rebecca Ann said...

the "desserts" poem is so true--how easy it is to become jaded by beautiful and wonderful things we have unfettered access to. Great job, Henny Penny!