Monday, July 6, 2009

3 poems of high summer

high summer

it’s hard to get more high summer than the end of June
when sun and rain push leaves to the max,
into the still air thunder periodically echoes off the hills
and thickens time
to remind us that sun and water can mix into storm,
as I sit here by the full creek, some buckeye leaves flutter down,
their orange already burnt with fall,
it always jars me when the world reminds me
that summer vacation is fleeting,
I am a kid again
and I don’t want to give up the dream
of going forth as a child
and every turn having the choice of choosing what opens into wonder,
and instead being forced back into the lockstep nightmare
of a Tennessee public school where frustrated drill sergeants
fever their fears into my reality,

now when summer winds down
I look forward to school as shaped
by what the best in us might envision and implement,

still, when I watch the early leaf fall
I feel loss calling to me to remember
that all that is, is fleeting
on any scale I can know true.

by Henry Walker
June 28, ‘09

take time

as I take time
and suspend its call on me for a while,
I can feel the inner voices grow more distant--
those that admonish with need & task,
the actions that need doing,
and I recognize how easily those voices push out any other word
to stop in the name of rest,

I like to dismiss the inner overseer
who keeps me on task
and who in driving me thus
knocks me off the task of remembering the why
I live my life the way I do,

the grounding in what is beautiful, in what is right,
what it is that calls me that is more basic than the to-do list itself,
for each action is right, and real, and helps bring into being the world I want,
for example: right now I need to go in and stir the apples for the sauce,

at the same time I both need to hold the wonder of this moment
and to give my best to prepare for the moments that will follow,
I want to write this and I don’t want the apples to burn.

by Henry Walker
June 29, ‘09

family union

within us can be story after story
somehow birthed from within our imaginings,
right now, though, I’m feeling the wealth of story within family
that’s so easy to forget or not to notice,

a photo can be a gateway to place, time, event,
a chapter in a person’s life,
a letter, a eulogy, an article in the paper--
each a bookmark that alerts us
that there’s a lot within
if we can find our way to the right pages,

I am nearly as impressed by our ability to forget,
to let time and inattention erase what is written,
as I am impressed by our ability to create and write anew,

I forget much of my own stories,
and I forget even more of what others have told me of their stories,
try as I might to hold them,

I was a history major in college
and I still seek to understand the paths behind us,
and I read science fiction to guess at the paths before us,
I obsess with current events and the struggle to control the current story,

geology intrigues me with its stories of cataclysmic and numbingly small changes
that metamorphose rock and mountain, the very stuff upon which we live,

this weekend we gather to connect our present stories,
to ground ourselves in wood and stream,
to reach back to what we can remember and learn
of the paths we and others have taken,
of the hands of our moments as they write and move on,

we work to read the words
as time and inattention inexorably work at erasing them.

by Henry Walker
July 4, ‘09

1 comment:

Ike Walker said...

These poems are great. I particularly appreciate the parts about forgetting, remembering, and creating anew in "family union".