Thursday, October 28, 2010

CFS could use a donation. . .

The Arts & Creation

the arts are who we are at our best:

for with the arts
that within us takes a risk
and brings forth something new,
something born out of that which imagines,
which sees what is not yet
and calls it forth into being,

I know the imaginer best in writing
when the story, the poem,
seems to spring full-blown from the head, the heart,

I know next best the visioner in photography,
when the photo reveals itself
within the infinity of possibilities before me,

the creator who draws,
who paints,
who sings,
who makes music,
who dances,
who acts. . .
each releases the imaginer within,
and the world is reborn with each new release of the touch of creation.

by Henry Walker
October 25, ’10

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

a need to be seen

the play can be the thing

everyone of us, I feel, wants to be seen,
and, when seen, appreciated as a gift,
a gift chance and will allow to be given,
and a presentation that can please the audience before us:
the essence of who we are then worth notice,
worth our breaths, who we are
worth a turn in the light,

I find it hard to believe that anything I do in teaching
is more important than seeing true the student,
liking what I see,
and letting the student know my belief
in the power and wonder of who each is,

I seek to create showcases, opportunities, venues
for the light within to find a way past the shutters
that so easily drop and interpose,
for the light to shine bright,
whether it be in writing, discussion, project, sport,
whatever path I can help the student find
to release that which is one’s best before us,

now it’s time for me, for us, to move forward with a play,
and in the process of visioning, auditioning, picking, rehearsing, performing,
many of us can find a path to the light
and what lives on the stage within the spotlight
will shine bright, mostly because that within will be a’blaze!

by Henry Walker
October 18, ’10

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

kids in the woods

remember: you do know the language

she looked at my kids, piling into the van,
looked at me: “you’re a brave man,” she offered,

whereas my take is that I mostly say “yes” to my inclinations,
and release how heart and intuition lead me to act,
in some ways it might be braver to defy the calling,
certainly not as right, though, and destructive in its bravery,

I work to allow myself to be constructive, to be a guide
who opens a door for young people
who finds the paths to help them along
to learn a new language,
that they’re born to know,
but that gets obscured
by the whispering and blathering of our culture,

whereas the universe speaks subtly in atom and spirit,

I seek to know and help the young to remember they can hear
a miracle speak in a seed,

magic laugh in a waterfall,

a bird and a bear captivate us with story,
and to know again the rightness they can feel
in the midst of nature unbridled,

I joy when any of us relearns the first language
and hears again the music sung by life, truth, light,
above the rhythm that matter itself establishes for us,

we are given the grace
to hope to know it all.

by Henry Walker
October 9, ’10

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

more of Henry than you might want to read

I squirm away until . . .

I have always squirmed away from being under another’s control,
the contrarian in me feels the flow, and goes against it:

as a kid I’d wander from the yard
as I’d follow my own whims,
surprising my mother since my brothers hadn’t wandered,
there’s video of me at two:
my mother, my brother hold my hand--
I go along for a few steps, sit down,
and then, free of the guiding hand,
I toddle off in a new direction
I seemed to choose in reaction to the other’s way,

later in school I remember that my intellect and love of learning
led to a different kind of distance from others,
as I didn’t want to be just like my peers,
I don’t know any other 7th grader
who got a Newsweek subscription for himself,

as years went on, I found more ways not to go with the swarm,
to pull from the crowd and its way:
I could give a speech well and that made me stand out, stand in front,
lead the crowd in my own way,
I won contest after contest,
as long as the judges valued Atticus Finch more than a revival preacher,

I pulled the crowd to me and
rose to the top as president of my high school sophomore class,
surprising them and winning the day with self-deprecating humor,
I had a victory lap my junior year,
and the people chose another way than mine my senior year,

in high school people often noticed I didn’t fit in
and so assumed I must be a leader and worth following,
in clubs, a teen board, a science academy, and in dating,
still, leadership can also be a trap,
inside I felt enclosed by shell after shell
which took its time letting me break free,

I escaped from the arms of the familiar
and left the state for the best college I could get into,
where I found more who were going ways I wanted to go,
who also loved the challenge
of thinking and caring deep and hard,
though I found it hard to believe how many
settled for the familiar and the easy,
and, once again, I did feel contrary to them,
that first year in college
I joined the Symposium Committee
where we worked to celebrate thinking deep and hard,
and that same freshman year I joined a fraternity,
where we played and exuberantly enjoyed life,
the same night I joined my fraternity
I sought out a friend no fraternity chose
so I chose to be with him when others didn’t,
each time I found myself going one direction
I went another way, too,

the currents in my heart led me
to oppose the Vietnam War,
to support unionizing nonacademic employees,
and, in consequence, to have to do pushups
when a fraternity brother disapproved while I was still a pledge,
he sought, in vain, to control my direction,

in college I had to work to pay a share of the bills,
so in the summer I experimented with different direction after direction:
working in the mountains on construction,
for minimum wage and maximum effort,
helping Lyndon Johnson and the Office of Economic Opportunity
to organize communities in my home city,
pushing myself physically and psychically
on the proving ground of Outward Bound,
and there I found the educator within, like my parents,
but I found him in my own way, at my own time,
I wandered, and then came home,

I like best-all-around, the Renaissance Man,
so I’ve never wanted to be defined by only one way of being:
science pulled at me in high school
so I gave it a focus,
history pulled at me in college
so I gave it a major,
English pulled at me in graduate school
so I grounded myself in literature,
they all pulled, and still pull at me, at the same time,
I answer each calling,
while I also take each of the others’ call,
how can I do other than multi-task these suitors?
the universe can never be held
yet it can be appreciated better and better
if I know it more and more widely and fully,

Most important to me,
in college I fall in love,
I am not in control any longer,
and, despite my fears, she gives herself to me
as fully as I give myself to her,
to be who I am with her is who I want to be,

I still follow my own ways
that pull me wherever my head and heart want to go,
but in my deepest self I am home when I’m with my love.

by Henry Walker
October 1, ’10

Saturday, October 2, 2010

aging & me

the other side of the mountain

the year turns--
I age--
and the best I fear can be is that I will plateau awhile
before slipping down surer & surer,
and I’ll hope that the slope of diminishment is gradual,

and still I am driven to deny such a dusk is upon me,
I grant that disease and accident might well be ready to find me,
as each dark guide finds so many I know, so many I love,
I deny that dark guide its fulsome power over me now:
while my body, my tools, do follow that guide,
inside the resistance still thrives,
pattern after pattern seem clearer to me now,
and my hope is that the same years
that subtract physically
can also add mentally, psychically,

I hope for wisdom,
though I know to fear the senior moment ascendant,

my body heads over the hill,
while my soul glories
in what continues to be revealed
to my spirit through my heart,
my heart which still feels itself at the top of the mountain,
with revelation upon revelation
continuing to reveal itself
to the me I want to be.

by Henry Walker
September 27, ’10