Tuesday, September 13, 2011

electricity through the wire?

music as power

when I listen to music
I can feel undone
as power spells through instrument & voice,
and a perfect virtuosity
grabs all of me,
from my depths to my surface,

I wonder at the performer
through which glory flows,
I wonder how much each feels the power
and how much possession of such a gift
just feels right, natural,
the gift given that burns me
might just be natural to the giver
and the singer might be unchanged,
like a wire through which electricity has raced,

when I express what is true and natural
to me in words guided by the heart
it can affect others more than I hope to have given,
while what I do doesn’t seem that hard to me,
I can be shaken when I realize
that what flowed through me
had power beyond any gift
for which I can find a way to take credit.

by Henry H. Walker
September 8, ’11

Saturday, September 10, 2011

may they be unbroken

circles can break

what am I about?
when I drop down below all my pretense,
all my busy work of doing all I do,
all the stuff & fluff with which I distract myself,
I touch the chasm into which I can drop into sorrow,
the chasm out of which the power can quake me,
as I live for moments in the truth of aweing reality,

we can trick ourselves that all is tranquil,
yet we play with fire, we work with fire, we can be the fire,
I follow the fires I can barely though truly touch,
and which draw me as a moth to a flame,

what I want to do, what I want to do most surely,
is help every circle the fire can weave to be unbroken:
every student I teach,
every person I can realize I love,
every thing I can do with my gifts
of words, insight, pictures, work,
every connection, whether in family, friend,
or the larger & larger culture,

with my life I labor to make the circles be unbroken.

by Henry H. Walker
September 7, ’11

Friday, September 2, 2011

to hear the calling, to see the self

A calling, but in the abstract

how wonderful and scary it is to feel a calling,
for a “calling” gives direction and purpose, meaning,
and it also gives a charge to which to rise,
a daunting challenge which requires much,
and self-doubt easily rules us,

at my best, I can only begin to see the fullness of who a student is,
let alone the fullness of who a student can be,

as I ready myself for a teaching year,
I feel a step removed from the charge,
for each student is not yet again flesh-and-blood to me,

I plan in the abstract,
those true worlds more of the intellect than of the heart,

once a student is real and before me,
my plans both ground themselves in the person before me
and in what, to me, seems that of God behind their eyes,

I await the revelation, the energizing power
that the concrete gives to the abstract.

by Henry H. Walker
August 27, ’11

into the eyes before me

I look into the eyes of our middle school students
the first day of our school year
and I imagine the self--
anxious, hopeful,
feeling alone yet ready for a friend,

feeling unique and ready for individuality to be prized,

each tentative about the risk of a leap forward,
for a stumble can open up the chance of a fall,

so much of the best of who we are
needs the nurture of love from self and community
to reveal itself and become all it can be,

at its best a school is a garden
within which the stasis of the seed
opens up into growth that feels
of miracles coming forth into the light.

by Henry H. Walker
August 30, ’11

the throttle & the brake

as I sit here among 150 middle school students,

I feel my feelings bubble up into my eyes,
more power than I can easily handle,

in some ways it’s how the students around me are:
empowered with great forces
yet daunted by how difficult the skills
to handle such power well,

how tricky it is when the pedal puts itself to the floor
and you still have to steer,
I understand why so many of us
learn to put on the brakes so often, so fully,
for it’s scary when feelings, hopes, fears,
possibilities well up within,

with adults I fear for how many ride the brake too much
while the pedal is still to the floor,

with middle schoolers the ride can be amazing
as each careens forward with the power within,
and each can get to brilliance,
as long as dead ends don’t stop the movement forward long.

by Henry H. Walker
September 1, ’11

venturing forth

when I take a picture of a young person
I wait to snap it till the extraordinary person within
takes the risk to glance out,
and the face animates with the soul,

in teaching it’s that same venturing forth that I hope for
in comment, in writing, in art, in dance, onstage,
and we are all carried along in the quest for rightness,

imagine how hard such risks are for all of us,
how unsure the paths and our own navigator,
imagine further to be on the spectrum we label autism
where it’s so easy to feel as stranger in a strange land,

I connected again today with such a student
and the power of his will and heart undid me
as he sought me out to connect for a bit,
in my belief in him and in his belief in us
his path forward might be a little easier,

and thus it should be for all students,
that each believes in self and feels the support
of teacher after teacher who can walk alongside for awhile.

by Henry H. Walker
September 2, ’11