Monday, September 24, 2012


autumnal equinox ’12   

a quarter moon hovers in the pale blue sky,
a breeze lightly rustles the leaves around me:

most still green as high summer,
though the dogwood’s leaves ache toward rose,
as if its clusters of red seeds
pull the color hiding behind the green,

one lone white fluff of wild seed
floats by in hope of a future,

gourds hang full and heavy from the fence,

and the pumpkins are ready for harvest any time,

the last of the muscadine adorn the vines
 like perfect purple ornaments:

so sweet and so tart at the same time,

like the grape, here we are,
 poised for a moment in balance,
light and night equal,
summer’s heat and winter’s cold both reach for us,

the air stills and the soft light of the lowering sun
slowly lessens the day left to me,

Sun & Earth feel in balance--
more common is to feel one way for awhile
and then another way soon after,
harmony has that of stasis about it,
and living is process, we teeter and totter in change,

today can teach us that extremes can balance, for a moment,

the wind picks up and some maple leaves flutter to the ground,

it’s time to go inside and fry the okra.

by Henry H. Walker
September 21, ’12

Sunday, September 23, 2012

to stay fresh

familiarity can be a callous   

familiarity can be a callous,

I need time away from places I love
so that I can return and feel the place as new,
time and time again,

people who know me some
 guess I will retire to the Smokies,
and that might be true,
I doubt it, though,
for I feel I never want
 to take those mountains for granted,
their music could become but a pleasant background,
I do like to know the tune
but not to hear it enough
to grow tired of it.

by Henry H. Walker
September 14, ’12

Saturday, September 22, 2012

to feel. . .

beware the callous

I celebrate students who feel intensely,
who still remember that a death in a book or a movie
should hurt,

what we lose when a death can be matter-of-fact
is the truth revealed when a death can be a matter of feeling, too,

much of life is a troubled path between extremes,

to feel too much can be debilitating,
to feel too little can also be debilitating,

 a callous can help us keep working
if repetition is what we need,
yet a callous comes between us and the other.

by Henry H. Walker
September 14, ’12

Friday, September 21, 2012

the way in is the way out

unique, and universal   

I teach, or rather, I help students learn,
for, at the heart, I believe a teacher does best
when he, when she, helps a student accept
 the scary gift of his and her own worth,
each of us should realize we know the path forward,
even when we feel most alone
we can be true to the gift the world gives itself
by me being me, by us being us,

by being alone, buffeted by doubt,
we can somehow, sometime,
 transmute ourselves into being the most universal,
for we can then get it that our unique path
can help others appreciate their own unique ways,

we risk,
we doubt,
and if we feel our ignorance
and if we then seek to learn and grow larger,
door upon door, that could be closed, opens.

by Henry H. Walker
September 14, ’12

Thursday, September 20, 2012

reaching toward empathy

the Golden Rule is only one step   

to really know another is hard,

if we’re lucky, we can learn to know ourselves pretty well
and then we can guess at another by imagining him or her as us,
such a leap, though, can block as well as reveal,
the Golden Rule is only one step toward empathy,

richness of understanding rests in how well
we can take other steps and accept we are ignorant
and then it rests in how well can ask that we learn to be larger,

each of us has the infinite within us
yet there are infinities without us,

it is hard to know the infinity within,
it is even harder to know the infinities without.

by Henry H. Walker
September 14, ’12

Monday, September 10, 2012

an enormity within

chisel and release the shape!   

inside each of us is enormity,
an enormity that is much of who we are
an enormity that comes from beyond genes and choice,
it’s powerful possibility that can dazzle
if it can only find the way out,
the way past self-doubt,
past the fear of what others will think,
and past each test we must give it
as to what is most worthy of being revealed,

on one basic level it’s like removing a lid,
yet what’s inside is multitudes,
only some of which should see the light of day,

a rough block comes forth and needs careful chiseling
if it is to reveal a form true to the self within,
true to the selves without,
true to the shape that the world soul calls forth,

all of us seek to move forward,
together in a way that shapes each of us
to the vision true to the best that is the enormity within,

truth can be revealed through anyone
and anyone also can be blinded and lead us astray,

we must work hard to be true to the enormity
that is the best of who we are.

by Henry H. Walker
September 7, ’12

Monday, September 3, 2012

how much we can be. . .

an immensity within the eye

what are we all about at our most basic?
that place where we are most true
 to that within us which is of most worth?

to thrive, physically,
is a great gift,

yet who we are in the physical is as nothing
as to who we are, or really who we can be,
in the reach of our deeper self to the light, and even to the stars,
for we are of such stuff as some of us call the divine,

I see in my students an immensity within their eyes,
a finest quality that is not rare,
save in how tenuous and hesitant it can be
to let itself be released,

I love to photograph my students
and I work to wait to snap the picture
until the eye twinkles,
as the hidden glory within risks a look out,

within each of us is a competition
as lesser selves within push themselves forward
and claim to be us to others, and to our self,

as a teacher I feel a calling
to help the best within the studentfind a true path through the labyrinth,

and, when each can realize who it is, and who it can be,
the learner is released into a power
that only is thwarted if it chooses to go a wrong way.

by Henry H. Walker
August 31, ’12