Thursday, January 31, 2013

the joy of becoming

parts of who I am

just because I turn 65 soon,
and connections of retirement 
and Social Security 
and Medicare pull at me,
being this age is only part of who I am,

what do I feel are larger parts?

I am a teacher
who still hears the call of the young,
and feels enough wisdom to find the voice to answer,

I am a boy
to whom nature calls to explore,
to learn, to glory in a flower, a sunrise,

a lesson in what can come to be
if we can but treasure the becoming,

I am a grandfather
who hopes to be around long enough
for granddaughters and grandson to know me
while they’re well on their way to revealing who they are,

I am a learner
who joys in being incomplete
for then I can wake up in the morning
with a hope to understand more fully
how and why things are.

by Henry H. Walker
January 27, ’13

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

true to the prime directive

groups--a double-edged sword

at each age at which we find ourselves,
there is a temporal part of us that is liable 
to be swayed by others of the same age,
that can be drawn to that fraternity, to that sorority,
and to feel a solidarity
that helps us be who we think we are,

we group kids by their age,
and that grouping has its value,
yet if we own how diverse we know individuals to be,
we should beware every cookie cutter of uniformity,
we should view any grouping as being
both possibly valuable and possibility destructive
of our prime directive
to do no harm
and to help each student 
be as good as each can be,
with true companions on the journey.

by Henry H. Walker
January 27, ’13

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

the limits of the game

rhythms and us

at times, 
what is best is to fit the natural rhythms
and vary what we do
so that we parallel temperature and weather
in where we are and in what we do,
we bow to the natural pattern and then dance with it,

and, at other times, it feels best to be in opposition:
our light and fire kindle bright against the cold dark,

most dangerous is to act without understanding 
the rules of the game our universe plays,

I love children
and my life is serving them 
as parent, teacher, and grandparent,
and I also feel the limits,
the finite reality of resources,

we can divide up the pie differently,
but it’s far easier to make more of us
than it is to enlarge the pie.

by Henry H. Walker
January 26, ’13

Saturday, January 19, 2013

the one, not the other

the power of what we think

“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.”
so says the Dhammapada, quoting the Buddha,

whatever is, isn’t, unless we see that it is so,

at the most basic levels of reality,
at the deepest,
observation itself precipitates reality
from possibility into substance,

Heisenberg shouted of uncertainty
and of how we can only know 
location of an electron, 
or its speed--
never both,

Schrodinger’s cat is dead and alive until we observe:
the dice land,
and it is the one, 
and not the other,

now today I hear
that if we feel the world as positive and fulfilling,
it can be so, it is so,
and, if we expect the tragic,
our scenes are written to make it so,

what we expect the world to be for us
can often, somehow, be the world that is for us.

by Henry H. Walker
January 9, ’13

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

my sons are incredible fathers


every baby deserves parents
who devote the best of themselves
to that exhausting trial-and-error perseverance called

I am regularly in awe of the mother,
within whom the baby is conceived
and through whom the baby comes out into the world,
as substance finding form from her love and care,

I can be in awe of the father
when he commits himself to the care of baby and mother,
when he makes the effort to know the little one
and be there for both physical and holistic needs,

some of the mother can be hardwired toward the parenting,
since only the mother gives birth,
father can be distant, and the child can still be,
what I praise in fatherhood is the volition of the parenting,

there is the hardwiring of how we’re programmed
by the models of parent and culture,
overlaid with the software of our own impulses and choice,
and some degree of action and inaction comes into being,

my sons are incredible fathers
who overlay and override contrary impulses
so that each can unconditionally love,
and, more important, act on that love,
and, even more important, choose well in how to act,

when I watch each son be there, fully,
for each infant and growing child,

I am happy for how lucky the new one is
to have such care, support, and help
to become the best person possible,
that person inherent in the possibilities that opened
as each came into the world.

by Henry H. Walker
January 14, ’13

Sunday, January 13, 2013

a fortnight old and we visit


two weeks old,
and solid, and sure in himself,
long and lank and beautiful, 
easily drifting off into somewhere:
“into dreams?” I ask his dad,
and he questions that
“it’s hard to know what sort of narrative he could have. . .”
to which, his grandmama adds:
“maybe warmth and smell and touch and taste--
the proximity senses,” and then she cautions
“sight and sound are more distant,”
and I would add that any of us not a parent
are as distant as language and linear thinking,
though, for grandmama and me, he centers our universe,

Max curls, almost back to the fetal position,
the breast so almost a part of him 
that he can’t figure why it’s not there at once when he’s hungry,
I love to hold him and marvel at the curves
into which he shapes himself,
the fluttering of his hands as if he’s conducting,
“almost as if he’s playing charades
and we can’t guess what he’s acting out,” his father muses,

Max’s eyes open and move about,
though for now their input for him
 stays as the rawest of data,
contrast seems to draw them,
the sense of one that isn’t the other,
not light or dark itself, 
but where they both are, and meet,

that’s developmentally where he is,
a body new to this world
where both cold and warmth, hunger and food, coexist,
and he is on the path to learn
that the other is outside him,
that who he is is different,
and that much of life is the meeting of one’s self
with all that contrasts with the one.

by his loving grandfather, Henry H. Walker, January 11, ’13

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

who we are

at the heart, remain the same

the universe repeats its lessons
and I get something new as well as old each time,

who we are intrigues me,
at every step of development I sense a wholeness,
and at the next step 
it’s easy to imagine the wholeness
as fuller, or deeper, or surer,

or to imagine the newborn as a blank slate
upon which experience writes,
the four year-old with skills 
of reading and math and socializing--rudimentary,
the seven year-old’s increasing sureness still a work in progress,  

each, though, to me, seems complete in themselves,
and growing-up more revelatory of that completeness
than moving past a partialness,

the middle school kids I teach have been themselves since birth,
and the years can add nuance more than shape,
much of the time what I hope for
is for each to remember themselves
as the child who first goes forth
as inquisitive and joyous and sure,

the changes development can bring can also add weight to carry,
blockages between the trueness of self and the world,

the more things change,
the more who we are at heart should remain the same,

our new grandson, Max, is already who he is,
it excites me to envision his getting to know himself,
and us getting to know him.

by Henry H. Walker
December 30, ’12

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

granddaughters have left

post parting

as much as I miss the folks who’ve spun away,
back into their own whirling worlds,

I also like getting the nest of our house back in order,
things where I want them,
sheets and towels filling the clothes lines,
vacuuming done, 
the refrigerator’s multitudinous containers organized,
and leftovers readied for supper tonight,
envelopes and a box readied for the mail,
I’ve gotten into a first peak at the tomato catalogue,

and its promises of what can come in high summer,

what, though, still pulls tears toward the front of my eyes
is thoughts of our granddaughters:

the four year-old yesterday took a break from the social
to create and play with her own Lego world,

wrapped-up with what and how she could create,
and over whom she was master,
being a younger sibling can involve a lot of reacting,

much of life is as if we’re caught up in a fast-moving stream 
in which we have to react more than act,
like my granddaughter I need a time for control,
soon current after current will grab me

and I’ll love the exhilaration of the ride
 into whatever the future allows,

I’ll get tired again, a good tired.

by Henry H. Walker
December 29, ’12