Saturday, March 30, 2013

I write to capture

I reach for the shape

as I write,
I feel for a wholeness just beyond what I can see,
a hesitant shape that seems to be there in the fog,

as I venture words in my first reach for it,
and then in the recasting,
something within me judges the adequacy
of what comes to my words
to what comes to my sense of the shape before me,

the constructions, the words, change
to focus on what organizes in the symbiosis
of what already is and what the creative in me
feels to be a newness that can come forward.

by Henry H. Walker
March 29, ’13

equinox and contention

Spring of Conflict

in abstract the Spring Equinox has a balance about it
with daylight and darkness equal:
poised halfway between the Solstices,
looking back to when dark held sway,
looking forward to when light will hold sway,

yet I feel this morning,
as a near full moon sets to the west
and a bright sun rises in the east,
that this time is a contentious duality in conflict with itself,
not a peaceful harmony with all resolved:
the southern hope of bud and seed strain to release their growth
while brisk northern cold dares them to do so,

the frost and the flower fight for the day,
how appropriate that college basketball climaxes at this time
in abrupt teeters and totters as first one, and then the other, is higher,
and two days later contention resumes,

we are drawn to conflict in our stories,
maybe because life itself is organization versus chaos,
the new over the old until the new becomes the old,
spring can have a hard birth as if we’re not ready for the new ones
and our energies can be dormant and easily slip into nap 
and avoidance of what needs to be done,

change can be harsh in feel and action
for what was does not easily wrench itself into what will be,

now, what is, feels torn between stasis and a future so unknown it terrifies,

such moments have the fearful power of creation itself,
of life’s first step from the simplicity of dissolution
to the risk that every cell ventures with its being.

by Henry H. Walker
March ’13

Sunday, March 17, 2013

teacher and student fully present

to be fully engaged

when I am most engaged as a teacher
the world feels right to me,
as who I am finds ways
to release the potential within my abilities,
when I am able to engage so that the wheels of what I say and do
actually connect with and help the gears that help others run,

it can be helping pull off a play 
as the producer and enabler,
it can be a day of science,
it can be any time I find a way
for a book, for writing, for history, for volleyball,
to so engage me and student that I am fully present,
and so are they.

by Henry H. Walker
March 8, ’13

Saturday, March 16, 2013

of Aaron, Isaac, Glenn Murphy, and . . .

power in the father

there’s power in the father,

I see the pride in a picture shared,
the wonder in just the existence of a precious new one,

words can bubble forth like fireworks
that want to reach high enough to touch the heavens they see,
fireworks which flare and fall back
for the sheer miracle of what has come to be
is beyond what we can fully touch.

by Henry H. Walker
March 8, ’13

Sunday, March 10, 2013

of the quest to know

Science Day ’13

this week it’s Science Day!
those who can, find the way here to our school
to share their ways of understanding and acting upon the world,
and, by so doing, create windows
at which students can stand and gaze in wonder 
at what insights are accessible through the discipline of science,
as lived by those whose life is such discovery,

first, we explore the heavens and how space rocks abound,
some finding the way to roar through our atmosphere,

then I watch student after student focus microscope, eye, and soul
upon how questions and technology can reveal wonders
we didn’t even know were there,

on the walls, half of the school has found a way
to each open a window into how things are,
and, through the student’s work, we can appreciate each of them
and the world each seeks to help reveal itself and its truths,
each reveals the scientist within more and more
by acting as a scientist and actually experimenting with the world,

I loved to watch their peers pore over the posters
to get a feel for the power of the question asked the universe,
and the power with which a rigor in procedure can imbue the quest to know,

the workshops kaleidoscope:
a 3D printer, a microscope, a rocket,

the bones of a skeleton,

the insights of an aerial camera,

the revelations of gravity’s work through videoing its effects,

the power of braiding till one has a rope,

the wonder of the eye and the brain, DNA and how to be safe,

possibilities and threats within computer code,

in the afternoon, the senior vet of the N.C. Zoo,
reveals the why and how of doing the best we can
to honor and appreciate the lives of the animals there,

later, take a mousetrap, a ping pong ball, tape, and ingenuity,
and catapult for accuracy and for distance,

at the end of the day we celebrate those young scientists
who were most able to dot all the “i’s” 
and cross all the “t’s” in their experiments,
taking the wild brilliance of insight
and pairing it with the disciplined brilliance of procedure,

today we celebrate the power of the mind
to question well enough to start to know,
and the power of the mind to focus and organize well enough 
to get to a window through which understanding can dawn.

by Henry H. Walker
March 8, ’13

Saturday, March 9, 2013

a father lost too early

to honor the father

who we are today
requires that others lived
and helped carry on the sacred charge
to bring new life into the world
and to charge that new life
to become the best it can become,
how wonderful it is that love and direction
can fill the soul of that of God in a young one,
that which seems to me to be
the reaching for how to shine bright,

I see a young woman, Pagui,
who is alive and true to who she is,
I see her father live in the twinkle of her eyes,
in the easy smile that presents itself upon her face,
in the fullness and glory with which she will be her best,

all of this is a way for her to remember and honor her father,
an extraordinary man I wish I had known,

as Pagui remembers him, in her tears and in her smiles,
she gives him the greatest gift a parent can ever receive,
a child who fully lives the dream
that every parent hopes for those that follow,
that each will find the way to be their best,

we are born to shine bright,
and, thank God, Pagui shines like the sun.

by Henry H. Walker
March 4, ’13

Friday, March 8, 2013

magic from water

the pebble and the flow

down by the creek, with light snow flurrying,
I see rock and rapids and pool as a stage
upon which I have played,
and where water has given a touch of magic
to my children and grandchildren, my students and connections,
all the way to folks I haven’t know were even here,

all these actors still seem to move about,
just shifted away,
like ghosts in the memory,
bubbles of being that pop up
and burst softly away,

my mother found this spot
and secured it with long hours of work over decades,

here where the kid in all of us can play,
where we can play with nature as a friend,
and without the corporate strings that love to make us dance for them,
those toys sold on screen and in stores,
bright and shiny baubles that don’t endure,

a large snowflake on my hand is there and quickly gone,
like the moments I treasure,
and the creek endures,

I love to apprentice myself to nature
and help new generations treasure the pebble and the flow.

by Henry Walker
March 2, ’13

Thursday, March 7, 2013

of turkeys and snow, and . . .

revelation can be soft

sometimes the natural world tells a story I want to hear,
sometimes it punctuates or contradicts my mood,
sometimes I just notice and store up experience
as if I’ve set some automatic “save” feature,

for days, now, the temperature has hovered in the mid to upper 30s,
and snow has showered day in and day out--
only lingering higher up,

at dusk I’ve watched turkeys glide into the high trees,
shift around on the branches,
flap to a new perch,
all in some mix of individual and herd,
like an army unit or police squad
moving in to secure an area,
and then they’re all off to roost,

the next morning, early on, they repeat the pattern
though this time they glide to earth to peckishly feed,

the clouds swallow distance,
and the snow moods the immediate,
only a few flowers risk a bloom
over the few miles I hike,

like the snow,
revelation is soft and simply disappears.

by Henry Walker
March 1, ’13

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I've become the old guy

the present of both past and future

while I wasn’t quite noticing,
I have endured, at least for now,
and I’ve become the old guy,
the one with all the stories
no one much wants to hear,
almost as if it’ll take my death
to make an absence
so that belatedly they’ll want my presence,
that’s how it’s happened for me with older relatives,
by the time I want to learn from them
they aren’t there to teach me,

when you endure
there are a lot of goodbyes to also endure,

I love to remember,
to hear the history that the present remembers
if we but look with the right eye,
listen with the right ear,
I am drawn to the lines of rock walls
where need and art wrote in stone,

to streams whose light chuckle
calls up the sculptor’s deep-throated laugh
at the heart of falling water,

I am drawn to great trees
whose roots and trunk remember much:

a pine tree pioneers upon the land
and follows broom sedge and blackberry
when cornfields are left to fallow,
deciduous trees come next
as oak and maple and poplar crowd out most of the pine,
along the creek this pine endures with buckeye and a beech,
the wind of a winter storm breaks it down,
and its fall forces other trees and us to notice,

pine cones crowd its upper branches
as one last gift to the future,

as winter lurches slowly to spring
flowers will almost leap from the ground,
and in their evanescent freshness thrill whoever finds them,

for me, I cannot understand how one cannot be drawn
to both the past that stretches before us
and to the future that will stretch into the indefinite after us,
and, for me, I will marvel at every flower I find
and at every young person with whom I have the honor to work.

by Henry Walker
February 28, ’13

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

obfuscatory efficiency

the impulse to write

when I am to create a password for a computer program,
I get immediately graded on its obfuscatory efficiency,
it clearly tells me if it’s good at security,

so do I have within me
a program that measures each impulse to write
and only sometimes do I light up most of the bars.

by Henry Walker
February 28, ’13

recreation can be work


I wonder about work:

I tend to call teaching my work,
the job I do that pays the bills
and where my efforts can make a positive difference
in the world, in how well kids I teach
can come into the fullness of the power
within the soul of who they are--
I help pull off a play
within which scores of kids
find a light within them and release it,
and somehow an almost living thing
comes into itself on stage,

the enablers believe and logistics come together,
the actors believe and the story throbs alive,
the audience believes and delights in it all,
so that almost like in alchemy
what could be common transforms into gold,
and each person in the production feels worth
in being a part of what has come to be,

in drama, in reading, in writing, in history, in science,
I have a gift and I can see who is before me,

and, more often than I can see how,
I call the best within them forward,
and something new and wonderful breaks free
of what tries to block it,
to short circuit and deny the power’s productive release,

I think of teaching as a calling, 
a work to which I am drawn
because I hear what can be
if it but has a chance to be born,

teaching as work centers me,
thrills me, focuses me,
and just seems right,

yet the socialness of it all exhausts me,

there’s an introvert within me I push away
while I act out the extrovert,
the one wired to others, connected to connection,

so I have to slip away to the mountains by myself,
here where I am not as much called to do, and more to be,
here where my work is to ground myself in the first stories,
as rock, water, and air build a stage
upon which life does its thing,

I think up here I’m relaxing and recovering,
I question, though, how much what I do here is also work,
a grounding without which I cannot function well,
my work might then be adrift with no sureness
of the calls within and without.

by Henry Walker
February 27, ’13