Friday, May 31, 2013

something great is a-borning?

A New Coming

in the evolution of who we humans are,
it’s relatively easy to see the physical changes
nature has rewarded:
the walking upright,
the opposable thumb,
the larger brain,

what is harder to notice is how our culture evolves,
how we adapt so that what we do can be rewarded
by how well our actions serve a future that can not only include us
but a future in which we thrive,

when our politicians, and those of us who elect them,
choose the self-centered, self-indulgent moment,
the future for our species dims into doubt,
and we can become like the dodo,
a dead end that natural selection takes care of,

our moments, and our future, are on a cusp,
as we decide whether
to give or to take,
whether’s it’s me or it’s us,
do we build or do we take down?
or compete?
is my success to be built on your failure?
a zero sum in which plus and minus equal each other,
or, as with the current tax code,
does the plus for the very few
require the minus for the very many?

on the internet open source and cooperation abound,
and wikipedia shows what we can get from many together,
while in Congress the wealthiest demand an even larger share,
as the spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge dismisses charity of heart, and purse,

I want to be on the side of the work of culture and species
that believes we are better if we act on sharing
rather than to fear scarcity,
for hope creates far more than fear ever can,

something great is pulling itself forward to be born:
let’s help.

by Henry H. Walker
May 29, ’13

Thursday, May 30, 2013

a wild one

a peregrine falcon perch

thunder cracks at me in warning after warning,
so I hurry myself down the trail,
when the rain splatters me enough,
I wrap my camera and long lens in plastic bags,

the rain only feints at us and then moves away,

as I come around a ridge
I hear a complaining assertive call of something,
an irritated squirrel, I think
as I get closer and closer I wonder, and then
I see a peregrine falcon! at the top of a great tree stump,
where the upper trunk had broken away
and left a perfect perch where
it is just calling and calling,

I fumble with camera bag, plastic bags, 
and put the long lens back on,
I snap picture after picture of the falcon,
a wild one whose kin died off,
and this time we had the vision 
to find a way for the falcon to return--

may we have enough vision to share our world even more.

by Henry H. Walker
May 21, ’13

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

getting past the screen

Cliff Top Clarity

clarity can come to us
on this elemental island
that juts above a protected green sea of troughs and ripples,
particularly if we are quiet to words,

for words can distract us away like our electronics,
those screens that pull us into their world,
and literally screen us from open space within and without,

I do love words for they can be my hands
with which I can puzzle out the truths within emotions and thoughts,
and they can be a bridge by which we can connect with the other,

words can also be like junk food
that fill the moment and leave us even emptier after,

words can be a lecture that fills the moments
with semblance of meaning and after also leaves us empty,

for me I seek the primary source of nature herself
and those parts of me that resonate and learn from her,
silence can bring clarity,
when we can empty enough so that we can fill anew,

we leave the mountain top
and yet the mountain top can leave with us,
as we remember beauty and the clarity of what’s real.

by Henry H. Walker
Mar7 22, ’13

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

layer upon layer

of rock, wood, and us


the siltstone rocks on and around the trail
look like phyllo dough,
cut and broken logs reveal
where each year added its memories,

how much are we like that, 
a composite that is still one?

and what can we learn if we study
the layer upon layer within us?

by Henry H. Walker
May 21, ’13

Monday, May 27, 2013

clean energy?

A Bound Stream

a bound stream:

two ways diverge
because our country, in time of great war,
needed power, so it dammed the river
and forced the great bulk of the flow
down 6 mile long tunnels to the new hydroelectric plant,
and left only a small stream to meander down the valley,

on our left, a placid stream barely moves,
all that the dam above allows to remember
of a wild river’s moodiness,

while on our right, the river roars out of those miles-long tunnels,
turns turbines, and then remakes the river,

what price should be paid for clean energy?

by Henry H. Walker
May 20, ’13

into the mountains

getting there

there’s so much between there and here--
all the planning and driving,
the sheer clutter that time and logistics put between us 
and losing ourselves in the beauty of the mountains,

here, Big Creek clearly jostles and tumbles and roars white,

again I am struck by how much constancy of place
can contrast with water’s race to change,

the earth herself pulls the water down
and the water mesmerizes us as it laughingly obeys.

by Henry H. Walker
May 20, ’13

Sunday, May 19, 2013

the best calls

to be seen

I have a gift:
I see kids,

I see and appreciate them
while they’re in the middle of the maelstrom
of event after event that can rock them,
I can see them when they find a moment
to pause, notice, appreciate the moment
and the others around them,

when each is most aware of the world around
each can be most aware of the world within,
what a paradox,
for the world without can also swallow one’s individuality
and make us chameleons,
for the world within can also make us lose ourselves
when, like Narcissus, we find ourselves so central
we actually lose who we are in connection,

at the heart we can feel alone,
yet, if we’re at the heart,
we can present a sure enough surface to the other
that a bond can be real, and can last,

I hope to be real enough, caring enough,
that when I see the kids, they can see me,
and know that I believe in them:
that they can be the best of all within and without that calls to them.

by Henry H. Walker
May 17, ’13

Monday, May 13, 2013

the actors' gift

Our Town lives!

with middle schoolers,
just as with me,
the sublime and the ridiculous
are the two faces of the coin of each moment,
the sacred and the profane both spin
and can manifest at this moment or that,

such mercurial intensity is challenging,

the school year is unwinding to a close
and our worst sides can slip out of us,
we can know no center, only impulse,
so what else do some of us do at this time,
when dissolution calls so strongly to us?

we put on the play, Our Town,
and the kids push the limits of what’s possible 
in understanding and expressing character and story
well enough to risk acting and reacting true and full,
like putting on a costume
each becomes the character
and lives that way life comes at them
and the way they come back at life,

a play is born,
each part alive, growing, 
pushing to be seen and appreciated,
and each feeling the larger fabric come together
as each of their threads connects and holds 
the coming fabric that aches to be,
I look in each of their faces
and I see a wholeness that will be released,

when we watch them on stage building and releasing the story
they hope to know well enough that they can reveal it to us,

we in the audience become better through our knowing the actors’ gift:
the way out to the play becomes the way in to the world 
we know when we are at our best.

by Henry H. Walker
May 8, ’13

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

she's already taken me


on some levels
every story of growing-up is the same,
so a second grandchild gets fewer poetic remarks from me,
though, when she was 2, 
I felt I finally got that glorious challenge truer
than I had with our own kids or with her older sister,

still, when I watch Izzy
gather up all we left on the deck and bring it all in,

when she loses herself in getting a spider drawn right,
a picture of a pumpkin made well,
when she loses herself in games with her older sister,
or in project after project,
today with chalk on the pavement outside,
I am struck anew by the miracles
of a good heart, a good brain, a good self
coming true upon the world,

Izzy can take the world by story:
she’s already taken me.

by Henry H. Walker
May 5, ’13

caught by story

our 8 year old granddaughter

she curls up with a book
and loses herself in it,
captured by character and story:
the magic code of squiggles
that morph into the magic of words
that somehow hold within themselves and their connections
the magic of story, then the story can hold her,
like those eyes of faerie
from which we cannot tear ourselves loose,

she is alone but for book and story,
a child who never likes to be alone,
one who loves people and connection deeply,
so it would seem she’d want to connect
the worlds of her reading with adults--
and she doesn’t--
it’s as if each book is a secret garden for her alone,
and the magic of the story 
might dissolve into pumpkin if talked about,

now at 8 she loves biographies,
maybe because she loves people
and craves knowing what makes them tick,

she has a hunger for knowledge
and quizzes us on trivia of United States presidents,
particularly the earliest,

the world opens before her
and she wants to know it well.

by Henry H. Walker
May 4, ’13

Monday, May 6, 2013

changes of altitude, changes of attitude


the plane roars through the night
and below me millions of people
each circle the stars of their own lives,
and the lights shine forth where they live,
creating lines and circles of patterns
bedecking the land below me
like Christmas lights flattened against the land,

then we find our way to our son’s home,
here at the center of many concentric circles,
the world close, personal,
those here close to me
and thus a center to a world
I feel I can know,

when my view of others is distant,
my heart can feel distant to them, too,
how can I know all those behind the eyes
who flick the lights on, drive the cars,
fall in love, raise the kids,
choose tv shows and politicians?

the selfish gene is ignorant, and can be stupid,
we and ours are not alone,
we are in a lifeboat--
called a city, a state, a country, the world,
beset by storms and finite choices,
and we have to work together,
or the boat will capsize, 
and we will be lost.

by Henry H. Walker
May 4, ’13