Wednesday, October 30, 2013

the fire sparks high and holds us

We quest

something deep within us seeks connection:

we can seek a lasting relationship with another,
particularly when in that joining
we become more who we feel ourselves to be,

music draws us
as somehow in the alchemy of instrument and voice
the rightness of the meaning 
inherent in the moment
reaches into our core
and the best of us 
is touched and rejuvenated,

food draws us, like music and friends,
to share a meal that can celebrate connection,
as we savor sustenance, the senses, and the ones around us,

we invite friends to an evening
of good food, great music, and awesome potential
for finding  others with whom we can build relationship,

when the band shares their genius,
and the fire sparks high and hold us in circles around it,
I feel the rightness that should always accompany us
on the quest we call this life.

by Henry H. Walker
October 27, ’13

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Howard Gardner and his insights

different strokes for different folks

we share air and space within the world,
yet how the world expresses itself to us
can be in a language that often isn’t even of words,
and, if in words, the structures vary enough to thwart sureness,

I live for words, and, as in this poem,
they are the tools I hope to use to discover and reveal meaning,

I am also drawn to math and its awful clarity,
the structure of relationships that seems abstract
and can feel as if it’s how God underpins everything
with the skeletal framework before and below
the soft sureness of what we see,

and how does an artist, a musician, an athlete perceive the world?
imagine subtleties of color and shape, of nuance and rightness,
of beat and melody, of rightness and discordance,
of movement as one lives life as action:
all such languages reveal what cannot be open fully 
to any without the right key,

add to all that how brain chemistry, upbringing, and choices

can sort the world’s possibilities
and orient us in how depressed or hopeful 
our take on the moment can be,

our soul strives to know the world, 
yet how and what it knows
shapes what the world is to us
and who we know ourselves to be within that shaping.

by Henry H. Walker
October 18, ’13
images courtesy of Google Images

Saturday, October 12, 2013

the tablet of the self

tabula rasa

I am in wonder
as each person
learns to write upon the tablet of the self,

at how, by middle school,
much of structure is already there:
formatted, ready to move forward
with more and more elaborate
exposés of thought and feeling,
of responsiveness and will,

my wife teaches 6 and 7 year olds
who have more of a blank slate before them
than do my students,
as in any journey, those first steps presage success, or not,
and a young person who starts the journey well
can more easily handle the challenge of the age
when I companion in the journey
than those with glitches in hardware and software,

I feel awe when I imagine the effort of each step before
that has helped the students in front of me
ready themselves to write true upon each tablet of the self.

by Henry H. Walker
October 2, ’13


to notice, and appreciate

I write--
sometimes with finger and pen and paper,
and more often with the way I act upon the world,
with the words I use to notice another,
to appreciate another,
to feel for how this moment came to be for them
and for the hope that suffuses them
with how the next moments might be,

I live for connections,

I feel the loneliness 
that can seem to be wrapped around
the way we move through the world,
as if we’re in a trackless wood,
and no one sees us,
and, no matter how hard we run,
we fear the way we go,

at my heart I want to be there for the other,
so that each can be even more sure
that the path each writes upon the world
is noticed and worth the effort
each moment demands.

by Henry H. Walker
October 11, ’13

Saturday, October 5, 2013

a 99th birthday!

My Special Uncle Bus

to give oneself completely to the moment
to the other, to one’s self--

that is Uncle Bus:

a natural force
that sees the world clear
and shapes it sure
to a vision of what it can be,
and his solutions feel so right
he is sure of the truth,
like he is sure of the unconditional love 
he gives so freely,

so genial, a twinkle to his eye,
a loving to connect with others
and to build himself part on
who he knows,  and touches,

the individuality, memory, and beauty of wood
revealed on his lathes as treasures
from their own essence and his vision:
“to everything turn, turn. . .”
and a time for their “purpose under heaven,”
he the instrument for their revelation,
him as agent for memory,

his beloved Margaret, she who completed him,
and they found each other in a bond
that even the Second World War 
could not deny for long,
from Tokyo Bay in the fall of 1945
Glenn found the way home
and Margaret and he wed soon after his return,
their love so like a whole
that can not be apart
until flesh itself can hold no longer,

and from their union three wonderful children
who with the strength of their gifts
and the power of their love
make a difference in all they touch,
ripples of the wholeness
Glenn and Margaret lived with every breath,

Glenn an engineer who sees the world
as logical, rational,
with rules to learn and follow,
the sureness of measurement and structure,
the named, the encountered, the understood,
working for T.V.A. and keeping 
our dams and power right,
organizing the garden to produce bounty,
making rolling pins, cabinets, tables, 
Christmas ornaments,
whatever needs doing 
for whoever he knows and loves,
find a need and he has a solution:
how to cut finger rolls, pour apples, open jars, sharpen scalpels,
how things work a passion,

his faith strong and sure
for here is the explanation for the world
and here are the rules by which to live
so that the spirit underlying us all can be revealed and expressed,

the apple pie, the story, 
the family, the church, 
 “the least of these my brethren,”
central to his core,

a life of love and giving
and revealing every gift that God has given him
and the world is that much better 
for how well he lives.
Happy 99th birthday, Uncle Bus!
with love, from nephew Henry Walker

October, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

metaphor for US?

to be as a curry

from many, one--
as somehow, some way
people from all over the world,
each unique individuals,
add back story of variegated culture and self 
and make a whole,

what metaphor can best hold that process, 
at its best, of merging into unity as a country
of becoming one entity made up from plural selves?

maybe melting-pot, 
a traditional view that we are as metal melted,
and we each become as the other,
our differences swallowed in our similarity?

a friend has argued that tossed salad works for him,
each part fully distinct, and still it’s a whole,

another friend argues for a quilt,
each square distinct yet part of the larger,
a Chinatown within a large city,

I’ve argued for stew,
each part distinguishable
while still giving up its edges for the larger whole,

this week I hear of a chef from India
who presents curry as a mix of many,
in which the textures, the spices, the individual essences
blend into a distinctive whole,
with the unique power of each part
alive and well in a whole that can be magnificent,
balanced, and with a sauce that connects and harmonizes it all,

may we as a country be as a curry.

by Henry H. Walker
September 27, ’13
image courtesy of google images

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

the cusp of leap and fall

my humerus isn’t humorous

my foot catches on a root:
my body pivots
and I have no control
as I slam my shoulder into the bank before me,
a bone in my upper left arm cracks . . .

hours of doctors’ offices and x-rays,
it’s a simple fracture, no need for a cast,
an immobilizing sling to keep my sleep self
from hurting the alignment,

as long as I sit, or lie back, no pain,
when I get up, and move,
soft tissues shift,
and pains radiate down my arm:
at times quivering wrist and hand,
the simplest actions require enough effort
to make me pause before I shift or move,
anticipation of discomforting pain 
makes me pause like Prufrock,
and see if I dare even the simplest motion,

the universe and I are determined
that I will learn to appreciate every moment,
that I will appreciate every cusp
that might lead to dissolution, or not,
that each and every moment that the dice fall in my favor
deserves wonder and appreciation,

the fall is always there beside the leap.

by Henry H. Walker
September 29, ’13