Monday, November 18, 2013

a grandson, grounded in himself

Max, almost 11 months old

Max is grounded in himself,
there is a solidity about him
that you can feel when you hold him,
that you can see when he enters a room
and new people are there,
he anchors himself in his parent’s arms
and looks steadily at each of us,
with both caution and intensity to his gaze:
extraordinarily alert, observant,

and when we are soft and subtle and fit into his world,
he readily smiles at our “peek-a-boo”s
and is ready to meet us at least halfway--
a sweet-tempered nature to him that easily smiles, easily laughs,
and, when he’s frustrated and crying,
he seems almost apologetic for being so
and ready to move on with a distraction,
with a reordering of his attitude,

we echo the sounds he makes, 
so he notices,
thinks about it,
and repeats the noise or makes a new one,

after awhile we can offer our arms
and he can choose to be picked-up,
and, when he allows it, both of us feel right for a time,

on the floor with him, we’re in his world,
he will softly touch his grandmother’s hand,
and look up to her,
all in a way that tells her
he feels they are connected,

a solidity to his legs replaces 
the artful curved thinness of his first months
when each limb could fold up and tuck into his body,
his legs have differentiated from his arms
and serve as tools to hold and propel him upright and adventuring,
while with his arms he touches and manipulates the objects of his world,

parallel to the development of his legs is a solidity to his personality
as options are exercised and a sureness of self reaches from him,
we watch him explore, test limits, exercise hand and sound
and use his mouth of explore what he can around him,

he finds a pattern of movement and action around the room,
and repeats, and varies it,

this day he finds a corner 
near the door and a “babyproofed” console,
edges himself back into it,
and cackles with glee as he looks out at us,
he ventures forth and quickly returns, 
very pleased with himself,

how wonderful it must be to be so fully in a moment
and to find that moment so joyous.

by Henry H. Walker
November 15-16, ’13

Thursday, November 14, 2013

our screen consciousness

the ephemeral world of the screen

there must be consequences to how we use our mind,
to how and where we focus our attention:

nature and the physical universe draw me
so that I can know the womb out of which we are born,

meditation draws me so that I can ground myself
and be less like the flitting eyes of a paranoid bird,

I wonder what our screens do to us?
those two dimensional worlds which serve as portal
to others, to knowledge, to the realness of the virtual,

our commitment to hardware and software, only temporary,
for our relationships with a computer, a phone, a platform
are abruptly subject to change,
to an itch that certainly can’t make it 7 years,
maybe 7 months before we hope for the new,

I do not even want to wait a few seconds on the computer
for windows to open,

what does it do to us to be so yoked
to the ephemeral world of the screen?

by Henry H. Walker
November 9, ’13
images courtesy of Google Images

a gift that calls me

to see a person. . .

I do not know. . .
I cannot understand. . .

I can ride a power
over which I have only a touch of control,
and somehow, 
through a gift of vision that can sometimes scare me,
mists can clear
and I can see a person, close to the truth of self,
and I can sometimes find words 
that roughly build toward what I see,

I seem to get a person best
when persona and self are in harmony,
and that beautiful person behind the eyes
allows himself, herself to be seen.

by Henry H. Walker
November 11, ’13

Sunday, November 10, 2013

a pendant reaches across the millennia

a touch of the shaping

as I cross to our outbuilding to put something in?
take something out? I can’t remember,
my eye catches a hint of form,
the form echoes a piece of wood 
that swivels around a nail,
a common trick to hold a door closed, 
or release it to open,

I pick it up with mild interest,
I like to appreciate the natural world and its patterns
and to appreciate finding what shapes don’t fit in,
I feel human touch in a path, the placing of rocks,
bits of metal, glass, ceramic on the land,
any fragments of earlier stories
that, like the memories of the Library at Alexandria,
remind us that today was preceded by yesterdays,
each full of purpose and effort
that draw us but which we can touch 
no more than to hold a ghost,

in my hand an artifact reveals itself, 
a gray flat-backed shaped piece of soapstone,
in the basic form of a native spearpoint,
blunted off at the end,
a perfectly formed round hole right in the middle,
a carved indented neck so that leather string can hold it
as it could lie against the bosom to adorn, to protect, to remember?

I imagine the long, long years this pendant
rests atop sandy topsoil above piedmont clay,
here on this hill that first found a modern house half a century ago,
here where I’ve found spearpoints that reach toward
the first times humans found and appreciated
how the world could hold them here for a time,

I ache to know the man or woman who stood here with this pendant
and I ache to know what it meant for him, for her,

a local expert at the state university writes that they have never seen its like
in all the painstakingly recovered, preserved, 
and catalogued artifacts from the last 10,000 or so years,
my best guess is that around 8000 years ago 
the pendant was made, worn, and lost,

I honor the maker,
the craftsman, the artist,
and I seek for him,
I think he still lives in how he was able 
to take his vision and write in stone what mattered to his soul,
and who now speaks to me through the pendant that still is,
and that lies in my hand, in my heart, and in my soul.

by Henry H. Walker
November 3, ’13

Friday, November 8, 2013

a clarity, and a purity


some lives have a clarity about them:
a purity of the sound they strike
with every beat of their heart,
with every choice of their words,
with the touch of every action they venture forth,

Barty was as pure an example of goodness
as any of us could ever hope to be,

he was blessed with a powerful intellect
and an even more powerful heart,

who he was drew out the best in any around him,
and the wholeness of his union with Suetta
rang clear and loud for all to hear,
and drew amazing children from out of the ether
to even more fully complete who he knew himself to be,

in his last years the clarity of sound and mind
felt the damper of Alzheimer’s,
as the tools of understanding and connection
from him,

yet inside he was still the same wonder,

how extraordinary that his last breaths were with his family
and the music of the songs they sang together,
the lullaby he sang for his children returned to him,
and he softly passed.

by Henry H. Walker
November 8, ’13

Sunday, November 3, 2013

my superego

the price to be paid?

at the heart of my psyche
I fear the bill coming due,
I sense the price that must be paid
for everything that goes right,
the belly weight that must come after the dessert,
the work that must come after the play,
the comeuppance that must come after too much going right,

I wonder if when death comes a-knockin’
I will ask, “What took you so long?”

by Henry H. Walker
October 13, ’13