Saturday, June 21, 2014

the wonder within

how extraordinary 

everyone is far more complex,
and, far more impressive, I’d argue,
than we can know,
however full our understanding seems to be
of each whom we can think we know,

I think of all the twists and turns in my own past,
all the effort, the mistakes, the successes,
the bushwhacking of path after path
through woods sometimes pleasant, 
sometimes seemingly trackless,

even when I think all went well,
sureness seldom hits me in the face,

a sureness of others’ efforts, and of their successes,
is a goal of mine, and I work at it,
but, at best, I only get fragments of glimpses
of the powerful story another lives,

my subconscious two nights ago
eldered me again and again with details
of the life of my wife’s sister, 
whom we recently lost:
her Kentucky roots,
her romantic enthusiasm for the artist,
her complete dedication to her children,
both those of birth and those in the classroom,
I hear student after student remember
how she saw them,
how she cared for them,
how she helped them tap the wonder within,
and I also call up the pixie in her,
the mischievous twinkle she could live,
her enthusiasm for revelation from the mystic,
from the avant-garde, of Blake and Picasso,
plus her clear-headed enthusiastic research
into how an ancestor worked to make the Bible
accessible to the plowman, just as much as to the priest,
a joy in the books and camaraderie of Oxford,

a secret to our becoming better is to become larger,
and sympathy morphing into empathy is the key,
empathy the way to recognize the truth of others’ lives,
and we can thus become larger and better
by more fully understanding--
whether from feeling others’ sorrows, or joys,
or imagining the extraordinary effort 
given to being and to becoming 
at the heart of every life,
there is a wonder within and we need to find it.

by Henry H. Walker
June 19, ’14

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