Monday, September 29, 2014

the attitude cometh

adolescence can be a grumpy roommate

I can feel a bit sad
when developmental reality
catches hold for awhile,
and joy in the moment
morphs into tired attitude,

it’s like the wonderful person still there
gets a grumpy roommate,
and it takes awhile for equilibrium to reassert,

afterwards, joy can be even more real and deep,
for the darker potential in the moment can be noticed,
and yet still be denied the power to rule the self.

by Henry H. Walker
September 28, ’14

working the crowd

Max at 21 Months

piles of thickly squarish, friendly books,
chockfull of simply perfect pictures
and clear words,
his focus drawn to a hat, a character, an action,
a book draws him to pick it up, 
consider it as a friend,
put it down and then repeat the considering
for another and another,
his piles of friends grow
like diary entries in a journal,
sometimes premonitions from the future infuse him
and he finds a best friend
and gives his full attention to it,

often, though, he needs a second look
to hold and leaf through
while a parent reads to him from a first book,

for now the world is an adventure,
like a buffet of appetizers,
and Max joyfully moves from this treat to another,
not yet ready to settle into sustained focus
on a story that enwraps him, a game that holds him,

we go to a playground and he watches, he dabbles,
he gets on a rocking horse, and is off before
I can bring my camera to bear,

I verbally and physically pattern with him
for alert notice and reaction is where he is now,

even when he feels contrary, his heart isn’t fully into disobeying,
and you can watch him push limits,
notice the edge, visit it, and then move back
into what parents let him know is the way to be,

for now Max is working the crowd.

by Henry H. Walker
September 26, ’14

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

what dreams may come

dark currents roil

we are awake,
and we are asleep,

while we live in our conscious world
we can imagine we’re in control,
all rational and positive,
our better angels in charge,

yet when we drift off
that which we hoped to deny, can surface,
dreams morph into nightmare,
and we can awake in the stillness
and wonder what darkness and doubt
need to be noticed,

my conscious self is graced with a basic joy,
the conditions of my life feel so lucky:
health, home, food,
a partner who amazes me with her self,
a job I feel to be a calling,
as I continue to find how to be there for my students,

yet just underneath that sun-graced surface
roil dark currents of sorrow and loss,
currents I need to own, and to own fully,
I need to cry, to cry with abandon,
otherwise, I cannot truly feel the sun on the surface,

joy needs to know sorrow,
to be in the depths allows us 
to then also be able to reach to the stars.

by Henry H. Walker
September 16, ’14

Monday, September 15, 2014

a loss, and our dealing with it

bandages on a wound

each child flits back and forth
amongst the chiseled markers 
and sandy mounds of orange dirt,
each in search of small stones
with which to top each marker
where lie family who have passed on,
a concrete way to remember, and honor,

a way to ride the great currents of feeling
that we adults ride with words and melody and tears,
and, to be honest, avoidance,

the grave before us will also call each of us,
probably sooner than we’d wish,
the finality of the coffin below
and the spadefuls of dirt we help to return deep into the earth
work on us, while our words cover our hurt,
like bandages on a wound we don’t want to see.

by Henry H. Walker
September 11, ’14

Sunday, September 14, 2014

CFS at 50!

the work of a Friends school

the first charge of a Friends school
should be to see and appreciate each child as unique,
and each as a treasured expression of how
that of God meets that of the world,

the second charge of a Friends school
should be to help community be born,
to help each find and appreciate the other,
so that each finds a way to connect and become larger,

who we are together tunes us
to find and like who we are,
both in solo and in chorus,

and thus a power is released
with which the world can renew.

by Henry H. Walker
September 13, ’14

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

we have lost a good man

Mark Levick

life can be like a forge
that tests our mettle,
and, if we respond well,
the metal of our being becomes stronger
and shapes to fit the needs within and around us,
at our best we should become better and better with age,

Mark did so
in the purity of his purpose,
in the goodness of his heart,
and in his resolute fortitude to be positive,
that purity imbued him and his love of Barbara,
the children, and grandchildren,

there’s almost wizardry in how well his mind worked
to understand and work with the intricacies of contracts and leases,
his work vital to companies’ success,
such as Home Depot whose expansion prospered with his help,

the solid sureness of his partnership with Barbara was a joy to behold,
the grandchildren we share have brought joy to all of us,

Mark was alive with humor, with purpose,
with the pure clarity of a metal well-forged. 

by Henry H. Walker
August 8, ’14

Sunday, September 7, 2014

in the trenches

the action in creation

in poetry I seek to see meaning
within what life is all about,
a way to shake myself from the slumber
that can enfold awareness with routine,

now that the school year has started,
it’s harder for me to sit back, to contemplate,
to be as on a mountain top and see how all is a whole,

rather, now my effort at the creative impulse
reaches to understand each student, how to care for each,
how to find a way to help each realize the worth within
and find the ways to release the power of that worth,

I seek to know what to do in class,
how to respond to words,or lack of words, from my students,
to writings, to tests,
to questions of how well our plans work as a school
so that we are there and right for our students,

I write this poem as a way to realize
that creation itself is action
and only later is there space for reflection.

by Henry H. Walker
September 6, ’14