Friday, January 30, 2015

homogeneity can be false

God blesses many paths

we can seek comfort in others we feel to be just like us
and that we are the ones with the real and true answer,
we kid ourselves that we center into meaning
when we dismiss the different as not us, 
too different, 
when we believe that only those 
who reflect the smallness that we see in ourselves
somehow make us larger by agreeing with what's so,

I despair when I hear some I love
testify that the only way to Heaven
is through the manifestation of the Divine
that has spoken clearly to them,

for me I seek commonality within diversity,

God is at the top of a mountain
and our path can lead us upwards toward the Godhead,
yet we are better when we realize
other paths can be equally blessed by God.

by Henry H. Walker
January 23, ’15

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

the psyche's immune system


as my psyche is buffeted by event, by loss, by doubt,
my defenses seem to whirl away in the buffeting:
holes appear in my sureness,
and an anxiousness grabs at me,
often an unease that works to deny me sleep
as if I fear the revelation 
my unconscious will well up into dark dream,

like with my body’s immune system, 
where I marshal defenses of cell upon cell that I send out
to keep the physical intact from invaders that seek their will, not mine,
my psyche seems to marshal thought and feeling to reknit any unraveling 
so that in the morning I often feel more whole and sure,

I also need to vent the steam, 
so I find ways to cry with abandon
for only the release into sorrow
can remind my psyche 
that I truly feel and know the buffeting,

in the day, in the night,
I hope to laugh at my demons
and to feel a wholeness rebuild within me
so that I live true to the moment as long as I can,
doubt and fear can be the enemy
that drain away my energy to buck up,
to persevere, to live the light,

the dark will have its time too soon,
“not now, not yet,” I work for my psyche to assert.

by Henry H. Walker
January 23, ’15

Monday, January 26, 2015

acts of kindness as tendrils

tentative tendrils of connection

acts of kindness, while they might seem random,
venture out with tentative tendrils of connection
upon which the other can seek to return
and it’s in the travel forth and back again
that bonds between us can come into being,

the offering is more a leap of faith than a sureness,
in my life, the seeds I keep working to send out
germinate often enough to return enough hope to me
to keep venturing forth with acts of kindness,

pity the oak, and her kind, whose seeds so rarely succeed,

the ground that is others
at least has a gardener 
whose will can help seeds to fruition.

by Henry H. Walker
January 23, ’15

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

another of the greatest generation, Glenn Jeffries, dies at 100

My Special Uncle Bus

to give oneself completely
to the moment
to the other
to one’s self--
that was Uncle Bus:

a natural force
that saw the world clear
and shaped it sure
to a vision of what it can be,
truth black & white,
like the unconditional love he gave,

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

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,
as subtraction equaled addition,

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

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 & Margaret lived with every breath,

Glenn an engineer who saw 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 knew and loved,
find a need and he had 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 had given him
and the world is that much better 
for how well he lived.

by Henry Walker, nephew, with love

Friday, January 16, 2015

who is HW?

I am plural

do I contain multitudes
or do multitudes contain me?

a Jewish prayer remembers those gone
in wind and sun, the beauties of each moment,
so am I out there now?

for I see that of God in all plants and animals,
in every welling-up of beauty,
and in every person, 
thus connecting all into a wholeness,

yet we each need to find the hole 
into which the unique shape of our individuality can fit,

I teach middle school and lead with my heart,
eldered by my head, the hole for me as profession,
I am also parent and grandparent, photographer and poet,
punster and scout of the wild,

the calm surface of my plate 
rides upon intense magma of feeling
which easily erupts into volcanoes:
joy often laughing forth and
sorrow ready to tear forth at any time,

my heart also leaps me into others
and I feel as they feel for a time,

I try to hold multitudes 
and somehow they are me, too. 

by Henry H. Walker
January 12, ’15

the fire still smolders within

Uncle Bus

as the fires within go out one by one,
it’s harder and harder to see 
beyond the shell of the face
into the heart of light within,
the Self still there, still loving, and still loved,

there God kindles the fires that we use to forge form from the formless,

my Uncle Bus forged a marriage with she who completed him,
a family with three kids, each uniquely wonderful,
who each work to forge anew as grandchildren come to be,

my Uncle Bus forged his love of gardening into bounty,
his love of wood on the lathe as subtraction equals addition:
plates and bowls whirling under the shaping of his hand
till the beauty within is revealed,
forged his love of order into drawing, 
with hot carver and cool Sharpie,

Bus was naturally an engineer and worked for TVA,
a builder who worked for family and “the least of these our brethren,”

though our eyes and his cannot let us see far within any more, 
there at his heart God lives in the fires that still smolder in love.

by Henry H. Walker
January 15, ’14

Saturday, January 3, 2015

alums, and results

each life is an experiment

imagine the teacher as a scientist
and each student is an experiment—
the results of each experiment years away
from being published, let alone peer-reviewed,
and the results thus usually are unavailable to the teacher,
yet we must keep teaching, keep applying
the procedures we hope will work
to help each precious student
become the best possible 
as hoped for within each hypothesis,

I also know that education is not really the way to do science,
since hope and intuition and faith just can’t be quantified,
let alone the results that are more real
than what can be measured by standardized tests,

still, when I reconnect with alums,
in their eyes, in their words, in their very movements,
I see the proof of the worth of the experiment
I and others upon others helped conduct years before,
there is virtuosity in their dance, 
their song, their play, their work, their sense of self,

the rightness and joy that infuse them
make the scientist in me increasingly sure
of the success of experiment after experiment
that each of our students ventures
with the substance of the life each lives,

unlike science when a positive hypothesis is not borne out,
in education, the results feel tragic, not revelatory.

by Henry H. Walker
December 30, ’14

like the Sun

harder and harder to miss

the clouds are gone and the day dawns,
I sit outside, face east, and meditate,
the world turns and the sun slowly, impressively 
breaks free of the forest,
the singular power of its gaze elders me
to realize how dominant it is,
even when I don’t realize it,

it’s all rather like how God is harder and harder to miss
as life moves on, and how tenuous the moment is
gets harder and harder to deny.

by Henry H. Walker
December 28, ’14