Thursday, March 26, 2015

to help the child be empowered

why schools exist

the charge to every school:

help all the students learn to know themselves, 
to accept themselves, 
to like themselves,

help all the students learn to empathize, 
to learn to know others, 
to expand the sense of self, 
and connect,

through all the work as to self and skill, 
help all students to be empowered, 
to feel and wield the power that should be everyone’s birthright.

May Carolina Friends School live these charges.

May all schools be a way for students to be empowered.

by Henry H. Walker
March 25, ’15

Monday, March 23, 2015

the double edge

empathy cuts

empathy is a wonderful blade
that cuts through indifference 
and helps me feel a bit 
of the intensity another lives,

the love I know, when I’m truest
to what I know as God,
pulls me out of the smallness of my self
into the largeness of 1 + 1, into infinity,

yet, when I make that empathic leap,
I leave myself, vulnerable,
I no longer compartmentalize,
and I give up surety, safety,

the chasm below shouts at me
of how tenuous today is, how fragile,
how momentary any moment is,

how hard it is to know
and still to find the wherewithal
to hope, and to move forward,

my empathic leaps can make me despair,

the blade of empathy has a sharp edge,
and it cuts.

by Henry H. Walker
March 22, ’15

Saturday, March 14, 2015

photovoltaic panels!

a lighter tread upon the earth

we now have 12 new photovoltaic panels
just above our roof,

they join the 8 we have had for awhile,
plus the 3 thermal panels for hot water,

those 8 have morphed sunlight into electricity,
and thus helped us power our lights, our electronics, our Volt,

they have slowed the meter

as we have needed fewer kilowatts from the grid,
and, at times, our meter has run backwards
as we contribute and give back to that same grid,

now we’re more than doubling our capacity
so that our tread upon the earth lightens,

today I turned the system on,
though clouds held back the sun,
soon the great solar furnace will first power
the fullness of our 20 panels,
and we will go more gently into that good day
and leave more room for others to also get by.

by Henry H. Walker
March 13, ’15

Friday, March 13, 2015

winter's hold, slips

crocus and loss

two weeks ago, winter,
though late to come,
came with a vengeance
and the world out the window was white,

as if it forgot color and spring,

inside our power still worked so we could nest
with flowing warmth and water and electronics,
books and food and naps pulled at me,
and with my three-week-old tomato plants

I dreamed of the return of color and change to the world,

great air masses shifted
and southerly winds melted the snow
and awoke spring peepers, the first trout lilies,

the exuberant audaciousness of bright crocus,

the dependable solidity of lusciously-yellow daffodil,

I tilled the garden and imagined our native pumpkin thriving,
the sugar snap peas exuberant,
the buttercrunch lettuce in a perfect salad,
the tomatoes beating July to the table,

part of me reaches forward to what the future can bring,
another part of me reaches back to who we’ve lost,

part of my gift is to remember, and it’s also a curse,
for those I’ve lost, close to me, haunt my dreams
and keep interrupting the sureness of my day and my sleep,

the crocus demands I be in its moment,
my memory demands I be in all the moments before.

by Henry H. Walker
March 18, ’15

Monday, March 9, 2015

a science day in the middle school

opening doors with science

an infant must be as a scientist,
for how to walk, and how to talk,
require trial and error, trial and error and error,
before success,
the constant venturing forth of effort in search of result,
the constant check of reality upon desire,

there’s joy in discovery for the infant,
so much new, and bright, and wondrous,

that joy in discovery,
that appreciation of a flower, a bug, a smile from a parent,
can continue to joy a preschooler, and an elementary schooler,

I feel we in middle school have a tradition to maintain,
to keep alive the learner who acts 
to understand and appreciate the world as a scientist,
to appreciate that the answers to the puzzles of existence,
that math and science reveal with focused effort,
are accessible and right,

at our Science Day this March,
our keynoter, Glenn Murphy, carried us all
on a safari of discovery about predators,

17 workshops followed him as presenters 
shared their love of their work,
with microscopes and DNA,

baboons and the brain,

visual illusions and sound’s secrets,
Newton on the basketball court,

Barbee bungee-jumping after equations predict the physics,

experiments, expositions, and constructions

of planes, LED lights, marble chutes,
an advisee challenge—

all building up to a science fair from about half the school,
as students ventured hypotheses and procedures
to answer specific questions,
and those who had the creativity and discipline 
to persevere on all counts
were awarded science kits to go further on their own,

all in all, a day to celebrate how open the doors can be
that lead from not knowing
to the universe releasing a bit of its secrets,

to be as a scientist can have the joy of discovery
if the right effort opens the door,
and then we know.

by Henry H. Walker
March 7, ’15

Sunday, March 1, 2015

multitudes and oneness

my psyche embodied

the cabin-on-the-creek embodies my psyche:

my subconscious metaphors nightmares at me from there,
two nights ago bears, just outside, fought to come in and take over,
the dark sides of my self powerful and pushing the doors
so that my control will be lost,

while I, in the cabin itself, work hard to run the homely house,
where that which is my conscious self 
manages the primal outside with right angles and right thought,

down by the creek I have made a sitting place,
where I can feel constant and centered
as the water flows, always different, and always the same,
leaves spiral down into the creek as my mother slips away,
seeds spiral down in the creek to remind me to hope,
stars above whisper of constancy,
kids playing before me shout of the joy
that a moment deserves to feel,
I meditate there and seek to start my day calmed and eldered,

in therapy I sought a grounding place for my psyche,
and it was the pooled creek, hard by the cabin, that I found spoke to me,

all who we are has the tenuous about it,
as we struggle to know all the parts that can make us whole,
we can know multitudes and oneness inherent in who we are.

by Henry H. Walker
February 26, ’15