Thursday, April 30, 2015

what to do with a vacuum

a drive toward order, a drive away

before, and then within,
there’s a drive to be that suffuses life, 
a drive to create order,
to hold against the light’s dying,

life is of the maker, the doer,

part of why I love science fiction
is the inherent optimism within it—
the belief that we can, and we will, move forward, upward,
seek to go out into the solar system, the galaxy, the universe,
and find answers to fill the vacuum of our ignorance,

I also love politics,
despite how much it seeks to prove 
that there is no limit to our stupidity,
that our ignorance can be a vacuum
sweeping all others before it.

by Henry H. Walker
April 24, ‘15

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

a chipmunk

a chipmunk and I

the chipmunk flits from under a rock
to a hole below a root,
then quickly from his underground world
through his outside world, as a blur,
then she freezes as if in pose,
till a quick shift to consider
my change in her world,
we stare at each other, neither moving
for about a minute,
then we both are off,
away from that intersection,

for her I was but a potential threat,
once gone from her presence,
gone from her thoughts,
whereas I still feel 
the enigmatic touch of her eyes
and the blur of her speed.

by Henry H. Walker
April 17, ‘15

Sunday, April 26, 2015

CFS is 50!

how fare they?

as a teacher
I feel myself to be a companion,
for a time,
sometimes a guide,
sometimes as an optimistic mirror
that reflects back the best of the person before me,

another way I feel myself to be
is as a sower of seeds,
and I rarely know whether they fall on fertile ground,
and, even if they do,
I rarely know the fruition,

this evening I spent time 
with some of my earliest students,
and I joyed in the wholeness
of what they have grown with their lives,
I feel just as strongly the absence 
of those who were not here,
those whom I also care about,

I know that my role
should be to make myself dispensable,
and that I have done best
when I am no longer needed,

it still hurts, for I care and love unconditionally,
and I crave to know how fare those old companions.

by Henry H. Walker
April 24, ‘15

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

moments without

losses diminish

every loss is unique,
and every loss is also the same
for I am diminished
by each who is not here any more—
to talk with me,
to laugh with me,
to share a moment
that can then become a better moment,

I miss my father
who a heart attack abruptly erased
from my present, and thus my future,
I miss my brother
who cancer quickly carried away from me,
I miss my mother
who Alzheimer’s stole from me
piece by piece over a decade,

I miss my nephew
whose fall took him away from us,
I miss my wife’s sister
who cancer and heart loss stilled her grandmother’s joy,

I miss family and friends and former students
who have passed away,
and left me here, diminished by their absence,
and gifted by the presence of their memory
which still informs who I am,

I strive for loss to be a sculptor
who takes away from the block
and reveals a shape within that can be even more right,

I wonder also when I will crack
from the thinness left from all the carving.

by Henry H. Walker
April 11, ’15

Monday, April 13, 2015

darknesses blocking light

dice with my emotions

God may not play dice with the universe,
but God sure seems to play dice with my emotions,

each moment, each day,
my default wants to be optimism, joy, rightness,
but, when I check inside,
sometimes a vague anxiousness grabs at me,

clouds come in, I see the silver lining,
and then I find it’s tarnished,
I drop off into a fitful sleep
and awake 20 minutes later in nightmare,

I lie in bed and summon my fears to show themselves,
and, when they do, I am much better
for knowing the darknesses that block my light,

I am always afraid
of the price to be paid
for anything that seems too good for me,
too good to be true. 

by Henry H. Walker
April 8, ’15

Sunday, April 12, 2015

exuberant flowers!

the kingdom of plants, celebrates

paths call to me:

a destination of a waterfall
and the wonderfully trying aerobics it will take to get there,
a price of effort, breath, and sweat
that my body
that my psyche
need to pay
so that I can keep being present,

today the waterfall and deep green pool were grand,
and I loved the effort to have gotten there,

I earned the cake, but I glory in the icing,
it’s early April and flower after flower
rushes to be true to itself and the future
and scatter themselves like jewels along the trail,

yellow trillium everywhere, and a few white trillium for contrast,

violets and chickweed, white phacelia like a young snow,
a few glorious dwarf iris as preview for the future,

a few bloodroot leaves to remind us of the recent past,

today, though, mostly magenta geranium and phacelia,
the sedate geranium we have known for years,

and phacelia with masses of purple flowers
loving to give us their all,

the next day the flowers are even more luxuriant,
particularly the wild ginger,
she of the velvet-smooth leaves, 
each round and light in their green,

while below, a maroon flower with tapering petals,
narrowing to a point,
surround a center that can be seen and appreciated
only as a supplicant on the ground before it,

I seek to hold it and remember it with my photos,

the phacelia today overwhelms me in its masses,

and overwhelms me when I take my camera close
and realize the lacy perfection of each individual petal,

as midday approaches swarms of other people
climb up the valley in pursuit of revelation freely given,
as the kingdom of plants and people celebrate together.

by Henry H. Walker
April 9, ’15

Saturday, April 11, 2015

coming into her power

Rachel at Ten

coming into her power of self--
grounded, brilliant, beautiful,
and now making quantum leaps 
of understanding and action,

for the Passover Seder yesterday
she wrote a script about the plagues and freedom,
she was the playwright, the direction, the narrator,
till she brought in a grandmother to help,

the power of her adolescence is coming,
world, get ready for her tours de force.

by Henry H. Walker
April 5, ’15

on the cusp

Izzy, approaching 7

a coin flips
and Izzy comes up ebullient
or in despair,
there’s a joyous self-possession and confidence
that draws you to her in delight,

yet at the next moment
sorrow grabs her
when the world, 
mostly likely her sister,
thwarts her easy will,

her reading skills, her people skills,
the trueness to her gifts,
seem sure to us to keep her 
on the happy side of the cusp,

but true to all of us
she does the best she can
while fighting internal battles
no one else can really know,

all of us dance to our emotions,
and we can lay a heavy burden on another
when we deny the reality of the battle
she must be fighting.

by Henry H. Walker
April 5, ’15

Friday, April 10, 2015

the memory of ice

the great weight of the Age of Ice

the calendar says it’s spring,
graying snow piles and ubiquitous patches of white
argue winter’s still here,

I can almost feel the memory
of the thousands of feet of ice
that covered and scoured this land,

land, which with its roundness and marshes,
remembers the great weight of the age of ice,

spring is slow here
as if each potential shoot and flower
fears that old bully,

by noon sun and wind are out and about
as if to speed up the awakening
that already rushes the South toward summer. 

by Henry H. Walker
April 4, ’15

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

how she is herself

Brenda Ann Shannon Harvey

Brenda has known how to be herself throughout her life,
from her willfulness to not even conform
to what to wear in a photograph,
despite the Congressional life her stepfather lived,
a life true to him but not to her,
to the courage to fight the disease 
that holds to her now like a leech,
throughout her life I hear of a giving, selfless woman 
who leads with her heart,
and who finds joy in a tree, a snail, a river, a sand castle,
and now so much in her granddaughters, Isabelle & Roan,
others who live life fully and well,
who also exult in the physical and in whatever ways
each can live life fully,

dance, physical education, sports have long called to Brenda
as student, as teacher, as grandmother:
exulting in any news of Isabelle & Roan in soccer or swimming,
enjoying any walk together,  both for her own health
and for unwrapping the present of seeing how the new editions see,
the apples of her daughter and son so like her own tree,

and the apples of her granddaughters continue the best 
of how she hopes herself to be,
who can know the prices she has paid:
what it took to have to use main strength
to persevere into academic success, despite challenges,
to raise children with all the effort that has to entail,
to love those children so much
and yet to set them free to find their own ways,

as her life is now in autumn,
I hope she can appreciate herself 
and the light she has brought, and still brings, 
to the world, to her family,
to her granddaughters whose lives should be amazing,
significantly so because of the extraordinary way 
in which Brenda has lived,
and continues to live, her wondrous life.

by Henry H. Walker
March 27, ’15

Friday, April 3, 2015

a theater calls itself to be built

Performing Arts, Centered

a dream,
of how space can be envisioned
to seamlessly wrap itself
around dance, drama, and music,
so that what is on stage
can reveal itself to be fully what it is,
and what it is can thus be true
to what it can be when talent finds effort,
and effort finds opportunity, 
and opportunity finds audience,

what releases itself before the audience
then has the right space 
in which the shape within the rock
can be revealed by the sculptor,
wielding instrument, voice, body, imagination, and story
so that performer and audience all become greater
as we fight entropy with the light within,

light that can only blaze brightly
within a space that allows it the way to open,
to open into the fullness of possibility 
inherent within creation.

by Henry H. Walker
April 2, ’15

the way opens: follow it

the trueness of the calling

Oscar Wilde: 
“Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken.”

now that’s a truth, 
but still it’s an effort
to separate the kernel from the chaff,
to have within a judge, 
so on your side,
that you can know which path to follow
in the trackless wood we call growing-up:
when to follow a parent, a peer, as guide,
when to follow your own calling,
and then how to know what’s a true calling
and not a calling to be false,
to be able to weigh each inclination
and know which is wanting of substance
and which is heavy with rightness.

Be yourself, as clearly as you can,
as the way opens,
and you choose which way to follow.

by Henry H. Walker
March 18, ’15