Saturday, October 31, 2015

two chasms below

afoot on the knife edge 

kids can ask me:
“What is your pet peeve?”
sometimes I answer about how
people can be frustratingly ignorant
of the selfish thoughtlessness of an action,

when I get to my deepest value, though,
I answer:
“When people are not real. . .”
when they are not true 
to the authentic richness unique to each person,

life is a series of tightropes
upon which we must dance forward
with two chasms below:

losing ourselves to the other,
stymied as to being an individual
while we are pulled by the group,

and tempted to lose who we are
to the self-indulgent one within,
lost in a hall of mirrors in which
we see nothing beyond our own ego,

my goal is to be like any who move forward,
even while feeling and swaying 
to the pull of both chasms at the same time,
those who refuse to let either Scylla or Charybdis
tempt us away from the odyssey home 
to the best truth possible in this world,

the best way forward is always a knife edge.

by Henry H. Walker
October 30, ‘15

Monday, October 26, 2015

the gift of an ancient collision

it’s good to be a bit off

because the Earth tilts in relation to the Sun,
those of us in the middle latitudes have seasons,

our year exists with constantly shifting daylight hours,
so plants have to deal with freezing cold and burning heat,
with the phase change of water
that leaves us with sleeping dormant forests in winter,
and gives us the glorious regeneration of spring,

it’s all because we’re a bit off,

it’s the Earth off-center that lets life be particularly interesting.

by Henry H. Walker
October 23, ‘15

how to live a life. . .

how to honor a parent?

at our best we live our life well,
so that who we are 
in connection to others,
in our touch upon the world,
would please the parent
who gave us his all,
who loved us with her all.

by Henry H. Walker
October 22, ‘15

the charge of a parent

in a parent’s eyes

in a parent’s eyes
the child can be more real
than the rest of the universe,
more vulnerable to blasting winds
than anyone else could imagine,
more needy than the child
ever feels himself to be,
more capable than the parent
can worry she is,

I love parents, 
for my stomach knows their truth:
that sense that we as parents have a sacred charge,
and woe be unto us,
and to our child,
if we don’t rise to the challenge.

by Henry H. Walker
October 22, ‘15

Sunday, October 18, 2015

entropy wins at the end

the act I’m in now

I don’t feel anywhere near as old as I must look,
like many of us, I have an earlier image of my self
that hovers within me, 
that hasn’t changed much in a quarter century plus,
my body and mind still can do,
and, it seems to me, to do well,
much like they always have,

yet I don’t run anymore, and I miss it,
sleep is no longer a trusty sidekick
but rather a friend that counsels uncomfortable truths
right in the middle of the night,
that time when I would prefer to shut off
the fear, the sorrow, just below my sureness,
I wake up and feel that I’m slapped
with what I don’t want to acknowledge,

ever since my Daddy abruptly died
and wasn’t there for me, ever again,
I have felt the surface on which I live
as tenuous, fragile, liable to dissolve at any moment,
and something within break, and I can no longer be,
or something without randomly intrude and I am no more,

we live a life of probabilities, 
and sometimes our luck will run out,
so much that feels right won’t fit us any more,
as age and entropy win at the end,
for now, I seek to remember to live these moments well,
the curtain will come down, 
let me joy in whatever act I live 
in the moments I have now.

by Henry H. Walker
October 16, ‘15

Saturday, October 17, 2015

the light bright through the house

a dream of a new performing arts center

my working life I have given to Carolina Friends School,
to an institution whose existence only matters
to the degree to which we are true to our students,
to their needs, to their possibilities,
to that of God within them that seeks to blaze brightly,

I am in awe of the vision, the dream,
the audacious choosing of possibility over doubt
that those first dreamers dared to imagine,
they imagined a school that was as true to the students
as George Fox worked to be true to God revealed,

I was welcomed into the dream long ago,
and this is my 45th year of living the calling there,
the charge to be true to the wholeness
potential within each student,
every day, in every class, 
teacher and student here work to learn,
to be true to the best possible,

we have found a way to have a gym, fields, tennis courts,
to support the physical as a path to wholeness,

now we are close to a leap of faith
to have a performing arts facility
that can more fully match the possibilities 
inherent within our students
in terms of performance, 
the light can then shine brightly through the house,
and people can see the good works 
that now have so many limits
as to the audience we can know,

George Fox spoke of the light within all,

the Sermon on the Mount charged us to let that light shine to all, 
a new performing arts center can help that to be true.

by Henry H. Walker
October 16, ‘15

Monday, October 12, 2015

how does courage come?

courage comes in little footfalls

courage comes 
as moment to moment
a path is chosen, willed, and walked,
despite doubt and fear,
despite each little whisper that denies we can,
despite how slippery the surface that challenges our footing,

one of my students labored on the hike today
and gave voice to the negative inherent in us
that thinks we can’t, we shouldn’t, we won’t, 
and tears flowed,

he persevered, 
no matter how much negativity clamored within,
he persevered, and succeeded,
the sun of his disposition replacing the tears
that were raining hard,

by the end we learned together 
how to manage self into success,
at least for a time,

as the hike was ending, he considered
and allowed as how the hike was “pretty fun.” 

by Henry H. Walker
October 9, ’15

what our souls need

The Elk and Us

the elk draws us, and a slew of others,
to their remote valley in the Smokies, Cataloochee,
a place where they just are,
here where they are a piece of the world we lost
when we lost ourselves in ourselves,
when we crowded out animals and plants
we forgot our souls needed. 

by Henry H. Walker
October 8, ’15

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

touched by his rightness

Sweet, Sweet Max

a deep sweetness suffuses Max:
an inherent joy that expects the world to be friendly,
just as he is,
and that all will be right,

he knows what he wants,
as he increasingly considers cusps and which way to go,
he tries out his own imperatives,
despite what a later self would realize as not reasonable,
when he is redirected, or tires of being lost in a frustrated sadness,
he reverts back to his basic deep sweetness,

it is exciting to imagine how well 
he will make his world a better place,
as it is touched by his rightness.

by Henry H. Walker
October 3, ‘15

Monday, October 5, 2015

of child development, and physics

Max, and Quantum Leaps

child development is not a continuous linear progression,
rather a child abruptly shifts from one level to another,
accumulated experience shifts around inside
until disparate pieces fit together, they coalesce,
as if pieces of a jigsaw puzzle organize themselves,

one moment a struggling reader
clicks into a new reality
and letters seamlessly become words,
and words, faster and faster build meaning,

our grandson, Max, has a mind, a soul,
that watches and listens, that seeks and grasps to know,
being two, going on three, he knows enough, and wants enough,
to burden him with power he can’t yet contain,
so his parents have to be grounding
as his electrical energies flash
and skitter his want and will from here to there,

in physics, around the nucleus are concentric shells
within which electrons whirl around and around,
till, when energy is introduced, an electron can jump
to the next outlying shell, a quantum leap,

that’s what Max is doing, and all children at their best,
each makes quantum leap after quantum leap,

the circle of themselves jumps outward,

and each leap leaves them in a new place,

it takes time and care to integrate the self within
with the new levels to which understanding has leapt,
and within which it takes time to make a home.

by Henry H. Walker
October 2, ‘15