Tuesday, April 26, 2016

to newly envisage one's self

Mike’s Gifts

a gift of Mike’s
is complete absorption in the world of another,
in those intense minutes together
the universe centers
and all else circles distantly
away from those grounded connected souls,

another gift of Mike’s
is a vision of how that multitude of centers
can connect and circle together
toward a rightness that needs to be,
each of us circling that of God
with love, like gravity,
holding us together with each other,

I feel the price inherent in such connection,
Gandhi’s favorite Hindu passage warned
that real lovers of God “feel others’ sorrows as their own,”
and Mike’s years of leaning into the pain
former students felt from great mistakes in the past
must have wounded him,
his empathy and action healing them
while the hurt lingers in him,

how wonderful that one can still go West, 
into the frontier
and newly envisage one’s self,
San Francisco, no longer the physical frontier,
lives the cultural frontier
where the grandness of a welcoming America
can return us to our best.

with love, from Henry H. Walker
April 24, ‘16

Monday, April 25, 2016

teacher and student, a team?

choosing more or less

what can make a good teacher?

right now, I’m feeling myself
to be a much better teacher
if my students work with me,
if they partner,

I feel myself to be so much lesser
when a student chooses to follow
each impulse into the chasm of self-indulgence,

our school is built upon belief in the child’s ability
to make the most of each opportunity,

how sad it is when a student gives in to the lesser.

by Henry H. Walker
April 23, ‘16

Sunday, April 24, 2016

reality, experience, memory, picture, and word

how hard even the approximate

a picture worth a thousand words? 
maybe. . . but right now
I’m feeling a quantum loss
with either picture or words
when compared to the actual experience,

there’s transformation potential in every moment,
and in some moments wonder can burst forth
as if to make us anew,
as if to let us glimpse the glory
that spirit wants us to know and feel,

we experience, and we can be transformed,
how sad it can be
to share the words
to share the pictures
and then to feel how inadequate
the tools of tongue and camera
and even of memory,
are to experience,

I share slides and words of our Hawaii/New Zealand trip,
and I feel the inadequacy of my tools, of my memory,
of even my experience to even approximate
the revelations inherent in each time and place
we can only start to know.

by Henry H. Walker
April 23, ‘16

taught by the subconscious

truth from dream

last night my subconscious shook me awake about 4:00 a.m.,
my dream full of righteous anger and implausible story,

I thought and thought, and felt,
and suddenly my dullness sharpened,
and cut into my ignorance,
an “aha!” moment
when I realized who the driver was
of an anxiousness that can live in me,

my rational self does process cleanly, surely,
but it takes a submerged self
to slip me truth in the dead of the night,
truth I need to face
and cannot without the help of nightmare,
or even just a dream
that in itself seems of minimal power,
but that, to me, slaps me with a truth
I’d rather not appreciate.

by Henry H. Walker
April 19, ‘16

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

the frozen frame, and the movie

the pen and the shutter

my camera is like my pen,
a tool that allows me to record a bit
of how the world appears to me,
each snap of the shutter
like each scribble of words in a line,
a way to hold a thought, a moment,
to stop time,
and still know we live the movie,
not the frozen frame,

I like to look at word and picture snapshots
and remember moments, process,

I love to capture moments 
with otters, bears, herons, redwoods, vistas,


it’s easier to capture moments with flowers
for they wait for you.

by Henry H. Walker
April 16, ‘16

Monday, April 18, 2016

love should guide our steps

a gift I take from Mother

with her life
my mother taught that love
should guide our steps in this world,

her creed also demanded judgment of others,
yet a judgment weighted toward acceptance,
toward appreciation of attitude and effort,
toward whether the other is open to an enlarging sense of self,

for her, mountains lifted the soul,
and our cabin should endure as gateway
for grounding into nature
and grounding into the best of one’s self,

what a gift I took from her
to support connection wherever I can.

by Henry H. Walker
April 16, ‘16

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

why they're called "blinds"

blind after blind

we Americans live our lives in boxes:
rectangles are us,

even windows are rectangles,

for many of us, 
those rectangles can release our spirits
into air and wood and sky,
get us out of the cage,
out where birds and squirrels and revelation can open us,

I feel like Johnny Appleseed as to apples,
as I open blind after blind
so that my spirit can breathe,

many close them back again
for the comfort of control.

by Henry H. Walker
March 30, ‘16

a tangled mass


as I walk along the piedmont creek in early spring,
I notice no tangled-growth of last summer,
all seems fresh and full of promise,
not grown-up at all,

how fitting that “grown-up”
describes both the adult
and a tangled green mass.

by Henry H. Walker
March 30, ‘16

Monday, April 4, 2016

how wondrous love can be

two can make a whole

how wondrous it can be
when one can find another,
an other with whom to make a whole,
there can be a sense of completeness,
of something missing, found,
of something needed, there,
of something hoped for, delivered,
of something even more whole than ever seemed possible,

for me, my wife is more me than I can feel I am,
the better self to which I aspire,
the one whose love for me gives me worth,

as time inexorably moves forward,
and the diminishment of aging beats at us,
I fear her loss to me, or my loss to her,

yesterday I felt a beauty in the words and eyes
of another who has lost his helpmate,
and who honored her with a beautiful ceremony
to celebrate her life, and thus also his,
in the partnership that love, marriage,
parenting, and grandparenting created,

The Lundsten Family at the Memorial Service

grace touched them,
how wondrous love can be.

by Henry H. Walker
April 2, ‘16

Saturday, April 2, 2016

psyche exhausted

a spring tiredness

just like with the body,
the muscles in my psyche get exhausted,
I tire from connection,
from response after response,
from doing, and doing, and doing,

I feel a sadness rise behind my eyes,
a sense of loss more than of gain,
a sense of glitches in the system,

the more I indulge my self,
whether in pleasure or in effort,
the more I question prices to be paid,

I love my job,
I see the kids, I know them,
and I seek to be my best for them,
I see my colleagues, I can know their effort,
I see what we can be as a school
if we can but find and follow the right paths,

in the spring I often feel so tired
that the joy erupting around me
almost mocks me with how full
plants and animals feel their glasses to be now.

by Henry H. Walker
March 29, ‘16

Friday, April 1, 2016

a tribute to Kate Lundsten

Kathryn June Koebensky Lundsten

life had its challenges in the Iron Range of Minnesota,
and Kathryn June Koebensky lived life well there,
Polish, Finnish, and Swedish stock contributed their gifts to her,

Kate was a woman of strong intelligence with a love of music,
at Northland College she was a vocal music major,
and her singing in the college choir became an avenue
for her to meet Lorman Lundsten, the love of her life,
they always appreciated each other’s intellect and voice,
and loved it when one could make the other laugh,

her growing-up in Virginia, Minnesota, was a time
of not much money but a wealth of family,

her strong will always worked for her,
and sometimes against her,

she endured when physical challenges pulled hard at her self-assurance,
sapped her energy and her wherewithal
and led her to retire in her early fifties,

Kate was a woman of strong opinions
who always knew what she wanted,

when she heard a grandchild would arrive,
she announced: 
“God does answer the prayers of little old ladies,”

she loved antiques, 
particularly those marked as “Made In Occupied Japan”—
figurines, collectibles,
Betsy and Abby sent out to scout flea markets for items she might like,
her antique shop a love for as long as she could maintain it,

when Lorman was teaching in the late afternoon,
 sometimes Kate would drive home, honk the car for Abby,
and they’d go out for pizza, pizza which Lorman didn’t like,

Kate was generous, loving, and devoted 
to husband, children, and grandchildren,
she persevered through physical challenge after challenge,
and then mental challenges added their obstacles to her living life fully,
dementia a further insult to her wholeness,

we can all wish that life had been easier on her,
the best any of us can wish is to do as well as she did
with a good heart, a quick mind, and a love of the joy in a laugh.

by Henry H. Walker
March 25, ’16