Monday, October 31, 2016

the slope heightens

on the leading edge of the wave

these days I can feel 
like a wave at the ocean
crashing onto the shore,
impressive in its promise as it swells toward the future,
intense in its churn as it meets the future,
diminished as it reaches toward the dunes, and its end,
nostalgic for how much of itself stops and drops back,

I can feel, now, as if I am on the leading age,
and those with me keep dropping away,
the loss of those others quickly intensifies
as the slope of the beach heightens,
as we near the end of our energy forward,

no part of any wave keeps on going:
I feel loss after loss,
and I wonder when the wave that carries me
will carry me no further.

by Henry H. Walker
October 28, ‘16

Sunday, October 30, 2016

movement and shackles

we carry the cusps within us

life is choice:
each moment has a thousand cusps
through which we move and decide,
this way or that?
most choices: six of one,
half a dozen of the other,
inconsequential in the larger scheme of things:
do I eat a peach?
which shirt do I wear?,
other decisions are consequential
as we choose which side of ourselves to express, or repress,

who we are contains both the dark and the light,
the selfish and the selfless,
the mud and the stars,
according to Carl Jung,
Freud feared that mud, the id, the animal, the infantile,
yet who we are contains all of that which he feared,
plus also containing the stars, the spirit, the soul, the adult,

how hard it is to hold them all:
to choose the light and still somehow own the dark,

I love how well I can assert rightness back into the world,
and I also slip into harsh judgement of my mistakes,
my lesser sides, when I let darkness obscure the light,
I appreciate movement forward even more
when I notice the denying shackles we carry with us, too.

by Henry H. Walker
October 22, ‘16

Sunday, October 16, 2016

love somehow found a body

Heinrich Malling, a Remembrance

as we move through our days,
it is easy for those days to dissociate us from the moment
like a hypnotist seems to be able to do,
making us slip away from the shaking power 
that can imbue each moment,
the power that can be if we but let 
the moment come at us with original power,

a person can come into our subdued awareness
and be to us like cold water on the face,
we wake up and almost realize
the wonder that is every moment alive,
the wonder that is us if we can but see ourselves truly,

Heinrich Malling was that person:
he could see us, know us, appreciate us,
and challenge us to find both our center,
the ground upon which we can stand,
and then to reach toward the heights
that draw us to our best,

Heinrich was love that somehow found a body,
a piece of the divine that all of us have,
but a piece that he seemed able to access with ease,

Heinrich’s laugh bubbled from him as if from an artesian well
that could not be held back,
his eyes would twinkle and dance with a joy he lived,
a joy he challenged us to rediscover,
and laugh that rightness back into the world,

our bodies would lose themselves in the bear hugs
that came along with knowing that great Viking,

our minds would love to join him in treasure hunts for truth,
as every plant needed to be known,
every idea needed to find air and light
to see if it should grow,

whenever we joy in another, Heinrich is still here, 
whenever we join in thinking, in learning, Heinrich is still here,
whenever we refuse to settle for the lesser within us, Heinrich is still here,

Heinrich, again, was love that somehow found a body,
he was that of God that all of us can be
if we but find a path as true as the path that Heinrich walked,

and finally his body could no longer hold such power,
and released it back into the cosmos
where we can still access it if we but will.

by Henry H. Walker
October 1, ‘16

Saturday, October 15, 2016

the child is mother to the best within

the inner guide

at the heart each kid I ever really know cares deeply for others,
and each does their best to walk a line forward and upward,
stumbles work to trip them away from the heights 
to which they want to go,
false paths tempt them away at times
from what they would know as best
if they’d listen to the guide who waits within,

process isn’t perfection:
perfection is stasis,
and process is the means to find what can serve truth
till we can do even better,
mistakes are how to learn the better way forward
and find how to improve who we are, expressed,
to get closer to who we are, inside,

I hear others with a take on it all
that feels profoundly different from mine,
that the child is in control
and selfishly wields their will,

the effect on others of an action is often troublesome,
yet I contend the glitch is in the program,
that programs can be fixed,
that every kid wants to do well,
that every kid deserves the right support
to find the way forward and upward,
the way the inner guide within them knows how to go.

by Henry H. Walker
October 14, ‘16

the calendar at war with the warmth

a hesitant Autumn

Autumn is hesitant to show herself this year:
in the lower valley, only poplar, buckeye, and sourwood trees
seem to watch the calendar and change,
despite the unseasonable warmth,
high on the mountain beech trees smolder a soft yellow,

the clear dry air lets each be a separate glow
to contrast with stubbornly green neighbors,

the mountain ash exuberantly displays clusters of seeds
with a flaming red that transfixes me into wonder,

over 6000 feet the clouds settle onto the high mountains
and curtain the views into mists of gray,

late morning sun then abruptly lifts the veil a bit
and views of distance and depth shake us into
flying out into deepening valleys and far rippling ridges,

back down in the valley, the creek is lower than I’ve ever seen it,
tawny and yellow fall leaves hover in still pools
and lightly twirl where water eases down its bed.

by Henry H. Walker
October 7, ‘16

Thursday, October 13, 2016

ignore arithmetic, and we're in trouble

Mr. Micawber and Us

as our minds develop, if we’re lucky,
we can learn numbers, how they inter-relate,
and how the abstraction of math
illuminates the concrete world in which we live,

Mr. Micawber in Dickens’ David Copperfield
declared the consequence of income and outgo:

 “My other piece of advice, Copperfield,” said Mr. Micawber, “you know. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

yet emotion can trump those truths,
hijack our rationality away into hope, avoidance, denial,

we can avoid the audit of the accountant within
and choose to spend treasure today, even treasure we don’t have,
and not think about the bill that will come due tomorrow,
we might imagine that something
can magically save us from our bad decisions with money,
we then never do the basic arithmetic
that Mr. Micawber counsels us to use,

functionally, we are then infantile,
with impulse control issues,
as if we never grasped basic math
and never opened ourselves to an audit,

what profiteth a man to gain the world
and not be able to pay the bill for the world when it comes due?

by Henry H. Walker
October 2, ‘16

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

the mud, and the stars

truth at a funeral?

at a funeral how much should the whole person be remembered?
or conversely, should only the laudatory find expression,
as the loss beats hard at us?

what leaps at me is the wholeness, which includes the flaws,
I seek to tally up the positives, and the negatives, 
to understand how victories were won,
and what led to the losses,
all within the holistic context of a self
striving to do good,
striving to do well,

it is even more impressive to me
to know what sought to hold one down
and then to see how high a person could still rise,

the distance from the mud to the stars deserves praise,

the question is just when the mud should be acknowledged.

by Henry H. Walker
September 30, ‘16

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

there's more to "smart" than raw intelligence

intellect alone can’t do it

what does it do to a soul
to have a mind chock full of facts, logic, and processing speed,
and for whole sections of reality to be walled-off from you?
to know the name of every tree and not to see the forest?
to desperately want to connect with others and
not to know the paths,
not to know the rules,
not to speak the language
that can bridge a path across the emptiness
to the others you love but somehow cannot really know,

it reminds me of artificial intelligence work:
at what point and in what way
can a processor develop a holistic self
that can decide and know what to do with it all?

we humans are of connection,
the intellect alone doesn’t reach across space
with the love and understanding that can bond a two into one.

by Henry H. Walker
September 30, ‘16

a desperate loneliness

how wide the continuum

on the continuum of how we’re put together,
it is much easier to get along with those
put together much the same way we are,
for the universe manifests similarly to each of us,

imagine someone on the continuum, though,
who doesn’t hear the same messages you do,
who in interacting with other people can’t quite see them or hear them,
normal human conversation as if in a foreign language,
how scared and alone that person must feel,
maybe, to compensate, that person will tell a story,
give a speech, let the others come to him,
since he can’t come to them,

I feel for that desperate loneliness,
but I fear for us if that person becomes a leader.

by Henry H. Walker
September 25, ‘16

the turbulence of the ever present now

Max 3.75

I see before me a beautiful young man:
his eyes dance with his brilliance,
his body throws itself at the world
with an energy that chafes at any bridle,
his will as daunting as his looks, his mind, his energy,

 his parents work as hard as he does 
to figure out when and how to allow, to restrict,
to manage the spirit without stifling it,
to let his power develop in service
to what is best for him,
not just in satisfying the momentary impulse,

he cares deeply for his parents,
and increasingly figures out 
who we are as Grandmama and Granddaddy,
how to connect, and how to deepen the connection,

I am in awe of any who truly understand a developmental stage,

I feel more like Max
feeling and reacting to the tossing currents
without quite being able to know
how the future is being built
in the turbulence of the ever present now.

by Henry H. Walker
October 1, ‘16