Monday, January 30, 2017

the high road, or the low road?

which child do we release?

I like to wear a t-shirt that shouts
“Searching for the Adult Within,”
the child within me feels close to the surface,
at least that child defined  by
joy, optimism, by play,
by a laugh at incongruity, at improbability,
that child whom Jesus welcomes to come in,
“for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven,”

yet that child can also be ignorant and self-indulgent, 
refuse to grow up into a social conscience,
woe be unto us when "adults"
can seem to live an unaware life 
and not grow up
to understand cause and effect,
that expenses need to be paid for,
that others are as real as one’s self,
that wanting something to be true
doesn’t just automatically make it so,
that the basest of our desires
need more curbing than releasing,

the child can see truths we need to see,
and we are better for it,
the child can also see self-indulgence as truth,
and damn us to a low road.

by Henry H. Walker

January 26, ‘17

Sunday, January 29, 2017

toward the more perfect world

believe in the student

at the heart,
right where the most real 
can come into its power,
there the student can realize what is within,
and find the right structure and encouragement
to release the best that aches to express itself,
then vision and choice meet opportunity, 
and the world is renewed,

in one scenario of this fundamental 
interaction of self with possibility,
a young person fights off doubts
and becomes the actor who owns the stage,
the artist who creates the stage
or the costume that shouts the character,
helping are the designer and the executor of the lights,
those who help reveal the story, the telling,
plus the choreographer who knows 
the language of body with movement
and teaches how what needs to be said is said with the physical,
opportunity then can exist for possibility to become real, manifested,

this winter, when doubt and fear 
discourage the best within us,
I have the good fortune to work with a director
who believes so much in the kids
that my enormous belief in them 
seems lesser by comparison,
I get to work with an artist,
a set and costume designer,
who sees the more perfect world 
to which we might go,
and helps students see it, too, 
and find the paths to get to it,

at the heart of our school
is a belief in the power
that each person can live
if he, if she, can but find the way 
to live that power,
to refuse to be lesser,
the teacher then mostly a helper
to the learner who can remake the world,

when that of God within is released,
something new is born, something old is reborn,
and we are transformed:
the world is made anew,
and it is right,

I love any school that helps its students
find their way into the power
that should be their birthright.

by Henry H. Walker

January 26, ‘17

Monday, January 23, 2017

a struggle to empathize, to walk in the shoes

Trump, and Me

The empath within me struggles and can’t really get there,
to where a lot of Americans must have been,
to feel as those who felt the 8 years of Obama to be a nightmare,
to a place where I can imagine Donald Trump as a strong father
who will take care of us, one who will fight off
the demons of modernity,
of losing to other countries in trade and jobs,
an Odysseus who will assert our will upon others,
and acknowledge no cost to us, or to existence,
a Trump who champions the sides of us 
that live the id, that deny the other,
that blame elites for the loss of a good job,
that dismiss the uncomfortable truth 
that many of those jobs went to machines,
thus to a better bottom line for the company:
the elites still to blame, but capitalism and profit rule them,
how much easier it is to blame a foreign worker
than a machine or a CEO, capitalism itself,

I can almost walk in the shoes of those
that want the past to become the present,
and the present to then become the future,
a conservatism to the extreme,
a resisting of change that they don’t like,
a hoping to be rescued from it,

I want to empathize and understand,
yet it hurts my heart and my head
to imagine so much antithetical to what I believe,
to what I feel to be the truth:
we are changing the climate with our actions,
tax cuts for the rich do not make the world better,
rights for others than those like me make all better, not worse,

it is just wrong to reduce women, people of color,
or those with a different path to God, into lesser than us,
we only honor God when we love the other as ourselves,
when we love our self because of what we give,
not because of what we take.

by Henry H. Walker

January 20, ‘17

Sunday, January 22, 2017

optimism, and pessimism

how to view the dice thrown

I don’t “play” the lottery, the slots,
poker, craps, whatever way comes up
to divest me of my money
in the pursuit of the chimera
of “beating the house,”

yet every moment alive is full of chance and probability,

I argue that I don’t need a roller-coaster
since the iffy thrill that every day throws at us
is exciting enough for me,

in the middle of a tossing and turning night,
reality doesn’t change:
the dice thrown for me,
and the dice thrown against me,
stay the same,
yet how positive or negative I feel about them
can vary with each imagined throw,

most of my days I am an optimist,
often is the night when I wake up
as a pessimist for awhile,
I then often feel myself afraid,

some time later the dice don’t change,
but the optimist within me rises anew,
I choose hope,
and I hope the universe will agree with me.

by Henry H. Walker

January 20, ‘17

wake up; truly see

light through the crack

Leonard Cohen sang of a “crack in everything”
and “that’s how the light gets in,”

as these words wash over me,
I feel the truth of protective layers of darkness
that avoidance, that denial, that comforting routine
can build up around us,
they can make it so that we don’t feel the awe
we cannot hold without trembling:
a death, a loss, a failing can crack those barriers,
and the light gets in,
that which many of us feel as God,
at least for sure the spirit inherent in Creation,

parts of us scurry away to hide like bugs,
part of us wakes up,
sees where we are and where we might go,
imperfections can open us to illumination, to change,
we can wake up enough
to also feel where others are 
and where they might go,

every day I feel the wrenching loss of my father,
the wrenching absence of my father,
that pain pricks me awake,
and I am far more often there for others
since I cannot so easily lose my self
behind the shields 
the numbing present can build around us
with routine, denial, and avoidance.

by Henry H. Walker

January 20, ‘17

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Galileo: mathematics the language of God?

to know of God

how can I know of God?
how can I know the rules,
the underlying reality that structures the universe?
how can I know the totality
which has been with us since the beginning,
before “we” were even a part of “us,”
back when matter and time and gravity,
even space itself, came to be?

all Goldilocks in how this universe was made, 
ready for the Word,
for life, for consciousness,
the curiosity that can create the mirror
in which, through us, 
the universe can work to know itself,

Galileo argued that mathematics is the language of God,
amorphous words can help us toward truth,
yet clarity of revelation comes from number and equation,
energy just equals mass times the speed of light squared,
rules that only mathematics approximates in understanding,
in the beginning was the Number?

for Christmas I was given a book,
Here’s Looking At Euclid,
the title grabbing me with its word play,
opening it and reading made me feel
I was at a mountain top, stoned by revelation,

how the nothing of zero is really some thing of great value,
how leaves precisely manifest at the golden angle, 
137.5 degrees as they spiral around the circle,
that way to maximize the collective capture of sunlight,
how irrational numbers, 
those angles that can’t be expressed as a fraction,
rule a plant’s leafing,
for with the irrational guiding the placement,
never will the plant return to the same spot in the circle,
mathematical relationships create our world,
probability, geometry, logarithms, x,
the divination of the abacus and slide rules,
"the life of pi,"

Fibonacci numbers close approximations of the golden ratio,
Fibonacci himself carried numerals from Arabia to Europe,
earlier the Arabs found them in India and felt their truth,
the ancients in India knew well both spiritual truth
and its potential synchronicity with the rulebook we call mathematics,

math is the language of God,
and, through us, the consciousness that is that of God within us,
seeks to know itself, to return to the Creator.

by Henry H. Walker

January 15, ‘17

Thursday, January 12, 2017

harmonize with the greater creation

the song life sings

my soul loves a hike into beauty,
a hike with beauty as companion for each step,

I love to go where rock and water play together,

where plants are stubborn, spread themselves,

get pulled high by the sun,

Big Poplar, Smokies, near Gatlinburg, CFS students

Boy Scout Trail, Jedediah Smith State Park, CA

where an elk, a bear, a heron, an otter can appear,

Elk, California

Grizzly Bear, Lamar Valley, Yellowstone

Heron, Northern California

Otters, Fish Lake, Lamar Valley, Yellowstone

Big Horn Sheep Lamb, Lamar Valley, Yellowstone

Wolf, Lamar Valley, Yellowstone

where the circle of my life can overlap, for a time,
some of those other circles
that a flower, a tree, a waterfall, a wild cousin, a view
weaves around itself in the purity of its being,

View Toward Fontana Lake, below Clingmans Dome, Smokies

true to a rightness we humans ache to hold,
yet a rightness we too easily escape from
when we lose our greater self
in the short sight of the lesser
we can think is who we are:
we look into a mirror,
and we miss who is really looking back at us,
we lose ourselves in ego
and forget the community that holds us—
from our animal cousins who remind us of wildness,
to our mothers who work with leaf and sun
to hold the power life needs,
to our distant creators: 
when water and rock together dance,

there is a song life sings
above the elemental beat of the earth herself,
we should work to hear it
and let the notes we can live
harmonize with the greater creation.

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone

words and photos
by Henry H. Walker

words written January 8, ‘17

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

snow days

like an old snow

out the window the snow just won’t fall,
in the distant night time, snow fell
and stayed as itself to the ground,
later in the night turbulence aloft transformed
crystal to liquid to pellet,
the potential wonderland
more bedraggled looking than magical,

I wanted to wake up to picture-perfect winter,
and instead I got the ground like an old snow,
with faint white edging along the tops of some of the branches,

here in piedmont North Carolina we live at the edge
where January can vary 
from 70 degrees to 10 degrees,
and back again,

the weather like people: changeable, fickle,

mid-morning all the layers of air above cooperate
and a fine intense snow blows down,
adds a couple of inches of fluff to harder ice below,
more of the branches are edged in white,
and I enjoy the enforced inside time.

by Henry H. Walker

January 7, ‘17

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I fear to not be here

let us fight dissolution

death has long been a possibility 
made particularly real to me
by Daddy dying when I turned 14,

in therapy I poke at my psyche
to see what fear drives me,

I keep finding a fear
that I won’t be there for another:
for my kids, for my wife,
for my grandkids, for my students,

I just now wrote a thank-you note
to trail crews in the Smokies
who labor hard, near invisibly,
to help the trails be hiker-friendly,

a few minutes ago, 
tears forced their way
from my shuddering belly
to my wincing face
and out my eyes,

I feared when I won’t be here
to support everyone who builds,
who fights dissolution, 
who is on the same team
for whom I play,
the team that will not allow an obstacle
to stop us from moving forward, surely.

by Henry H. Walker

January 9, ‘17

an uncritical critique


we strain at the shackles
that hold us back
from breaking through
to a new paradigm,
to a new ordering
of the truth around us,
the truth we live with our daily bread,

today we saw the movie Arrival,
a brilliant rendering of who we are
by positing the arrival of the other,

I loved the power of the best within us to manifest,
and I know too well the worst within us that also can manifest,

I cry at how well it expressed, and captured,
the potential parent who loves who will come,
despite the potential transience of the moments 
the dice will allow.

by Henry H. Walker

January 3, ‘17