Sunday, January 14, 2018

a lament

the music of the heart strings

“At Staff Retreat we wrestled with weighty issues during the day.
At night we danced to the music of our fellow staff’s heart strings.”

Carly eloquently spoke up with this lament
about the loss she feels
as change as moved us away from connections
among staff at an annual retreat away from home,

how vital it is to know the other,
to share unscripted time,
to laugh, to tell tales,
to move to the music each creates,
with instrument, with voice,
with our lives,
as each takes what the spirit has given us,
and sings the songs of our selves
with who we are and what we do.

by Henry H. Walker
January 10, ‘18

Friday, January 12, 2018

the culture shouts!


what gives us worth?

what a challenge it is in our competitive world
to resist judging ourselves by comparing to others,
how seductive it is to compare quantities:
the size of our houses,
the fanciness of our cars,
the size of our paychecks,

in sports when one team plays another,
the result is zero sum:
plus 1 for the winner, minus 1 for the loser,
and that makes zero,
how much worse it is when the numbers
are a hundred, a thousand, a million,
do we need to feel better than the others
to feel good about ourselves?

our culture shouts at us
that whoever has more money is better, happier,
that money, income, differentiates among us as to worth,

when we are closer to the edge,
the level of  our monetary resources can be determinative,
if we are comfortable, even if not indulged, 
than we should feel our value otherwise,
such as in how what we do
matters to those we care about,
in the impact of our lives upon the lives of others
we learn to care about,

in Christianity, many believe that St. Peter
will meet us after we die and judge our lives,
I doubt how impressed he will be with our paycheck,

when I’m slipping away at the end of my story,
I hope I will find the worth of my life
in how much the world is better
because of how I lived.

by Henry H. Walker

January 11, ‘18

Thursday, January 4, 2018

the terraced steps fit the land

an elegant solution

never does a project
go easier, faster, surer,
than my expectations—
at least until now,

the footing of the way
from the cabin porch steps
to the flat near the creek
has increasingly disturbed
my sense of rightness,
exposed root and rock
all almost designed to impede, to trip,

in the last few years,
I have imagined solutions of rock or wood,
the rock has scared me with its weight and unwieldiness,
the wood with the brusque heaviness of its engineering,

an old broken-down redwood bench offered a slat to me,
and it was already but feet away,
I only had a handsaw,
but with two cuts I had a wall,
and two stops to pound into the ground,
and within a few minutes I had the retaining wall,
and within another few minutes 
I had the leveling earth behind it,
I needed one more level,
so the next day I studied the slope,
and I found a smaller rock,
sticking out from under a bedded boulder,
a few minutes of shovel and mattock work
and it was out,
as I started to lift and flip it away,
I noticed how flat a surface it had,
a few minutes more work,
and it was anchored—
one side under the boulder
and the other side chocked with root and rock,
and more dirt around it,

the two terraced steps fitting 
into the land with a graceful simplicity,

would that all our works wedded so well
our vision with what fits upon the earth.

by Henry H. Walker
December 28, ‘17

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

a new developmental level

Max turns five

in my photography
I have long felt an ability
to look at a person’s eyes
and often see when the reality
of the person looks back,
the guard lets down for a moment,
and I take the picture,

children can take a long time
to let you see the truth
behind the curtain,
behind the mask,
this Christmas, as our grandson turned five,
he seemed to reach a new developmental level,
and I encountered less of the contrary,
less of the pose,
less of the guarded,
the delightful sweet person,
the loving, gifted young man
shared himself to me at times,

I felt like applauding the revelation
that is birthing itself within who he really is:

Max loves books, stories, the imagination,
Star Wars engulfs him, with light sabers and strong characters,
just as much Legos allow him to create ships and stories
whose worlds absorb him,
he loves to reveal and carefully fix the Lego ships,
trucks and small cars complete the troika of toys
within whose worlds he is master,

the social world still takes effort from him, 
as the contrary and the private still have power,

I love how much he is becoming master of them, too.

by Henry H. Walker
December 28, ‘17