Wednesday, September 19, 2018

the others' world, and our own narrow path

empathy, the downside

empathy wonderfully enlarges my sense of self,
and connects my loneliness to a oneness with others,
empathy also can enlarge my anxiousness,
as others’ sorrows swallow my sureness,
and I lose the grounding of my footing as I move forward,
I feel a slipping, a slipping back and down, and away,

sharp is the edge, narrow the path,
where there is an ennobling sureness of my own way,
enough sureness to allow the buffeting
when I leap away into another’s world,
onto their sharp edge for a short time,
I work to have the wherewithal to get home,
back to my own path,
with the other still with me,
but a part, not the whole, of who I am.

by Henry H. Walker
September 10-11, ‘18

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

within the tempest-tossed sea. . .


what a mystery, 
to rise to where the abstract is real,
and we can consider the cosmos
and all the different places within it,
do we humans need to feel unique?
or are we less lonely if we’re on a continuum,
is the pressure on us less then?

the self can achieve a vantage point
where it becomes aware of itself,
as different, individual,
able to realize that that in the mirror
is a self distinct from the other,
others cascade in upon our awareness
and make us larger, and, also, somehow smaller,
each of us able to make decisions and feel different,
able to follow a path we at least seem to choose,

then how do we make each decision?

somehow feelings rise up in us
and claim the speaker’s staff,
the right to decide,
much of our brain like a computer 
which needs a programmer,
a part of us to rise to program our decisions,
we feel the programmer to be from the heart,
really whatever the part of us 
that feels more surely than thinks,

my emotions are as a tempest-tossed sea,
swells toss me up into a clarity and rightness of the light,
and drop me down into anxious doubt in the darkness
that waves high above me,

I am who I am,
but it is devilishly hard to know just who that is.

by Henry H. Walker
September 11, ‘18

Monday, September 17, 2018

the challenge of middle school

my dear advisee

middle school is a challenging time:
a time of great developmental upheavals,
as the child is called by the adult within
to metamorphose: physically, emotionally, metaphysically,
to rise up, to look around,
a time to allow people, ideas, change,
to cascade upon one’s self,
a self already tuned to the universe,
and then the universe changes,

my advisee, I promise
to see you,
to know you,
to help you,
as best I can,
as you give birth
to the best you
that can find the ways to reveal itself,
and then to change the world
in ways the world needs to change.

by Henry H. Walker
September 18, ’18,
Yom Kippur

Saturday, September 1, 2018

single digits

the next steps

when my future lived,
according to probability, in decades,
I tended to assume continuity,
that each year was less a step somewhere,
than a continuation:
what was = what is = what will be,

now my future, at least my functional future,
in probability, lives in single digits,
and I fear each step,
for a fall is inherent in the possibility in a step,

like a climb up a mountain, 
I seek to concentrate on the next step,
to give myself fully to the short term,
and, if another short term follows the next short term,
my indefinite future will reveal itself
as the way opens.

by Henry H. Walker
August 18, ‘18