Friday, September 28, 2018

middle school angst

carry the flag?  me?

our middle schoolers can be loved,
capable, skilled in sport and class,
well-liked by friends, positive forces for a world 
that ought to “get them,” appreciate them, support them,
yet something is wrong,
the snake of self-doubt slithers through their sureness:
fear of what might happen,
anxiety when product or friend falters,
feeling the disturbance in the Force
when political leaders don’t lead us toward a future
where climate change is resisted, bills paid, hate rejected,
inequities of income, skin color, orientation, gender,
considered worth the effort to resolve toward a dream of equality,

it must be hard to awake toward adulthood
and then to realize that so many adults in charge
are not yet ready to be worth the respect an elder ought to deserve,

how unfair to the children
to have to grow up too fast,
since so many who run the country have not yet grown up,

I understand the cracks within the self-confidence
that allow self-doubt and worry to worm their way in,
but I also believe that the young can be of “the kingdom of Heaven,”
I feel for them as they have to grow up in a world 
that needs their rightness to release itself, 
that needs them to pick up the flag and carry it forward,
since the earlier bearers have fallen.

by Henry H. Walker
September 26, ‘18

Thursday, September 27, 2018

a progress report on Fall

Fall Equinox 18

the warm humid air of late summer
doesn’t care that the Sun is crossing the Equator,
too much energy is held in the ocean these days,
and then released into the air that sits on us,

I dream of October’s cool nights, bright blue days,
and air dry enough to swallow some of my sweat,
about a third of the maple trees seem tired of waiting
and just drift colorless to the ground,

about a tenth of the leaves of the pink dogwood
are readying themselves,
tempting the eye with harbingers 
of the red glory that will come,

our grapes have finished their best production year in decades,

though the cedar arbor will need a lot of fixing,

tomatoes are almost gone,

 beans finishing,

Native American pumpkin feel the frost coming
and are bountiful below their mass of leaves,

okra still produce though the recent remnants of Hurricane Florence
have winded them part over,

a few gourds are getting themselves ready,

school is in full swing,
and I am touched by how many kids
are breaking through toward their power,
Fall Equinox feels like it should be of balance,
but the world needs to stumble
before skies can clear into clarity.

by Henry H. Walker
September 23, ‘18

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

nature is open, are we?

Nature Deficit Disorder

we are an increasingly urban society,
following the herd, the jobs, high culture, the possibilities,

we are an increasingly anxious society,
helicoptering our kids with rules, restrictions,
while also allowing them the siren call of the screen,

today I took two middle school classes
just outside our building,
we sat near a small creek with a forest slipping toward us,
bird calls louder than nearby voices and working tools,

it was hard for the kids to close their eyes,
and to open themselves so that 
sounds, smells, tastes, feelings,
could work upon them, 
to let leaves and bugs and birds
have their way with them,

some students wrote of waking up,
of seeing and feeling a different world come at them,

one student wrote of being freed from the stress
of performance, of judgment, of having to talk to others,

nature is open, and we can receive.

by Henry H. Walker
September 21, ‘18

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