Monday, January 14, 2019

the short-circuiting of ambivalence

feeling the way forward

at the heart of Quakerism
is both the bright light of revelation
and the short-circuiting of ambivalence:
one person speaks to a truth that seems clear
while those who hear that person have to decide
whether those words are from God
or from a poorly-programmed GPS,

the collective can be of wisdom,
though I have felt the collective
to far too often defer to inaction,
the falling into the trap 
that a lack of consensus 
as to the direction to move
is a consensus to not move,
fearing a sin in commission
and not feeling the sin in omission,

to Quakers, a clerk of a meeting
can have a major role in deliberations,
not just to be a pollster who reads where people are,
but a leader, from behind, who reads where people are,
and helps them realize where they can, and should, go.

by Henry H. Walker
January 11, ‘19

Sunday, January 13, 2019

the struggle to express

see, appreciate, support

nothing we do as teachers,
nothing we do as people,
is more important than to see the other,
to appreciate the other,
to let the other know we get
some portion of the effort
of the life each lives,
some portion of that of God
that each struggles to reveal, to express,

every effort needs to be seen,
needs to be appreciated,
needs to be supported,

we each are alone, 
at least in how we can feel,
we need the other, the friend,
we need the community
to open itself, and thus us,
to how full we all can be.

by Henry H. Walker
January 11, ‘19

Thursday, January 3, 2019

our better selves

Hamilton: the man, the musical, and us

Hamilton undoes me, 
and I haven’t even seen it yet,

on one level, there is a story of a man, a life, a dream,
a story tightly interwoven with the story of our country
finding a sense of self that should live,

this story of mostly men, mostly white,
many of them wigged and fearing fresh air,
is of a world I’ve know within the arid air of history books,
my empathy not strong enough to feel it all in my heart,

how wondrous it is that this world
has come alive with music, song, and dance,
all so much more modern than the times portrayed,
and with performers distinctly different in race from the originals,

what astounds me, what moves me deeply,
is that the Platonic ideal of our country’s birthing
can be brought forth by modern folks
who were not explicitly the ones “created equal”
in terms of the Founders’ words,

we needed the world to wake up
to that better self our better angels envision,
and bring Alexander Hamilton’s reality straight through to us,

Hamilton reveals to us what we can be when the way can open,
what an amazing antidote to the poison infecting politics today!

by Henry H. Walker
December 31, ‘18
images courtesy of Google Images

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Walker Knob

immersed in mountains

a view opens up before us,
as the mountain drops half-angle away,

the Great Fire eliminated most of the trees
who had blocked the view with their own selves,
now the great mountain and his nearly great mountains 
dominate the view and our souls,
meanwhile roots race to uplift shoots unto the sky around our feet,

while pines confidently have sprouted from fire-triggered seeds,
and already start to clutter the way with their knee-high exuberance,
a year or two more and we humans will no longer
find an ease coming up and down the long ridge,
the lower way already a bramble of downed heath branches and trunks,
all tough and intertwined as if designed to thwart our movement,

today was of family, as my wife, sons, and granddaughter
left the comfortable homely house,
crossed the valley to the foot of the great hill,
and found ways up to its top,

later, as day thought about slipping into dusk,
my son, granddaughter, and I brave the bracing creek,

so that we could find ourselves literally immersed in the day,
a day in which earlier we found ourselves 
immersed in hike, climb, and view, and in each other,

Wow. . . what a day!

by Henry H. Walker
December 26, ‘18

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Winter Solstice '18

Winter Solstice ‘18

bands of rain,
bands of sun,
ride the warm air from the Gulf,
just before noon, and just after noon,
sun shadows at the Sol Pole,
but at noon itself tumbling gray clouds block the Sun,

she who just today pauses,
before starting her long six month climb to summer,
as we drive across the piedmont and then into the mountains,
the air cools and the steady rain
threatens to turn into snow,
which it does up-elevation from us,
the phase change an echo of the season change,
winter white just a few degrees and a few hundred feet from us,
water along here usually drips by the road,
today it streams,
and in the valleys the streams are full and loud,

a gray dusk turns into night
just as the Sun pauses,
family travel today so that we can be together,
sister-in-law, niece, tonight,
sons and spouses and grandchildren 
are to wend their way tomorrow
into these mountains and to this family home,
we need to notice time passing
and to feel ourselves fully present,
as yesterday becomes tomorrow,
and today, like every one of us,
needs to be noticed,
needs to be appreciated,
all of us, all of existence, needs to be savored,
for too soon the moment is gone,
for too soon each of us will be gone, too,
at the fulling table I feel the absences
of those who were here, and now aren’t.

by Henry H. Walker
December 21, ‘18