Monday, November 25, 2019

dominance games, and grouping by age

the grade as problem

at school we can grade,
as in fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth grades,
for homogeneity calls to us,
treat each 11 year old as the same,
as if rough chronological age is determinant,
that academic, social, and emotional needs 
are best addressed within similar age,

I ask my middle schoolers
if their friends are the same age, the same gender,
and, if they are, the four years of our middle school,
then can have, 1/8 as potential friends,
if all genders, yet the same rough age, ¼,
add a year, and it’s ½,
add all four years
and the pool of potential is huge,

the temptation to yield to the illusion of homogeneity
clumps people together who are often 
fighting the same developmental challenges,
and they easily slip into dominance games,
a way to differentiate self from the competitive other,
too much like them,

I contend that connections between genders, between ages,
helps the better of one’s self transcend into dominance over the lesser,
away from when familiarity can tempt us into zero-sum games,
or even worse, into one’s success built upon a larger group’s failure.

by Henry H. Walker
November 22, ‘19

Sunday, November 10, 2019

survival of the altruistic

Miracle in the Forest

how do we see a forest?

is it a field that needs clearing?
is it board feet for houses and furniture?
is it so beyond us that we should fear it?
in our history the farm claimed it, so did the logger,
early settlers on this continent felt horrors 
impinging on them from it, 

I understand how much we are creatures of the sky,
from whence cometh the Light, and God, 
at least it feels so to us,

our scientific research increasingly realizes 
a forest is a community,
not “tooth and nail” in its competitiveness, 
but so cooperative and connected
that in there evolution speaks of survival of the altruistic,
not the zero-sum our minds want to force on the world,
for we humans want to win,
and the rest of life must then lose to us,

the more scientists ask the right questions of a forest,
the more is revealed of trees combining with each other,
taking care of each other,
and not just with offspring,

I particularly love the fungi,
that vast network within the soil
that fruits above the ground for us with mushrooms,
but does far more than we can yet fathom,
of connecting, of contributing, of recycling,

the Cherokee felt a connection with the plant world,
allies in a human struggle with the animal world,
maybe we should feel that connection too,

photosynthesis is the great miracle
that enables energy from the Sun
to fuel plant, and then animal,

the Sun is as God to us,
the leaf enables God 
to work her magic on the world.

by Henry H. Walker
November 8, ‘19

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

as nothing, compared to . . .

to hold nature

we are not large enough 
to truly hold any part of nature,
any iteration of the rightness
inherent within the birthing of this universe,

each life form, each moment of light,
each casual reveal 
of exotic mystery within commonplace reality,
dwarfs me,

I feel there is enormous power
just behind each contact I notice outside me,
and, if I am not careful, contacts may touch,
and I will not be able to hold the power
just behind, and below, every moment,

the Atlantic Ocean is as nothing compared to the Pacific Ocean,
and I am as nothing compared to the Atlantic,
in fact, I am as nothing compared to a waterfall.

by Henry H. Walker
November 2, ‘19

the changing world transformed

a golden snow

the Sun heats the oceans,
and a blanket of carbon dioxide and all
holds in the heat,
the heat which stirs the atmosphere
and pulls rain onto the land,

winds roar and autumn leaves
release into the tempestuous air,
sleeting down, swirling every which way,
as if huge flakes in a golden snow,
which enlarges us, for a while,
into seeing the changing world transformed
with and like the leaves,
and for a few moments,
we transcend.

by Henry H. Walker
October 26, ‘19

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

writing within nature

nature: actor or background?

the natural world of mountain and ocean,
of waterfall, of plant, of animal,
can demand to be the actor in my poetry,

yet it also can be the neutral background
upon which the colors of my personal world swirl,
the stage which does not interact
with the characters within me,
but which also allows the freedom and space
upon which they can tell their story.

by Henry H. Walker
November 2, ‘19

Sunday, November 3, 2019

putdowns, worse than candy

the allure, and destruction, of the jibe

I teach middle schoolers,
and I can feel their vulnerability
to the jibe, the laugh, the humiliation, the hurt,

I know how easily
I myself can slip and fall into the self-doubt
that calls on us to crash, to wreck,

the putdown is like candy, but worse,
for while both can give a rush of pleasure,
the putdown builds pleasure from another’s pain.

by Henry H. Walker
November 2, ‘19

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Memorial Circle, may the circle be unbroken


at our best we are connected to each other,
open enough to those outside us,
to let them into us,
to feel their joys and sorrows,
to learn from them,
to let their lives touch ours,
and make us better,

each life ripples outward,
and who we are moves in response,
as we hope theirs does, too, 
to that which pulses out from us,

I feel a calling to remember and honor 
those who have gone before,
and whose lives touch me at my best,
helping me to not feel so lonely,
to help me move in ways and directions
that feel more right to me
than what I come up with just by myself,

we should feel ourselves part of communities
that seek us, embrace us,
help us see ourselves as the best 
that others can persist as seeing in us,

I sorrow when connections break,
and someone is alone,

even when a person has died,
I want to hold to the connection,
and still feel the ripples.

Memorial Circle, CFS, daybreak

Memorial Circle, CFS, heron sculpture, the spirit rises, sculpture by Bradley McDevitt

CFS Day of the Dead remembrance ceremony, 11/1/19

by Henry H. Walker
November 1, ‘19