Saturday, January 21, 2023

the howl of the wild

 Wolves in the Snow

the wolves call:

a month from now

we plan to answer that call,

to wend our way to Montana,

and then into Wyoming,

with lupophile guides who know and love

the wildness and the camaraderie of these cousins of ours,

we have sought them in the summer

and found brief intersections of our lives and theirs,

once watching alpha female 42F

work to entice the pups across Soda Butte Creek,

a stick in her jaw: to play? to entice?

the alpha male at the same time

ready to hunt, and the older pups,

not fully with him,

but, like a preschool teacher, he adjusted

and found the way to lead them on,

with the waning of winter,

and the assertion of snow,

we hope to see the wolves hunt, and succeed,

we have never seen Yellowstone, and the Lamar Valley,

when snow is everywhere, and the lush grass is hidden,

we hope to be able to luxuriate in the glory late winter reveals,

and to stay warm enough, functional enough,

to see, to appreciate, to photograph

the wolves when they can dominate,

there is a stasis with ice and snow, a simplifying,

what we hope for, though, is a quickening,

as the wolves express who they are

as dominant predator in this park

we have loved for years,

even before the wolves returned.

by Henry H. Walker

January 20, ‘23

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

a tribute to a great woman


Martha Malling

there was a clarity to the twinkle of her eye,

a wisdom, a solidity, that knew you true,

and would do whatever needed doing,

while still getting the cosmic humor of every day,

the joyous rightness that calls to us,

that called her to the love of her life,

that great Danish bear, Heinrich, the Viking,

that called from her three extraordinary children,

much about her life, her past,

I do not know,

I do know her presence:

to be with Martha was to be right,

we should honor her light by letting ours shine,

we should strive to be selves

whose eyes twinkle true like hers did.

by Henry H. Walker

January 17, ‘23

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

what's in our eye now?


the price of our decisions

should we sod the yard at the cabin?

durable grass that can take and thrive under heavy use?

the poor soil now mostly supports moss,

an attractive green that easily slips away

with the slightest use of kids playing,

some recommend no grass for fear of its environmental impact:

the fertilizer or water or herbicides,

and that caution has its truth,

yet how to weigh what we want to do

versus our effects upon an increasingly fragile Earth?

if I were to prioritize,

I would first protect us from population explosion,

each new person forces the Earth to pay a heavy price,

I would reduce the size and poundage 

of our cars and personal trucks:

the ego gain of being bigger than the Joneses

is not worth the heavy price of environmental impact,

yet again, I still like to fly, to enjoy meat,

to enjoy shipped-in strawberries and other fruit year-round,

we didn’t stop with one child,

in fact, my wife and I are third children,

we do what we can,

and we know that what we “can” 

is often what we will,

it is easy to pass judgement on those in the past,

and what we feel “now” were their mistakes “then”

what is in our own eye now

that keeps us from seeing true?

by Henry H. Walker

December 22, ‘22

Christmas 22


The Family, Gathers

much seeks to break the circle

as family members create their own lives

and distance makes the holding together more challenging,

this Christmas, despite the nagging troubles 

of the waning pandemic,

and the resurgent viruses that assault so many,

we gather together in the healing mountains:

matriarch and patriarch,

two sons and two daughters-in-law,

three grandchildren,

all together and re-knitting our bonds in person,

all feels so right, 

and yet so fleeting.

by Henry H. Walker

December 25, ‘22

the social calls to us


the call of the social

how much are we social beings?

how are we social?

herd animals need the other

for protection, definition,

it’s the predators who often hunt alone,

as predators we humans, like the wolves,

though, learned to use the group to hunt the individual,

this accursed pandemic has denied us others,

the touch, the close proximity of people,

as we come back together

I watch many of my middle school students 

get close, personal, touching,

parent and child feel that same drive,

China opens up in part to allow fulfilling that need,

part of us likes to individuate,

but that individual lives to be seen, to be appreciated,

to fit self into a larger whole,

no matter how introverted we are,

we seek the other.

by Henry H. Walker

December 22, ‘22

joyous child meets cynical adult


are we surfer, or flotsam?

one of my students this week

wrote of his preschool self, that he could feel him

as a surfer who can control his waves,

how opposite to the powerlessness experience can bring,

that the waves are beyond any control,

and that we are not surfers but just flotsam,

our will in control of nothing but letting in doubt,

the joyous child in us believes all is possible,

the cynical adult in us knows despair more than hope.

by Henry H. Walker

September 22, ‘20

Saturday, January 14, 2023

the self, acting upon the world


why am I still teaching?

I keep seeing a student

marshal their resources, their will:

writing from the heart, with the head, too,

so that they express who they are

in what they say, and how they say it,

in how they understand and express

what they get out of a novel,

in how science can enable them to understand,

to learn how the universe expresses itself,

in how they can make sense out of history

and let their grasp of the past

inform their grasp of the present,

and their hopes for the future,

each time an authentic self ventures forth,

I want to celebrate!

for the best a school can do

is to help enable a student

to make a mark on the world,

and to help us all move forward

toward getting the truth the universe lives,

the truth the universe hopes for.

by Henry H. Walker

January 13, ‘23