Selected Photography, Art, and Poetry

by Harold S. Walker

Brother Pak

We stand at the bus station
And I try to get one last good look at you—
Black hair, smooth brown skin, black eyes, and
funny, flat nose.
And though we stand but a few feet apart,
We are a culture apart;
We’re distant—
as far from east to west
and back again.
So far.
And yet
We are so near—
You were baptized today and now
we’re brothers in the same family,
So close, now.
And as I look at you
(remembering how hard we all worked to
reach this day),
I want to
Hug you—
But don’t
Because I know in the Orient, that’s not exactly
proper in public.
So I’ll love you from a few feet’s distance,
Knowing and wanting to tell you so much
Wanting to remind you of the truths we
have studied together,
Wanting to tell you what it really meant today
the blue ocean gently swallowed you.
See, even now the saltiness clings to my skin,
as you will to my memory for a long time to
So shake hands now, the bus is boarding.
We may never see each other again,
But, as you know
We can …

[photo] Photo by Wendy Chan

[illustration] Illustrated by José Ortega

The Teenager

Along the carefree paths of childhood,
A shove from somewhere
Sent me
Careening through the halls of growth
To sprawl
In the world of the adult.

Jungle Life

My brother is
a gorilla.
It’s his jungle
he owns
the bananas.
He gives me
the green ones
feels like sharing.
when I’m stuck in a tree,
he sends
a swinging vine,
tells me
people jokes,
makes me
banana cream pie,
and lends
a hairy hand.


I attended a funeral today
for the two best friends
I ever had.
We worked together
and played together.
They were there when
I hit home runs
and climbed trees.
But now their soles
are laid to rest.
And in my mind
A dirge resounds
as the garbage truck
pulls away.

[photo] Photo by Elisabeth Vorkink


The world’s a smile
and we are smiling inhabitants
with people smiles
free-movie smiles
top-of-the-Ferris-wheel smiles
hi-there smiles
well-hidden I-know-you-saw-me smiles
half-hearted winter’s-coming smiles
you’ve-got-to-be-kidding smiles
shy little sister smiles
refrigerator’s-full smiles that make you smile
in a midnight milk and cookie sort of way
uncomfortable welfare-line smiles that never fit right
not-in-the-mood-to-smile smiles that never reach the eyes
smirking smiles
sneaky smiles that want to be grins
remember-the-time smiles
smiling at people who walk in the rain
smiley-button smiles
laugh-with-me smiles and cry-with-me-too smiles
life smiling
you smiling at me smiling
one smile …

[photos] Photos by April VanDever

Too Young

They say Mary was young.
I don’t think of her as the mature Madonna
The artists show,
But a young girl
With the light of that star shining in her eyes.
Was just another poor farm boy—
He probably felt awkward in their fancy churches,
But he prayed, too.
Too young to be important
Is just a state of mind.

[photo] Photo by Julia Harris


After a day of hurts and misunderstandings,
You feel there are two types of people in the world—
You, and everyone else—
Let me assure you,
You are wrong:
There are three—
You, everyone else, and me.

Real Life

In my dreams
You looked a little different.
You were wearing this dashing white hat
As you galloped up on your trusty steed
And swept me away
Into an endless sunset.
So, pardon me,
My valiant knight,
If I didn’t recognize you when you pulled up to my door
In your broken-down Volkswagen with the cracked windshield.
But that sparkle in your eye looked familiar.
You can be my valiant knight
And I will be your lady
Just like in my dreams.
Only better.


“No, I’m not in love,” I said,
As he gazed into my eyes,
“But you could say I’m interested,
And want to find out why.”

[photo] Photo by April VanDever

[photo] Photo by William Kelly


I never was lost
always knew the path was there
but the other road had people—
exciting people
different colors always changing
sometimes blending
colors always seemed
to make life much more real
but too many colors
blended together
turn to black

[photo] Photo by Glen Ashdown

[illustration] Illustrated by Annie Grobler

[photo] Photo by Steven Yount


Darkness creeping through
the trees, leaves charcoal sketches
on the crystal snow.

A Touch

His children planted on the earth
With arms for burdens not their own,
And slithering venom given birth
To raise the hands that cast the stone.
Great fingers touching sight to eyes,
Hands to work the wood
To which they would be nailed.
Hands washed of his blood.
O, cunning one, to separate
The palms of saintly arm
To teach the hands to emulate
A blackness bent on harm.
I wondered at a way to slap
The sliding serpent down,
Cause lightning and a thunderclap,
Restore both throne and crown.
To find a power greater far
The foe cannot withstand.
When I unclenched my fists, I saw:
I held it in my hands.

Do You Remember?

Do you remember the sweating days of summer,
when the hot sun did magic to your skin
and made you an Indian?
You had barely escaped from the first grade,
and could hardly even begin to think about the next year
and being a whole grade bigger.
Mom’s marigolds didn’t take it too graciously
when you decided to fall in love with the girl next door
and knew that the purple weeds that grew in the field across the street
just weren’t enough.
There were always candy-bar days and ice-cream days
and days of eating chocolate chip cookies on the swing—
still warm and melty and ohsogood.
You remember now the backyard town that needed no name,
and the treehouse where you spent so many library-book days—
so way up.
One time you got to ride your bike all the way to the drugstore
with $.15 in your pocket that jingled and kept time
to your up-and-down knees the whole way …
and on the way back your mouth was one big sugar-sweet wad
of bright pink bubble gum.
Those were the days
that you walked into the baking kitchen
with stolen strawberry smiles,
thinking mom would never know;
but she always did, and she held you hostage
until you confessed and apologized—
and you laughed when you ran outside
because moms never learn the secret of crossed fingers.
Sprinkler shenanigans that outsmarted the sun,
and trips to the warm green pool
that made your eyes look like roadmaps.
Visits to Grandma and Grandpa’s porch
where Grandma knitted you all kinds of things,
and where you went for rides on Grandpa’s knee,
always hoping that your mount would never tire.
Aladdin’s lamp, King Arthur’s court, beautiful princesses, Tom Sawyer,
and one last glass of water …
and then you slept
and remembered.

[photo] Photo by Debby Thiemann

[photo] Photo by Robert Kempton


Although I’m twelve,
almost thirteen,
my brain
tells me
I like
my hair turns
be going to
the circus,
on my 97th
I plan
to climb
a tree.

A Simple Question:

Does he have no feelings,
Or do I have too many?


I’ve been so often wrong.
Yet always,
You reach into
Your mind,
To retrieve a look
With compassion.
And somehow, we laugh.

[photo] Photo by Julia Harris

[photo] Photo by Kevin Rummler

Spring Rain

Windchime water, falls
to shatter on stubborn stones.
Broken heirloom orbs.

Winter Warmth

There’s snow on the mountaintops now,
Winter’s herald ethereal and otherworldly
to those who still bask
in Autumn’s fiery valley.
Firstfruits of the frosty season,
crystalline crown
shoots rays of whiter light.
Kingly cloak
in snowy splendor
hugs the shoulders
of the hills.
Glacial glory
shows Persephone’s gone below.
how my heart can be so heated
by as cold a thing
as snow.


The tray is passed,
Sacrament solemnly taken and
Young and old
Acclaim Discipleship …
just as those ancient Apostles
When in the upper room
understanding the significance only in part
The bread and wine an ominous prelude
To the bitter dregs of …
And Calvary
That only He,
The Son of Man could drink.
His suffering turned sweet only as …
we consign our will to His
and let our spirit be healed by his godly touch.
May we remember him as
He remembered us.


There is
Within my sorrow at our parting,
A sweet and secret gladness for my grief:
For I know
This pain would not be mine
Had I not felt the joy of loving you, before.
And I know
I can bear this selfish sorrow,
Relinquish you to peace that you deserve,
And walk alone for a moment in eternity,
Because your Father also gave you up
At the moment of birth,
Knowing full well
It might be

[photo] Photo by Dan Steenhoek

[photo] Photo by Frank Keeney

[photo] Photo by LaMont Singley

[photos] Ice cream photos by Jed Clark