Richard Walker is a public elementary school teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area, and loves the work that California Poets in the Schools does.
He is a lucky husband, and a father of two wonderful boys. He writes poems because he likes poetry; and he writes novels during National Novel Writing Month because he’s a little crazy.
He posts his poems at Sadly Waiting for Recess as “Mr. Walker”.
© All postings and intellectual materials on this page are property of Richard Walker.
16 thoughts on “RICHARD WALKER”
New Thoughts on Old
I’m somebody’s old man / am I really that old?
I haven’t hit old age / this is just mid-life
I’ve got some gray that makes me look old
but I blame that on the young
I am the oldest son / and the oldest grandson
I haven’t aged / like whiskey or brandy or wine
I’m old enough to know better / but not old enough to be wise
I don’t talk about the good old days
I think the days now are just fine
I might be an older model / than some others you’ve seen
but I’ve managed to keep the mileage pretty low
I’m an old hand at writing
but the writing keeps me young
I wouldn’t say I’m an old soul
but I’ve always acted older than my years
I still like it when old students
come back to say hello
And I am not quite old enough to remember
The Flintstones and their “gay old time” in prime time
/ / /
This poem was written in response to Prompt #41 – Old Relatives.
So much to fear.
How do I choose?
Everywhere I peer
so many grays
and, ironically, clear
so many blues.
I don’t want to fear.
Something I would choose:
to listen and hear
in so many ways
to be right here
with the voice of a muse.
I do decide not to fear.
That is what I choose.
To raise a cheer
for nights and days,
to cry not a tear,
to see colorful hues.
/ / /
This poem was written in response to Prompt #45 using the Genesis form.
days when you were
new teacher and you
longed to be better: master, mentor,
in your skills and talents?
is the same.
The success is in
you. Find it. Claim it. Keep writing.
/ / /
This poem was written in response to Prompt #46, and is a variation of the piku.
Shadows and Light
There is magic in the shadows,
as they dance towards each other,
no stiff muscles, no canes needed,
unless it’s part of the dance.
There is magic in the light too,
casting shadows towards each other.
What’s important is not the physics,
but the frisson of the dance.
/ / /
This poem was written in response to In the Shadows – Prompt #48.
I’d be strong,
I’d save people,
But there would be times
when I’d fly just to be alone
My cape flapping gently
in the stratosphere
Above the clouds
above the noise
Quiet and stillness
just for me
So I could go back
and continue to be strong
/ / /
This poem was written in response to the “and sometimes I wear a cape” prompt – #49.
THIS IS MADNESSS!!!!!! jk awesome….
I have a brown thumb
I kill plants
I don’t mean to
It just happens
So, you should probably
keep seeds away from me
Words are my soil
That’s where I plant
Some are forests
Some a clump of trees
an adapted screenplay
Some a bush
leaves on each side
of the branches
stanzas of couplets
Some a blade of grass
These are my seeds
I share them with you
Plant them in your fertile soil
That would make me happy
and maybe you too
that is our life
/ / /
This poem was written in response to the “returning to the soil” prompt – #53.
Earth comes here again
every year, a location
not on any map-
but on calendars we mark,
and we hope for renewal.
/ / /
This tanka was written in response to the “Making a Comeback” prompt – # 50.
what does that mean?
is that a poke
at the vertically challenged?
that’s not funny
or is it the punchline
to a politically incorrect joke
about a Native American name?
that’s not funny either
falling a short distance
just might be a good thing
dust off your knees
and hop tall again
what I worry about is
I’ve got emails to send
papers to grade
poems to post
a novel to write
and my butt is sagging
/ / /
This poem was written in response to the “Rise and Fall” prompt – # 24.
It Had Been
his energy waned
he was fearful
he didn’t mind being alone
except that he was lonely now
it hadn’t always been this way
he had lived a life of adventure
his face had known many smiles
he had myriad loves
he could play music and jokes
it had been that way for a long time
he had wandered
and been lost
had looked for signs in headlines
and slept on concrete
it had been that way for too long
he regretted leaving the church
he remembered the circle of love there
he hoped the philosophy he’d cobbled together
would hold him in his final days
it had been his way
he just hoped it was the right one
/ / /
This poem was written in response to “Wordle 24 a la Leo” at The Sunday Whirl and “Wither Goest Thou Kevin Bacon?” – prompt #23.
for the purposes of dramatic tension
we need people to be Lost
the creators Design a set piece
where there is no cell reception
miscommunication means People are
not where they are supposed to be
there is going to be no Rescue
you are on your own
or so they would have you believe
as Act one unfolds the story
but as the complications begin to Surface
we see the relationships deepen
and we begin to understand that
we are not alone, we are not Lost
/ / /
This poem was written in response to prompt #54, playing favorites… again.
Walking the Way
As a young man, I was angry
that I was learning everything the hard way.
I wanted some guidance, some warning
about the sharp turns in the road ahead.
I railed at everyone around me,
frustrated that I had no road map,
until I began to understand that I had the tools
I needed to make my own way.
I began to draw and write,
crude at first, without a doubt,
but it was my map, and it was enough,
and more, it empowered me to be me.
I’m still unfolding that map today,
fleshing out details here, looking fondly
on areas I no longer walk, as well as
all the new spaces, ever expanding.
Doubt drives me still, so I check
the map often to be sure I’m on track.
And I’ve let go of the anger at myself
when I find myself off the path.
Some days, the map folds up neatly,
the creases aligning, beauty like origami.
Other days, I fold it the wrong way,
and struggle to make it pocket-size again.
And on the occasional day, it’s a prop
for a bit of sleight of hand.
You may not know where it is,
because I misdirected you, but I know.
And now I wonder: will my sons want
me to give them a road map?
Or will they make their own metaphor?
It’s this big blank space right here.
I’ll give them more guidance than I got,
but I won’t be upset when they ignore me.
It will be their map that they’re writing
and drawing on – and walking and dancing.
I’ll give them a map and suggest some places
to begin, but then I’ll cede control,
and tell them it’s okay to be off the path,
as long as you’re still on the map.
/ / /
This poem was written in response to prompt #57, the walk of life.
at morning glories-
/ / /
This haiku was written in response to prompt #58, in the air tonight.
Good is like water;
it nourishes in being.
it just is.
It is everywhere
It is life.
It does not contend,
but flows naturally,
finding a way to be
where it needs to be.
It flows down
as streams and rivers
to the world ocean.
It rises up
the spirit of life.
It is soft
falling from the sky.
It makes things grow.
Supple and alive,
it bends the inflexible.
It weakens the hard;
rocks become sand.
Gentle sands now
to walk on,
lapped by the waves,
the sound of life.
It is calm here,
where land meets water
and the sky is open.
buoyed by life.
it tastes good.
/ / /
This poem was written in response to prompt #59: water, water everywhere.
Fog clings to foothills-
unwilling to descend
into the valley
Wisps of fog-
I’m taken with how
The fog murmurs-
before it’s invisible
listen to it
/ / /
These haiku/senyru were also written in response to prompt #59: water, water everywhere.
Fire and Forethought
He came to me in a dream,
pushing back the darkness,
a coal flickering in a fennel-stalk.
The fennel-scent surrounded me,
like entering a house where food
has simmered the whole day.
Suddenly, the flame was mine,
and I was roasting vegetables,
basting them with olive oil.
Those scents surrounded me,
as he stepped forward, touching
my hands and then my forehead.
Then the fire was within me,
and I found myself at a desk,
writing poems based on myths.
Before he could turn away,
I touched my forehead and
opened my palms to him.
I bowed in gratitude
for his gifts, the many flames,
and he nodded in reply.
As he walked from my dream,
the darkness tried to return,
but I held it back with my fire.
/ / /
This poem was written to prompt #60: burning passion.