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”.

Richard’s blog:

Sadly Waiting For Recess


© All postings and intellectual materials on this page are property of Richard Walker.

16 thoughts on “RICHARD WALKER

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Reminder

    days when you were
    new teacher and you
    longed to be better: master, mentor,
    in your skills and talents?
    Poetry writing
    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.

  4. 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.

  5. mantle

    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.

  6. Verdant

    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
    November novels

    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
    a haiku

    These are my seeds
    I share them with you

    Plant them in your fertile soil
    your imagination

    That would make me happy
    and maybe you too

    That green
    that is our life

    / / /

    This poem was written in response to the “returning to the soil” prompt – #53.

  7. Comeback

    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.

  8. Falling

    what does that mean?
    falling short

    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
    falling behind

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. Lost

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. Good is like water;
    it nourishes in being.
    Without effort
    it just is.

    It does
    without thinking.
    It is
    without thinking.

    It is everywhere
    within us
    sustaining life.
    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
    as vapor,
    the spirit of life.

    It is soft
    falling from the sky.
    It cleanses.
    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,
    down low
    where land meets water
    and the sky is open.

    Dive in,
    buoyed by life.
    Drink deep,
    it tastes good.

    / / /

    This poem was written in response to prompt #59: water, water everywhere.

  13. Fog clings to foothills-
    unwilling to descend
    into the valley

    Wisps of fog-
    I’m taken with how
    they disappear

    The fog murmurs-
    before it’s invisible
    listen to it

    / / /

    These haiku/senyru were also written in response to prompt #59: water, water everywhere.

  14. 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.

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