a place to talk so talk I'll talk we'll talk




I’d rather write about how

The gift of God is

Given on this day in the first


It is the day itself and more

Opportunities in time

In a culture of newness

So that good things might grow

I know we think of cultures

(the kind in Petri dishes)

For disease

But we might also harvest and

Turn (as on a potter’s wheel)


Once everything is studied

And we prudently co-try

Many things


C L Couch



Image by PDPics from Pixabay



Day 181

Day 181


It’s Friday afternoon

Day 180’s passing

And so the children should be

Out of school for summer

Last rides in yellow buses

For a while


They can populate the stores

For a time

And visit in each residence

Pets should be happier

For the company

And lemonade or something like

Becomes a commodity


I don’t mean to say

It’s all sugary

Some will need work,

Too many will go hungry

There will be

Pain from separations of all kinds


But some will take trips

They will enjoy

And though not expressed,

Wear a new kind of gratitude


As a child,

My summers weren’t idyllic

But I couldn’t help from time to time

First relief, then

Reveling in freedom


C L Couch



Photo by Luiz Guimaraes on Unsplash


Sarehole Mill

Sarehole Mill


The closest he would ever come

To loving a machine with anything

Near intimacy

He didn’t drive a car

He took the train (but did he

love the train, as many young

ones do?)

He was inclined to write by hand

Or so it seems

With all the inky manuscripting

And the drawing

I’m not sure he ever saw a movie

Courtesy of film-projector gears


But there was this mill

Still grinding corn

And did the Gaffer live there?

There were bricks and

Inside burnished metal

I wonder how it sounded

When coarse grain was pulled through

And did he ever try the product


There were trees close by,

There had to be

Or the feelings would have faltered,

I believe

How near to the heart of Hobbiton

It must have been moved, at last

Turned by water

Providing force enough

For humble profits,

All around


C L Couch



view of Sarehole Mill from the millpond, Birmingham, UK

Bs0u10e01 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,





doubt’s okay

where would we be without it

the buttons might

be popping off our vests

(and they might be nice buttons)


the parent before Jesus

who asked for healing

for the child whose

demon threw the child

into fire and water


Jesus replies, if you have faith

the parent cries,

I believe

and I have doubt

and churlish to say

help me with my unbelief


and you know what happens next

is that

the child is healed

the upstart comments of

the dad or mom

the bolt of lack of faith


finding home


it must be all right

to doubt

to wonder if we have it all

everything we need to know

or that the world

as it’s known

with all the ways we think about

the world


are enough

are in fact

perfect in our thinking

and devotion


is it a wonder

that the wind

is both invisible

and forceful


there is confidence

although in the desert

on the ocean

wind might falter

so might we


c l couch




Sailors aboard the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) spot a life raft at sea near Bermuda after being called for assistance by the U.S. Coast Guard.

U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 2nd Class J. Maurer.

Public Domain,


A Cycle of Faith

A Cycle of Faith


Seasons move

And then return

Though nothing stays the same

There is a year and then another, and

Each moment, each molecule is new

There is a cycle

But like the one on wheels

It covers new ground when it must

Or when we like

There is a degree of choice

Stay where we belong

That’s good in town

Strike out anew when we are away

And a wide, open road unreels

Beneath us


We believe

What we believe

Does it cycle like the year?

We have it, then we let it go

Like distractions of the seasons

We may like a

Philosophy at home

But then the alarm goes off

There’s smoke

And we run away

Smart move


What scared us away

Fear of fire, as it should frighten us

But when fire is a thought

Maybe we decide


When I was in school, I read philosophy

I read more now

Not to prevaricate, it isn’t all

The mind

The rest of us makes choices, too

Have you never felt it?


Pheromones, some might say

Or other such attraction

Call it a cause, even

Somewhere the heart must stir

It doesn’t have to be

Against the rest of us


There’s ritual:

That can get us far

It will not fill up all the years

It shouldn’t have to

All our lives can’t be spent in the temple

Unless that’s our job

And even so

Life outside is necessary

Air outside is different

When it moves


So there are factors

And ingredients

With the passing of time


We choose

And we have faith

Or not

Don’t deny the power that’s in

Miracles or tragedy

Trauma of the ages

In our spirit

Tragedy through time

We think we’re the only one

And we are

Now we’re not

Here comes the sun

The rain on all of us

It’s all right


Do you marvel now

We can be moved?

It comes and goes

We need the respites in between

But does it grow

Like arches should we walk upon

An aqueduct in the other way

Toward the source of water


The spire grows, if on a side

The arches take us somewhere

Toward the origin

The start of creation, we might say

But the aqueduct’s not made for us

Ours goes the other way

The spire toward the future grows


And so the cycle breaks

Its rim cannot hold

We are better than our borders

And, like Aslan, should be

On the move


C L Couch



Luis Rogelio HM – Merida – 045, CC BY-SA 2.0,





I sin

You sin

We all sin

There’s probably a nursery rhyme about it

It can’t not happen, I suppose

Not on this side of things

In heaven, maybe not

But wasn’t there a war there,

And is it done?


The evil that we do

(the sin)

When it becomes a habit,

Then a calling

Well, we’re done, I guess

And yet the wreckage might go on and on

Destruction of the spirit

With victims, all around


There is one sin unforgivable

I try not to be clever

But it seems to me to be denial

Of the Spirit of God at work in the world

And the presence of God, at all

A self-fulfilling condemnation

With no room for grace

No allowance for salvation

The humility and openness

The human soul requires


God cannot laugh this off

It must bring pain to God

Who would rather love

Us than do anything

In all creation

It’s how creation’s biased

In the very making

And the keeping of it


We can’t live happily ever after

If at all


C L Couch



Old 100th

Unknown – attributed to Louis Bourgeois (1510-1561) – 1551 Genevan psalter, typeset by the Mutopia Project, Public Domain,


Pillars of Hercules

Pillars of Hercules


Do you believe?

I do,

But you don’t have to

What is there to believe?

What is in front of us

How we feel inside

What that indicates

Things that happen that we see

And hear and taste

The ground we touch

Through shoes

The scents of spring

That time is passing by


What else,

Something beyond electrochemical

Ethereal, if not ineffable?

A child’s love

Our own attraction to so many things

When something good occurs

(say, Christmas morning)

Or something bad

(someone we knew

is no longer here)


Faith is the evidence of things unseen

Isn’t that a lark?

And if God is so good,

Why do so many bad things take place?

On these two points

So much atheism depends

(note I haven’t brought up evil yet)

I can understand:

How can we respect something

That isn’t there?

Yet I might ask,

What do we see when we are looking at

Nothing in particular?

Our eyes are open

Ears as well

Our fingers at the ready

Like the pianist’s prior to play


We are ready, and

What is really happening

When nothing’s happening?

Not convinced of the ethereal,

Not yet?

Give it time

That is more fluid than

We believe we know

Here endeth not a lesson

A suggestion, sure


C L Couch



View of Europa Point and the Rock of Gibraltar from the Strait of Gibraltar. Levante Cloud overhead.

Nol Aders – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


Body Counts

Body Counts


All of which to say

We can be spiritually minded

And love this life as well

Of flesh and blood

And stuff


I have a body

Inside’s kept my soul

When the soul leaves,

There is a counting

So many spirits in Virginia

So many from Sri Lanka

More from Palestine today

More from Yemen

There are tries at genocide

If my enemy does not exist, then

I no longer live in fear

The fear of retribution

From another side


We say to a better place

But we do not know

We do not know

A better philosophy’s required

To convince us

That somehow all this

Leave-taking is all right


There’s a medieval notion of

Purchase for ransom

The devil has our souls

Jesus paid to free us

But what should have been gold

Turns out to be blood

Payment required

For ancient sacrifice

And deals made

Once outside paradise


And with his blood mankind hath bought

One of the older Christmas songs

(hence the faulty use of

mankind, though it)

Teaches us,

Which does not mean to

Long for heaven over


This life is yet worthwhile

It’s all right to guard it

And regret its passing

Not as an end to

Suffering (that’s good)

But as a gift we’re given

And would just as soon

Not have to return


It’s all right

The old, old story says

We get to have it

Once the shell is gone,

We’ll get a new one

For now, though, that’s a mystery

And one not to manipulate

Of tyrants or

The gross indifferent


Keep us on the inside, Lord

Help us with reasons

With resources to

Live it on the outside


C L Couch



Image by Schwoaze from Pixabay





I’ve been dealing with a ghost story

It’s on television

But it has me thinking

No wonder Ibsen wrote that play

The ghosts, they come to get us

And they live right here


C L Couch



PanAmericana 2017 – the image was taken on an overlanding travel from Ushuaia to Anchorage – taken by Thomas Fuhrmann, SnowmanStudios – see more pictures on / mehr Aufnahmen auf


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