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I'll talk you'll talk we'll talk

Compass

(x = space)

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Compass

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I hope it’s a good day for you

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You deserve it

And many more good days

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It’s a harsh world

In many places

Though there is goodness, too

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I know this;

I hope you know it, too

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You know, there is this notion

Called democracy, which affirms

The majority

And respects the minority

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It’s a good idea,

An experiment in many places

In the world

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Now we know the trouble as

A virtue comes

When the numbers are too equal

And the country is divided

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I don’t think this happens very often

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But there is hype

And misuse of media

And people ready

To say this is what you think

And act on that behalf

That is not yours

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I’ve let the demons in

Too often

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I think they have a corner

There with maybe a side door

Or at least a tunnel

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There are angels, too

Ready to speak to me

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When I have been good,

I have listened

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Then there are the times

When the demons did not

Have to say anything, for

I was ready for their

Entrance

To take over

All my good intentions

And let ego run instead

Throughout the house

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And mischief,

Not the good kind,

Call it sin

Shall have its way

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God is good

And blesses our food

Though that rhyme is hard

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It’s important that we ask, for

It is not ours to bless

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The request might be enough,

God not one, usually, to

Draw up

A piece of paper

For a deal

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Though there have been precedents:

Moses, for one

And certain prophets’ calls

Toward redemption

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But we are not they;

We ask for affirmation of small things

In which there is salvation

For a lifestyle,

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Not because of word and rock

That are delivered from a mountain

Or ravens

Delivering our meals

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We are who we are, and

We are loved

Even when we’re sure we’re not—

In fact, more so in such times

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It’s not satisfactory, I know;

And who asked for free will,

Anyway?

But while we have it

And we’ll always have it,

Remember that the soul and heart

And mind

Is where it happens, first

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Remember, too, to advocate;

Our model is the

Spirit

Who gathers nothing,

Sometimes only promising a wilderness

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But cares

And loves

As we should care and love

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D. C. al Coda

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Coda

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I hope it is a good day for you;

I’ll pray for this

And, yes, I’ll pray for me as well

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More so, I’ll talk throughout

The day with God

And into night,

Though I have no skill

Or canny insight

Worked uncannily

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I am simply me,

You are you,

And God is God

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Always present,

Not a trick,

Too often beyond—

Specifically for mortals—

Understanding

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Have a care for mischief,

Though sometimes

Things are funny;

And the only thing to call up

Is some laughter

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Laugh with God

Who invented humor

And in a healthy way

With each other

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C L Couch

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Photo by Sunil Ray on Unsplash

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Book War

(x = space)

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Book War

(preventive)

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It happens

When a group

Has a code

That is set down

For day-to-day

And legacy

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It took place with

The Quran

The evening of

The morning

When there was

Certitude that

There would be

A new

Generation

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The Christian Bible

Set off conflict

With each change,

Each schism

Set to fighting

Over what to do

For faith

And what the book

Of faith should say

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Not to mention

All the agnostica

Falling ‘round

The faithful

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How many books

In the book?

Sixty-six or seventy-two with

All that should be in

Sixty-six or seventy-two

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My version’s better

My translation

My paraphrase

No, mine

No, mine

No, OURS

Said with authority

No one outside commends

So we will need an army

Defending ink,

Scriptoria,

And brittle generations

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A Bible war

Could be fun for trivia

On pub night

But not to justify

The raping of

Constantinople,

Christians thieving Christians

Or the books

That fuel internal fires

Burning up Jerusalem

For faith

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Now, it seems

The Jewish book

For faith

Kept growing

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While some groups

For their faith

Don’t keep a book at all

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To say the least,

There’s fondness for a text

But to justify—well,

We’ve heard good things about

A declaration

And a constitution

And a touchstone

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We should not fight about it

But leave room

As at the table

After dinner

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Or the second half

Of sermons,

Engagement that most folk

Forget or remember

In leaving off

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coda

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If we write

And publish,

Pass around,

We should talk about it

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Since pages are not

Altars

(altars are not altars)

And there’s always trouble

With our idols when

In idolatry

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C L Couch

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Photo by Drew Murphy on Unsplash

Johannesburg, South Africa

I was on a work shoot in a suburban church in Johannesburg. I took a walk around and noticed this soft light spilling onto the pews. Immediately I knew I should get a Bible and place it there. To me this image speaks of the gentle peace that can be found in the midst of a crazy world.

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Sunshine Blogger Awarding

(x = space)

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Sunshine Blogger Awarding

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Thank you, GiftedandChilling, for the nomination!  You should read her work, which is timely and spirited:

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https://giftedandchilling.wordpress.com/

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(her questions—)

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Here are the questions for my nominees! I tried to come up with a diverse range and hope you enjoy answering them. Her work is a treat for engagement.

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  1. What are you looking forward to in 2021?
  2. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
  3. What is your favourite season and why?
  4. What was the last song you listened to?
  5. What is your blogging schedule?
  6. If you could change your blog’s niche, what would you change it to?
  7. What game show would you like to be a contestant in?
  8. Which fictional character annoys you the most?
  9. If you had a warning label, what would it say?
  10. What is your favourite thing about your career?
  11. How would you describe your perfect day?

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My responses—

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1 – I look forward to more living space because I’ll have relieved my life of hundreds of books I don’t need now and lots of household kinds of things will also have been donated.  I hope, with billions hoping, for enough of an end to the pandemic that we may have more normal lives.

2 – My younger siblings are especially accomplished.  I respect, and am inspired by, their strength and innovation.

3 – Fall is my favorite season.  The coolness and the colors.  The turn from summer.  Even the melancholy in the world as it starts to die or go to sleep is appealing.

4 – Probably a jazz song whose title I can’t recall.  I did watch Going My Way not so long ago and so heard several songs sung by Bing Crosby.

5 – I work on blogging first thing each day.  That is, I draft poetry until I think I might have something to post.  Then I look for an image to go with it.  Throughout this time I am having breakfast, which often goes cold through inattention.

6 – Well, the blog is poetry now.  And while I write about spiritual matters often, I wouldn’t mind having a blog in prose about spirituality, one that would have a great deal of interaction on basic but fundamental spiritual truths and questions.

7 – Jeopardy!

8 – Well, Hamlet’s pretty annoying.  (So is Lear.)  I mean, Hamlet’s supposed to make up his mind about doing something and then do it.  He’s a prince, a leader, and should be good at decisive action.  Admittedly, the stakes are huge and his life is on the line.  But he doesn’t seem to care much for his life or the lives of those he should care about, say, Ophelia.  Yes, the play would be shorter if we had last actions sooner.  Knowing what we know, though, would we mind a shorter play?

9 – “Still Waters”

10 – I learned how to interpret things, and think I do it well.  So when I get to deal in interpreting literature, say, as a college English teacher (which I’ve been), I think that’s pretty good, even fun.  When I’ve worked in churches, I’ve enjoyed conversations about faith, not because I think I own special revelation or anything but because I find faith sensible and many people don’t.

11 – I wake up not feeling an extra headache, and my tinnitus noise is down.  I have an enjoyable breakfast of croissants, coffee or tea, and juice.  In the morning, I write with energy.  Lunch is cheese and crackers and Coca-Cola.  In the afternoon, I drive to nowhere in particular but really to a bookstore or maybe two bookstores or three or four.  I find a few promising books to read and own.  Dinner could be out or in.  There should be some protein in it, and if someone else is there or I am in a public space then I may enjoyably have some beer or wine.  Good conversation in the evening would be ideal and then going to bed because I’m tired.

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Really fine questions—thank you!

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questions for me to ask—

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  1. How are you?
  2. What is something you want that you don’t have yet?
  3. What are you optimistic about?
  4. When you’re outside, what do you like to do?
  5. What is your main medium of expression?  Describe, please, an example of what you create.
  6. What is an important relationship in your life?
  7. What are you reading?  (or What were your reading?  or What do you want to read?)
  8. What has been an especially fine travel experience for you?
  9. Where would you like to go (budget notwithstanding, even though it is)?
  10. If you could make a wish—not a genie wish but one that works out all right—what would you wish for?
  11. What do you like about keeping a blog?

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I’m going to nominate bloggers I’ve recently gotten to know.  Please don’t feel pressed to participate, though it is an exercise that evokes reflection and gratitude.  I think I’m supposed to make pingbacks for the blog links of these folk, but I might not know how to do that.  Or know what pingbacks are.

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infoexposure: Find more, learn more

The Dog Training Blog

PhoebeMD: Medicine + Poetry

imnobodywhoareyou

Nine Cent Girl

lemanshots

1On1Wisdom

Clanmother

puppiesandpooches

ebonyandcrows

Colorful Sisters

Thank you for your inspiring work!

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Here are some rules and an image:

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About the Sunshine Blogger Award

The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award within the blogging community – given to bloggers by their peers. Those who are nominated, inspire and spread positivity through their blogs.

There are a few rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and ask them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post and/or on your blog.

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(near as I can tell, the rules are pretty universal–the award is in the nomination, so to say, so the process of nominating is the main transaction; images like the image below are easily found on line by typing a search such as “sunshine blogger award free images”)

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There are many image out there; I searched “sunshine blogger awards free images” and hopefully (as well as I could try to know) this image is (freely) available.

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C L Couch

(Christopher)

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Photo by Hector Marquez on Unsplash

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Last year I quit my job to travel around the world and I started learning about photography. I switched from sitting in front of a desk to sit in front of mountains. One destination that changed my life was Patagonia, I’ve never seen so much beauty around me. I was amazed how all the forces, elements, atoms on this universe come together to create beautiful things like this every day. I printed this image and have it hanging on my room to remind me the beautiful world we live in. I hope you like it as much as I like it.

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made manifest

(x = space)

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made manifest

(for the USA and everyone may read along)

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in this country where we

pander to the rich

so that we might keep

our jobs

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in which we patronize

the royalty of other

nations

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where are we with our own?

because there should be

no one hungry here,

no one who cannot easily drink

safe water,

where no one who wants a job

can’t have one,

where shelter exists for

everyone,

where there is some assurance of

peace,

where everyone can breathe

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this should be our nation,

the greatest on the Earth

we say

but then

we can boast

a model to the other lands

and take action for all needs

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and all of us

on planet Earth,

thinking of launching for

other places

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c l couch

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photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

SoHo, New York, United States

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The Uniform Monday Holiday Act

(x = space)

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The Uniform Monday Holiday Act

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I can’t imagine

How it is

To be imprisoned, innocent

Martin Luther King, Junior

The apostles Peter and Paul

Henry David Thoreau

Doctor Mudd for setting

Booth’s leg

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These people were indicted

For their jobs

Nelson Mandela

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Now there are the women

I should know more and say more

Suffragers

Protesters

Wanting votes

A real wage

A chance for the machines

Not to grind our living down

In a new age

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There are those in rank

I do not understand

Women, children, men

Who lived in prison in the Tower

Sometimes freed

Often executed

Often simply dying there

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There are crimes, I’m sure

Prison sentences

That might make sense

If bankrupt of compassion,

The strength of prohibition

And correction misdirected

And I don’t know

What to say for those

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We’ve decided for our lives

To keep you away from them,

From everyone

Who lives under the sun

Or the comfort of moonlight

At night

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Civil disobedience

A cause

A call

Evangelism

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C L Couch

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between his birthday and the holiday

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Photo by Richard Payette on Unsplash

Catalonia, Spain

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Sabbath Invitationing

(x = space)

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Sabbath Invitationing

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We meet God outside,

Invite God into church

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God might come

But there is busyness

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God means it—

We don’t know what to say

Except Thank you

Then move inside

With something like

Haste

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Why should we feel guilty?

We invited God to church

And God said no,

Well, said maybe after

Busyness

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We’re not sure

We see the lesson here

Or anything prescriptive

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We can take it up

At lunch after, certainly

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By the time we go to church again

In case God

Is there again

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C L Couch

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Photo by laura adai on Unsplash

Trentino-Alto Adige, Italia

summit

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Friendly Persuasion

(x = space)

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Friendly Persuasion

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May I ask you to stay in today?

To leave to do your work

Or run errands

With a mask on?

In this moment, we are the worst

On Earth for responding to the disease

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Thank goodness we have

All the measures that we have

In place, facilities and people

Exhausted now, even the facilities

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We don’t want to pay attention, I suppose

As a teacher, I can understand

I don’t always like

Paying attention, either

But, come on,

We pride ourselves at being good

At things—where is that now?

Are we all about impeachment?

I’m not

I’m trying to live on

Very small steps, just now

Many taken in adaptation

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Well, it will be a day

That is beginning

And you will have a day that starts

Maybe there will be some magic

Maybe grace

We can hope for both

While chores and greater challenges

Take our time

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And, by the way, the people in Flint, Michigan

Need safe water

In the USA

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C L Couch

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the title is swiped—I mean, uh, an homage—to a story about a Quaker family and the Civil War

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CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1226563

filed under “peaceable kingdom” at Wikipedia (really)

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Assignment Earth

(x = space)

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Assignment Earth

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A return to three dimensions,

Grace is brief

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It splits through time,

Calls to the source,

And invites us there

While claiming in the world

Surprise and alteration

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Miraculous intervention

Owned by none

But gives of itself

Until what it bears is gone

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A life changed,

Spirit re-knit,

A reason to go on

If not in gratitude

Let alone astonishment

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Maybe something to think about,

Maybe only forward motion

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C L Couch

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The photograph was taken by Joseph Schultz, my nephew.  He enjoyed a job with the Fish and Wildlife Service on Midway Island and now lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.  The world is his future.

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Quicksilver

(x = space)

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Quicksilver

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O God, our help

Help me now

There is sunshine

I should like it

And be thankful

I should be thinking forward

You know, make a plan

Take a firm step

In a new direction

While respecting

Where we’ve been

Amen

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C L Couch

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Photo by Adrien Converse on Unsplash

Bellingham, United States

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