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Small Liturgy for Snow

Small Liturgy for Snow


God, you’re sending snow

So far, so good

In my unqualified estimation

It’s the first snow of the year for us

Colorado beat us days ago

Not to mention all the places where

The snow is perpetual

But we have it here like a new thing

Descending slowly, almost gently


Practice for the season

Dangerous? always

There’s danger in many things

At least this is attractive

And for now I’m cold in a way

That’s good, that works

I grieve for those for whom

Even this is too much

And hope my widow’s mites might do

Some good


It all might be gone tomorrow

Rain is in the forecast


C L Couch



Photo by ChristineMakhlouf on Unsplash



A Death to Ego

A Death to Ego



My ego is so dead

I’d like to bury it

A human term, I know

But for something very real,

I think

A part of us that takes over the rest

In heated efforts to say to the world,

Please let me win

My spirit rides on this


It doesn’t

And with wisdom comes old age

On the inside


The desperation part of us

Does not need to win

There are so many other things

Better things to do


And collaborate



Elevating everyone


And the feeling for approval

We could keep that at home

Where friendlier, more intimate

Company awaits

To care for the thinly-covered

Thing that needs



And a very real offering

To share with another’s

In that very tender place


C L Couch


An Actor’s Life for Me

An Actor’s Life for Me


Here’s the thing

I don’t like to be entertained

But informed, inspired, ennobled

These will do, and aren’t

They grand

(they are)

But simply to watch something and laugh

Or to be provoked for provocation’s sake

To be piqued

To be set on a train that has no destination

We go ‘round and round is all

(the frustration of my trainset)

Does this make me humorless



I don’t know


I laugh often, because life is funny

But I don’t require life to

Entertain me

I didn’t buy a ticket

Not for that

And here’s the irony (one more?)

I don’t mind entertaining


I want others to feel satisfied

To enjoy a good story

Told well

Sing to a winsome song

Be moved for the occasion,

Nothing more

(it is a great deal)


A performer

Who doesn’t need performing

By performers

One side of the theatre that I’m good on

The other side, ennui

Give me somebody to dance for

Yeah, that’s it


That’s it!

Charlie Brown and panophobia

But I’m not scared

Bring on the audience

No stage fright here


I always knew my lines

And held the notes in place

‘Til just before

The song was over


C L Couch



By The Walt Disney Company – Original theatrical trailer, Public Domain,

“The Music and the Mirror” by Marvin Hamlisch in A Chorus Line






I hope you hear me, God

Beneath the words

Not that they don’t matter,

Because they do

And there is accountability for


But in grace there is a filter

Not in people

But in the perfection of

Your senses

And your astounding biases toward love


While I cannot expect forgiveness

From the world,

I can count on you

Not for escape from responsibility

But for a way to learn

To keep it

And to live it


My soul’s protection does not have to be

On the line

Or if it is, not paramount

There are your ensuring promises

But there is the day-to-day,

My life on this side

I am not kept out like

The match girl,

Though I might share her fate one day

Yet I think you will open me

To bring me in

Where are warmth and companionship

Sustenance from heaven’s hand


Give me a chance

To hear and then to act

With those of us who

Wait for you

One way and the other


C L Couch



Melissa McCracken paints what she hears with Synesthesia while listening to music


Tomorrow Is Tomorrow Is Tomorrow

Tomorrow Is Tomorrow Is Tomorrow

(Veterans, Armistice, Remembrance Day)


Before, before, before

We’ve had war

We have it now

The great one did not end it

How we wish it had an ending


Now we are met

Eleven, eleven, eleven


In war, a number that has twice the meaning


And should we meet

We should remember

Forget the selling

To apply the real moment


An awful, unromantic time

And we tried the poets

Planes flew, pilots without parachutes

Holes in fabric hulls

Not-yet-synchronized guns

To shoot through propellers

Or set in peril upon wings,

Stronger than what held them up

In what became an unfree sky


Tanks inviting death

Outside and inside

Crews just as like to die from the machine

While combatants swing away

From an unbreathing, steel hull


Mustard gas that creeped into the soul

A cost was paid to use

Or to have it eat the lungs

Of enemies we no longer knew

A new indifference to war

On its satanic way to tested strategy


And in the trenches

Was there any glory

As the unknown war

Wore it away to dissolution


Not that there weren’t stalwarts

Loyalty to earn a heaven in a moment


The great war

And it was great

So the letters say

And the poets try us, still

And we go to them

For in the letters’ words and the poem-lines

There is truth

In faithfulness

To family at home

Timeworn or sudden friends who are next to us

Who will not last the campaign

Nor will we


C L Couch




A cross, left in Saint-Yves (Saint-Yvon – Ploegsteert; Comines-Warneton in Belgium) in 1999, to commemorate the site of the Christmas Truce. The text reads: “1914 – The Khaki Chum’s Christmas Truce – 1999 – 85 Years – Lest We Forget”


Commemoration of an armistice.


Commemoration of an armistice.

Remembrance, acknowledgement, and honoring of all veterans from all wars, everywhere.  What do the warlords care?  They care for strong backs and arms that shoulder fearsome guns.  But in a democracy of feeling, the rest of us know individuals.  Hopefully, we know their stories and we tell them.

What do I know?  I know their service is a wonder.  Their sacrifice a heartbreak.  Their strength shoulders the mind.

I went to Gettysburg in late December.  I felt it the saddest place on Earth.  How many open battlefields have we?  How many can house or canopy the service of the dead?  The preservation of the living?

Yes, there’s Flanders Field.  Somme and Gallipoli.  Israel and Egypt in week-long wars.  Massacres in India and China.  Killing of indigenous that maybe should be classified as war.

Why do we have war?  Elihu Root claims that it has to do with keeping peace, an irony of iron substance.  The New Testament asserts it’s because we ask amiss.  We ask for things we cannot have.  And so we take them.

I don’t know.  I don’t know anyone who favors war except in movies.  I don’t think real people do that, favor war.  We fight so there’s an end.  We fight so that the fighting stops.

Will there ever be a battle in Antarctica?  Can we keep one place clear?

I hope we cherish veterans of service and of war.  And the peace they promise.



This is from my journal entry for the day.  I wrote a poem, which I should post.  Not because it’s great but because it’s timely.  When I wrote about the day this way (excerpt above), it seemed appropriate, too.  Hope so.  Hope you’re all, veterans and civilians, really well.  If not, I hope you’re better soon.

The Albany’s Veterans Day Parade is the biggest Veterans Day celebration west of the Mississippi.


A Thousand Stories’ Ending

A Thousand Stories’ Ending



How awful is it

That in counting human tragedy

There never is an ending

Twelve more die in California

By someone who had the privilege

Of guns


What was the motive

What cares

The family of the cop

The officer is lost

It’s almost absurdly dangerous work

With the luxury of weapons

So profuse


Twelve stories finished


How many more will radiate out


To make a nautilus

A spire

Changing more and changing more


Over time

Making a circle of

Finality, regret


We despair

Over the Philippines

And Indonesia


South Sudan



And in many parts of the USA


Time will tell us nothing

The victims’ lives are done

There is nothing more


C L Couch




The gunman, a US Marines veteran, arrived at the bar on Wednesday night with a pistol, officials said. He shot an unarmed security guard outside the bar, then went in and continued shooting, injuring other security workers, employees and patrons, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said. Ian David Long, killed 12 people before apparently taking his own life.

. . .

The casualties included a veteran sheriff’s deputy who was nearby talking to his wife on the phone when the call came over the radio for an active shooter.

“(The deputy said), ‘Hey, I have to handle a call. I love you, I’ll talk to you later,’ ” the sheriff said.

Sgt. Ron Helus rushed into the bar as gunshots continued; he was killed.


Los Angeles Times


Hump Day

Hump Day

(be nice)


One term

Fall term, I think

There was a student


Who came into class each Wednesday

Declaring it was hump day,

Which was a good thing for her

(declaring it, and it being Wednesday)


In a fifteen-week semester, most of

Another week was done

I imagine in all our versions of work weeks,

We can relate


Amanda, then, would help us understand

Wednesday to be both an arch day

And a day between

(good work, Amanda)

On either side the keystone lay

Half the week

Even one weekend day on either side

If we accede, traditionally,

Sunday as the first day


We learn that there is symmetry

We learn that there is none

And there is virtue,

Even wider goodness

In each way


But here’s something cleanly halved

With a marker in its place

Unevenness is fine

But in the middle of each week

We may enjoy appreciable halves

In the count of days


I write Thursday, by the way, which means

The second half of the week is

Sliding into weekend


C L Couch



By Wilson44691 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Dromedaries in the Negev




(a reverie, a study)


Evil is too easy

Is it really?

Maybe on the inside

A quick turn, then stay

In that direction

Me, first

You don’t exist

Everything is fodder

For possession

And control

The very stuff of the universe

Should be mine


And then it’s gone

I have nothing

There’s a lesson in legacy

The tyrant is forgotten

Except for notes that tell the truth

And finally

The evil ones are burned

Like autumn leaves in the backyard

(how it used to be)

Effigy and memory


And was this easy?

Yes, and lazy, too

Everything subverted to

A contract with the luck of the devil

A genie who grants wishes and


Always laughs the last

Because the house of hell always wins

Once entered by

The gullible who think

That profit is a plot

Hard work is another matter for

Good people

The suckers, so I always thought

The despot

And now I am ash

Blown off the foot in the tread

Of someone righteous

Whose agencies are angels

A surrogacy of judgment


My victims


Living in a better house, the house of God forever

While I diminish

To a speck

And then am nothing

No matter left



C L Couch



Christopher Michel

Ramesseum in Egypt


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