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November 2015

Thee Bee of Mee, inspired by a typo

Thee Bee of Mee
inspired by a typo

Tut-tut rain, Christopher Robin
Says because he wants to fool the
Bees into distraction so that his
Mud-cloud bear might swipe honey

From their tree; the bear so-loved
Is grasping a balloon, and bear
And balloon are lifted up toward
A relished but unplanned

Reward of something sweet and
Lasting ‘til the next time the bear
Wants honey—I love the stories
And was named for the bear’s
Boy, who also went down to

The palace with Alice

Of A A Milne—life by
Christopher Robin
And by me

Tut-tut rain, we say

Psalm 12, a song out of the silence

Psalm 12
a song out of the silence

I wait in quiet
It is the hour
Before dawn

What duties might
They be performing
Young priests in an
Ancient time

Extinguish fires of night
Light the daylight blaze
Against the artificial
Dark inside the temple

I have no calling such
As they, no memory
Of holy invitation to
Something purposeful

I sit, and it is quiet
It’s dark, and I wish
I had something good to
Do in this new day, as
Those who served
A sacred purpose
In an ancient time

Writing Prompt [response]: Do you think that it is important to share? Describe in detail another way for you and others to share–to give to people around you.

“there are ways that others need our presences, too”

“in reality, we throw gold mines into the trash”

by Jacki Kellum

Do you think that it is important to share? Describe in detail another way for you and others to share–to give to people around you.

Presence as Presents

by C L Couch

On this Thanksgiving, I won’t be with family. I’ll be dining with neighbor friends. And I’ll be cat-sitting for other friends who will be away enjoying a family reunion of sorts.

I’ll be bringing nothing to my own activities except myself, my choice, and time. I will feed the cats then visit with them, and they will ignore me. I will sit with my neighbors, enjoying the company of children and of parents. Then I will go home, alone.

When others do this—providing nothing but themselves—I call this the ministry of presence. (So do others, too.) When I used to work with youth, I surprised my ignorance of talent with an asset of simply being there. I didn’t what to say to youth, then discovered that wasn’t the important part. The important part was reliable company. Youth needed to know that someone, ideally someone without an agenda, would be there this time and probably the next.

So that’s how I share. And I imagine how anyone can. I will say that I’m a trained and active listener, which helps in interaction of any kind—even with indifferent cats. But if anyone shows up without self-preoccupation and then maybe shows up the next time. Well, that’s sharing. That’s even ministry.

Yes, I guess it means going beyond merely eating food and watching the game. But not much more. Talk with those, a little, who are there. More importantly, listen to what anyone has to say.

So Happy Thanksgiving to the relatively inert, as I will be. Happy presence to all. And, to all, a could night.

(image credit, from Google Images)

Psalm 11, a song of innocence

Psalm 11
a song of innocence

Lord, I do not understand
Certain paradoxes of the world

Why such terror and so much
Wrong must persist in a
World of our choosing

Why can we not do better?

Why can we not use what we
Have to further human cause
To improve the life on
Our troubled, turning sphere

Make life not only better
But, in fact, a triumph in the living?

Can we not do better than fear
And making a market of that?

Might we not do better than taking
Base desire, such as purchasing
Destruction, to barter in a
Hidden marketplace?

The challenges of life would still
Remain, if we choose differently

Responding to severities of
Nature, discovering redresses
From disease, the right for each
To grow and thrive, even the finding
Of new worlds

We’d still have much to do
If we choose differently

And our accomplishment would
Be of the lasting kind

A legacy of gain
And, from that better living, new
Kinds of profit for all of us

Writing Prompt: Describe your worst ever Thanksgiving meal.

while wrestling with recall, it turns out what should have been the worst day turned out not so bad–a terrible time, a moment of grace

Cathartic Thanksgiving Day

My worst Thanksgiving ever. Hmm, I can’t recall. Not that Thanksgivings were always grand. But they tended to be good. The years my mom was dying from cancer. I can’t imagine those Thanksgivings were good. I was trying to visit her in the hospital each day or taking care of her when home, trying to take care of the house, trying to work a job across the city.

But I think for the holidays my siblings came to town, and I had a holiday of sorts unto myself. I didn’t cook or do much of anything except sit still. And Thanksgiving Day was peaceful. Same thing at Christmas.

I probably felt tired and numb at heart. The constant pace of covering everything increasingly took its toll by coring out my spirit of enthusiasm, which I then learned to manufacture. I felt bound to provide for my mother and others, though more and more I felt little else. But it seems that in my memory of mind (though I wouldn’t trust myself to be my own life’s reliable narrator), I can recall the long table in the dining room space, all around the table the folk that I’m related to. Lots of containers filled with many things, turkey in the center, carved. Glasses we could make sing by rubbing fingers around the rim, which always bothered someone (I can’t recall whom). A hum of conversation with a layer of laughter on the top, like whipped topping on the pie. (Always more than one actual pie.)

A good day in a miasma of sad and difficult time. An anodyne. Better yet, a day of grace.

There would have been two such Thanksgiving days while my mom was sick. The third year I think maybe there was little celebrate or nothing at all. And within a year or so, I moved out, as everyone had gone before over several years’ time. Leaving my dad who later left on his own, too.

C L Couch

image from and Google Images

not dissimilar from our actual table; even the chandelier looks right, though our walls were white

now off to make a turkey sandwich

Psalm 10, a song of love and wandering

Psalm 10
a song of love and wandering

Lord, the pain is great
But you are good
You are not safe, as
The beavers said of
Aslan, but you are good

You have all power
Lent to each of us for a time

You have all knowledge
And give to us
The freedom to find and
To decide

You are all love
So why is there, our
Perfect love, such evil?

We may question
You, forsake you

Try to understand you

We might do this
While you remain
Who you are

Lord, help us understand
Who you are and who you’re not
Even as we try with the skills
Now lent to us

Toward ending aberrant pain
Toward even ending evil

The Dessert that Never Was, a response to a Jacki K prompt

The Dessert that Never Was

a response to a Jacki K prompt

I think my favorite Thanksgiving dessert—and I believe my siblings will concur—is the dessert that never happened. While growing up in Pittsburgh, we had the annual Thanksgiving feast, of course. We also invited over the two women, mother and daughter, who lived next door. They were delightful company (all year), and for Thanksgiving always offered to bring the pumpkin pie.

One year they were late. Late enough to make me wonder if something had happened to the mother who, naturally enough, was on in years. But they both showed up, chagrined and with a story to tell. They had baked the pie, as they had each year, with everything whipped up by them and typically starting in the morning. As the day progressed and with that the pie in the oven, something smelled not right to them. And when they pulled out the pie and looked around their kitchen, they discovered what they forgot to put in the pie.

The pumpkin part.

So they baked another pie and brought it over late. So embarrassed were they, they only brought the good pie over. But I guess we made them feel at ease enough about making a mistake that anybody could make (well, not anybody) that they brought us over later to view a pumpkin pie without the pumpkin. As I recall, it was a round brown mess, sunken into the pie plate.

None of us is in that neighborhood now, and we are scattered some. But in our respective homes we tend to tell that story every year. And, while all of us were at one home and our neighbors continued coming over, we’d tell that story and laugh—together—every shared Thanksgiving day.

(Cue image of empty pie plate.)

C L Couch

for the image, (from Google Images)

Psalm 9, a song about how to move

Psalm 9
a song about how to move

we move on from terror
and crime except we don’t
a year from now the shock will
only start for some

there are new moves to make
to help, to heal, to redress, to
dedicate newborn or re-newborn effort
since this anonymity, the cruelty
of this war began

no, we won’t move on
but we’ll move with

Jacki K’s Free Writing Prompt—What Makes You Grateful?

A Free Writing Prompt for You: What makes you grateful? How do you say, “Thanks”?

from Jacki K

response and illustration

Is that free writing or freewriting? I’ll probably respond to both. And with.  Okay, I start.

Finding something lost makes me feel grateful. And I say thanks. To hear good news from family makes me feel grateful, too.

Longer time on earth—and I like being here, by the way—means loss. Someone dying is not about me, but I can’t help but take it personally. I think we’re supposed to, actually. After all, after death the issues are for those us remaining.

With losses that are severe—yes, loss of life but also loss or lessening of health and means and prospects—the small things to be thankful for mean more. I mean, I suppose losses in life could lead to bitterness, though as a lifestyle I try to move myself away from that. Maybe when I’m old and all alone, I’ll give in.

So lost keys, then. And that one piece of paper with information on it that I need. Sleeping a number of hours without obvious break. A day of color, whatever the season. Which would include a cardinal on the snow. Something new and interesting I see when I drive by. A new-to-me old building to admire or a community announcement that shows the town alive. Remembering to have grabbed exactly what I needed on my way outside the door.

There are many things. Imagine yours.

I do say thank-you and perform small courtesies in kind. Whatever the reaction is matters, though not so much. The joy is in the giving. And so is thankfulness. Small things to be thankful for are gifts and courtesies. I’m a better person when I know these and acknowledge them.

Aren’t we better people for saying and receiving thanks? Giving or receiving? Both? You’re welcome. And thank you.

C L Couch

for the image, (from Google Images)

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