I talk you talk we'll talk


November 2017

Fascinatin’ Rhythm

Fascinatin’ Rhythm


My room is like the cenobite’s cell

Because I must stay here

Though it is the hermit’s joy

Less and less to move

I want my car outside the door—nothing

Much, it simply gets me there


That’s the promise I want:

That I can leave, find faster air outside

Enjoy a slight change in dimension

A single shift in the horizon of my own events

Only enough for this, yes, this is how well I

Want to be



C L Couch


(title borrowed from the Gershwins, Ella Fitzgerald, Eleanor Powell)





I speak

Then you speak

It’s good

It’s good for the church

For the service

It’s even better for us

A way to talk that has rhythm and remembrance

Ages-long and fresh each time

You speak

Then I speak

We listen—we don’t forget that part

The service ended,

We go in peace


C L Couch


Borne in the USA

Borne in the USA

(Thanksgiving Day 2017)


Those who can, eat too much

Those who can’t are often fed as well

There are parades that

Honor stores and industry celebrities

Though most of our parades are

Done that way


A magazine editor wrote

President Lincoln

Suggesting a holiday—

This was during the war when a respite

And a time for thanks would welcome relief

To all the tragedy

FDR secured it for the nation


We watch football, formed when

Athletes from Canada comprised a new event

With Harvard students

Canada has Thanksgiving Day at a different


I hope other cultures have it, too

Maybe you will tell me, and


In the mean time I’ll say thank you to you, mindful of

Respective situations


For you give me a reason


C L Couch



(photograph from Flickr)


Do You See Me Now?

Do You See Me Now?


I was a cat in Moscow

A photographer liked me, I guess

My manner, my similarity,

My distinctness of

Western cats

So at the fair in 1963, he (it was a he)

Clicked away

(Like my paws on pavement)

And I am here for you




C L Couch


Photo declassified from ’63 Moscow Fair.

first World Day of the Poor

first World Day of the Poor

(day late, no dollar short)


Francis says to us

Blessed are the hands that reach beyond

Every hindrance of creed or culture

That in a profane way keeps us



The physician quotes

Blessed are the poor

In spirit or

In flesh—

For yours is the realm of God

In this love is not a democracy but

Obeisance to a royal decree

From the one who

Rules perfectly with justice

And unerring care


This is not the kind of mystery that’s hard

To resolve

Who made the poor? we did, and

We keep ours down in a fallen world

That drives them, drives us



The answer to all questions is, Who cares?

Acceptable question this time to

A question

To those in front of us, a catechesis, a

Secular investigation doesn’t



The poor are here,

A monarchy for them and us;

That’s far off


The open hand is empty, and sometimes it’s

Clenched in pain

The challenge in the giving is

Courage to unclose, to press into the soul

The bravery, tenacity


The food and water

And more

And better

For the living

And the dying

In the right time for each

For the change


When all are blessed


C L Couch


first World Day of the Poor

We cannot remain passive. Blessed are the hands that reach beyond every barrier of culture, religion, and nationality, and pour the balm of consolation over the wounds of humanity.  Blessed are the open hands that ask nothing in exchange, with no “ifs” or “buts” or “maybes”: they are hands that call down God’s blessing upon their brothers and sisters.

Pope Francis (who proclaimed the day)

First World Day of the Poor, 2017: Let us love, not with words but with …





My sister tells me it’s a man thing

Not wanting to go to the


It’s certainly true that I do not want to go

And that I thought this

A healthy inclination

Now I wonder if for those women who

Care so much

(In quantity and quality) if there is a

Kind of comfort there

Someone else to provide, to


To break the news

And deal with it first


C L Couch





A hundred years ago

Europe was ablaze

An awful fire, open-pit

Like southern

Soldier picking


North Africa, western Asia

Cut into with blunt

European, Turkish knives

As if

The lands were

Burnt meat


Now the USA is adding

Fuel to the fire

My grandfather a soldier-stick

Serving with muscle and courage

And fear

(I’m guessing about the fear, for I never

Saw if in him)


Then all elevens,

And it’s over: fire tamped

Ashes rising, setting on new ground

Of anger and reparation


Peace rendered ironic

Buckets of grave dirt

Thrown against

Walls of retribution


Against which

New shadows will rise


C L Couch


(National Geographic Society)


Piece Meal

Piece Meal


What shall I

Write about this morning?

Isn’t there enough

Death through violence

That I don’t have to record, about which

Not to comment?

What good is there in

The world happening today?

I have little, maybe some, doubt it’s there:

Someone has given

Something and didn’t have to give it;

Somewhere a treaty’s

Being signed

That will mean an end to

Trouble in

The hope for something solider than war that

Feeds and builds.

Somewhere someone is kind

Enough to garden in

The mind,

Cultivate the spirit and the moment

When, created in the mood of God we

We were given parts;


Pangloss is wrong—we must

Guard each other’s.


C L Couch




(visiting a beach in NC)



I’m pretending that the air is


And that it’s good for me


Up-and-over steps, across the dune

Down to the sand

A public access, though

There are only a few people here today

Some dogs

But all the birds


Are meeting

Fish and trash on the agenda

I have nothing for them so

They fly from me



I pick up shells and stones

Some with rough edges

Some worn smooth through the refinement

Of the sea


Together we show

Large and small

Nature’s power


C L Couch




(photo credit,


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