I talk you talk we'll talk


December 2018




Yesterday was a pretty day, you know

I took a step outside and breathed

The air was warm and cool and good

My neighbor passed by,

And we talked about the start of winter,

Which might have been at that moment

It could stay this way, we posited

With no power over seasons


In the south, I know it’s summer

We might think that’s wrongway


From there, we are the backward time

Turvy-topsy, as it were

I hope it’s a good summer

I hope we have a decent winter

In all the midland places

And extremes

I have no idea what we deserve

Thank goodness better love

Doesn’t count that way


C L Couch



Wild0ne / 269 images


Do We Know

Do We Know

(Advent, anyone’s time this time of year)


I’m up early for the solstice

Don’t mean to be

Insomnia (tinnitus)

But there are those for whom

It’s important to be ready

The Earth will lean the other way

And in the north it will be cold

But days will be creeping longer

Into spring

We’ll have winter first

It starts today

Things juxtapose

Solstice (winter’s own)


Birth of Mithra

And a few more days ‘til Christmas

Sometime between now and then

Depending on the lore

It’s New Year’s


Were these competing claims

To take these days into one’s own

A hut, a tent, a town

A castle, or an empire

And who wants them now

No one except those who think they should

Own time in the way that no one gets to


What we have is mishmash

I have a cousin who has her birthday on

The twenty-fifth



End of term

A press of selling and of buying

Saint Nicholas, Santa Lucia


And Druids, styled or otherwise, will

Light bonfires against the

Darkness toward a

Surrogate promise

Of good seasons


All the festivals in my ignorance

I don’t know of

All to say

Something’s coming


Do you have a name

I think I do


C L Couch



“The Giant Sundial of Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, India, also known as the Samrat Yantra (The Supreme Instrument), stands 27m tall. Its shadow moves visibly at 1 mm per second, or roughly a hand’s breadth (6 cm) every minute.”


The Skiff

The Skiff

(Advent, anytime)


It’s the twentieth

Now we count for real


Will we have peace—

Will Bethlehem be accessible

This year


Peace in the heart

Might be all that’s left

Sometimes it must feel that way

And, honestly, it’s a good place

To start


Accent on the time

To find the quiet

Or stop the world another way

Pause it now and then


Five days

For remembrance

Make it our own liturgy of


Over whatever waters we might have,

Still or stormy


Reaching for, and as,

A beacon through the mist

That’s joy


C L Couch



By laszlo-photo –, CC BY 2.0,

In the early morning, a fishing skiff remains docked on the waters of Santa Marta Bai near Soto, Curacao (Netherland Antilles).


Advent at 1806 President Drive

Advent at 1806 President Drive

(Advent, maybe anytime)


I don’t know the count

Of Advent, anymore

I’m tired

And the days don’t match the dates

This is why we have the calendars,

I guess

Except they count out December

Their Advents always twenty-five


Ours had images

Years later I found out about the chocolate

But, you know,

I rather like the pictures

(there was chocolate, anyway

and cookies, cookies, cookies)

The last portrait was Santa

In a kind of glory of arrival

And within the dates somewhere

There was the holy family


Hey, we got these at the mall

They taught us anticipation

Maybe not well

(considering the clientele)

But with persistence


Each day was in a tiny box

With perforated shutters

I think the five of us took turns

In trying to pierce

And leave the day intact


Hard for impatience

The season’s and the child’s

But we made it

Our little house inside

The bigger house,

Our fortunes read each day

For Christmas

Yes, it was suburban

There were snow days, too

Chains on the tires of the family car

Fluffed, cottony bunting

On which my mother placed

Plastic sleigh, plastic reindeer, plastic Santa

I remember these fondly

All atop

The console of

Our first color television


Oh, my


C L Couch



Gellinger / 3272 images


Night in a Small Town in Western Asia

Night in a Small Town in Western Asia

(Advent, anytime)


We think of Jesus born at night

Though he might have happened

Any time of day

But we carry into our services

The scene of nighttime

With the shepherds


It’s good

It is romantic

And nearly always it is quiet

As the time of birth is recalled, near


We pray

We sing

We watch the candles in the room

And, if a flame is passed,

For hair that might be singed


In the afternoon inside the stable

Before angels appear

Declaring peace

With a call for good will,


The parents must be tired

Mary must recover

Their shelter is so rude,

Would they welcome visitors?


Maybe the shepherds could

Be all right

They are simpler, frankly most likely unrefined

More importantly, they have

Traversed in fear and

Aspect of wonder


I recall the gifts from shepherds

In the mystery play

Have a bob of cherries

Offers one of them

To the child who is a savior

Who says they don’t know

The true nature of majesty?


Then the sky is unveiled, and angels turn

Like diamonds in a jeweler’s light




Isn’t there something that happens to us


That puts the rest into perspective

If only briefly?


For a moment, the created universe made sense

It had been fashioned for perfection

For the joy of seasons

Provision unrelenting

Delight in foraging each day

For new phenomena to complete the senses


In this night,

It was returned

A promise announced in the sky

An old one, a new one

Everything at first and last as it should be


C L Couch



By Robert Stinnett from Boonville, MO, USA – Small town Friday night, CC BY 2.0,


Something for Tomorrow

Something for Tomorrow


Some things are pithy

Some things are brazen

Some things are refined

Some wisdom is succinct

(though philosophy is not)


Don’t cry into your beer

Unless you want the taste;

Spitting into the wind

(as Croce advises)

Has the same problem with

A taste of something awry

(and maybe disgusting)


Love as if it were tomorrow

A gift set on your step today;

Find the joy,

If any joy be had


Endurance, if that’s all there is to have

Time is a possibility

(and love always a reminder)


C L Couch

CC Public Domain


Pink Sunday

Pink Sunday

(Advent, anytime)


I’m not sure anymore

I first heard it was for Mary

Then for shepherds

Then for joy

That names the whole season

Third Sunday in this Christian season

Hanukkah is replete and resolved

Ramadan is far off

Kwanzaa near off

Diwali happened in colors that were glory

And Holi, even more color-resplendent, not so far past

For all the other days in


There are all our calendars

We respect them parochially

By denomination, other division


We have a single clock, I guess

The one that keeps mean time

That is also Greenwich


Did you know

(I learned this recently) that

The first official mark of the equator

Got it wrong?

There is now a smaller one in Quito

That is more accurate

We do know that leap day

Doesn’t fill in the gap quite right

In earthly Gregorian days

And so the clock, atomically, must

Adjust for that,

Now and then

A second here, a nanosecond there


The notion of fill-in time is a relief

Because in it we say

That perfection yet again is an illusion

This side of the divine

Even when our clocks are right,

A change of shape in Earth

Or slippage in the sun’s relationship

And what is set is no longer


And that has to be all right


It is

We can rest

(we have to)


That precision is a neighborly matter

A finite issue with a ragged edge

As most countable measures behave


Not to say we shouldn’t strive for accuracy

We must

But even when we design bridges and

All crucial material constructions

We design from a foundation

Of a transcendental number from an

Unresolved equation


So nothing solved for keeps

For something squeezes over here

And crevasses over there

We have to fix it


Otherwise, we sit once again

At the feet of Ozymandias,

And the feet are clay


This is not bad news

For some design, some build, some fix

So we have a village

With the cities and oases on the plains


That is joy

That is pink

That is Advent already here

And like the faultless gerund

Always on the move


C L Couch



<a href=””>Background image created by Freepik</a>


Prayers Pressed into Service

Prayers Pressed into Service


Oh, Lord

Not an invocation

Oh as a sigh

I love you,

You know that

Your people not always so much

But I try

And the world you made

We have sliced into it

Turned the pieces into fiefdoms

Pressed it in vices of all kinds

To render bits of gold

And abrogated power

From the rightful

And the fearful

Greed taken in handfuls

Lifted into stolen light

Slides onto the floor

To be returned to Earth one day

Though the guilty do not see that


When will we be whole?

One touch of your hand

But it’s not time for that

These are still our moments

To be righteous

To be fair

To be calm

And calmly take it back

Our will, our loves

Our control

Our world


C L Couch



By Gregory David Harington (user Gregorydavid) – Own work,




(Advent, anytime)


I’m tired, and it’s raining

Rainy days are interesting

I like them

As long as they don’t go too far

The sun holds back, because

The clouds have asked them to

And far below, we dodge

The drops or surrender

To umbrella lids, rubber shoulders,

Or wet heads

It drops like verse upon the page

And we are drenched, then, in another way

Which is all right, I hope

One can’t catch cold from rained upon with words


I’m trusting

Virus has become interchangeable

Maybe colds can jump forms, too,

And meanings


There was a word made flesh

We killed that flesh, but

It walked among us whole (wholer),

At last

Then went away

To return another time

We fear that time and market it

It will come, anyway

And is said to be a glory


Let’s not fear our words so much, then

For like the word that died and

Will return

That is with us now

There is inherent resurrection quality

(aspect and excellence)

In what we can say,

In what we like to think

Especially in a season of hope


What might be heard

Might change us

In needful and saving ways

On rainy days



C L Couch



Photo by Caroline Grondin on Unsplash


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