I talk you talk we'll talk


March 2019

Lent 26

Lent 26


Sometimes, when I’m afraid

I write

Or when I’m sad


Or frustrated

But if I looked back through my journal

(I haven’t done that often)

I’d find, I believe, expressions of


Sometimes for sleep that didn’t go so badly

Sometimes for coffee in the morning

Sometimes for cold water, when

I’ve arranged it

I don’t know how much happiness I can have

But it seems I can have gratitude

Which has pieces, if only whittlings,

Of the larger parts

Of joy and peace


I think somewhere in there

Might be an invitation, which is

Why I write about this now


Because maybe

You’ll find something in the formula

I didn’t plan, and

I didn’t plan


Simply saying thank you

To the universe, to God

To a spirit, to an angel

For some measure of something

That will, if only as a single pea

(sorry if you don’t like peas, for

I know those who hate them),

Yet add nourishment to the day


A pea can accomplish something

It makes a whistle work

And disturbs the sleep of the



Something small can move along the tale

If only silent thanks


C L Couch



Mateusz Tokarski, ca. 1795 (National Museum in Warsaw)

Mateusz Tokarski –, Public Domain,

(still life with peas)


Lent 25

Lent 25


It’s a paradox



This is a long time for slowing

Down, and yet

We must prepare for

Coming jubilation

There will be speed in that

The coming and the going

And the getting


And it’s spring


So what kind of spoil-sport

Must we be?

No kind, really

Work goes on

Of every kind

And there are families

And parochial festivities,

Which must be all right


So where is the season, then: where

Is our Lenten heart?

Well, in the heart, we say

Yes, it’s there

With other precious things we

Can recall—can reinvoke, if desired

(reorder to reorder)

Those times, those persons

Those happenings, those feelings


Then and now


We can keep the season

Let it work inside the mind

And maybe let it course

Through other organs


We can have Lenten lungs

A Lenten stomach

Pick something


We are so many parts to come

To know and to

Have everything done


C L Couch


Lent 24

Lent 24


In our time together,

We might travel far

In one way or another

We might hear sounds

See new sights

Enjoy new tastes

Feel the air and mist

That ribbon other shores

Smell the clarity of salt


It might be walking

Or a plane

Some other vehicle that gets us there

A conveyance of our bodies, yes

Our senses

Though must do

The harder work

It’s how we’re made


We give ourselves the data

Via input from our lives

(first machines)

What shall we learn, one by one

What shall we learn together?


So much to learn

So little time

But that’s no way to operate

We must value what we have

Each mote, each moment

Singly or together,

We can learn

While traveling far

In one way or another


C L Couch



Photo by Nicola Nuttall on Unsplash


Lent 23

Lent 23


I’ll look at it again

Often I don’t

Sometimes I do

It is the way of things, I guess

Conceit, deceit

To give us time and

An excuse for time

And a belief

Not misguided

That our contributions matter, which

Lends credence to our

Putting something off

With a promise

To return


Because the thing needs us

Maybe it does

If not, maybe we do

And that’s our need


C L Couch



agenda by Guilhem from the Noun Project


Lent 22

Lent 22


Sometimes we might think

Of Lent as a dry time

We’ve rid the house of sugar, after all

And cooking fat

Everything that takes away from

Arid concentration,

Which is spiritual, we say

To ourselves


But there are Easter baskets

And an Easter dinner we are waiting on

These are good, aren’t they—

And they are

Even to the blessing of the baskets

Along the altar rail

On the day before

(early Saturday morning)

Everything we’ll use to

Split the difference between

Faith and easy living


But don’t we need both sides?

There will be Easter Sunday, after all

And we’ll have gone to church

Taken part in singing

And the sunshine that’s been made

From Easter matter


But don’t forget the Easter eggs to hide

And something about rabbits


Good things, all?  Goodness, yes

But there is the desert thinking

Our origins in western Asia,

Northern Africa

Those we call the mothers and our fathers

Who lived dry Lenten seasons

Every day,

Whose wisdom aids

Our understanding spirit,

Which then prompts

Everything we’ll do


They are right,

The mystics and the everything

And there is something right in us

To be involved



C L Couch



Photo by Dean Ward on Unsplash

Before chopping down one of the trees in our garden we did an inspection to make sure there were no nests in it. This gorgeous little nest was in one on the lower branches so it looks like the tree is staying.


Lent 21

Lent 21


Have you ever run the sponge

Along the bottom of the sink

And felt the satisfaction?

Knowing that the dishes cleaned

Are in the rack

And the quiet from the running water

Now turned off

Is a pleasure of pressure

On the ears


I’ve done that today

You have your own form of this, I’m sure

A small act always needing doing

And for a moment, when it’s done,

A small, small part of the world

Feels right

Feels righter

For being cleaner, a little more at peace

For a time


I don’t know if it’s a model for anything

That’s larger

It is its own peace


But access to hot water isn’t everywhere

Even soap can be hard to come by

Against a savage promise of starvation

Looming like an open maw, nearing

The family

The one


And so might there be peace in this:

That we must invite assurance

Of all things lent us,


So the jaw of need is shut


For this time and in our keeping

Our maintaining

And our growing

Enough for God’s pleasure in our own

Because we’ve done it right


C L Couch



Photo by Jim DiGritz on Unsplash


Lent 20

Lent 20


Where are we now?

Somewhere in a season

Let’s not count

But let slip a moment, here and there

To find a new way

To breathe and not to worry


To accept something familiar-feeling

And not be surprised

That something new can feel this way

And, yes, it feels true


C L Couch



Hildegard of Bingen – Hildegard von Bingen: ‘Werk Gottes’ (Codex Latinus 1942 in der Bibliotheca Governativa di Lucca?)., Public Domain,

Medieval depiction of a spherical earth with different seasons at the same time (from the book “Liber Divinorum Operum”).


Lent 19

Lent 19


And in a Lenten hour

Maybe we’ll get some things

Out of our system

Distractions we can live without

Pursuits that take us nowhere

Things that bother us

That really don’t

So that


We can have up front

(or close behind)

What really should be closer

To the mind

The heart

Or anything that prompts the rest of us

To move

What should nick us

Like small cuts

What should we pay attention to

What needs changing

We can change

What we must keep living with

For now


C L Couch



Santeri Viinamäki, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Tikkoja heitettynä tikkatauluun.


Lent 18

Lent 18



I romanticize

Apologies for that that

I think we need to give ourselves

A pause

And a chance

For something good


Deserving of so many

Repentance for the rest

Then everyone can have


Color, sound, texture

In life

To have it fully

With safety in



There’s more, of course

And that’s all right

Ask not what the heaven’s for

But how is life on

Earth today


C L Couch



Suburbia ved Tranberg på Gjøvik

Øyvind Holmstad – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,


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