I talk you talk we'll talk


June 2019

After a Kind of Rain

After a Kind of Rain


There is hope

While there is good

We don’t even have to know

It’s more than half

We only need to catch a gleam

In the morass of kidnapped night

That better roles have


That was, I think, the war

In heaven


And if the hopeful glint

Is not in evidence

On the field or in a corner

In case our spirits are abducted, too

In the metaphor, we can close

Our eyes and in a better

Darkness recall

The light,

Which lifts the cause for metaphor

And story

More poetry, more narrative

We need more, we must have more

In case so much depends upon


By all means, this is not a call

For this

There is so much around

Barely a kick will stir it up from

Dulling dust

Or here’s a thought:



Strike an agreement with a muse

A long-term contract

Don’t worry

She awaits

With clarity even within

The rolls of night

Even before the end of

Stormy weather

Over one plain or another


C L Couch



Fahad Hashmi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,






It’s why I sat outside

Her house sometimes

But nothing like a season

Of murder

That’s a different kind

Of demon’s work

That I don’t understand

Don’t want to understand,

Thank God


C L Couch



CALIFORNIA SHOOTING LEAVES 3 DEAD A man who had just been fired from a Northern California Ford dealership fatally shot two employees and then killed himself Tuesday evening, police and witnesses said. [AP]

TRAGIC PHOTO HIGHLIGHTS MIGRANTS’ STRUGGLES In an image published in Mexican newspaper La Jornada, a man and his 23-month-old daughter lay face down in shallow water along the bank of the Rio Grande. Her arm was draped around his neck, suggesting she clung to him in her final moments. The heartbreaking photo’s spread had the potential to refocus attention on the plight of migrants and Trump’s border policies. [AP]

(Huffington Post)


Great Blessing of Waters by Boris Kustodiev, Public Domain,


Night Study

Night Study


I just heard

A study shows

The work of studiers

That trees sleep at night

Circadian life

From the sometime home of the cicadas

And, you know, I don’t think I ever climbed

My treehouse at night,

Which has nothing to do with anything


Except that if I had

Disrespect now showing

I might have felt them rest

And had more of my own:

A web of branches overhead

My father’s skill beneath

And the noise of night

Singing as it should

For the child’s ears


C L Couch



Photo by manu schwendener on Unsplash

Münsterplatz, Basel, Switzerland

Antares lights at the Christmas market in Basel. More here


What We Can Give

What We Can Give

(and following)


Grace to you

And mercy

Though I cannot dispense them

(even mercy is borrowed)

I am not the source


And not to splinter things too fine,

Neither I think are you

But we know the one is

Source and giver,

Who releases memory to us

Of past performance

And of gratitude


As a surrogate, I can offer blessing

(so can you)

Though it is not mine (not ours)

To award

But mercy we can show

Maybe not as miracle

But hard work can come across


Especially without invoice

There’s grace in that



Grace Act II


And now, the sequel

We can give grace

Our own kind

A human sort that is not

Of the Spirit

But which it approves


A love that doesn’t

Think of it as gift

Nothing to consider on

The page

But that which cuts through mysteries

To ponder,

Nighttime, candlelit considerations

No, in this light of day

We don’t deliberate the question

Simply provide the act

In, you know, action

That, aside, is enough of an answer


Maybe we own our kind of mercy

As well


C L Couch



Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

“music in the air”


Breaking Good

Breaking Good

(BrGd, Periodically speaking—it’s kind of a pun, sorry)


Sometimes I can’t conform

Maybe that’s often

You see, I had not been in the

Hospital much throughout

My life,

Not really since birth, in fact, except

To visit

I didn’t mind hospitals, didn’t feel

Drawn toward them, either

I had a chaplain friend at

Children’s in Cincinnati whose ministry was

A series of small miracles

I say small because he worked with


Whom he could find through all the


And meters and restrictions

Of the I.C.U.

To find the child every time

I wished he lived in Harrisburg

Or I lived again in the Queen



Anyway, the siege began when I

Was forty-five or so

The combatants are, frankly, dying

And me

Much of the battlefield has been

Inside Holy Spirit then at Harrisburg

It goes on


Now I have strong feelings about

Hospitals, and the

Feelings are not good


In this, I touch a universal feeling,

If too severely,

That of going there

So that I might get out

The people there are good

Nearly everyone I’ve met is kind

If not, the unkind ones came by

While the anesthesia was

Having its way

I’ve been to rehab, too

Stayed at my sister’s house for care

(my nephew visiting my

sick room every day, because

he didn’t have to)

So buildings are not bad, not for

Recovery, though

I’ll never lose the knack

For outside air


So this is about conformity

Many rules in institutions, as

You know

(now so do I

in a living and not yet dying way)

I can take the strictures for a


Then must bust out before I

Burst inside

Trite way to put it, since

It’s part of what, what is it called,

Psychopathy? pathology?—either sounds



I must break out from time to time

Join the rest of us outside

Take a walk or

A short drive to nowhere in


Sort of a habit, anyway

Now a tontine between nature and



Here I am

There’s the world:

It seems I need its vastness

More than ever now


C L Couch



List of Elements in Chinese

periodic table of the elements in Chinese

(from the web page)

Have you ever wondered if the names of elements are the same in other languages? Different languages have different words for the same thing, why should the elements be any different?

(from me)

There are usable, printable (free) renderings of the Periodic Table of the Elements out there.  I use the Chinese version here with the understanding (and the message) that science is, or should be, ecumenical.


Christ for the Celts

Christ for the Celts


At Whitby, they were quieted

We were told to keep it Roman

None of that wildness in

Worship, thank you very much

No more statues with odd lumps

No more the branches and

The flowers and the bonfires

Stop the dancing, too

The music we don’t recognize


Romans one, Celts zero


The Celts respond

You say

But in a thousand years, you will

Be asleep

And it will turn out we’ve only been

Resting, waiting for the time

To waken and resume

The merging of our styles

And traditions


Sorry, Augustine

(first Canterbury)

We want to respect you

But we were hoping for a little back

Before the final gavel

So we’ve taken to the trees

Under earth and over skies


We believe

And we believe

Maybe you’ll find out how much

And how thoroughly

God and creation

Christ who bought us from the devil

The Spirit that transpires


Who is the better negotiator

And keeper

Of us all


C L Couch



Iron Age Castro culture triskele, reused in a barn. Airavella, Allariz, Galicia

José Antonio Gil Martínez from Vigo, Spain – Trisquel de AiravellaUploaded by Igrexas, CC BY 2.0,


I saw the title Christ of the Celts (from my list) and thought for a moment it was Christ for the Celts.  I imagine Christ is for the Celts.

(Synod of Whitby in 664)


Friendly Persuasion

Friendly Persuasion


Everyone is waiting for you

No one is waiting for you


No one ever waits

Waiting is prerogative out

Of necessity

If we can choose to stand still

For a time, we have done

Well, if



Anyone who thinks waiting

Is a choice


Seeming inevitability,


She or he is on to something

It’s a choice as opposed to

Stamping feet or yowling,

Thinking that would

Change anything

Or a create a surrogate procedure

(though one could place an ad)

Patience as a rule

Should be a rule


There is another aspect

That is waiting as attendance

Wait on a table

Wait on a family member

Or a friend in need

Wait on the Lord

This is service

On the whole, it isn’t bad

It numbers as a virtue

Sometimes we wait for numbers, too

Hey, I know

I’ll wait with you


C L Couch



Photo by Banter Snaps on Unsplash

Friendly Persuasion a novel by Jessamyn West, a film directed by William Wyler.


Again with the Sunday-Thinking

Again with the Sunday-Thinking


It’s Sunday, and

I should say something spiritual

But there’s Hamlet’s rub

(not a small town’s)

About mortality or, I should

Say, the end of it,

Which is what the Dane’s discussing

One side of the coin, as

It were, the other side

Well, spirituality

Who’d have thought?


So here we are

The coin I have,

The choice I have

Heads or tails

Or stand it on the edge,

Which I can do


Do you?

This is where we are

Where angels could dance

As slender as the pin

Though it goes around

Another way

Both things, the circle and the sphere,

Are endless

One comes back

And if a mark isn’t made

We’ll fool ourselves

In the illusion

A belief that we are always going


Somewhere else


So we need another metaphor

Metaphors as analogies

Always fail somewhere

Along the way

But we have the vine

The true vine and the faulty

And would that we graft ourselves

To the stronger,

Greener branch

And so grow

Like a magic beanstalk

Toward heaven

Though here’s where plants no longer

Serve analogy

For heaven’s not up

Where Claudius would send his prayers

Not forward, backward

Interior, exterior

Exit, arriving

I think you know

Where heaven is

Open the window of the soul

The air is good, at last

No teaching no longer necessary

Breathe the good and lasting

Air of heaven in

I wonder if in heaven

All we do is inhale


Better than direction

Better than metaphors

Better than Christmas morning

Or a birthday

(not analogies but real

remembrances I trust, I hope)

Heaven is an invitation

Please respond



I want to meet there

And maybe you

Will help me

Though there’s one who

Will bring us, both


C L Couch



Image by Thanks. All my pics are free! from Pixabay

church war syria civil war devastation devastated





Something wonderful about Shabbat

Is that it’s usually a meal

The empty chair is for the prophet

Otherwise, the seats are full

Sullen children, indifferent older

Everyone has an agenda outside the room

But here the plates are full

There are prayers,

And we drink some wine


Where the holy rests

Inside the food or in the human heart

Isn’t clear,

And that’s intention


C L Couch



Photo of 6-braid whole-wheat challah in the process of being shaped for baking.

Yoninah, CC BY 2.5,


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