A Song for Those Who Don’t Have Much of Anything


I don’t know how to praise you

I am not qualified

I am a ball of sin and regret

Smooth outside, worn

By experience and cynicism

What can I do

That you would want?

What kind of words

What kind of song

What kind of dance?

How would you want me glorifying you?

I can’t see it

My senses dulled

My spirit raw

My hope has fled like the bird who

Is at least is credited with impulse

I have no church organ here

(my neighbors thank me in absentia

for what is absent)

I do not sing

I do not practice

I do not dance (don’t ask me)

Unless you want a waltz

(or, faster, a polka)

I pray in silence, wondering from time to time

How much that counts


I cannot fathom what would please you

I am afraid to think on glory

For my failure at it

I leave my zeal mired below


Maybe I could read a song of David

Or of a prophet—Deborah? Ezekiel?

Tennyson? Nikki Giovanni? Sharon Olds?

Adrienne Rich?

Reaching for these was homework

Still bearing the cachet

Of lack of will

I read them on my own and more

I think they are beyond me, too


I could build something

I don’t have the talent

Sometimes I make something from

What is strewn around

These are on display

And are religious

Maybe extra credit

I could read speculation

Of a world that’s better

Help others do the same

Ursula K. Le Guin (The Word for World

Is Forest), Anthony Horowitz

(Raven’s Gate), Robin McKinley (The

Blue Sword)

Tennnyson again

(In Memoriam, that’s hard)

But the spirit-work’s already done by these

I should give something of my own

For all that it’s performance,

I’m not sure church has it, either

Though I won’t blame for trying

(for being trying, that’s

another story)


Maybe I will in my halting way

Land on something that will last

Enough for praise

And even pleasure

From the maker

Who counts sparrows and stems of hair

And might not reckon me

And mine

So bad

Close enough for jazz

Slender spiral of

What might pass for praise


C L Couch



Photo by Amy Baugess on Unsplash