I talk you talk we'll talk


February 2020

Tree of Life

Tree of Life


The soul must be amazing

Some say it’s like a bird

And why not


I don’t mean a matter for debate

I mean the spirit that’s inside us

That leaves us when

We can bear no more


Where it catches next, I do not know

Branches in a tree

What has it for keeping


I think it is somewhere

I guess it might be doctrine

And so for argument

To say it owns eternal


C L Couch



Photo by Kushagra Kevat on Unsplash


Floating Illusions

Floating Illusions

(title in the pile of stories to be read)


The confession of it is

That I’m glad to be here

And for the moment, for today

Don’t have to be

Nowhere else (I play with

the negative)

Or elsewhere

Even if it’s Christmas every day

The good parts

I’ll stay in my mortal place

Where time rolls

And I think I’m on the stepping stones


C L Couch



Photo by John Spencer on Unsplash





Ponder nothing

Take it as it comes

Pondering was yesterday

Then for an hour as a follow-up

Now is the time

For spirit to meet flesh

We have to do something mortal

And again

It’s time, and it’s the life we have

There might be a spark of

The divine

Not to forsake

But there’s the sun with

Outside colors

We must get started

There’s a road

It will not shine this way again

There was a sign

Or simply some hardheadedness

We’ve packed books

Paper and pen with which to write


On adventuring

Time to go

The better things are waiting

It’s all right, it’s all still there

Please don’t be ready

A few things, sure

I don’t think we should wait that long



C L Couch



Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Washington Square Park, New York, United States


Gospel According to Rubbermaid

Gospel According to Rubbermaid


I just opened a box

A small container

I breathed old air that smelled of

Cinnamon and dust


That was all right

That was special

I was thinking of ancient mummy wraps

This was so much better

I guess I had it in the kitchen

Or maybe not

Maybe the box had become

A certain gift over time

Of its own

A sweetness mixed with age

I hear that happens


C L Couch



Photo by Aditya Joshi on Unsplash

A picture taken at a spice stall in the famous spice market in Dubai showing an interesting pattern created by cinnamon sticks on display. With a limited light falling on the subject, the background automatically became dark creating a deep effect.


Mouse Culture

Mouse Culture


Mouse droppings

Signs of mice

They are old evidence

Except inside the walls, I’m sure

Where they congress

To meet upon important

Mouse subjects

Toward mouse culture

The latest look in traps

Especially the smells

Of things

I’m not talking rats

I believe their meetings grim

Volleys of hissing, punctuating

I mean gray mice

With small dark eyes

The kind of mice we’d rather meet

In fields

And in which

They’d rather find us

Meeting’s over

Crumb patrol, move out


C L Couch



Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash


Sun’s Already for a Break

Sun’s Already for a Break

(am I)


It’s later in the morning

Than I like to write

Pre-pre dawn is fine

But I was going through some


Last night and couldn’t resist

A few more boxes first thing this

Morning—proof I don’t know how

To live

I found some old course papers

Kept a few, since I’ve discovered

Sometimes schools really want

To see such things

Kept some student work beside, because

It was good

I notice I’m breathing

A little more, now

Now I’ve had a chance to lift and sort

Keep and throw out

Pleased to have thrown out things

A few less boxes from the office

Or the office

Or the cubicle

I’m here now, and what I do is

Here for now

Well, I know

I’ll probably like the coffee


C L Couch



Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash


Anna Pauline McAnally Couch

Anna Pauline McAnally Couch

(15 February 1925—13 June 1983)


The day after red and white

And pink

It is the ides of February

My mother’s birthday

Pauline was born in 1925,

Died in 1983

Only in her fifties

Such is the ravaging of cancer

I wish she’d had a better life

She was a singer

I wish she could have sung more

A manager, I wish she could have

Run things more her way

I wish she’d had a partnership

Rather than passive and aggressive,

Which she enabled

And then both of them

Passed it on to me

Before the term

Before its time

I don’t remember the real name now

But she knew Doris Day

Before she was Day

My mother was a Southerner

But had no trace of accent

I’m not sure why

Except maybe it was cultured, then

Not to give away

The humble origins

And hers were humble

To the point of terrible

Orphaned of her father

Let go by her mother

Saved by Methodists somehow

I have the picturesque baptism paper

Moved or was moved

From small-town Tennessee to Cincinnati

Set in two states

(for all intents and purposes),

Both sides of the river


I was her middle child

Maybe it’s fair or at least

Mathematical that I should do

Some chronicling

On her behalf

On this, what would be

What is

Her ninety-fifth birthday

Born in Shelbyville, Tennessee

Died in Cincinnati, Ohio

Lives in heaven


C L Couch



Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash

she liked rabbits


All the Saints Are Quick and Dead

All the Saints Are Quick and Dead

(for 14 February, anywhere)


Today’s the day for love

Where were you yesterday?

Out shopping for me?


But I could use your help

Please don’t let that be a present

If I’m strident, then I’m sorry

But you know how

Things press

And if you don’t, please stay

Roll up your sleeves, as if

To help with dishes

Or the vacuum

(hoovering, they call it)

Or my life

Really, I don’t make it grand

But with you, I’d bear it with style

Let’s sit down

Yes, light a candle

Talk about your small things

And of mine

We can work our way along

To the high and mighty, if we want

Or the inside place

Between extremes

Where each of us lives

All the time


The ministry of saints

Is fine for doctrine

And there’s visitation, too,

I understand

The ministry of presence

Nothing like it


C L Couch



Photo by Andres F. Uran on Unsplash

Alejandro Echavarria, Medellín, Colombia

Candle Fire


By the Light of a Gray Day

By the Light of a Gray Day


Comfort in small things

A blanket folded, ready

Lamplight showing golden through

A translucent black shade

Old copper cooking instruments

Set on the wall

Stacks of books here and there,

Which should be smaller

Burnished parts of furniture,

Others left alone

Muted colors and some bold

Rounded shapes and just a few

Right angles

Yes, it’s in the room

Everything that gladdens without telling

A hymn that plays beneath

Unruly thoughts and actions

All above

Small art here and there

A hope for more


C L Couch



Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Saksun, Faroe Islands

Saksun Church, Nordic Church


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