I talk you talk we'll talk


April 2020





Is something


We look up to

But if the breastplate’s right

We can look down to

God as well

Look ahead

Turn around

Lift up a scoop of earth

Part some water, just a little

We can look at hills,

Even mountains

Down inside a valley

Inside mouse holes

Even a glove compartment

God is not trapped anywhere

God waits on freedom,


God is in the well

And above the spaceship nosecone


Maybe there is laughter

Maybe there are tears

Maybe there is anger

There is always justice

With a willingness to heal

God’s is there


Breastplate-thinking’s right

Insofar as

God is there

And for our times,

Is God inside the germ?

Yes, even there

Somehow, lovingly

Inside the germ

Not to say that plagues,


Other eradications

Are God’s will

For I don’t think they are

Certainly not God’s pleasure

But where there might be comfort

In the presence

In anything inimical

Deep or shallow,

Yes, there is God

For Earth

For us


C L Couch



(from) The Breastplate of Saint Patrick

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I arise,

. . .

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Helen Qin, the doctor-to-be, has nominated me for the Liebster Award—Thank you!

Her terrific blog is here:


My 11 Questions [Helen’s questions for me]:

  1. What piece of writing are you the most proud of?—I like the shorter works I’ve done, such as this one from the other day (below):*
  2. How long does it take for a post to go from an idea to fruition?—I try to write and post each day; so far, illness is the main that prevents me.  I sit before the screen each morning with coffee (tea lately) and a piece of bread (toast, croissant, what have you).  I usually write several things, pick one thing to go over more, then decide to post it.  I look for an image.  I go to WordPress, work on the posting, then send it.  Typically, this takes a few hours.
  3. What has been your most enjoyable new hobby during this lockdown?—I’ve been taking drives to nowhere though ostensibly to the grocery store.  I have masks now, thanks to friends, so can get out when I want to, walk around a little.  It’s not a new hobby, but I’ve seen more winding roads and many things along the way these days.  Oh, and I’m trying to learn Zoom.
  4. If you could go somewhere for a week, all expenses paid and you could do whatever you wanted, where would you go? —I’d like to go to Midland England for a while.  experience something of village life.  Maybe a day for London and the British Museum, maybe a day for Oxbridge.
  5. What’s one thing you wish you were better at?—I wish I could lift and carry things again.  Because of heart disease, I can’t.
  6. What language would you like to learn and perfect if given the opportunity?—French, I think.
  7. What’s an irrational fear you have?—I have claustrophobia.  Bothers me to mention it.
  8. What’s something you might be embarrassed or self-conscious about, but you know you shouldn’t be?—I have many scars from surgeries.  I’m thankful for the results of the operations, so I shouldn’t be embarrassed by the marks.
  9. What food are you craving the most right now?—Dark chocolate with almonds.  But I have some here.  Now if I could have dark chocolate with almonds and raisins.
  10. What’s your best party trick?—I’m good at word games and some trivia contests.
  11. What brings you the most joy in life?—Happy endings.


11 Facts About Me

  1. I’m left-handed.
  2. I’m from the South (of the USA).
  3. I’m the middle child (of five).
  4. I have bad-handwriting/writer’s cramp and so am thankful for the computer.
  5. I had lunch with Mister Rogers, dinner with Vincent Price (not on the same day).
  6. I was the first male chapter president of an all-female honorary society (Mortar Board).
  7. I’m adept with USA and (or) British grammar.
  8. I’m a good speller though tend to leave words out instead, such as “no” or “never” (hopefully to catch in time).
  9. I enjoy reading contemporary literature more by women than by men.
  10. I like meeting people who don’t look like me.
  11. I read slowly, awkwardly.


(General) Rules to the Liebster Blogger awards:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and give a link to the blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions given to you
  3. Share 11 facts about yourself
  4. Nominate between 5-11 other bloggers
  5. Ask your nominees 11 questions
  6. Notify your nominees once you’ve uploaded your post


I know some correspondents have been nominated before (not that they couldn’t be nominated again).  Here are my nominees: A Reading Writer, MandiBelle, Cathy (wander.essence), Nelkumi,  PaperKutz.


you are not obliged

questions from me, if you do oblige (I swiped a couple from Helen Q)

  1. How are you?
  2. Do you have a favorite author?
  3. Do you have a favorite kind of writing to write?
  4. What do you miss in lockdown?
  5. What have you learned in lockdown?
  6. Do you have a favorite time of year?
  7. Have you ever had a mentor—who? (whom?)
  8. What is a treat for you in life (to eat, to share, otherwise to do)?
  9. Do you tend to write in one space—which?
  10. How do you prepare a blog-post?
  11. What is one thing (among many things) you plan to do once the current virus crisis has passed?





You should have a good day

You deserve it

If it’s not today,

Keep it

In your pocket

Or your bag

Then pick a day

To bring out when you need it

Saying to yourself,

This is a good day for me

And there should be enough

For someone else

Share it

If only a wish

For that one to have

A good day, too


Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

everyone deserves a prize





Worship must have been

Brutal, then

Fierce dancing to fierce rhythm

All sorts of things prepared

To sacrifice to God

Where the divine had any interest

In such rites

(how did they know?)

Ready to let blood

Human wine

For penance and redemption

In the world where crops were

Eradicated too easily

Enemies banded ‘round to take out

Any towns or collections of

Humanity trying to set along

The river’s edge or in the center of

Even a place of hiding

Too easily exposed


Or maybe it was grand

A city on a hill

Still the gods need something of us

To turn attention there

To give us weather

Or health enough

To go another year


No notion of indifference

A neatly civilized invention

The worship here

Must match

Barbaric nature with the

Barbaric parts of us

There was awful authenticity

Because the only choice

Was awe

This was a fearful task

Reaching a god

To know its name

To know what it wants

Or left to guessing the rituals

Demanded in a world of

Circling barbarity

With no neat form, no room for

Showing up

Life was on the line

To hope in every baleful way

That God might answer


We don’t want it back

Why should we?

Though we’ve lost the awe

In awesome,

The part that means to fear the Lord

Not as in scared

(though that)

But in respect that God is there

Might be set over a scale

Might be listening

Not for what’s refined

Something that’s raw

As from the scoured human heart

The table might be symbol

But inside, where the marks are

God can reside

Wildly there


So what do we do

At evening or at sunrise?

Or when we feel we’ve wakened up


We can find God

Too easily

Before we’re ready

We might have a sibling conflict

Or no notion of our Sunday best

God will take us on

Together, one by one

Maybe not fierce worship

But something honest

Tears rather than


Focus rather than rage

Though through it all, whatever,

Love as well as fear

For God is God

Not wanting us to quake


But recalling first obedience

Afterward, attending

To the second


Have worship, then

Leave afterward

Taking something of the altar

With you

Like a burning coal set inside

Something that will never burn


The part of God that’s present

Not without expectation

Not always well-behaved

But always loved


Come back to me

Come back again

I am with you now


C L Couch



Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash





You should have a good day

You deserve it

If it’s not today,

Keep it

In your pocket

Or your bag

Then pick a day

To bring out when you need it

Saying to yourself,

This is a good day for me

And there should be enough

For someone else

Share it

If only a wish

For that one to have

A good day, too


C L Couch



Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay


If I Were a Teen

If I Were a Teen

(in pandemic time)


If I were a teen,

I’d read a book, I guess

Something touchable to do

I’d go outside as often

As I could,

Though the freedom

Would be limited

Because I’d have to talk

With friends six feet away

And never play

If we wore gloves

(latex inside leather),

Could we play catch?


I might have a phone

And thankful for

The blanking skills I have

To focus on the screen,

Missing everything

Else around me

I’d play something,

I suppose, on the computer

Gaming with my friends

Making new ones

As teammates across

The world, perhaps

If only in


I’d have meals with my

Family, because that would

Become important

Maybe I’d eat less and

More often

I’d take walks for exercise

Volunteer to walk the

Dog, if I have one

I’m sure there are calisthenics

To go through inside

But really


This would be the strangest

Time for me

I should be in school, though

There might be good things

In being away

But after a while I might

Find it all ridiculous

How do I finish my grade?

Do I start over?

Will what I have to do at home

Be enough?

Will I know what

I really need to know?


Maybe I’d learn something


Maybe I’d re-appreciate

My siblings, if I have them

Maybe I’d also

Try not to be afraid

Because people I know

Or I

Might get sick

Or might die

I hear the numbers

Of people doing each


I’ll do chores

And try not

To drive anyone at home

Crazy, crazier

Because that could get serious

I’ll try to be thankful

Though at my age

That’s hard

But not impossible

This time is not impossible


C L Couch


Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash





Is there war elsewhere

Maybe where you are

But maybe guns were held up

And the loading of them

Fingers withheld from buttons

Launching missiles

Or the switches from grenades

It’s a question that pandemics

Might quiet war, some


There will be violence

People shoot each other

Stab and hit with whatever

Nations have agendas against

Nations, this nation

Among them


But might the fear of illness

Death from infection

Become an agenda, too

And might our attention be mislaid

From war, if only for a while

So that we might attend to this

Instead, something the world

Should attend to


And could it be that noises change

From the usual reasons to

Others: ailments, hospital workers,

Ambulances for the sick,

Mourning from disease instead

Of how we do each other


When it’s done

When that might be

We might all take a breath

And then another

And maybe take a salient moment

Then another

To rethink, if only some

The business of war and the

Destruction only we can make

There might be peace in treatment

Let some make it last


C L Couch



Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash





There’s pain everywhere,

And I don’t think I’m


Much about it

Issues in the neighborhood

Still stand

In the house are

Grievances unspoken, which go

Better than confrontations

Bearing fruit in violence,

If only verbal


And so with all

The awfulness that’s

Really going on—sickness,


Wanting to rush around

The scientific process


For fear of more

That’s terrible—I ask

Maybe we ask

For something better than we

Tend to be

A cure

At least a treatment for more

Than symptoms (though

grateful for that),

Frankly, a beatific day

Not until tomorrow


C L Couch



Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay




(a prayer)


So God

What will you have

My heart

It’s yours

My head

I’m not sure what all is in there

(or the heart)

But sure it’s yours

My muscles

All the nerves

The organs as they are

Some with extra parts

Some not working much at all

You want them



My spirit must be in there


Somewhere my soul

You want my soul

Dear Lord

All right

I don’t know how to turn it over

So you’ll have to teach me

Maybe it starts with this

Create in me a clean heart

O God

And renew a right spirit

Within me

I don’t how that happens either

Maybe I could learn this

From an angel

Or another agent

Of yours in the world


Help my unbelief

For the world that you allow

Is filled with snares

And I am good at getting caught

Unwrap the rope

From my heel

The chain around my chest

The mask that has no eyes

Over my spirit

Free me as you will

As you conspire

Maybe I could add to the favor

For another


Thank you for will

Though sometimes I think

I’d do better without it

Though to think about again

I’d hate the puppet string


or whatever is

the fear of being captured)

If my will is something else you’d like

All right

Gentle as a dove

Wise as a serpent

It’s all yours


C L Couch



Psalm 51:10

Mark 9:24b

(Matthew 10:16b)


Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, United States


Plague Daze

Plague Daze


The day is Shakespeare’s birthday

The day he was christened

His death was around the same date, too

Someone took the head

From the grave


The governor wants to open the state

Though people are still dying

The economy is life-and-death, too,

At least to politicians

Corporate deciders

Two groups so out of touch

What do they know of life but

How to turn it toward a matter of



I feel the air

Reopening would bring

Simply to think about it

The lifting off the shoulders of

The weight of shutting-in

Factories open

Schools resume, somehow

All the pubs along the second street

Invite us in again


But readers of “The Masque” can

See the lunacy in attitude

Alone without a treatment

A thousand sixteen hundred twenty-two

Dead in Pennsylvania,

One state among

Many states

How is it where you are?

Do you want to know?

I don’t, here or there

I want to have a pint in Boiling Springs

As I’ve never enjoyed one before


But here and there it is

Now the announcement that

Certain testing sites are closing

Everyone it seems

Wants to be normal

Well, why not?

Why not, because it’s far from done

We’ve left it now a

Game of dodge-ball

Hope you’re not hit

Me, too

The danger is for all of us

All of us connected like

Scratches on an antique metal plate

A month away, we think we’ve had



C L Couch



Source: Esri; Johns Hopkins


Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash


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