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I don’t know much about

Old wineskins

I had a bota once

From Spain

I imagine that my father got it

While on tour in the Navy

I probably put water in it

(the bota, not the Navy)

And tried to drink

I say this because I have a memory

Of playing with the trail of water

As they do with botas in Spain,

Letting the thin arch

Run out farther and farther

From the mouth

(the boca)

Part of the fun

In having such a device

Out of which to drink


Does bota mean bottle?

I think botella

There might be some sort

Of origin

Shared at least in etymology


I don’t know much

About new wineskins

I’ve probably never been

Next to one

And so there’s this whole tradition

Of which I’m unaware,

Which is how to deal

With wineskins


I imagine they are made

From the skins if not the organs

Of animals—

Cow, goat, sheep, I don’t know

And according to the power

In the parable,

A wineskin only gets one use

What happens next?

It is made into shoes

Or a backpack

Or a purse?


I hope wineskins always were


And more so if they’re still

Used today

I imagine they could

Be lined with something

That would take new liquid well

So the skin could be used

Time and again

(which I wonder that the bota can)

But now to people


Old wineskins, once emptied,

Are now useless of their

Single purpose

New wine will require

New wineskins


Now, what is the wine?

It is new thought

New purpose

The Spirit as device

(and metaphor)

Has offered something new

Not to overthrow the old

So much as to complete it

I think that’s what

Jesus would say

As in, I have come not to abrogate

The law

But to complete it


The story is more personal


Or might be taken that way

Personally, communally—these

Will happen:

Should we have thoughts

And instincts that

Merely weigh us down

More with suppression

Than belief

And where’s the wisdom

Let alone the joy

In that?

If we-always-did-it-that-way

Is only an alienating

(try I-always-do-it-this way,


Quality for now,

Time for new thinking

And new acting

Or old acting

With new thinking


C L Couch



Matthew 9:14-17, Mark 2:18-22, Luke 5:33-39


Photo by Biljana Martinic on Unsplash