I'll talk you'll talk we'll talk



I am a career educator and writer. I also enjoy (other) fine arts. Semi-retired due to disability, I live in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (USA). The main photographs at this site (of the road, of me) were crafted by photographer and friend Debra Danielson, A variety of her work is available for appreciation at

Unkept Doctrine

Unkept Doctrine

(and unkempt)


I’ve been meaning to

Write about grace

The kind that is


That no one can hold onto

That has no rules except

To help ‘til heroes return


Like crumpling a butterfly

In a human hand,

It doesn’t

Mean so much if you try

To clutch it

Or claim at all it’s yours

It isn’t yours

And can’t be claimed by anyone

Don’t try


Enjoy the benefit

In a sunshine of surprise

Don’t polish it

Or ever, every try

To keep it on a shelf

It has no rules that we’re aware of

Someone, yes,

Not us

To those who want to market it,

You’ll learn, if you have to

Then be forgotten

It’s as if grace has a contract


Chaotically enforced

When someone tries

To own it


The rest of us

Will bask, when we never thought

We’d have the chance

To breathe at all



C L Couch



Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

New York, United States

Steam venting in Manhattan.


Releasing Hope

Releasing Hope


There should be hope

The only thing left in the box,

Which means it lay with

All the evils for who knows

How long

I guess Pandora knows

And what were the evils?

Envy, sloth, gluttony?

Yet there’s nothing wrong in

Wanting, in ease, in eating

Maybe those evils were


Mesopotamian, Egyptian


Maybe a foe

Such as Carthage

Or allies, such as

One city-state to another

Maybe it was treason

The treachery at Thermopylae

False promises that might

Surprise for being small

And murder

These are harder to analogize

Disloyalty, betraying one’s own

Taking lives


Unless hope might be

Dispensed without

Letting it go,

Then she should open the box

Once again

Let the creature rise

And take the Earth

Then the mission might be

Re-collecting evils, placing them

Back in the box

Maybe with an intern

From Olympus

(an intern team)

Who could

For and with them

Re-think the evils

Remember goodness before

The ruin

But then the gods

Would need to learn about

What is good against the pettiness that

Snapping or a wave

Can wreck for mortals

Mortals, too, once freed up some

Might receive reminders, too

Goodness and balance

Golden means on a silver path

The final thing

For the Athens school

For the Lyceum,

Let everyone in

To give the good a chance


As was their theory, after all


C L Couch



Photo by David Becker on Unsplash


An Insignificant Response

An Insignificant Response


I think I heard on the local news

That some of us are going

In addition to the national aid

That I hope is on its way

The UN and EU are already there

With the UK and Russia

The numbers keep increasing

The dead and wounded

Hospitals, themselves damaged,

Are working at more-than-full


There is broken glass and blood

All over the city

Like a shining sheet, say

Those who are there

Many miles away,

The blast was heard

Followed by a sonic wave that

Literally knocked people

From a standing posture down


It was a mushroom cloud

For a non-nuclear blast

A little prophecy at work

There are protests

In anger at what happened

Drawing police with tear gas

And rubber bullets

I used to think that could only happen

In another nation from people who

Fear their grip on power

But we have followed precedent

In self-styled, hoped-for despotism

So that

Everything that’s helpful is delayed

Well, we’ll get there, too


And I hope we stay there for a while

To help, most of all

Maybe to learn something, too

About our global neighbors

About the sheen of darkened glass

That covers us

Dusting by laying dust

Over our light

An experiment in democracy

For a few centuries, now

That can’t help but be a model

One way or another


Pray, help Lebanon

Let your angels work in Beirut

It is a sectarian

Sometimes the Christian fight the Muslims

Sometimes it goes the other way

Now, it should not matter

And, inshallah, it should not matter

Ever again


C L Couch



By Oren Rozen – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Tel Aviv City Hall, 5 August


Wishing in Retrograde

Wishing in Retrograde

(after which the planet does return)


I don’t know

Everything seems stupid

What I’m writing, the images I’m

Looking for to go with it

(my looking, not the image-making)

If an apology will do,

I’m sorry I don’t have something better

And I want everyone to have

A good weekend

A safe weekend

In my nation, we’re expressing a split mind

On the one hand, everything is opening

On the other, the disease is worse than ever

Cases are spiking

Like a medieval mace in a museum

We’re number one for sickness,

Loss of life in the world

Like my state being first

For the worst roads


Is it any wonder

Other lands are barring us?

I wouldn’t want me, either

There are stories of break-ins into Canada

From the USA

Clearly, the wall is put up along the

Wrong direction

Having me think the purpose will be turned

Around, and from everywhere

We won’t be walling others out

But others wanting us walled in


Which isn’t everything, by far

The world is suffering

We should take a chance to help

Maybe our help would be accepted

You know, the WHO

And UN take us back

Maybe after Monday

In January 2021

The world will have us back


C L Couch



Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash




Field Manual for Seasons

Field Manual for Seasons


Blue peeks through

Green netting

On a midsummer day

Maybe it’s high summer, now

A timetable is needed

Not for tides

But for the broader reaches

Of the seasons


Something to say

These are dog days

Tell the dogs, they’ll want to know

When are cat days?

Silly humans, cats say,

Every day

Give dogs a few


It could also be a time

For field mice

Chipmunks, squirrels

All creatures seem to know

The seasons,

When to bury food

When to look for it again


C L Couch



Photo by Jonnelle Yankovich on Unsplash

Chassell, MI, USA

instagram: @jey__photography


The Original Series

The Original Series


There will come a time

When I won’t know myself

The old one from the young

One that becomes

Maybe a mask for Hallowe’en


I wonder if I’ll put up

The barricade between me

And young (in years) people

Forget that I was one

And used to see me then and there

And here for a long time


And will I talk of them

As if they had just landed

From Spain or from

Another planet

And will I rail about

Their demon music

And wonder where their generation’s going

While mine was worse about direction

Or destination


C L Couch



Photo by shawn henry on Unsplash


Timing Isn’t Everything

Timing Isn’t Everything


When we pray

There is listening

Because God is infinite,

Which means

There’s plenty of time


C L Couch



Photo by June O on Unsplash





When we exhale

Things go out

We no longer need,

Which is all right because

Parts of the world need them

That, in turn, give up what

We need

And so inhale

To say the least, it’s a good arrangement

We should keep it going

Oxygen doesn’t come from

An artificial tube

We borrow it

And sometimes

Too often, really

Don’t give anything back for it

Let’s not begrudge astronauts

Someday maybe

We’ll make our own sustenance

For breathing

Though really everything we have

Is borrowed, molecules from

Someone else

Call it Mother Nature

Father Time

Or random, hexagonal arrangements

In the universe

Finally, it’s what we’re lent

Of substance and of time with

The energy to use them


C L Couch



Photo by Moses Lee on Unsplash

Richmond, BC, Canada

Comet NEOWISE over Iona Beach through tall grass.


There Are Way Too Many People Dying

There Are Way Too Many People Dying


There are way too many people dying

Yet we, the living, complain

Because we’re still here

With masks and keeping six feet or

Two meters apart

Staying not in a factory or prison

But at home

From where we live and work

Unless you have to go away to work,

And we thank you

And (everyone) get by hopefully without catching


Such as the nineteenth COVID virus


We have to get outside,

And so we protest in Berlin

And politicians in Ohio

And D.C.

Hawk a malarial that not only

Doesn’t work but harms in other ways

If Madame Cleo came back

And recommended something,

I’d be more inclined to listen


This should be the year of doing nothing

I’ve said it elsewhere

I’m saying it again

This should be the year of doing nothing

But getting better


Next year we could try it

Without the disease


C L Couch



(image from Unsplash)

United Nations COVID-19 Response

Frontline. Inspired by images of exhausted doctors and nurses. Image created by Kevin Kobsic. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives – help stop the spread of COVID-19.


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