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in pandemic time

Homilies

(x = space)

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Homilies

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Church tomorrow

Virtual and virtuous

Teaching about Lazarus,

I think,

The one from Bethany

Who with his sisters

Was a friend of Jesus

Having hosted him

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Then Lazarus

Gets sick

Or something

Like that happens

Because he’s clearly dying

And the sisters

Contact Jesus

Who delays in coming

Then their brother dies

Martha comes to Jesus

Speaking words

Of faith

While Mary cannot move

It’s all right, Martha

Jesus says

I know it is in heaven,

She replies,

When I shall see Lazarus

Again

Yes, and I mean more

Than that

Mary manages

To say something

Reproachful

And then Jesus goes

To where their brother

Lies, wrapped and

Spiced in burial

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Take away the stone

Lazarus, Come out!

Jesus commands

And Lazarus emerges

From the dead

Into the living

Into his sisters’ lives

Again

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There is a meal

Mary breaks a bottle

Of perfume

And with the oil

And the scent

Bathes the feet of Jesus

Judas reprimands her

For wasted expense

Jesus turns on him

As only love can turn

Teaching him about

The poor

And when it’s all right

To be rich,

Say, when we’re

At the feet

Of Jesus

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C L Couch

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John 11, first part of 12 (in the Christian New Testament)

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Photo by Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash

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A Million Now

(x = space)

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A Million Now

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Two and a half years

A million dead

Shall we count?

We should have time

While counting out the days

For boosters

Should we be privileged

For boosters

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If they were like stars

Then there would be no question

Everyone would want them

Like the bread

That goes with circuses

Is New York still giving money

For a shot?

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People I know are gone

Because of COVID

It’s hard to take in

I might be dense

How could I know a million

Twenty times a number counted

For the city some miles away

Whose rutted streets

For the moment

Have no wagons for the dead

Or another absurdity in

A Python moment

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Try to count

To a million

Try to consider millions of

The dead or fleeing

Thanks to war

Go ahead, combine the numbers

Since the same hate’s

At work

Every time

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There is liberty

In abnegation

Deny the medicine

Turn oneself into

The other side of counting

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C L Couch

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1 Million COVID-19 Deaths in the United States

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Photo by Susann Schuster on Unsplash

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Two Days before Lent

(x = space)

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Two Days before Lent

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There are too many

Things to pray for:

Ukraine, COVID, the

Other violence

In the world

At home

In the heart

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As it happens,

There is a season

Starting Wednesday

A season really good

For prayer

And such

Lean living for a while,

As we can manage,

Extra services perhaps

Of kinds

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A time whose name

Means slow and full

And other things

That say

Slow down, remember me

My teaching

From the start

As if to say

I meant creation from the start

To teach

To have us read the surfaces

As teaching and as

Starting points

From which to dig, to dive

Or from which

To fly

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As if to say

We have this time now,

You and I,

In which to walk as if

There were a garden

In which to talk about

All things

Anything

You like

Or don’t like

But need to share with me

Because I’m wise

And all love

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C L Couch

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Photo by Susanne Schwarz on Unsplash

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Boiling Springs Fire

(x = space)

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Boiling Springs Fire

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I caught some

Of the story

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A fire burned

Inside

Above

(fourth floor)

Smoke and water through

All the floors

Of the apartment building

A converted mill

In the town of Boiling Springs

One town away

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I hear details of the fire

Nothing yet about the people

I’m sure I missed

That part

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I used to drive by the building

Hoped about living there,

Each time

Now it’s gone

Or at least

Forever changed

Now sorrow for

All displaced

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The town is small

An unincorporated village

It will be affected

Me, too

And you, too,

As you know about

Such things

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(after reading)

Everyone got out

One cat

The headlines say

Eleven displaced,

Which includes ten people

And the cat

The Red Cross has been

At the scene

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There was a fire

In the village

Two years ago

One person was killed

Welcome that person

To another home

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God bless the town

And all the towns

That gather loss

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C L Couch

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https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/11-displaced-by-cumberland-county-fire/ar-AATiBcL?ocid=uxbndlbing

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Photo by Daniel Tausis on Unsplash

“Fighting Fire”

Sundsvall, Sweden

not the Boiling Springs fire (the photos of that fire are copyrighted, sigh) but a fire

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commencement

(x = space)

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commencement

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the end of someone’s year

not the Jewish

or the Lunar

or the Islamic

the Christian year

began a month ago

there are those who only live by

seasons and experiences

maybe it’s Gregory’s

or the atomic clock’s

maybe it belongs

to Greenwich or to Zulu

the world says

it belongs to us

we celebrate

we cast lights off our bridges

launch them from our islands

we drop or raise

all sorts of things

to say

this is ours

we’ve grown

the new is ours

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C L Couch

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End of 2018

Photo by Andreas Dress on Unsplash

Sydney, Australia

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Advent 4

(x = space)

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Advent 4

(in pandemic time)

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The test was negative

An early Christmas present

So I’m sick with something else

A strain of flu the shot

Could not take cover of,

A cold that has

Gone deep

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A sliced-up immune system

Trauma, medication

Treatments, operations

But I’m here

And should be

For Christmas day

x

And, yes, I’m thankful

I’d rather be

Knit together better

But I’m here

Have all appendages

Insides busted up, here and there

While finding aging

To be a cranky business

‘Tis the season

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‘Tis the season

The wreath is almost done

The Hanukkah lights

Have been done for days

The early miracle

The rituals continue

Lights and green and red and gold

And have I finished all the gathering

For the holiday?

You know, I think I could say

“Stop” and “ready”

Anytime

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I hope the world

Beyond sectarian

Has a fine Christmas time

The solstice will happen soon

With tiny increments toward

Spring

Cold weather

Hot toward the south

Until it chills again

But Christmastide all over

All kinds of holidays

With expectations

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Maybe we may take

Some freer, fuller breaths

Because much of the world

Is slowing down

And ceasing for a time

And, if not,

We can imagine

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Fill the time

With something good

With something stopped

With easy joy

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C L Couch

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Photo by Grant Whitty on Unsplash

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The Outside Test

(x = space)

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The Outside Test

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Well, I took the test

I’m waiting

She was very nice

In the lot

Outside the hospital

Yesterday,

Telling me the unpleasantness

To come

With the probe (or whatever

it is) involved

She was right

She went back inside

With whatever part of me

To read

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I had to call with symptoms

(a friend said so)

I was told to come

Then

I drove away

Got out of the car

Still ambulatory

(thankful)

Now I wait

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C L Couch

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Photo by Jusdevoyage on Unsplash

Japan

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The O in Omicron

(x = space)

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The O in Omicron

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Omicron

Is impressive

Like the o in omega,

I guess

Something surprising

Something final

The end is a beginning

First cases reported

How will we get sick?

How will our vaccines withstand?

The title shouldn’t be

A headline,

Something instead to tell us

It ain’t over

All of this

Be careful

And take care

Of each other

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C L Couch

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Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash

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FOMO  LOL

(x = space)

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FOMO  LOL

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Well, the pandemic

Screwed it up

Reminded us that we don’t need

Everything right away

Or the same thing, either

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All the sequels stopped

Prevention, lockdown

Chain of supply

Forbidding the arrivals

That we’re used to

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We’ve had

To improvise,

To deal with scotched plans

And ruined routines

Dealing with

The products we can find

While keeping calm

Keeping the calm that others

Might be losing

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All the while

The greater part is raging on

Those who catch the disease,

Suffer, and then die

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In the millions

Now

I know, it’s hard to keep perspective

But there it is

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C L Couch

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Coronavirus Cases:

252,967,467

view by country

Deaths:

5,099,784

Recovered:

228,800,363

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Last updated: November 12, 2021, 17:48 GMT

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

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Downer Theatre “Temporarily Closed Due to Corona. Stay Safe.” This theatre is one of many in Milwaukee, Wi closed because of the pandemic.

Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash

Milwaukee, WI, USA

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