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Book War

(x = space)

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Book War

(preventive)

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It happens

When a group

Has a code

That is set down

For day-to-day

And legacy

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It took place with

The Quran

The evening of

The morning

When there was

Certitude that

There would be

A new

Generation

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The Christian Bible

Set off conflict

With each change,

Each schism

Set to fighting

Over what to do

For faith

And what the book

Of faith should say

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Not to mention

All the agnostica

Falling ‘round

The faithful

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How many books

In the book?

Sixty-six or seventy-two with

All that should be in

Sixty-six or seventy-two

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My version’s better

My translation

My paraphrase

No, mine

No, mine

No, OURS

Said with authority

No one outside commends

So we will need an army

Defending ink,

Scriptoria,

And brittle generations

x

A Bible war

Could be fun for trivia

On pub night

But not to justify

The raping of

Constantinople,

Christians thieving Christians

Or the books

That fuel internal fires

Burning up Jerusalem

For faith

x

Now, it seems

The Jewish book

For faith

Kept growing

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While some groups

For their faith

Don’t keep a book at all

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To say the least,

There’s fondness for a text

But to justify—well,

We’ve heard good things about

A declaration

And a constitution

And a touchstone

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We should not fight about it

But leave room

As at the table

After dinner

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Or the second half

Of sermons,

Engagement that most folk

Forget or remember

In leaving off

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coda

x

If we write

And publish,

Pass around,

We should talk about it

x

Since pages are not

Altars

(altars are not altars)

And there’s always trouble

With our idols when

In idolatry

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C L Couch

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Photo by Drew Murphy on Unsplash

Johannesburg, South Africa

I was on a work shoot in a suburban church in Johannesburg. I took a walk around and noticed this soft light spilling onto the pews. Immediately I knew I should get a Bible and place it there. To me this image speaks of the gentle peace that can be found in the midst of a crazy world.

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Quicksilver

(x = space)

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Quicksilver

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O God, our help

Help me now

There is sunshine

I should like it

And be thankful

I should be thinking forward

You know, make a plan

Take a firm step

In a new direction

While respecting

Where we’ve been

Amen

x

C L Couch

x

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Photo by Adrien Converse on Unsplash

Bellingham, United States

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No Tricks

(x = space)

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No Tricks

x

God help us

God will help us

If we ask

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Though God is not a raven

Or a spider

Or a god who wants

To play immortal pranks

In Asgard

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God is closer to a dragon:

Power contained,

Always ready for release

Of power

Or of learning

Then

Reveal

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Guardian of treasures,

Keeper of wisdom

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What do we want—

What do we want of God?

God is curled up to rest

Or stretched

While flying through the sky

And so much higher

Without need for air

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Would we like to go,

Would we like to ride with God?

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We might have to go through

A mountain,

First,

Or out until we find

A howling island

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Or inside

Our capillaries

x

Once there,

Mind your manners

Around dragons

x

C L Couch

x

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by Battle Brook – File:Valhallas.jpg, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=84903609

Valhallas’ Asgard and Midgard peaks seen from north

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The Village Maker

(x = space)

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The Village Maker

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Around the Christmas tree,

My mother used to arrange

A winter’s village

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We knew it was winter

Because a sheet had been

Wrapped around

The base and all,

The buildings set inside the folds

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There were houses,

Naturally, most with

Peaked roofs though

There was one house top

That was crenellated

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Cardboard walls (and roofs)

Had been painted somehow

In manufacturing

With coats of glitter

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There was a church with

Paper stained-glass windows

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There were people

Plastic or metal

I’m not sure,

Walking through town

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There might have been a bench

For one or two to sit upon

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There were people, I believe,

Set in a one-horse sleigh

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There was a pond for ice

And skating, and there were

Ice-skaters there

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The pond was a small mirror

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I thought that was so clever

Of my mother

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There were holes in the backs

Of the houses and

The church,

Through which light bulbs

Were pressed and a wire,

All connected so that when

The tree was lit, the

Village was illuminated, too

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C L Couch

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Photo by Gard Skaar Johansen on Unsplash

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it’s hours after

(x = space)

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it’s hours after

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what do I really want to say

that I wish it hadn’t happened

that I wish ashli babbitt

hadn’t been shot and killed

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that I wish invaders hadn’t taken over

the senate chamber, though

maybe politicians will think

twice about the room

in which they serve

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maybe many people will think twice

I want to pray

mercy for the misguided

to be specific, I’ll need

an angel to point out everyone for me

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c l couch

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Photo by Maxim Tajer on Unsplash

Lipno nad Vltavu, Černá v Pošumaví, Czech Republic

Fire Tornado

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Nowhere People

(x = space)

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Nowhere People

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I rock sometimes,

Seated cross-legged here

Between bouts of writing;

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It works out my lower back

And keeps me in motion,

Which seems important

In the smaller ways

To do so;

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I might like the rocking chair,

I don’t know;

There is an association

That could be revised:

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Saving the rocking chair for age,

For those still in motion

Not going anywhere

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C L Couch

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Photo by Morgan Vander Hart on Unsplash

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Just-So Story

(x = space)

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Just-So Story

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God is like dust upon the floor,

Too easily swept up,

Cast out, forgotten ‘til it

Appears again

And we take it as

Nuisance

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No, it is not God

(bits of God’s creation)

But a metaphor,

Since we so easily ignore something

That is everywhere

So easily ignored

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And move to name detritus,

An inconvenience to

Our just-so lives,

Just so

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 C L Couch

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Rudyard Kipling wrote Just So Stories.  Note from an English teacher.

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photo by Chalaphan Mathong on Unsplash

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Quasi una Fantasia

(x = space)

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Quasi una Fantasia

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More gray skies—

I know the sun is healthier

But the gray doesn’t show

The dust bunnies in

Their warrens, which

Creatures I’ve

Discovered like to roam

The place at night,

Which is why there are

So many new signs

In the morning

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Like gray skies, I’ve come

To like dust bunnies;

They do not eat real carrots,

And the only thing

Like pellets is

More dust upon the floor

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C L Couch

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Photo by Mattia Astorino on Unsplash

Riserva Naturale Torbiere del Sebino d’ Iseo, Corte Franca, Italia

I see you

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Tactics

(x = space)

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Tactics

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It’s not as if we haven’t

Heard of war before

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It’s all around us, if we look

Around as a world

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There are civil wars in Yemen

And in Syria;

We have sent weapons to these

For the profit

And the power

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They fight each other in Lebanon,

In South Sudan

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Soldiers and often terrorists

In their own uniforms

Barely removed from uniformity

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And there the war

Of oppression,

Fought inside nations such

As those in Asia

And in the USA—

Call it something better,

If you wish,

If you must

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It’s not a peaceful world

But know peace:

We’ve heard of it,

We learn it,

And we teach it

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We negotiate

As if we deal with children

And sometimes with children

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There is an age

We have an age

When will the prophecy

Be Monday

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C L Couch

(from the USA)

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Photo by Foad Roshan on Unsplash

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