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



How We May Live

(x = space)



How We May Live


It’s all right

We don’t have to agree

To have a family

Or a nation

The world is filled with

Variance of thought,

And opinions bleed

And stay still

Like colors

And affiliations

Of the rainbow


Democratic theory says

That you and I

May argue toward no

Solution or a change

Today or ever


And democratic practice is

Even better,

For you and I may feed the hungry

And encourage those

In all kinds of trouble, all

The same


We both and together

May fill bags

With sand along

The growling, killing river

As we (after washing) may

Dispense soup

To the rescued


This is how to live

With variation

And to live with variation

Active in

Needs that are subsuming—those

Of the hungry or the flooded or,

After fire, the singed


Arguing the other situations

When we may breathe

Again with clarity


Happy days


C L Couch



Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Cairns, Australia

Olive oil on water. “Immiscible 1”. The photo is called immiscible because oil and water don’t mix. The background colours come from a painting behind which is titled “Joy” and is itself bubble shapes like balloons of cheerful colours, where I have tried to express the emotion of joy in a painting, much like Mark Rothko.



(x = space)





God is good

(it’s how we start

a certain prayer)

And God must bear

What’s evil

Not for lack of love

But for the gift of will

That was

A gift of love


We think angels

Don’t have it

Yet there was a war

In heaven

They will match up

At Armageddon,

The last ranks

And those who last

Will join us in

New heaven


Creation is broken

We have stories

We can mend it now


But make a circle

Others know how

And would show us

If we bring down

The barriers

Yes, the real walls


There is legacy

In circles

Protection, celebration

The will to live

Because there’s love



Persisting when

That’s all there is

Because the rest

Feels on fire

If only for a time


Wait as in be patient

Wait as in attend

But we have one gift to give

Give it now


C L Couch



Photo by Buzz Andersen on Unsplash

Kalapana, United States

I was visiting the Big Island of Hawaii with some friends and family, and my brother convinced the group to take a lava tour by boat. I always kind of balk a little bit at overtly touristy stuff like that, but I think everyone was a pretty shocked when we got our first look at the Kalapana Lava Flow after about a half hour boat trip down the coast. It’s such an awesome, phantasmagorical sight and, since they actually get surprisingly close to the spots where the rivers of lava meet the ocean and throw up sulfurous steam clouds, also a pretty visceral sensory experience.




(keep trying)


I’m sorry for the fire

Sorrier for all the hungry people

Were the lady to advise us

Though worship is important

Starving is not conducive


There is no medieval lumber

Tall enough to do the job

Of the first beams

That is fine, we can go with something

Like aluminum

That will not rust or

Easily catch fire (again)

But organic need cries out

Toward another kind

Of construction

Empty people

Feed us


What shall we say,

There are too many now

And now there will be many more?

Maybe we need to reach up

Further than vaulting

Ingenious plans

Already on the table

We have the means for everything

Tall churches, too

Because we won’t have Paris

Not all of us


What shall we have?

I think you know by now

Ages of temperament

And we are less impaired

Have garnered so much more

The answer in the


When we ask


You know it starts with will

You know everything worthwhile

Begins and ends with shall

Then will


C L Couch



Photo by TAN Erica on Unsplash




(Notre Dame)


Cathedrals built to music over time

So relate certain Victorians

Now music while the cathedral’s coming down


Challenging the fire


A story goes that Camelot arose

To Merlin’s music

There’s Aslan singing so that

Narnia can come to life

And did not the utterance of Christ

Make all worlds


They watch and listen to

The fire

There is heat to feel

Ash to smell

And the taste of ruination


There is more as music

Cups the feeling of the tears

And gives, unbidden, thought to soul

Vive la France

Vive l’homme


C L Couch



(c.f. first part of Hebrews 3, Christian New Testament)


Ghost Ship

Ghost Ship

(Oakland, California)


Emptied of her passengers,

Investigators and skeletal crew remain

Fun with fire, it’s been said of Nero

No entertainment here

No longer


What issues matter to a burning ship?

The dead who ride no longer care

The living must mourn first


C L Couch






As in I’m in favor of

And would like more;

My neighborly air

Too damp


Like Arabian palaces

And towers, craving


Light and space and


Breathing in and out

In an Earth-blue sky


Anyone offering work



With room and board


Arizona or how about

California? Or in


Situ the Alhambra?


I know, there are

Wildfires out west—

Conflagration of a

Kind (unkind) along an

Eastern sea;


Thieving atmosphere



Inhaling things




All fire swindled from

Prometheus someday

Will cease


In recompense,


While damage to open

Lungs and other

Capabilities are

Prolonged matters


Fire-scarred will

Propitiates our faults,

Mitigates any anger

For the rest, leaving


For last joys our homely

Fires burning against



We, dwelling through

The cold, may story-

Tell the impact of our





Oxygen feeds fire and

Needful issues


Propelled by nascent

Hope and sometimes

By outraged


We have no choice but

To deal in both


Breathe in air, then

Breathe out our part

Almost Heaven

Almost Heaven

(phrase from artist John Denver)


Kanawha, Nicholas,

Greenbrier counties


Earth gives way

To water and to fire

In the anger of the



Prometheus surrenders

To the whim of



Touched with the

Power of Poseidon

And sport-attitude

Of Zeus


We reach over gods

Toward better



Praying for the

Tendril touch that

Holds the earth

And sky


And all the heavens


Because on land and

Other West Virginia

Lives, an ocean’s

Upheaval falls


Drowning, splitting

The ground on

Which we alive yet

Strive to stand



West Virginia Flooding Kills 24; Search and Rescue Efforts Continue

after friends’ house fire (haiku)

I do not enjoy

Seeing your house without light

The fire takes too much


after friends’ house fire (haiku)





Storms, fire



That’s in California


Floods, tornadoes


And other means

Of rain to strike

At us


Texas and in Florida

Where sand is

Bagged by convict


North through

Eastern USA


River-rise in Paris

Art treasures

Moved toward




Certain seasons

Start all over (as

In again and



In nature’s timing

And all storms’



Selfishly, I am

Well above brick

Walkways and

Macadam streets


I have electric

In safe measure—

Mostly, though

Not always:

A tree smashed

Into the house

Not so long ago


A favorite book,

The Mighty Acts

Of God, a

Faithful book


Nature is God’s,

And the Christian

Claim is God is



So what is the

Love here?  It

Id that God loves

Us and leaves

Us the means—even

In, and as, a fallen



Our part to start

Redress is to resolve

To do so


That’s it: resolve


(The rest follows)


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