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forest

Revival

(x = space)

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Revival

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Litany

Reading and response

Perhaps an antiphon

Might it happen in the forest

Where leaves are hymnals

And the altar

Is a clearing?

The supplicants

Are independent creations

Of all kinds

Petitioning for food, water,

Or the succor of the soil

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The forest as cathedral

Is nothing new

As metaphor

I wonder if each clearing

Is a parish

While alongside (in

earthly terms)

The desert

Is a church so vast

That all the Notre-Dames

Might fit within

With room for more

As if to invite

A wider awe

By people

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C L Couch

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Photo by Thomas Ho on Unsplash

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There’s a Story at the End

(x = space)

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There’s a Story at the End

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I don’t know what to say.

I need the birds to

dance across the

page

with their feet dipped in ink.

It’s a medieval riddle’s

answer,

though it would be cruel

to force birds’ feet

into wells.

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I guess we take their feathers,

turn them into quills;

maybe we could wait

to find quills

inside forests:

gifts from the sources of stories

and the desert

and the sky

and moving waters

taking the shape

of earth below.

That’s what I want to tell,

a story!

Something for everyone.  And

is there such a thing?

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Once there was a child

in a forest

Who came upon a grown-up

clearly starving.

The child gave the grown-up

the only piece of

bread

in the child’s bag.

The adult rose up and thanked

the child.

Then they noticed that

the child’s bag

had a hole through which

crumbs had fallen—and through

forest-magic

had not been eaten

by birds or other creatures!

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They knew certainly where the

crumbs

would take them,

so they went home

where everyone was

known,

because everyone was

home.

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C L Couch

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Photo by Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash

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The Forest Rounding Heaven

(x = space)

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The Forest Rounding Heaven

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On my way to heaven,

I walked into a clearing in

The dark and then heard

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Music and saw shapes of

Beings gathered; then the

Clearing shone with

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Silver, moonlight having

Cleared away, it seemed, some

Heaviness in clouds;

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Then I saw they were in

Front of me, why, animals

Of all kinds: some playing

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Instruments, the rest stepping

Freely, animated as I

Perceived by the zeal of

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Knowing they were free of

Hunger and the need to

Watch over their shoulders

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One came up to me, a

Raccoon who knew my

Language and must have

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Noticed both my wonder

And confusion—“Hello

And welcome,” said the creature,

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“We are here at last, aren’t

We?” then she or he said more,

“No longer do we have

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To eat the best we find

In trash, and we don’t have to

Worry about predators

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Or mischief from your class,

Sorry for offending”—opening

Arms to the circle,

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All the groups in pairs and

Threes and fours inside, “Please

Join us in the dance;

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Don’t worry, none of us is good

At this”;  I saw all the turns

Taken awkwardly,

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Squirrels twirling atop

Badgers, dogs embracing

Mountain lions, hares with

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Other hares, with wolves

As well; I didn’t know

How long it would take

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For all of them to tire–but

I had to move along,

Which after tries at stepping

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To magic tunes and dancing

Without shoes, I did;

I walked farther and further

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On toward what heaven

Might have for me—for

My kind and one by one

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C L Couch

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Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

Driving through the Laguna mountains as the sun rose in deep fog. This little glen had a mysterious and quiet feel to it.

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The Word for Forest

(x = space)

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The Word for Forest

(for Ursula K. Le Guin)

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We need something that is lasting

Like air

That hasn’t been ruined,

Where a tally of the molecules is useless

Because our calculators break

In the process

A world that is a forest

As in a story I read a while ago

Where the inhabitants cannot perceive

The sense

In wrecking air

And everything life-giving

Breaking a circle they took part in

For ages,

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For what is profit if not that

A world that has trust in them

The smart ones on the planet

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C L Couch

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Photo by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash

Bad Pyrmont, Deutschland

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