I talk you talk we'll talk



Keep It Holy

Keep It Holy


A life set aside

For a spiritual purpose

Wow, that’s enticing

A ritual for morning

For brushing teeth

(I already have one—ritual,

that is)

For going out into the world

Or staying in

Ever mindful of

The senses, the oxygen

It takes to have them remade

By a Spirit

Not unlike the kind invoked

When first people gather

Smoke, bread, shadow

Gray colors, brown

Small brilliances in flowers

All reminders, lessons

Items on a clipboard

Of discipline

A life by candlelight

By words, by work,

By what we do to have enough

For sustenance and charity

But everything

Every breath is holy

Set aside like taxes

Only next to nothing must be

Rendered to Caesar

Life in a cave above the ground

We could have hours of quiet

We could listen

For and as another way

The ordinary molecules



Changes we can’t see, though

Sometimes there is a bell

There are other signals, too

That this is a new dedication

Joy and energy

Sister, brother

Mother, father

And all sorts of strangers


This kind of world has a chance

Without a way to count

Expanding or diminishing returns


Wealth of a new kind

Everything is new

For being ancient

Every second, every nanosecond

Not measured

But go as a new kind of priceless

An order an accountant shouldn’t know

Unless she join the order, too

God speaking, whispering, crying

We have attuned our molecules

To hear

Our books are turned into

Absorption unrelenting


To catch

As if it’s tossed to catch

The borning cry, the adolescent rage

And grown-up sorrows (any age)

Newly tuned like any instrument


We’ll live in an endless sabbath

Abbey, monastery


But really I mean a life

We could really try

(chronos left for kairos)

In which there is no little thing

That goes unnoticed

Every mote transformed

Newly and forever sensed


For the effort and results

This takes

Is why

Prayer has led to bleeding

The world conquered by rebuttal


Because the spiritual life so contrary

A crazy rendering of nuclei

That sometimes

Only makers and comakers



C L Couch



Photo by Evi Radauscher on Unsplash

Oberdorfen, Dorfen, Germany


Such and Such a Church in Louisville, Kentucky

Such a Church in Louisville, Kentucky


I hope it is still there

The black church I attended Sunday morning

Louisville in 1983

We were the only white folk there

The service went for hours (yes, it did)

And we were made so welcome

I’d like to have stayed for hours more

For Presbyterians, there was a lot of moving


Clapping and the singing was fantastic

Because they meant it

(it was tuneful, too)

The praying must have gone straight to heaven

Having made faithful conduits

Such an ordinary feature


We would have more meetings

Take our leave and go our separate ways

But we were together, then

Sinews in a toned body of

A holy congregation ‘round the world

When such people meet for such a purpose

Holy, holy, holy


C L Couch



Photo by Akira Hojo on Unsplash

Reykjavík, Iceland





Something wonderful about Shabbat

Is that it’s usually a meal

The empty chair is for the prophet

Otherwise, the seats are full

Sullen children, indifferent older

Everyone has an agenda outside the room

But here the plates are full

There are prayers,

And we drink some wine


Where the holy rests

Inside the food or in the human heart

Isn’t clear,

And that’s intention


C L Couch



Photo of 6-braid whole-wheat challah in the process of being shaped for baking.

Yoninah, CC BY 2.5,




(days for all saints)


a process for remembering

those who live the


in a church that is

a canticle of memory


who slips out, unseen

after the formal part is


to work a holy thing that

none of us will



there is a record, maybe

doesn’t matter

we sense without consciousness

that something good



and there will be re-collecting

of it in the sharing of

all our legacies


C L Couch


Our Lady

Our Lady

(12 December, the Solemnity of Guadalupe)


The roses fell

Into his cloak made

Of rough cloth

He took the flowers

To the priest who

Wanted proof before

Believing him

And in the lady


Man of Aztec culture

And holy woman

So hard to believe


Might all our miracles

And visitations

Go over so easily

For fleshly saints

And innocents


C L Couch


Easter Uprising

Easter Uprising



Some chose to mark

Easter day with willful



Family picnics in

Lahore Pakistan

Christians targeted

Though tell me there

Were no guests of

Islam other faith or



Day of faith and

Homely celebration

We who were not

There can nonetheless



Imagine those we

Love even those we

Forbear by mere



Scattered rent apart



Reunions friendly or

Indifferent never



The soul the spire

Tying through a

Family broken taken



Now the future holy

Day focuses alone to

Count those of us


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