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Late Cancer

(x = space)



Late Cancer

(diagnosed, lived out)


My brother

Might have to be moved


He is frustrated

Wants to be home

Before he wanted to be


But elsewhere isn’t working out

I understand

The purpose of a medical setting

Is not to settle in

But to leave

When well

Stay is contraindicated


As it cannot be managed

Still remains the prize


He’s in pain

Palliation only goes so far

Before the pain

Folds in again

He’s also frightened

I would be

I am in contemplation

Though these are his days

And shall the cancer

Diagnosed too late

A year ago

Take him to another home


At last

To last


But there’s today’s pain

I don’t know how to wish

The pain to go away

Without invoking

The scary, heavenly alternative

But prayers aren’t magic

We aren’t dealing with a genie

Waiting to misstep

Our hopes

In misspoken entreaties

Heal my brother


Is every prayer’s day

That might make nothing happen

‘Til the pain-releasing thing

Must happen

Tragically for us remaining

For him who suffers

Most of all


It is late December

I agree it is a magic season

How much amazing

Might be borrowed

From days

Of extra stars and circles

Green and all the other colors

Only for him


C L Couch



Photo by Kalle Kortelainen on Unsplash

[photographer’s narrative]

A crisp afternoon around 3pm in Dalsjöfors, Sweden these incredible snowflakes appeared on the hood of our car. You can almost hear the crisp snow creaking under the soles of the winter boots by just looking at them. Pure natural magic.

Dalsjöfors, Sweden


An Appointment with God

(x = space)



An Appointment with God


I don’t’ have so many appointments


For which I’m grateful

In a time of my kind of PTSD,

It’s the weight of stressors

I don’t have to bear

So much


To get there

To show up on time

To be here when I’m called

To have everything I

Might be needing

Relieved of this

Makes for a better day


I’d like to live easy

I don’t have much

But to have time

And on the flip side

Lack of bother

On the A side

Coffee and toast

And morning

And a day for you


Someday will arrive

I keep forgetting

You will arrive

To take me to home

By then,

Maybe I shall be glad

Meanwhile, I keep my faith

With me and then I

Hope with

The Amish

Who say, one by one,

I hope so

When asked about assurance

Of salvation


C L Couch



I think it was the poet Julia Kasdorf, as I may have said before, who told me about the typical response when Amish are asked the salvific question.



Photo by Bernd Dittrich on Unsplash





(as a single word, a thing)


I’ve been learning

About this

I’m amateurish

But it seems that it’s a gift

Of fluidity

Against intractability of

What we take for

Metronomic living


I could take a trip

Come back still alive

Barely older

When the cure has been invented

And those on Earth might

Wonder how we

Lived so long without it

Then recall

By my spaceship evidence

We didn’t


Light bends

Takes its time around galactic clusters

Because it’s needed elsewhere

Later than the normal pace


Or maybe it’s a cosmic celebration

Of forlorn parts

That, folded,

May come back


You see, it’s faster and it’s slower

More wonders to be added

More paper in the capsule

More pencils by the cosmonauts

Who already learned

To write upside-down


Fear not

Schools will expand

Along with all the options

Requiring machines

To be stretched into curves

Reshaped into marvels

Potters know the way


Each moment will be new

A little chaos is good for everyone

And twisted into tapestry

So that everything

The cosmos and our lives

Is also home


C L Couch



Photo by Genessa Panainte on Unsplash

Calgary, Canada

Fairy Dust

I believe


Homey Epiphany

Homey Epiphany


I never really had anything

I mean, who does

But really, one must have something

To offer someone else

A life that can go day by day

An investment building toward

What have you

A life together, home

I’ve heard it said

Maybe some earthly satisfaction

A way to say, some happened here

And it is good

Not an altar, not a sign of worship

Simply devotion to the daily

To the chores, to the grind

Toward conversation and the smallest

Of accomplishments

A life together, home

Amid the wilds of the planet’s

Depredations and

The word inside the mind that

All too easily says no

Here is a yes

A vote for community

Mortal sanctity

Moral sanctity

But mostly love


C L Couch



Image by monicore from Pixabay


Lent 38

Lent 38


Today must be the day

After a season of surrender

Otherwise, loss becomes a vacuum

Other things that we don’t need

Will come to live

Because nature will otherwise abhor

We cleared out distractions

Others are in line


But what do we want inside?

A virtue of busyness awaits

Preoccupations that are less than healthy

Frankly old sins, patterns of

Destruction that laugh like imps

Want to be reinvested there


We turned out the fat and sugar

Turn out some devils, too

Let them abscond with what they have

Escape into the darkness

Where exorcism

Or psychology might reach them


Some battles are beyond us

Some are right at home

The war at home


C L Couch



the chariot driven by Norse deity Freyja for whom Friday is named (in consideration with Frigg—yes, the chariot is drawn by cats)

(Detail) from the Fresco Cycle “Aus dem Sagenkreis der Edda” in the Neues Museum, Berlin. The fresco was damaged in WWII and abandoned until the unification of Germany.

(fresco by) Robert Müller, 1850


All We Like Sheep

All We Like Sheep

(Isaiah 53)


Somewhere in a mountainside

Or on more flattering pastureland

(depending on the kind,

and there are many kinds)

There are some sheep


And someone to care for them

It’s not a glamorous matter

There’s bad weather and a constant

Concern for good grazing and

Good water

A predator from outside crashing through

It doesn’t matter what size the flock

The worries are the same


I want them to live

I want them to grow

I want them to procreate another generation

There is a purpose for them

Some purposes are docile

Some will be drastic

That is the prophecy for sheep

And tending them


They are often wayward

They might need something like a stick, not

For punishment but guidance,

Especially to reach and

To enter through

At the end of day

The gate to home


C L Couch




Sasin Tipchai

Amphoe Phochai/Thailand




(summing up a season)


It’s the end of summer

And I think of picnics

And camping out and camping

Whose root word means

Field, I think

I think of all the food I had


And mostly enjoyed

And it makes me wonder about all

The dirt I’ve eaten

How many pounds by the end

Of each lifetime

Several pounds, I’m sure

Maybe more

I don’t mean to be gross

I don’t think it is

For good or ill, we inhale the planet

We consume its parts

I don’t mean a gluttony

But symbiosis

We need each other, the Earth and I

We are a reason for each other

An empty Earth does little good

Less so an absent home

In any season


C L Couch



the image is or was from the site of New Hampshire State Parks; while there are many fine images there, I couldn’t find this one of them

The New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation : Camping


Visit to a Third Planet

Visit to a Third Planet


Who’s hungry

Raise your hands

Now those of you who have

Extra food

There are millions of you

And we’ll take it one by one

Find an outstretched hand

Take hold

Place food in it

If need be, help with preparation

Then be pleased to sit

At the table


Anyone who’s cold

Millions of you with extra blankets

One by one, gently and firmly

Place them



Anyone who’s thirsty

Is a bigger deal

Because we keep poisoning the water

But for now there still is more

Pass it out in safe containers

To those for whom

Answering thirst is life


Who needs shelter

Millions of us know how to

Build roofs and walls

And bridges that will get

Each one security

To home


Now who’s lonely

Who’s afraid

Who needs countries that provide

They’re here

They can help


Can all the multitudes

Nations and people

Provide assistance

Well, we can

I think we know

That we can

We shall


C L Couch

Welcome to The Helpful Art Teacher, an interdisciplinary website linking visual arts to math, social studies, science and language arts.

image (kindly) used with kind permission





The glow from civilized light

In a fireplace

The touch of living yellow

On everything that’s in

The room

And the writer sits at table

Beneath another light

Scratching on paper, leaving


It is a scene, a tableaux vivant

It brings to us a reason why

Home is so important

It cradles inspiration

Reminds why we co-create with God


C L Couch


A Saint Patrick’s Day of blessings to you.




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