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White Night, Black Morning

(two poems)



White Night


A single truck moved through

Last night

With the covered sound a snowplow

Might have made

It is winter, but there’s nothing

Wintry happening yet

I’m fine with that

The problem, you know, is extremes

Zeniths of summer have

This problem, too

That it will be too much

People struggling already

Wrestling more with life

I’ll be inconvenienced

They’ll be killed

Many will try to help, I know

And in the midst of it will wonder why

If there’s an answer, I hope you find it

All of us between

The depths and heights

Should be busy only

In the best of ways

Waste saved for parties

The few dollars and the items it will take

To celebrate

But who can have a party while

Breathing through liquid

Without artificial, which is to say,

Human help?


Contrary to our practice

To be poor,

Help us restore the rest

Of hope

Hope for today

Bright hope for tomorrow

Finished for now

In another night


The last words are yours

Before we all can speak

The truth through lips

No longer dry,

No longer hungry



Black Morning


You are so beautiful

Yes, she is

He is

You are

In ways we don’t begin to understand

Like the moving parts of diamonds

That don’t move at all

Unless we have some help

To see


Somehow, the lovers have to live

The stories try

To make that impossible

That’s what they serve

In worldly expectation

And it’s the twist

The turn in the dark

A sprig of hope

Against the scabbed tree-trunk

That give us spring

That keep us reading


That keep us believing

Things we really need can happen



C L Couch



Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash


Lent 23

Lent 23


I’ll look at it again

Often I don’t

Sometimes I do

It is the way of things, I guess

Conceit, deceit

To give us time and

An excuse for time

And a belief

Not misguided

That our contributions matter, which

Lends credence to our

Putting something off

With a promise

To return


Because the thing needs us

Maybe it does

If not, maybe we do

And that’s our need


C L Couch



agenda by Guilhem from the Noun Project


Lent 21

Lent 21


Have you ever run the sponge

Along the bottom of the sink

And felt the satisfaction?

Knowing that the dishes cleaned

Are in the rack

And the quiet from the running water

Now turned off

Is a pleasure of pressure

On the ears


I’ve done that today

You have your own form of this, I’m sure

A small act always needing doing

And for a moment, when it’s done,

A small, small part of the world

Feels right

Feels righter

For being cleaner, a little more at peace

For a time


I don’t know if it’s a model for anything

That’s larger

It is its own peace


But access to hot water isn’t everywhere

Even soap can be hard to come by

Against a savage promise of starvation

Looming like an open maw, nearing

The family

The one


And so might there be peace in this:

That we must invite assurance

Of all things lent us,


So the jaw of need is shut


For this time and in our keeping

Our maintaining

And our growing

Enough for God’s pleasure in our own

Because we’ve done it right


C L Couch



Photo by Jim DiGritz on Unsplash


Hear My Cry

Hear My Cry


A featureless sky that nonetheless tries to speak of snow

An unremarkable day in which the world

Might be saved through

A sky-sound,

A child’s word, or an animal’s cry

Something to break the kind of silence strangled

From an utterance of need and hope


C L Couch


Who Mourns for Half a Million

Who Mourns for Half a Million

(Holocaust Remembrance Day)


Greed waits them out

Holocaust survivors, remnant

Of genocide

A gift of ghosts to generations


They die in need

Imprisoned yet in holding cells

Of systems


That will not return

Them to earthly life


In receiving of their own




the forty-seven nations signing the Terezin Declaration (2009) are Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay

East of Eden

East of Eden


Earthquakes split (6.4,

7.4), volcanoes feared

In a paradisal land that

Has such virtue in

Nature and humanity


Anger of nature, the

Patron’s rightful wrath

For it has been a place

Of crushing empire, too


Or is it in imitations of

The west, of surrendering

Ancient code, ritual, and

Ceremony to impose

New rule of the

Incorporated world


Residents sleeping inside

Comb-shaped cells like

Unfeeling bee-keeping


Perilous excesses in

Manufacturing and energy

Production, making Japan

Truly like the rest


In the wake of nature’s

Lightning crevassing the

Land in whatever form

Is invoked, attitudes

And disposition are not

Enough to take on



Our neighbors need

And though we might

Cry that we’re not able

Or we are too far

No excuse is enough


Our neighbors need

K is for Kalliope

K is for Kalliope


Transliterated from old Greek,

Eldest and leader of the Muse

Sisters, Muse of song and

Public articulation—in other

Words, speech-delivery


She had a son, an artful maker,

Too—he was killed; and his

Mother took his remains to

Enshrine them on Lesbos, an

Ancient isle, which we might

Visit today


Were she to sing in our

Parlance and with our take

On life’s matters:


I inspire your song and speech

And go unrecognized


Most no longer believe that

Mortal skills come from a sacred



I might sing again, though first

Would be the labor in mourning

For all I have lost


My boy, who was murdered

For envy or rage (I care not

Which) and whose grave

Molders in an island pit bereft

Of laurel leaves


Orpheus, as well my son,

Whose sanctioned journey into

Hell yet lost him his wife in

Petty business of Hades and

The underworld’s rule (I

Respect them not)—his life was

Left to sorrow like mine


And your interest? Why would

Gods matter to you?  All

Divinity is mitigated in belief,

Mostly unexpressed, that you

Shall save yourselves—




You will need us, still

A is for Allegory

A is for Allegory


Once there was a dog

Who drove a car;

The dog gave rides

To all the cats who

Wanted rides


The dog is the faithful

Part of me;


The cat is need in you,

Which cannot be expressed

While the state of cat gets

In the way


my theme, Brevity in Form


Hanukkah Unto the Earth

Hanukkah Unto the Earth

(on the first full day of
Hanukkah, my time)

Hanukkah means to dedicate

The miracle was that the Temple
Could be dedicated, repaired of
Damage in the holy place, though
Still a vital need of oil for light

No oil found, then only in a
Small amount—and yet the

Temple space was sanctified
Because the light burned bright
For days, well beyond

The oil’s given time

Who doesn’t need light and
Miracle? We all need
To celebrate these, don’t we

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