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Puritan Winter

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Puritan Winter


Snow covers

Rain reveals

Ice seals it all in

Now comes the

Revealing time,

The winter

Against all our

Boasted showings

The green is gone

The brown and black reveal

Who we are

What we have

How plain it can become

Without verdant protection

Without the sheen

Of summer


But this is good

We have the chance

To be ourselves,

To rely ourselves

On heat

And goodness from above


The goodness of our neighbors

And the sovereignty

Of God above


Wherever is


And the mortal need


C L Couch



Migrating birds over the misty forests of Norway.

Photo by Fredrik Solli Wandem on Unsplash

Heggenes, Norge


Unrelative Truthing

Unrelative Truthing


Even in dim pre-dawn light

On a Sunday morning,

The colors are clear

Finally, it’s fall

The leaves are turning into glory

And should one think there is a subtext

About the beauty of all races

Well, that’s not really there

But, now I think of it,

Why not

There is beauty in all races

No need to place that truth under

Something else


Now, fall’s late arrival

Something of a pattern

Might also beg

The warming of the planet

Let’s go with that one, too

It’s not progress to have that understanding

(though another kind of progress is the cost)

It’s the kind of sense

The ancients have employed


Coffee’s ready

Time to get it

I am thankful

I hope your day is good

And for your neighbor


C L Couch



West Virginia Fall Colors







A depiction of a death

So that insurance might be sold

That’s all right: I appreciate


Investment in exigency

But in the advertisement,

A door is shut with the grey world outside

The small things of home within

As if the employment of the product will

Close off death itself

For a time, at least

What are we protecting, then?

I hope it’s home

And not mortality


We can’t keep it out

It dwells inside

In every room


I don’t recommend the dance of death

A final scene of The Seventh Seal

We don’t have to step out with it

Or nurture it within

But it is reality

(you know)

And isn’t it a wonder

That, if we relent a little,

Death will not have to break through the door

Or turn over everything that’s good



It will happen nonetheless

And regardless

Our rituals might help

And family life

Give it some time, if there’s time

Comfort each other

Talk about good times

But not cowering on the other sides of walls

Walls at best

Are not for that


Not for shouting down an enemy

On the other side

Do good fences make good neighbors?

When privacy is called for, without doubt

But not for death

Death is not unusual

It does not have to separate

It can bring us over barriers

Home in better ways


C L Couch



Paul VanDerWerf

Stone Fence

Taken in Harpswell, Maine.





My neighbors have the touch

I don’t


College plate on the car

Bumper stickers back of the van:

Honor students ride here

Gymnast and ball player

Two girls I know

Boys, too


Existential crises don’t rate

Stickers (until maybe they do—

Do you brake for existential crises?)


My place rests in piles

They don’t match

Books have melding themes

No organic particles (the

food stays in the fridge)

But nothing else set right


Aesthetes inattentive

To theory or approach

To dissertation on the better handling

Of things


They do it with unconscious serenity

Of their own way, my

My friends who live original rites


Small-town perfection

East Main Street


C L Couch

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

Muslim Tribulation

(drafted before an officer was shot
many times in Philadelphia, the
shooter claiming the cause was Islam)


Muslim Tribulation

We live to follow God,
to know the will of God
and continuously prepare
our lives so that we might
follow that sacred purpose
and intent.

There are religious
destroyers everywhere
in every tradition. But those of
us in unreasoned extremes—
these are sadly, specially alight
in the world just now.

We want peace. We believe
most do.

We want to be neighbors and
to welcome those into our
homes. But our hospitality is
challenged now of its

Do you want to be defined by
The remnant cause of woe?
Certainly, you don’t.
And neither do we.

We want our lives of faith
to delight our friends and
all those near us. Please
remember this.

We want to think
and believe
the best as well.

The Dessert that Never Was, a response to a Jacki K prompt

The Dessert that Never Was

a response to a Jacki K prompt

I think my favorite Thanksgiving dessert—and I believe my siblings will concur—is the dessert that never happened. While growing up in Pittsburgh, we had the annual Thanksgiving feast, of course. We also invited over the two women, mother and daughter, who lived next door. They were delightful company (all year), and for Thanksgiving always offered to bring the pumpkin pie.

One year they were late. Late enough to make me wonder if something had happened to the mother who, naturally enough, was on in years. But they both showed up, chagrined and with a story to tell. They had baked the pie, as they had each year, with everything whipped up by them and typically starting in the morning. As the day progressed and with that the pie in the oven, something smelled not right to them. And when they pulled out the pie and looked around their kitchen, they discovered what they forgot to put in the pie.

The pumpkin part.

So they baked another pie and brought it over late. So embarrassed were they, they only brought the good pie over. But I guess we made them feel at ease enough about making a mistake that anybody could make (well, not anybody) that they brought us over later to view a pumpkin pie without the pumpkin. As I recall, it was a round brown mess, sunken into the pie plate.

None of us is in that neighborhood now, and we are scattered some. But in our respective homes we tend to tell that story every year. And, while all of us were at one home and our neighbors continued coming over, we’d tell that story and laugh—together—every shared Thanksgiving day.

(Cue image of empty pie plate.)

C L Couch

for the image, (from Google Images)

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