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pain

Killing a Bee

(x = space)

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Killing a Bee

(that’s all)

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Last night something happened

That hasn’t happened in a while

I was stung by a bee

It hurt

I blobbed on some ointment

On the spot,

Loosely wrapped it all,

Waited to find out what happened

Next

The last time I was stung didn’t go so well

The site swelled, and soon there was

A shot

(another

kind of sting)

I know, it is November

We weren’t outside

The finding of a bee (alive

the bee alive

I was alive)

Was a surprise

I discovered it while touching it

Picking it up, in fact,

Not knowing what it was

At first

(it was dark)

I doubt it was happy

And let me know

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This morning, I found the bee

Where I had dropped it

When I touched it, well, it moved

And I killed it

Was it dying, anyway?

Did it let out a bee kind of scream?

Have I angered all its cousins, now?

Will they find me?

It’s an old place

There could be a colony, somewhere

I’d rather not have killed the bee

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Now I think about

Going to church

Because it’s Sunday,

Church meeting day

As I type, the stinger still

Bites back,

A bit of pain from poison

And the barb

That I can’t see

Even though

It’s in my index finger

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C L Couch

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Was you ever bit by a dead bee?

I haven’t been

(all the bees so far

have been live)

I could be

Dead bees can hurt you

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To Have and Have Not

(and my response)

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Photo by Monica Valls on Unsplash

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Deal-Making with the Lord

(x = space)

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Deal-Making with the Lord

(sigh, didn’t work for Moses)

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Lord,

The stomach feels

So tight

I’d like relief

Though

Really

At the source

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All my troubles

I can’t escape

Them

Though I could

Escape a few

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And is

Escape the answer?

Probably not

(worse the

luck)

I imagine there is

Something

By the way of

Resolution

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But some things,

I think,

Can simply

Be made better

Call it grace or

Miracle

Or one side

Of a pledge

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Please, Lord,

Ease

The pain

Give me days

Without

The consequences

I’ll work

On the rest,

I promise

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C L Couch

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Photo by Ella de Kross on Unsplash

New York, NY, USA

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No One Asks for Silence

(x = space)

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No One Asks for Silence

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No one asks for science,

Really

The lack of noise would drive us

Where we’d never want

To go

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But no one wants barrages,

Either

Of war or words or walls

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Not being unflawed,

I cannot claim forever

Virtuosity

So now inside an unjust

Place, I have to

Assay justice for the now

Against the always

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Time and change

And I shall go away

And hope not to return

Because larger signs

Of decay

(naught to do with me)

Already settled in

Before the current woe,

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And I should have owned the signs

Enough to leave

A while ago

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C L Couch

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Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash

Seonyeon-ri, Okseo-myeon, Gunsan-si, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea x

Day 3

(x = space)

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Day 3

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Of an awful week

When everything still hurts

And crying underneath the skin

Wants out

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Being ganged up against

As electrons, anyway

What they’d say for real

We’ll never know

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Time for change

But how a change

When nearly everything

Is frozen

Like Merlin

Like Ophelia

What kind of life might

Come after

Shouldn’t be a mystery

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C L Couch

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ice on the fountain in my yard

Photo by erin mckenna on Unsplash

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Prescriptive Talk

(x = space)

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Prescriptive Talk

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The pain

It courses through me

I want to feel better

I want vindication

I want acceptance

In the world

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Mainly, though,

I want the pain to stop

And feel better in

That way

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C L Couch

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Spikes

Photo by Andrey Grinkevich on Unsplash

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens & Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Vienna, United States

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The Problem of Pain

(x = space)

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The Problem of Pain

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It keeps other things

From happening

It freezes us

In case the next move

Should hurt more

We get caught up in

Indictment and

In judgment

We want the world

To stop hurting so much

This way

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A muscle pain

We can get over

Even headaches can be

Resolved (at worst,

through wishful-thinking

maybe Ice

maybe thinking

about ice)

But pain offers no answer

To itself

Perhaps because the

Only resolution is

From outside

From someone else

Who gets it

And who cares without a fee

With no assurance

Of divine guarantee

The odds say we’ll get over it

The odds say

That we don’t

There are too many ways

Of counting

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Pain leaps us into an unknown

A life without

An anchor except the one

We do not want

And can’t control

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Let it go

Let go life

Not at all to die

But in waiting

And in waiting

Doctors without doubt,

If it’s that kind

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But this, the kind

That wears the soul away

Wait

And wait

And try to live

Fractured, meantime

Until someone takes hold

In a way that angels and grace

Have not offered

On this side

So much

Except perhaps

In mystics

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C L Couch

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The Problem of Pain is a popular treatise by C. S. Lewis.  A more narrative response to the problem is his A Grief Observed.

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Photo by Oleg Laptev on Unsplash

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Childhood’s Beginning

(x = space)

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Childhood’s Beginning

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Here is the litany of complaints:

My back hurts;

I’m tired;

I’m tired of my back hurting

And my feet

And sometimes my left shoulder

And the headaches

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I should soak my feet in

Medicated water,

Something like the

Still water

We are promised in

The company of the Lord

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You have a list,

I’m sure

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And I mean to be respectful,

But sometimes

The child’s cry is stronger than the

Grown-up’s

Sense of things; and

We should listen to

The child,

The plaintive child,

The honest child

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Sometimes it hurts—

That’s all there is

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C L Couch

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A Silent Little Girl Looks at Camera

Photo by Assad Tanoli on Unsplash

Lassan Thakral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

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English teacher’s note

Arthur C. Clarke wrote a novel called Childhood’s End.

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Bland Recovery

(x = space)

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Bland Recovery

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I was hoping

I’d feel better

Even with the brace

I couldn’t find

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I was hoping

I could cross my legs

To write

And not pay for it,

Afterward

With added pain

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Here I am on

The fifth Saturday

Wishing it would

Go away,

Wishing that

Too much would

Go away

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Well, I can walk

On it but then

I wear it out

And it wants to cry,

To complain

About injustice

And why it should

Be me

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Time to think

About the others,

Which sometimes

Is cold comfort

For why should

You hurt more

So that I feel less

And berate myself

For lack

Of sympathy?

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Sigh,

The days goes on

And I am in it

You’re there, too,

Most likely with

Your greater pain

And I’m sorry,

Really am

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I hope we are

Forgiven for

All the nothing we

Have done

To warrant pain

As punishment

And the lessons others

Will impose

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Our pain an object—then

An object lesson

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C L Couch

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Photo by Ginny Rose Stewart on Unsplash

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If All Were a Leg

(x = space)

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If All Were a Leg

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The pain is rising from

My foot and

Shooting through my leg,

Because my leg is trying

To replace my ankle

While

Doing its own job

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Not working out so well

I think my ankle’s

Bored, and my leg doesn’t

Need a second job

So

Here’s hoping everything

Will have its own back

Soon,

Because healing has the overarching

Task of taking chaos due to injury:

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To signal a

Rearranging necessary

For the moment, which is

Fragile,

Toward a time when the body will be

Less

Sore and

More sensible for managing

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C L Couch

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17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? . . . 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

1 Corinthians 12:17, 20-21

New Living Translation

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Photo by Guilherme Stecanella on Unsplash

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