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pain

In an Anodyne Moment

(x = space)

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In an Anodyne Moment

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Before the heat returns

And the noise

Before senses assaulted

Once again,

Taking hits against reason

And the cool of insight

May I say

While I can see

That there are good things

Happening

There are good people

Everywhere

And I am glad to be on Earth

Part, party, and partner

To all this

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C L Couch

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Photo by Eskil Helgesen on Unsplash

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Pollock Shock

(x = space)

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Pollock Shock

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What is honest,

Anymore?

(people might ask

they might)

Is it when we cry in pain

From suffering?

Is suffering so honest?

No great art

Without suffering

Speaking to the vision,

I suppose

Michelangelo before

The chapel ceiling

Pollock

Before the floor

Art that changes everyone

Born from the pain of one

Or more

And what about beholders?

Do I understand,

Bring it close to heart/

To home

Because I hurt before

I see above/

Below,

Hear the music,

Touch the statue,

Walk the garden,

Smell the cooking?

A world of pain, they say

No other way to

Know magnificence

But through agony

Small pain

Great pain

Small art

Great art

I want to fight the premises

Argue them for

Ordinary time

Sigh

Maybe we have to hurt

Before even plain beauty’s

(leaf’s magnificence,

soup in the pot)

Understood

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C L Couch

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Photo by Jené Stephaniuk on Unsplash

Part of the painting “Day Trip” from Jene Gallery.

Austin, TX, USA

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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

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

Pain leaps us into an unknown

A life without

An anchor except the one

We do not want

And can’t control

x

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

x

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

x

I should soak my feet in

Medicated water,

Something like the

Still water

We are promised in

The company of the Lord

x

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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