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peace

Book War

(x = space)

x

x

Book War

(preventive)

x

It happens

When a group

Has a code

That is set down

For day-to-day

And legacy

x

It took place with

The Quran

The evening of

The morning

When there was

Certitude that

There would be

A new

Generation

x

The Christian Bible

Set off conflict

With each change,

Each schism

Set to fighting

Over what to do

For faith

And what the book

Of faith should say

x

Not to mention

All the agnostica

Falling ‘round

The faithful

x

How many books

In the book?

Sixty-six or seventy-two with

All that should be in

Sixty-six or seventy-two

x

My version’s better

My translation

My paraphrase

No, mine

No, mine

No, OURS

Said with authority

No one outside commends

So we will need an army

Defending ink,

Scriptoria,

And brittle generations

x

A Bible war

Could be fun for trivia

On pub night

But not to justify

The raping of

Constantinople,

Christians thieving Christians

Or the books

That fuel internal fires

Burning up Jerusalem

For faith

x

Now, it seems

The Jewish book

For faith

Kept growing

x

While some groups

For their faith

Don’t keep a book at all

x

To say the least,

There’s fondness for a text

But to justify—well,

We’ve heard good things about

A declaration

And a constitution

And a touchstone

x

We should not fight about it

But leave room

As at the table

After dinner

x

Or the second half

Of sermons,

Engagement that most folk

Forget or remember

In leaving off

x

coda

x

If we write

And publish,

Pass around,

We should talk about it

x

Since pages are not

Altars

(altars are not altars)

And there’s always trouble

With our idols when

In idolatry

x

C L Couch

x

x

Photo by Drew Murphy on Unsplash

Johannesburg, South Africa

I was on a work shoot in a suburban church in Johannesburg. I took a walk around and noticed this soft light spilling onto the pews. Immediately I knew I should get a Bible and place it there. To me this image speaks of the gentle peace that can be found in the midst of a crazy world.

x

Midnight Sun

(x = space)

x

x

Midnight Sun

x

I can’t help but imagine

A quiet and dark place

x

Maybe a church

Maybe a campsite

Maybe in the desert

Maybe a quiet place at home

x

It is late

There is candlelight

And whoever’s there

And there are people there

Is praying

x

They are praying for the world

As if it were outside

And in greater peril

Than experience has known

In ages

x

Great hunger lurks

And plans

x

But here there is silent love

Propelling urgent works

x

Peace

And intercession

Then knowing what to do

x

C L Couch

x

x

Photo by Emily Hon on Unsplash

Yellowknife, Canada

Aurora shine the whole night.

x

Tactics

(x = space)

x

x

Tactics

x

It’s not as if we haven’t

Heard of war before

x

It’s all around us, if we look

Around as a world

x

There are civil wars in Yemen

And in Syria;

We have sent weapons to these

For the profit

And the power

x

They fight each other in Lebanon,

In South Sudan

x

Soldiers and often terrorists

In their own uniforms

Barely removed from uniformity

x

And there the war

Of oppression,

Fought inside nations such

As those in Asia

And in the USA—

Call it something better,

If you wish,

If you must

x

It’s not a peaceful world

But know peace:

We’ve heard of it,

We learn it,

And we teach it

x

We negotiate

As if we deal with children

And sometimes with children

x

There is an age

We have an age

When will the prophecy

Be Monday

x

C L Couch

(from the USA)

x

x

Photo by Foad Roshan on Unsplash

x

Really

(x = space)

x

x

Really

x

My wish for you

Is that you know some peace today

Even if you think

You don’t want it

Yes

I’m praying for something

You don’t want because you’d rather enjoy

Vengeance

The passion that comes

In blaming someone else

For all misfortunes

x

My sibling friends

Enjoy some peace

Not that I give it though I’m asking

x

You might think it’s stupid

Weak and empty

Like a promise that we

Conveniently forget

But if Blake is correct that

Energy is delight

Then

I’m going to add a step to the syllogism

And argue A equals B equals C

(equals A)

That peace is energy

Leading the better way

To the rest

Of meaningful

Always in motion

Life

With all existence

x

Peace is energy is delight

Thank you

Mister Blake

Thank you

Power in prayer

Even when

Upstart offered

x

C L Couch

x

x

In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, William Blake writes “Energy is eternal delight.”

x

Photo by Aswin on Unsplash

Tivoli Gardens, København, Denmark

x

Earthly Revelation

Earthly Revelation

 

Peace,

Let us have peace

The Skeksis pleaded

In The Dark Crystal

I think he meant it, though

The times were changing

And so he couldn’t have it,

Not his way

The way was not to change

To keep power in its place

Let prophecies go by,

Ignore the signs

 

But sometimes things are

Larger than ambition

(Did I say sometimes?),

And the larger things will have

Their way, especially

When, what do you know,

Peace is the end

A lasting kind

Because the sky has willed it

Not violent design

No, never

 

My voice sounds old

Maybe it is

I tire of the ranting

Maybe you do, too

And if you’re young,

Then you have an early start

On wisdom

Good for you

And for the world,

Remembering that fantasy

As dear Jim knew

Can inspire minds

And hearts

For real,

For really good work

Since change is destiny

 

Since change is destiny,

Let’s make it grand

 

C L Couch

 

 

Photo by Justin Kauffman on Unsplash

 

 

Elsewhere

Elsewhere

 

Is there war elsewhere

Maybe where you are

But maybe guns were held up

And the loading of them

Fingers withheld from buttons

Launching missiles

Or the switches from grenades

It’s a question that pandemics

Might quiet war, some

 

There will be violence

People shoot each other

Stab and hit with whatever

Nations have agendas against

Nations, this nation

Among them

 

But might the fear of illness

Death from infection

Become an agenda, too

And might our attention be mislaid

From war, if only for a while

So that we might attend to this

Instead, something the world

Should attend to

 

And could it be that noises change

From the usual reasons to

Others: ailments, hospital workers,

Ambulances for the sick,

Mourning from disease instead

Of how we do each other

 

When it’s done

When that might be

We might all take a breath

And then another

And maybe take a salient moment

Then another

To rethink, if only some

The business of war and the

Destruction only we can make

There might be peace in treatment

Let some make it last

 

C L Couch

 

 

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

 

The Battle of Antarctica

The Battle of Antarctica

 

The battle of Lepanto

Where Cervantes lost a hand

The battle of Gallipoli, where

The artillery barrage had

Done no good

And so many Anzac soldiers

Died (like those in gray

with gingham inside led

Into Pickett’s charge)

The battle of Antarctica

It hasn’t happened yet

Except in novels, where it’s

Tragic that the last clean place on

Earth must have bomb-holes

And blood and other human

Wreckage wrought

Afterward, to stand as

Life-deserted monuments

For life had fled

We tore it out of bodies

As with the earth and sea

 

It’s what I think about

Today

While branches press on windows

Not invading but in greeting of

The day and even me

With a way of generous beauty that I

Do not understand

 

Conflict is small pain that grows,

Sometimes to tire me

In books

Though writers did not invent it

And readers have to learn

About it, again and again

‘Til nature stops, crestfallen

Due to our mistakes in self-destruction

Or, miracle of our making,

Stunned that we could get it

Right

Welcome “peace prevail” on poles (recycled)

Into

Every foxhole for repentance

And inside craters dug out with

Our bombs, before

 

With grace dispensed

Somehow

By human peace

 

C L Couch

 

 

No machine-readable author provided. Pablo-flores assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=334483

A Peace Pole in the neighbourhood of Empalme Graneros, Rosario, Argentina. The pole has four sides, with the message “May peace prevail on Earth” written in four languages; this pole shows the message in Guaraní and (barely) in Spanish. The other two languages are Toba and Italian. I, Pablo D. Flores, took this picture myself, in September 2005.

 

Megiddo

Megiddo

 

We need some peace,

Please

The quiet of a moment

Canceling out the noise of

Satan for a time

Minions, silly, yes

Of hell

We call them trolls and lurkers

So we don’t have to

Take it seriously

 

Cancel conversation

Isn’t that the same?

Not to think about what we say

But to turn and, because

We will not see it,

Ignore the table where

We might negotiate

And afterward have feasted

 

C L Couch

 

 

“Megiddo”

James Emery from Douglasville, United States – Megiddo_0665, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3455383

 

Inventing Peace

Inventing Peace

(in three small acts)

 

1

Peace comes from within

And also without

It’s an invention, a discovery

A state of mind

It’s an accomplishment

Takes years

Something always just ahead

Out of reach

Of mortal hands

Means

 

But we make it happen, yes?

It starts and ends with me

All right, maybe another

A small circle

Dedicated to agreement

But that’s it

We get a place of comfort

And we decide

We have it

 

2

And then the big barns of the wealthy

Look useless for God calling up

The builder before

Any more was put inside

Oh, so someone must be involved

That person

I should pray

And go to church, now and then

And give something to the poor

That taken care,

I’ll have earned

Beatitude

 

Well, no

In this dialogue with me

Since you’ve gotten me involved

Through invocation

I must tell you

Peace is not for you

It never was

What!

 

3

Peace is for the poor

Don’t worry, the poor can own many things

But they can’t be you

You disqualified yourself

Almost at birth

That can’s be

You’re not fair!

 

Not all the time, no

But I’m just

You’re human

You, your people, asked to have it so

And so it’s been

You live in will

That means you live with sin

Beneath the skin

Your parents might have done it for you

But you owned it, soon as possible

Oh,

 

Okay, I see

What do you want?

Much

But that’s another conversation

Call it prayer, call it confession

I’ll call it pardon

Repentance and then reconciliation

Look there, I’ve given it all away

You want peace?

Do that

 

C L Couch

 

 

Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

Sparrows on the Snow – pictures edited with my presets that you can find on my website in BIO

 

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