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The People Walked

The People Walked


God announces

God’s own birth

An absurdity of prophecy

Things bang together

Light good

Dark bad

(for now

for often dark is good)

People in darkness

Who understands?

God is coming

But God is here

God has been here

From the start

Before the start

God was

And is

And shall be

And now, what,

A child?

A virgin birth,

Come on


A working together

Of generations,


So that everything

Comes together


Too much

It is too much

You try the words too much

The documents are old

And sacrosanct

We keep them in a temple

Leave them be

What we believe

Is in the temple

Leave it be

We sacrifice flora and fauna

We dedicate

Our children

We don’t need another child

Or of such scandal

Leave us be


We are specific

We are everyone


We have freedom

In measure

We hate the other measure

But taxes

And armies

Are the world

It could be worse

It has been worse

We plot

Inside the darkness

In our own planning time

As we say,

Leave us be


So God is coming

And it’s taken centuries

Ages, if we count

From the beginning

And before

The God who answered nothing

With creation

And now a child

Without instruction

For our training

As a Caesar

(any Caesar)

This is too much

We have our own children

And for Caesar

Charges and complaints

From Spain and France

Morocco, Egypt

To Iraq and Israel

Rumors in Russia, India, and


All the world



And everywhere we know

Is burden

Don’t weigh us down with more

Words and promises

And obligations


You expect us to believe?



C L Couch



I don’t know how I got to thinking about Christmas while summer is hot on.  Maybe it’s wishful thinking, though I like the seasons as they happen.  Maybe I need a charge of faith, like a CO2 cartridge making soda pop in the soda fountain.  Maybe I need some soda pop.  Maybe I’m preparing what might seem way ahead for liturgies in Advent (the good news and the difficult).  Or maybe a little future holiday (of any number of holidays) is okay for the present, that is, right now.


Photo by Alistair MacRobert on Unsplash


Speak for a Nation

(x = space)



Speak for a Nation


Receiving a message from the Lord

was rare in those days; revelatory

visions were infrequent.

(1 Samuel 3:1b)


Prophets have jobs

Usually doing something else

Until the words are called for,

Until the wind

Blows through

Every atom

We think of them as crazy,

But they’re not

There is relentless urgency

Is all

Repent, while you’re alive

Don’t wait for judgment

And the fire

Leaders, most of all

You are double-cursed

If you do it wrong

Return to the temple

Pray in litany

And all humility

For a change and

For a change,

Recovering the modesty

In service that dressed you

Before fame


We think they’re crazy, sometimes

Maybe they are

From time to time

But there is authenticity

And love of service,

Such as those in stadiums

At podiums

Behind the microphones

Must have


C L Couch



Photo by Pavel Brodsky on Unsplash

A slow shutter-speed rendition of a BBQ fire.

Meron Mountain


(New English Translation

verse indentations by me)



(x = space)







I hope it’s a good day for you


You deserve it

And many more good days


It’s a harsh world

In many places

Though there is goodness, too


I know this;

I hope you know it, too


You know, there is this notion

Called democracy, which affirms

The majority

And respects the minority


It’s a good idea,

An experiment in many places

In the world


Now we know the trouble as

A virtue comes

When the numbers are too equal

And the country is divided


I don’t think this happens very often


But there is hype

And misuse of media

And people ready

To say this is what you think

And act on that behalf

That is not yours




I’ve let the demons in

Too often


I think they have a corner

There with maybe a side door

Or at least a tunnel


There are angels, too

Ready to speak to me


When I have been good,

I have listened


Then there are the times

When the demons did not

Have to say anything, for

I was ready for their


To take over

All my good intentions

And let ego run instead

Throughout the house


And mischief,

Not the good kind,

Call it sin

Shall have its way




God is good

And blesses our food

Though that rhyme is hard


It’s important that we ask, for

It is not ours to bless


The request might be enough,

God not one, usually, to

Draw up

A piece of paper

For a deal


Though there have been precedents:

Moses, for one

And certain prophets’ calls

Toward redemption


But we are not they;

We ask for affirmation of small things

In which there is salvation

For a lifestyle,


Not because of word and rock

That are delivered from a mountain

Or ravens

Delivering our meals


We are who we are, and

We are loved

Even when we’re sure we’re not—

In fact, more so in such times


It’s not satisfactory, I know;

And who asked for free will,


But while we have it

And we’ll always have it,

Remember that the soul and heart

And mind

Is where it happens, first


Remember, too, to advocate;

Our model is the


Who gathers nothing,

Sometimes only promising a wilderness


But cares

And loves

As we should care and love


D. C. al Coda




I hope it is a good day for you;

I’ll pray for this

And, yes, I’ll pray for me as well


More so, I’ll talk throughout

The day with God

And into night,

Though I have no skill

Or canny insight

Worked uncannily


I am simply me,

You are you,

And God is God


Always present,

Not a trick,

Too often beyond—

Specifically for mortals—



Have a care for mischief,

Though sometimes

Things are funny;

And the only thing to call up

Is some laughter


Laugh with God

Who invented humor

And in a healthy way

With each other


C L Couch



Photo by Sunil Ray on Unsplash


The Best Years of Our Lives

The Best Years of Our Lives


My best for years

Wasn’t nearly enough

I’m slouching toward Jerusalem

The holy city where the ages crash

Enough of sailing to Byzantium

That fell so long ago


With what is left

The modern age done years back

What does one call the next age

But the next age, as we have done?

No more girls in water

Sparking epiphanies (ironically through


No more women beating men

To vote to have

The rudiments of politics

And understanding

I think they should rule—the

Women, not the politics


New happens with each day

There’s always change

Those who say there’s not

Who want all angles to be retrograde

Know nothing of the physics,

The inevitability of slopes that go

The other way

And energy with them


Africa is where the church is growing

And south of South America

Parts of India and Asia, even though

(please, not because)

It’s beaten down

Atheism rises, and why not?

Though I think agnosticism steers

The ship of state

Searching for a port

It knows is there


I think formlessness might be

The way,

Since doctrine has been brutal

In its application

And a ruthless form of righteousness

Where is love,

The orphan asked

He sung

And she responded

It is all around you,

Though mortality can end it all

It appears, my dear


Therefore go for what is real

Hold on, though not so tightly

The goodness cannot breathe


C L Couch



(title from the movie directed by William Wyler

Yeats is also relied on at the beginning

a musical toward the ending)


Photo by Fazel on Unsplash

Mazandaran Province, Unnamed Road, Iran


You and Me, Sister

You and Me, Sister


There are all around us

Words, voices, noises all

That tell us how to live

What to buy

How to vote

How to understand the righteous way

To have our way

And somehow please the gods, made

Masks of self-will

And agenda

The presupposed mighty

Who believe this


Heavy understanding

As in labored, rasping breathing

Weighted with the chains of Ebenezer

Leaden steps to its own ruin of

The truth, the peace, the joy

Held captive in

The castle of the rich

Where it gets out as planned,

God is chained or

Does not exist

Whichever muttering in shadows works

For the next parched day


But there are shadows within shadows

Truth in chains

There are prophecies about antitheses

There are always prophecies

The magi before Herod

Nathan before David

Elijah and the attitude of Jezebel

Defeat of those who take and hold

For now

The gold crust of Earth

Annihilation of the profits (this kind,

please note)

In a pit and everything

That has propelled the wrong kind of

Dragon, not the jeweled interest bred in stories

But the beast, the pet, the ruler of rust

And melted riches


There are always prophecies

We need them

They stock our campaign

Give us words for songs

And dimensional conversation

To march us on the plain

Toward pointed everything

The real change that prophecy intrigues

The reason why the thing slouching

Toward Megiddo

Can be mocked, if not ignored

The devil’s own soft points

Paranoia, riled into defeat


We win


C L Couch



Image by Manuela Milani from Pixabay


Life in the Hermitage

Life in the Hermitage


I know I teach too much

Old habit

Sometimes it’s prophecy, but

The voice is mine

I don’t speak with any authority

Come down, or come up,

From God


Sometimes I think certain things belong


That’s poetry


I washed a few dishes in my small sink

I looked into the new year’s sky

It’s gray

That seems right

A January pallet


C L Couch



Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash





In a corner of


I have borrowed,

Since everything

Is lent from God

Even the words


Note what we take with us

Nothing but some spirit

And flesh, which will need renewing


I wonder here

In the great gray sky

Or underneath the ashen earth

Or in refugee molecules of

Water, trying to escape

Once the desert rain is done


About what quickens everything

Who decides

How and why


In what is my hope today

My reason

Validation for my purpose

For anyone’s

Anyone who seeks the truth in light


For the darker reasons

Tread another path

They disappear

I do want to go with them


My hope must be in

God who has arrived

Bringing a longer day

And promise of green seasons




I am impatient and unknowing

Unknowing and still impatient

Insight comes in parts

In fits

In gold-hot coals

That want to touch the tongue


There is a price for growth

Sometimes only for

Having another day


Sad assessing,

There it is

It does not count for grace

And considers nothing of

Another’s mercy


We have the day

We have the moment

What shall we do


Why not live

Uncertain of the defining

But having it

A spark if not a prophecy


Is having life reason enough,

You know, it is


C L Couch



Wikimedia Commons (image)


Dry Prophecy

Dry Prophecy


There’s something dry in prophecy


East of me


It’s alluring like a deep-blue night

Above the clean edge of dunes

Though I guess you can’t have a desert

Without scorpions


Fair enough

Prophecy stings, too

Ask Jezebel

Ask Ahab


The writing on the wall

(that’s Babylon

that’s Assyria)

In the hostage-taker’s home

Was done in perfect shape

Perfect color

Was a right warning

Though it needed interpretation


So desert prophecies go

Many are clear

Read the mothers

Many are understood in a hermit’s cell

A coracle against the world’s tide

And is only useful there


The rest might speak to us,


Breaking from a timeless place

Into an houred day


C L Couch




The Banshee Cries

The Banshee Cries


I split the night, I know

I want to

Further chaos into silent

Human sleep


I have neither quiet

Nor rest

Why should you?


And when my piercing

Work is done

And I’ve coursed through

Your family


I’ll come for you

You won’t see though

You will hear

And maybe at last



Too late to fix your



That’s done:


And you will come with me

To a place

Where hellish noise is

All you know



Betraying man

Who spoke

Curses in love

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