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Runaway Psalm

(x = space)



Runaway Psalm


God, lay the morning

Down on us

Softly, unless there

Must be a storm

Give our senses

Easy labor

Except in greater need

Then call us out

To work the needs for people

Who should have

A day in which

To praise you

By still waters

To take breathing lessons

For whatever comes

In the next hour

And forever,

Cherishing each moment

And the way


C L Couch



Photo by Inés Castellano on Unsplash


The Twenty-Third Song

(x = space)



The Twenty-Third Song

(a paraphrase)


My life is wrecked

I feel ruined

And here you are, Lord;

I don’t know if I asked for you,

And I am so relieved

That you are here


I thought there was a desert

But, look, there’s water

Cold and clear;

It is the best that I have tasted

And I have no doubt

That it is good for me


This is more than I deserve

And maybe I should leave—well,

I feel your hand

Guiding me back;

I should stay a while


I thought this was the end,

That I could not lose any more

And it was getting dark;

But you are here,

And maybe you were with me

While I was stumbling

Back there


Look, here’s food:

And who are those around me?

They don’t come any closer


Before I eat, please

Bless all this

And maybe me;

You are the one

To do it, after all


Should you be with me

Through all that is to come,

Then blessings

Will continue, even in

The splintered times


And because of you,

Your presence in my life,

When this life is done

And the next mystery begins,

I shall be with you

With a living place in heaven

Or on Earth renewed


C L Couch



Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

Rome, Italy

The Forum, Roma




(starting with Psalm 96)


Sing to the Lord a new song,

Which means we should be writing all the time

Crafting notes to go with words

Consider instruments

Tempo, attitude, occasion

We have the reason

There’s no reason

A new song because creation’s always new

It crests upon us with the dawn

That is seen aboard spaceships

Over the arc of the deep-blue sea

That comes inside my house

And yours


Why do we sing so many old songs again

And one more time

Nothing wrong with that

We apply new energy each time


But we are also called to create

Beyond new versions

Why, because creation itself

Teaches of itself

Every time it rings anew


Does the dragon sing inside its keep

Does gold sing underneath the earth

In there melody inside the mitochondria

Where gene pairs harmonize




Measures without measure

Blank pages, open minds await

Hearts ready to practice

To perform all nerves aglow,

Wary of the audience

Wondering approval

If delight

Will we beat a dance that

No one’s ever stepped?

Will we step a dance

That no one’s ever stopped?






Then return to make again


With the composer of the universe

Who asks of us again

To find within ourselves

Something new


C L Couch



Vintage tambourine musical instrument 1960s | Musical instruments …

My Timbrel In the Sun

Hayley Brodrick saved


Psalms 52 and 53

Psalm 52

song of passion


Some things are not enough even

From an impoverished place,

Contemplating gifts.


O God,

Where is your own longing?

And where might mine match yours?



Psalm 53

song of compassion



Why should you listen to me, anyway

But I’ll keep talking, just the same

Someone is missing

And others are searching

It’s far away

I don’t know anyone there


But there are hearts

And life that always matters

So I’ll ask

Sinner before the altar


Please help those in motion

Watch around (above, under) the rescue

Help us in our better work


Bless those in need of rescue


Bless the rescued

And the rescuer



C L Couch


Psalm 50 (a song about un-ending)

Psalm 50

(a song about un-ending)




sing monastic

song throughout

the night


how do we

sing with

what’s not


been heard

in heaven’s



we practice

with tentative



for you are



our unto

the Lord makes



when on

an uneven



pleasing you

we are free

to turn


it is enough

for you


you are delight

we know

the joy

Psalm 49 (a penultimate song)

Psalm 49

(a penultimate song)


Before the last,

One more thing,

Please, to say:


O Lord, like all

The seasons that

You muster,


You are constant

In provision;


Might we live in



Thirsty children

Who can yet look

Up before


We stoop, saving,

To drink—


Risking, yes, a

Moment of hurt



Gazing, as we

Do, toward the

Direction of one

Who has


Left life for us


In a healing cup,

Freely filled with



And bread that

Was earth-fired,


Psalm 48

Psalm 48

God Breaks Through


The day comes

When God breaks



When an open hand

Will not be


Withheld by grace

Or by design


We cannot bring

It down—release

Or entice it


Our timing has no

Meaning here


We should leave

It all alone


A mind ordains, a

Host obeys


The earth will be



Ready to be

Apprehended in


Capture and in



Day time and

Night time

Without time

psalm 4-something

psalm 4-something


too tired for capital letters

proper phrasing and

reliable numerals


I extend my hope

my hand is open


will I have it when I draw it back

will it be empty with some taken off

will it be an open plain upon which is


something of a gift

something to keep me going

source of sustenance

symbol of believing


even the lines on my palm

might tell me as they intersect

that patterns are really chaos

without some understanding


nothing gnostic or occult

no wise artificial secrets


only openness, like a hand,


when the act is fragile

ready to receive whatever

you place on me to do

Psalm 46

Psalm 46


A new world comes

And some would say

It’s here


By your hand, we might

Live in better days


The images we make

For politics or



Are wrung through

With shiny fakery


I think our new day

Will arrive,




When we learn to say

I love you to the ground

And to the air


And to the wind we

Cannot see but truly

Feel and have:


When we learn the

Value of unseen things,


We can say I love you

To each other


Then your new day is


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