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sabbath

Virtually a Sunday

(x = space)

x

x

Virtually a Sunday

x

I pulled on a shirt for church

Only to have technology

Fail me

Or I fail it, more likely

Virtual church

I should walk down the street

Through wide doors

Greet people

Sit down upon the wooden and worn

Bench

Await the start of something formal

Or walk

And keep walking

Chill and sunshine

And have church that way

x

Pray as I go

There are things I want

To pray for:

My brother’s health

Cancer

My nephew’s healing

COVID

My neighbor’s heart condition

Another neighbor’s children

COVID in the world

(cancer, too)

The horrid war in Ukraine

War in other places

Where it’s horrid

(always horrid)

Yemen, Myanmar, Sudan

Or violence undeclared

Peace thwarted

x

For food for everyone

Safe water

Safe living

I guess I can pray all these things

While walking

Pausing for crosswalks

Maybe I prayed for them now

x

C L Couch

x

x

Photo by Susan Wilkinson on Unsplash

x

Born Again in the USA

(x = space)

x

x

Born Again in the USA

x

A sabbath time

To stop

To breathe

To wait for it

To be over

x

Counting the minutes

Of the homily

Or sermon

The teaching of the word

Waiting for communion

To be over

x

Now, where is the car?

How long will it take

To leave?

Thinking about

Food and rest and TV

After

The holy time

Set apart

Once a week if that

x

Bigger deal

Maybe wireless

For those who could

Be there

At Christmas and at Easter

What is wrong with

All these things

Is nothing

But set apart is set apart

x

Then the chance

To splice it

Graft it all together

Stronger, faster

Like the cyborg hybrid

Only real

Sacred and prophane

With blessings

Rain from an aspergillum

The scent of flowers

From a thurible

x

Sensations

Only God

Can bestow

In the world

And the world

Can respond

x

C L Couch

x

x

Photo by Bas de Korte on Unsplash

“Storm in a few minutes.”

x

Apologies

(x = space)

x

x

Apologies

(and Philippians 4:8)

x

Oh, dear, it’s Sunday

And there’s nothing in my

Sometimes Protestant, suburban mind

To share

I didn’t pay attention to the sermon

(too many points)

Or the meaning of the lyrics

(one broad and unconvincing point),

Though I’ll say the problem

Is inside my head,

What’s left of my heart

And there are those who had their

Sabbath, starting Friday,

And those who have a time for

Sabbath every day

I could envy

x

And is there something I can say?

Think on these things

With the Philippians,

Which might be a good list

For anyone

x

C L Couch

x

x

Photo by Dariusz Mejer on Unsplash

Babylon, United States

x

Sabbath-Worthy

(x = space)

x

x

Sabbath-Worthy

x

Today should be a restful day

There’s law in it

And lore

There must be allowances

For first-responding

Daily labors that utilities

And farms require,

And I hope they’re given sabbath

Time another time

Those who take care of us

So we might have time

To eat and think and play

In ways that still

Qualify as still, that is,

Sabbath-worthy

x

C L Couch

x

x

Photo by Liset Verhaar on Unsplash

x

note

And do I need to say this? (Maybe, if only for me.) Sabbath may happen on any day, as tradition or exigency requires.

x

Sabbathism

Sabbathism

 

Resting is a process

When we’re not exhausted

So that sleep is something like

Unconsciousness

(we might as well have fainted)

Spiritual rest, more so

A process, and there are

Some truly mortal things

We can do

 

Do you have a favorite place?

Something you like to drink

That will enhance

(not abrogate) the experience?

Like violins singing beneath

The piano solo,

Can you wear something comfortable

Or comfortably?

And here it is,

Will you give yourself some time?

 

By doctrine, it’s a whole day

But take what you will give

Half a day, an hour

Twenty minutes, five

Do you need a prescription?

Get someone to write you one

Better yet, write it

Yourself

 

Read something, then and there

Write something

Pray something

Or do next to nothing

But be present

In the moment, as de Caussade

Has recommended

Think things

Feel things through

Decide something, if you must

Though you don’t have to

And it might be better

If you don’t

 

Afterward,

Reach out to someone else

Especially, if you took help

To make sabbath happen

Didn’t I mention getting help?

Well, feel free

Always feel free

 

C L Couch

 

 

(The Sacrament of the Present Moment by Jean-Pierre de Caussade)

 

Photo by Matthew Angus on Unsplash

Jerusalem, Israel

Devotion in prayer.

 

Ending of the Week

Ending of the Week

(through the sickness)

 

It’s a special day

A day in Ramadan

Sabbath time will start for Jews

Christians may anticipate

A sabbath, too

For those who don’t believe,

It’s Friday

And it’s now

 

There is no better time

For breathing and for other

Action

Speaking of breathing,

The Buddhists can teach

The rest

Something about that

And they do

 

As far as I know, we are between

Times for special Hindu

Celebrations

But fauna call for

Remembrance all the time

We all should respect nature

So well

 

And this is what I know

Not so much, really

So many stories to see,

To hear

I won’t receive them all

But I want to

 

For those without a weekend,

It is different

I can feel for you,

If you don’t mind

I used to have my weekends

In the week

But for the front-liners

Standing, acting against disease

With everything that

Conflagrates

I don’t know what to say except

You rank me

And thank you

 

C L Couch

 

 

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

Addis Abeba, Ethiopia

 

Fourth Protocol

Fourth Protocol

(counting commandments from Exodus 20:3)

 

Remember the sabbath

Whenever you remember it

Some can’t have it on a Sunday

Some will have it on a Friday

Some will let it change according to

Third shift

Or when the sirens scream

 

If it shifts

If it is the same

Whenever it must be

According to the current schedule

It is a time

Well-chosen

(even if it weren’t directed)

For if God must rest

So much more

Must we

 

C L Couch

 

 

Photo by Yunming Wang on Unsplash

 

Keep It Holy

Keep It Holy

 

A life set aside

For a spiritual purpose

Wow, that’s enticing

A ritual for morning

For brushing teeth

(I already have one—ritual,

that is)

For going out into the world

Or staying in

Ever mindful of

The senses, the oxygen

It takes to have them remade

By a Spirit

Not unlike the kind invoked

When first people gather

Smoke, bread, shadow

Gray colors, brown

Small brilliances in flowers

All reminders, lessons

Items on a clipboard

Of discipline

A life by candlelight

By words, by work,

By what we do to have enough

For sustenance and charity

But everything

Every breath is holy

Set aside like taxes

Only next to nothing must be

Rendered to Caesar

Life in a cave above the ground

We could have hours of quiet

We could listen

For and as another way

The ordinary molecules

Upended

 

Changes we can’t see, though

Sometimes there is a bell

There are other signals, too

That this is a new dedication

Joy and energy

Sister, brother

Mother, father

And all sorts of strangers

 

This kind of world has a chance

Without a way to count

Expanding or diminishing returns

 

Wealth of a new kind

Everything is new

For being ancient

Every second, every nanosecond

Not measured

But go as a new kind of priceless

An order an accountant shouldn’t know

Unless she join the order, too

God speaking, whispering, crying

We have attuned our molecules

To hear

Our books are turned into

Absorption unrelenting

 

To catch

As if it’s tossed to catch

The borning cry, the adolescent rage

And grown-up sorrows (any age)

Newly tuned like any instrument

Invested

We’ll live in an endless sabbath

Abbey, monastery

 

But really I mean a life

We could really try

(chronos left for kairos)

In which there is no little thing

That goes unnoticed

Every mote transformed

Newly and forever sensed

 

For the effort and results

This takes

Is why

Prayer has led to bleeding

The world conquered by rebuttal

 

Because the spiritual life so contrary

A crazy rendering of nuclei

That sometimes

Only makers and comakers

Approve

 

C L Couch

 

 

Photo by Evi Radauscher on Unsplash

Oberdorfen, Dorfen, Germany

 

Sunday Morning after Sleeping for a Change

Sunday Morning after Sleeping for a Change

 

I’m not sure what to say today

It’s a sunny day outside

Clear and cold with an edge

Like runners on ice skates

 

The sun is winter-tilting, so

I can see enough

Not all the dust motes, thank you

But like the movie,

Everything Is Illuminated, all the same

 

I could make a point

But the day is its own

There’s meaning in the pattern of

The leaves against the window panes,

 

Enough philosophy for two

Whoever might join me

Who’s already here

No prosperity but the pleasure of one’s company

 

C L Couch

 

 

Observing the Sabbath-closing havdalah ritual in 14th-century Spain.

Unknown – Detail from a miniature in the Barcelona Haggadah, British Library Add MS 14761, fol. 26.

(Public Domain)

 

Everything Is Illuminated, a film from 2005, directed by Liev Shreiber, starring Elijah Wood

 

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