I talk you talk we'll talk




(x = space)




(and Philippians 4:8)


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


And is there something I can say?

Think on these things

With the Philippians,

Which might be a good list

For anyone


C L Couch



Photo by Dariusz Mejer on Unsplash

Babylon, United States



(x = space)





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,



C L Couch



Photo by Liset Verhaar on Unsplash



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





Resting is a process

When we’re not exhausted

So that sleep is something like


(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



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



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


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


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


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


(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



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


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



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


Big Inning

Big Inning


I have another Sunday

So do you

Maybe it was yesterday

When I’ve worked the weekend,

It has been a Friday


A sabbath is a gift

After six days

Though a maker might forgive

A perspective that appreciates

A day before

The next six days


I guess this means

God invented the weekend

And the nineteenth century finally


Way to go, eighteen-hundreds

Catching up after

Forty billion years and change


A gift in receiving should be opened

How will we open this

Hold it to the light

Show it to our kith

And then our kin


Batteries not needed

Already given with a source of power

In the beginning


There are times when we force cessation

For a time

The seventh-inning stretch

Standing for “The Hallelujah Chorus”

Making Mondayholidays


Pausing must be good

We certainly need it

I hope your pause is good

Maybe sometime you will join me

And I you


C L Couch



Photo by PatrickHendry on Unsplash


And Does It Take a Sabbath Day

And Does It Take a Sabbath Day


And does it take a sabbath day

To have a larger thought

To encounter feeling that goes

‘Round the world


Maybe it does

Though the Lord knows

I can make my own

And, like entitlement, could call it

Anything I want

Though usually it’s Friday

Maybe Thursday


I used to retreat and rearranged the week

I’d go out on Thursday afternoon

Stay through the night

Often not sleeping, maybe by intent

My own dark night of the soul

Then I’d have Friday to go downstairs

To meet with the director

We’d talk of Francis and Gerald May

And would I train as he did

So far, I haven’t done so


All that has ended, as I guess it had to

Not because of miffed occasions

I’m not sure we ever had a one of those

But because mortality calls unevenly

And those of us are left

To fill in steps like pulling in

Loose lines on board we weren’t expecting

Never are


I must do now for me

Chaos, order

Void, abundance

I don’t arrange these very well

But they are big

Like large thoughts on a sabbath day

Friday or whenever


I must find my own way home

Find more company than this

Than these

Sensations, wishes, little more

Not to fill in emptiness

But something hale to

Place over the pain

Like a well-timed blanket

On a cold, cold winter day


When I couldn’t go out, anyway

To find the house above the creek

On made-up sabbath days


C L Couch


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