two poems about essence



The Mouse Informs the Monarch’s Ear

(not by nibbling)


Should I ever become wealthy,

Which seems less and less likely

I’d hope I wouldn’t forget

The essences in things

The way the coffee burbles when it cooks

The distinctive bounce to hear in the final motion

Of the toaster

The delight in another day beginning

Sometimes the relief


I visited the Biltmore once

An impressive place

With its own winery and dairy

It might have been a microcosm

Of feudal living in the USA

(though everyone was paid, I’m sure)


I got up close to the see the shapes

Of lampshades

And consider how the cords plug into


The height of the walls, too

And all the light that comes through

Windows the height of churches


There is meaning there

It’s in first impressions

And the marvel of the smaller things

That, once the sheen is filtered

Another sense,

Are smaller wonders, teaching more


There is a church in Pittsburgh

That rose like a cathedral in the


A source of jobs for many workers

With great and tiny wonders


There was a belief

Above the crypts, behind enormous


That every church should have a church mouse

(for ecumenicity, I might have argued for

a cat as well)

And in the baseboard along the chancel of

A chapel, a mouse was briefly


A parable in wood that might be too easily



There are, or were, jazz services here

Another essence

Not to be missed


Pray, visit the world

In its smallest wonders

There are children there

And love in all its shapes and forms

The sounds and colors

The plainer truths,

The greater wonders


C L Couch


church mouse 2

Trish Steel

The famous mouse symbol, found on every item crafted by Robert Thompson’s has an uncertain history. The story told by Robert Thompson himself is that one of his craftsmen remarked that they “We all as poor as church mice.” Whereupon Robert carved a mouse on the church screen he was working on. That particular mouse has never been found but it has continued as a trade mark of quality and dedication to craftsman ever since.

(not at the church in Pittsburgh; this mouse is in an English church)





The essences of things

Are they too trite

To talk about?


In the feel of a dog’s fur

The line of well-wrought wood

The heart that beats in love

For the first time

Or for the millionth


The curves that make a flower

The sound when a fish leaps above then back into

Lake water

The horns of trucks and cars, which carry

Up the sides of close-in tall buildings

The sight of stars away from

City lights


A new word

An old one

A new world

An old one


A sleeve pressed

A rug that’s freshly cleaned

The sensation of bare toes upon it


Call on the muses


Remembrance of things past

(Sonnet 30)

And sights set upon the future

(any astronaut

or soldier)


And if there be five senses

Maybe six or seven

Remember time as one as well,

Which bears

All opportunities


Don’t miss it, then

And if you must rise up

Through disastrous need to

Greet a day in peace

Greater wonder then, at last

And first,

For you


And shame upon the rest

Who might

Have done

And must do better

For you


C L Couch


Photo by Alexandru Rotariu on Unsplash

(note by the photographer regarding the “Featured Image”)

I photographed this amazing dog in a small park. He was with his “master”, who was a little kid, not much bigger than his pet. The original photo was VERY unsightly, but I saw something amazing behind this “unsightness”. I took it home, passed it through Photoshop, and the result was a wonderful sight! It’s like I can see this ordinary animal’s personality! (If you want to see a before-and-after, check out at the end of the page) Eventually, I started a photo album named “Animal Close-Up’s”, this photo (Dog (close-up)), being Close-Up no. 1.