I talk you talk we'll talk



Paradise Neither Lost nor Found

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Paradise Neither Lost nor Found


It is not the best of times

Just now

I have to own that part

Of the Dickens


Too many sick

I know

And there is war


Famously defended

I’d like to know the wisdom

Of the ages

Those who contemplated

Long ago

How to redeem the mind

And sanctify the heart

How did they do it

When we’re so

Smarter now


How may I call up

Desert mothers

Desert fathers

My might I stir

My own kind of Celtic blood

That came to northern shores

And tried to have companionship

With nature and each other

Until organized, metallic

Factions entered

And took over

Slew what did not submit

Killed what submitted



That’s my northernness

I guess

I guess I like it well enough

I’d like to know yours

And what you have from the

Southern half

Because you might

Have that

East or west

As interesting


The fascination of our differences

Shared in easy friendship

Easy joy

The direction points aren’t bad

Unless you make them

Points of dominion

Or points of fear


Fear not

We can come toward each other with

Fingertip excitement

Passing through time

And sentiment

To share a call that says

The Earth is one

We are one

We are one and one and one

And one


C L Couch


If she doesn’t mind, I’d like to dedicate this work to Judith Nilan who wrote so kindly of me recently and whose friendship is cherished by me and by anyone else who is her friend, I’m sure.  You should read her blog because it would be good for you.  Her blog address is



Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash


Anchorite Devotion

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Anchorite Devotion


I cherish

Quiet in a cup

To drink

When I need some

Peace on a plate

When a bite is needed

Some silence in the air

But not so much

We cannot hear

The songs

Of earth and sky

The thrumming from beneath

To feel

The sighing from so high

We dare not

On an ordinary day

To try


A homespun layer

Maybe two layers

For the day

And through the night

A few words of friendship

And a few more

Then intimate,

Unspoken words

With God


There is a book

Of hours and another

Sometimes wisdom’s

In the page

In the part between

The letters

As well the illustrations

The space in which

We first learn

That blank space is the quiet

We may go there

Then to learn

About the mystery

The text

And images support

But can’t fill yet

As if to know the words

To speak with angels

And with animals

And with the air


All things the creator makes

To set in humming motion


C L Couch



Statue of Julian of Norwich by David Holgate, west front, Norwich Cathedral.

By Poliphilo – Own work, CC0,


Will What You Will

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Will What You Will



It is the last day

Of the Christmas season

Marred last year

By crimes

Twelve drummers drumming

In a drumhead court

For some


The rest of us take down

Our trees and lights

Burn the skeletons of trees

In the town square

At least that happened

In my town


We sang the last of carols

For a while

The nation need remember

That some gatherings are good

Some spectacles

Modest with intent

And execution


Grant us wisdom, Lord,

The meaning of the season

As is said

Not so much sectarian

As loving in and from

The hearts and minds

We have


C L Couch



Photo by Michael Descharles on Unsplash


What You Will

(x = space)



What You Will


It’s Wednesday

A good time to think

On God

There is no holy day

I know of


Either way,

God cares

And doesn’t care,

Welcomes us anytime

For prayer and



I know,

A mystical transaction

But there it is

Sometimes mysticism’s normal

Underhill might agree

(Evelyn or Frodo)

Gerald May

Or Parker Palmer

Mary Oliver


But let’s say

Ursula K. Le Guin

Who stirred with genders

In her work

Long before the rage,

Who lived

In writing

And in company


C L Couch



a brief bibliography


Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness, No Time to Spare

Gerald May, The Wisdom of Wilderness

Mary Oliver, Upstream or any publication—any gathering—of her poetry

Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Evelyn Underhill, Practical Mysticism



Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

Tree in Forest, Autumn Season


Asking Questions, Desert Mother

(x = space,

because I can’t cut and paste

using the new WordPress editor—




Asking Questions, Desert Mother

(two poems)



Asking Questions


After the years,

Asking questions that

Could be left to children:

What do I want to

Be when

I grow up?

What do you want

Of me, dear Lord,

Or anyone (else)

Who cares?

How do I give without

Being taken in?

(okay, this question

more for the grown-up, maybe



And do we

Always ask these questions,

Or is it more rarefied

To do so?

Or simply strange


There is a wider

World of happenings,

Some brutal and, well,

Simply bad

Though much of it

Is beautiful,

Inside and outside human

Flesh and in

The natures we’ve been given,

The nature of ourselves and

The nature of the planet


These days, especially, it’s

Not hard to find out

What’s going on,

Though much remains

Hidden by

The agenda-hiders, which

Is regrettable


All shall be known,


And it might go hard

But, you know, for now

Let’s keep asking questions

Of ourselves,

Our world,

And of God


Let’s take lifetimes, then,

To learn to ask

And then be satisfied with

What we learn

When asking,

Because we’re still outside the gate

Often forgetting there’s

Paradise nearby



Desert Mother


I have a sharp pain

In my foot

To distract me

From the headache


I guess this is

Negotiation with the


Who made me

And tasks me

In such ways


I am old

And beyond children

Except the ones

I talk to

In this way


Whether or not I’m heard

I shall not know

Because I’m here

And they

And you

Are there


When I am

In heaven, I still

Might not know how

The children of

Earth have done

Until you are old,

Then sleep

As I have done

And wake to me

And all the rest

Who have been waiting

For you


And, yes,

We have other things

To do here

So will you



C L Couch



Photo by Michael Milverton on Unsplash

Wylie Bay Rd, Bandy Creek WA 6450, Australia, Bandy Creek

Sand Sand Everywhere





God, it seems

You’re quiet

While outside there’s noise

The promise of a storm


You could be speaking through

The storm, I guess

I’ve never known you that way

Though there are limits

On my listening


Maybe if I were shaman-wise

I’d understand your language

In the trees

And through the rain

And if the thunder means

You’re angry or

You’re sad or making declarations

Or nothing of the sort

Since I’m sure

The flowers speak as well

As all things

On their own


You split the sky

The earth rises

Smaller creatures scurry

They know where


We’re here, and

We don’t understand

All that would be given

If we didn’t try

To take it first


God, this is

A prayer

For peace among ourselves

So we might get

The message sent

That everything and

Everyone has voice

Especially the quiet


And with our senses

And with more

We might receive the word

That starts

The universe

And also

Brings us home together


C L Couch



Photo by Glenna Hopper on Unsplash

Isle of Sky





There’s something more

It’s here

Inside the pale blue

Between the yellow light

And the branch’s skin

There is green, too,

Dark in the shadow


We can make it human

I suppose we always do

But there is another planet here,

A world whose talk

Is in the leaves

Whose senses know the light

And every color

Every texture,

Each thing that moves so that

Another thing might live—

It’s all cooperation


Learn from this

Don’t make it human yet;

It’s intimate already

It’s conscious because energy

Has wisdom

And gravity a story


The tree is a tale that moves

And also waits

So much to tell

More so than mute artifice

We should know this

And as we don’t


So wait!

All things are here

Enough for life, because it’s life

A history if

We could pull the sunbeams from the

Earth to read

We can’t for now


So listen, please

With all concrete senses

Best that we can do—

Please, listen

To the story that could save us

Every day,

If we don’t destroy

The binding and

The pages

Let ink run as blood from entropy,

Our self-made ruin

Of whole things,

Run into empty land

And lifeless water


Reclaimed by

An angry universe

Having expected

So much more

With all that had been given

Every word in nature


No wonder why

The angel kept, outside

Of paradise,

A flaming sword

Pressed by what’s inside

Ignited by protection of what’s true,

True stories, more

Than what we wrote

And what we wrote that we forget


Still having a last chance to hear

To receive

If only by the gateway,

A last chance to learn


C L Couch



Photo by Erico Marcelino on Unsplash

The Wanaka Tree, New Zealand


Dialogue with Demons

Dialogue with Demons


I imagine sitting beneath

Pale columns

Fronting an ancient building

Awaiting wisdom

From ghosts

Who will come near me

Bearing questions


C L Couch



Photo by Micheile Henderson @micheile010 // Visual Stories [nl] on Unsplash


Cat House

Cat House


Last night I saw


Allergies notwithstanding

There were people, too

They’re fine, I think,

The cats (I guess the people, too)

The screened-in porch was open to them

In fact, a breeze

And persons to protect the bowls

One cat’s from the other

The skittish cat leaped up

The other flowed like mercury

Upon the floor

Seeking a container of some sort,

I think

The way liquid does

We ate

They hoped

We watched a film

They stayed away

We had to pass through, after

Their insistence came alive again

Furballs of self-interest

That is their purpose

And their lesson

Nature to the rest of us

Not wrong to want our way

Not bad to serve affection

For no reason

Beyond being


C L Couch



Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay


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