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worship

on the altar

(x = space)

x

x

on the altar

x

lord

what shall we give

but everything

and what is everything?

if i offer myself upon an altar

then will you send an angel

to stay my hand?

if i offer up my part in relationships

will you have an angel

tell me

not so much

before i am alone?

if it’s my wardrobe or accounts

or the corporation or the army

(like saint francis)

or plans

x

earthly luxury

or earthly victory

will you send a hallelujah chorus

to tell me, no, not that much?

or will you tell me to keep

going:

my body to begin with

as a living sacrifice,

my mind turning only as you turn it,

the sadness of

living against the world

for the renewing of my mind

x

my body as a sacrifice

in worship

without sacrificing animals

or the worldly counterparts

but sacrificing me

the only thing to set apart,

holy for you

x

could you ask that much

or do you ask that much all the time

while i do not hear?

then i should listen with the

hearing that you gave me

x

c l couch

x

romans 12:1-2

x

x

photo by ricardo gomez angel on unsplash

x

3 poems for summer solstice

(x = space)

x

x

3 poems for summer solstice

x

x

Merry July

x

Solstice

It’s summer now

Summer weather smacks us

Here

Temps aiming for 90

I guess in Australia

New Zealand

New Guinea

Little America

Winter is begun

Throw logs on the fire

Sing winter carols

Withholding Christmas and

The other holidays

‘Til the start of summer

In December

Christmas in July

A custom mostly mercantile

In the north

Could be the real thing

With trees and

Were it high enough

Some snow

Ornaments and lights

Certainly

Merry Christmas in

Alice Springs

Wellington

Tierre del Fuego

On the Falklands

At the southern pole

Santa’s summer home

Like winter

x

x

Intentions

x

God, what shall I

Say to you?

I worship you

In contemporary ways

I’m sorry for sins

You have seen in me

And known for centuries

I thank you for your presence

Having made all good things

And the ways to deal

With the bad

I ask of you

To welcome home

Those who die

And heal those who live

Cure cancer

End war

Well, I can ask

x

x

Siblinghood

x

It’s like science fiction

Slipping out of time

Our of normalcy

Eating meals on time

Cleaning on a schedule

Ingrained expectations

Instinctive, conditioned

Responses

x

To fall outside of these

To live with fewer clothes

To hope for decent meals

In penury,

To dream of trips

But only travel like Thoreau

Walking to and from

The town

x

Everything else happens

On the inside

How sad this is

At least how strange

But there’s a purpose

Those who fall outside

Will look back

And when not wistful

Will prophecy

In art

x

x

C L Couch

x

x

Saint John’s (Midsummer) Fire at Dragør Beach (Denmark)

XSimon, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53634435

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

Worship

Worship

 

Worship must have been

Brutal, then

Fierce dancing to fierce rhythm

All sorts of things prepared

To sacrifice to God

Where the divine had any interest

In such rites

(how did they know?)

Ready to let blood

Human wine

For penance and redemption

In the world where crops were

Eradicated too easily

Enemies banded ‘round to take out

Any towns or collections of

Humanity trying to set along

The river’s edge or in the center of

Even a place of hiding

Too easily exposed

 

Or maybe it was grand

A city on a hill

Still the gods need something of us

To turn attention there

To give us weather

Or health enough

To go another year

 

No notion of indifference

A neatly civilized invention

The worship here

Must match

Barbaric nature with the

Barbaric parts of us

There was awful authenticity

Because the only choice

Was awe

This was a fearful task

Reaching a god

To know its name

To know what it wants

Or left to guessing the rituals

Demanded in a world of

Circling barbarity

With no neat form, no room for

Showing up

Life was on the line

To hope in every baleful way

That God might answer

 

We don’t want it back

Why should we?

Though we’ve lost the awe

In awesome,

The part that means to fear the Lord

Not as in scared

(though that)

But in respect that God is there

Might be set over a scale

Might be listening

Not for what’s refined

Something that’s raw

As from the scoured human heart

The table might be symbol

But inside, where the marks are

God can reside

Wildly there

 

So what do we do

At evening or at sunrise?

Or when we feel we’ve wakened up

Enough?

We can find God

Too easily

Before we’re ready

We might have a sibling conflict

Or no notion of our Sunday best

God will take us on

Together, one by one

Maybe not fierce worship

But something honest

Tears rather than

Blood

Focus rather than rage

Though through it all, whatever,

Love as well as fear

For God is God

Not wanting us to quake

Perhaps

But recalling first obedience

Afterward, attending

To the second

 

Have worship, then

Leave afterward

Taking something of the altar

With you

Like a burning coal set inside

Something that will never burn

Away,

The part of God that’s present

Not without expectation

Not always well-behaved

But always loved

 

Come back to me

Come back again

I am with you now

 

C L Couch

 

 

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

 

Recessional

Recessional

We leave the church, and
Were we ever there?

Passing through television
Channels, lighting briefly on
Local access showing state
Legislators quite literally
Working on the plumbing
(Plumbing contractors) in the
Commonwealth (which is
Pennsylvania)

This is what we do: in government,
We fix the plumbing

In church, we fix the pipes as
Well—yes, the organ has pipes
(If there’s one)—but I think you
Know what I mean, for you’re

Wise enough to on occasion
(Split infinitive, I know) to worship
God or wrestle with the concept—
And in some togetherness we
Wonder through sensorial
Experience: sound, sight, touch,
And taste (and, when there’s incense,
Smell), and what happens?

We leave, readier

Unless we’ve done all we could
To avoid changing from the experience

In which case, the processional
Might challenge us

When we go next time

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