“First Snow”

December 7, 2021

“First Snow”

December 7, 2021


This morning brought a first snow,

And with it wind over the mountain.

I watched snow turn to ice,

Invisible sleet hit the panes a’ hissin’.

Soon a crystal coat on tender branches—

Invisible hands pulling to earth,

Anchoring them fast.

I depend upon the silence

Creating a space to remember,

Solitude, too, now to be shared

Only with ghosts,

Or perhaps a cat or two.

Inside the comfort of crackling of wood,

Well seasoned of last year’s split,

The sweet, sharp tang of pine and oak,

The groan of a log shifting its failing weight.

 I remember your boot kicking it back off the hearth,

Sparks flaring upward,

 Stars enfolded by a blazing sun.

Outside the pelting sting on windows,

The howl of winter racing round eaves

Looking for attic-access between clapboards,

A hambone skeleton dance to

Shake its palsied bones warm.

Soon  fading light at twilight

Suspends the day

In a cocoon of white, unfocused mystery.

The night brings a muffled benediction

Over the land,

And memory is put aside for the morrow.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010, “First Snow” originally published in “White Cranes of Heaven”, 2011, Lulu.com

“Blackberry Winter”

December 6, 2021

“Blackberry Winter”

December 6, 2021



It is Blackberry Winter

One last shot across

The bow of an emerging Spring.


Winter does not play fair.

It will not give up the ghost

Exit with a dignified bow

Preferring to show its rotting last tooth.


The blackberries are blooming

Frills of white collars surrounding

Kernels of lusty fruit,

Fruit black as midnight

Sweet as a baby’s kiss,

Unavoidable staining of hands and mouths

To be shared with a snake or two down below.


The Easter planting is done

The earth knows Winter’s game

And blankets seed

With dark, moist soil

Cozy enough to shelter tender life.


We will make blackberry wine

From Blackberry Winter.

The present chill will

Sweeten the fruit

And we will give a toast To Winter’s frayed glory.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2021

“Aunt Pauline Kohut’s Hungarian Kyflies….

December 5, 2021

“Aunt Pauline Kohut’s Hungarian Kyflies….

December 5, 2021

3 cups of all purpose flour

2 sticks of salted butter

1 8 ounce of cream cheese

All in the blender….mix well and chill.

Roll out into circle, cut wedges (should make 12)

fill with prune paste or apricot paste (I buy them dried in bags and simmer in water until soft and then mash them down.

Bake 350 degrees oven until lightly browned and cover in powdered sugar when cool. I have these for Thanksgiving and they didn’t get mailed as intended.
Fred and I ate all of them.

WARNING they are addictive.



December 5, 2021


December 5, 2021


Great winds come

Before a storm,

Tree branches pinwheel near Heaven

One shakes like a foxtail

Near the ground.

All this wind!

I think of the impermanence of life

The ghost-smoke of one loved, now gone.

Even the snow falls to the ground

But you have disappeared into air.

Perhaps that foxtail

Sends greetings

To comfort the heart?

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018, from “Pitcher of Moon”.

“A Reason for the Season”

December 3, 2021

“A Reason for the Season”

December 3, 2021


 I saw the Cooper’s hawk this morning. She landed on the chimney pot, probably looking for my miniature hen, Grayson.  Eight years ago she was a starving fledgling who mantled over while I fed her cold chicken.  She’s back this holiday, my spirits lifting. A good Christmas present.

In the middle of the commercialization of Christmas, Nature closes the gap.  I have noticed squirrels with pecans leaping the trees, hawks hunting low over now-bare woods, unknown song birds sitting on fences, heard the migration of Sandhill cranes as they honk in formation. You hear their cacophony well before they appear.  Their chiding cries float down to our upturned faces.

There is brightness to the holly, washed by our late autumn rains and the orange of the nandina berries has turned crimson. Smell of wood smoke in the air and the crispness of mornings means the earth is going to sleep. We humans should reclaim our past and join the slumber party of our brother bears.

Jingle Bells will fade and our tension with it. Looking towards deep winter when the Earth is again silent.  It will restore balance and calm nerves with a blanket of Peace.

Winter’s seasoning

Bitter winds, branch of holly

Haunts in the attic.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2021

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