Quiet Birds

September 27, 2021

Quiet Birds

September 27, 2021


Quiet birds!

Your chatter adds crystallized chaos

To last night’s tokaji clouding the brain.

My eyes open with reluctance

To splinters of light

Challenging soft, painful membranes.

The smell of black coffee cuts

Into the reality I am no longer young.

A night like last should be wrapped in tissue

Locked deep in a trunk,

To find when I am past temptations-

Having room only for memories and regrets.

Quiet birds.

The day looks promising.

I await a new flock of metaphors

With polished feathers

Landing on my shoulders,

Weighing me down-

Colorful daydreams,

Peacock words,

Bird of Paradise thoughts!

For some reason,

Words, whole paragraphs,

Circle my head, then

Flap off in a thunder of wings.

I hear laughter of rude crows,

See a mess of bird droppings,

And with a few cracked seeds begin my penitence-

Starvation wages for a poor poet,

Left to a flightless life.-

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

Mountain Poem, II

September 22, 2021

Mountain Poem, II

September 22, 2021

It is almost Halloween.

The early dark of dusk

Creeps in before finishing

With the day–

Strange imaginings

Cause shadows to rustle

Briars entangle

And nothing seems exactly….right.

In the mountains

Clouds dip low

Smothering the landscape.

Only the moan of winds

Round eaves shaking the skeleton hambones

Hiding in attic corners

Breaks the silence–

A strange cacophony.

Monstrous, ghost trees

Wedged together in

Stumbling rows

Indian Snake arms

Wave warnings

To all who dare approach

Their Joseph’s –coat-of- many colors

Blasted by Autumn winds

Tearing around the mountain.

The hoot of the owl

Drives on dis-ease until dawn.

Roads dip and swell

In a frenzied, jagged run

Straight into the heart of danger.

Nerves uneasy,

There is too much mystery in this night.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2013, this poem from “Pitcher of Moon”, my book published by Amazon.com

Soon with the coming of Autumn, we will hear pops, gurgles, the smell of an iron pot boiling water, the scent of woodsmoke and the soothing of all above when we sleep.  The purr of two growing kittens adds to the mystery.

September 20, 2021

Soon with the coming of Autumn, we will hear pops, gurgles, the smell of an iron pot boiling water, the scent of woodsmoke and the soothing of all above when we sleep.  The purr of two growing kittens adds to the mystery.

September 20, 2021

Why have we survived?  We had many comorbidities between the two of us.  But here we are, facing a new year and hopefully a gentler, kinder one.

We have survived because our curiosity about life did not die with our fear and fright, but seems to be a constant of humanity.  We hope our luck continues.

We have survived because we worked together…not 50/50 because I certainly could not pull my weight.  Fred was consistent in his good will, and ran up and down those 13 steps double duty for months.  He went thin, and then, when I recovered enough…..to cook…..I fattened him up.  And myself, too.  He now as a pot belly for the first time in 37 years of marriage.  He was a stick before but he was and is….strong.  We are both aging.  That new Cubii is getting a workout from both sides.

There was a time I thought that another poem, another book, would be impossible….but that creativity is a trickling river that doesn’t  stop.  It can be blocked with rude boulders, rocks, but like the ancient Japanese tale…all it takes is a drunk samurai to come along and strike those boulders to make them move along.

I found that rereading past poems was not a luxury, but a way to rethink them.  I think that looking for ways to regain your creativity is  in front of our noses.  Multi paths.

May your coming Autumn be one filled with the glory of the season and the Peace of nature at her best.

The Children of Aleppo

September 17, 2021

The Children of Aleppo

September 17, 2021

The Children of Aleppo

There is no childhood in Aleppo.

There are little martyrs-in-the-making

Where 5 year olds and 8 year olds

Wish for a ‘family death’

Where they can die together

With their parents,

Where they live in peace in Heaven

Never tasting the fruits of peace on Earth.

There is no childhood in Aleppo.

The children haunt the abandoned houses

Of friends who have fled the city.

There they find abandoned teddy bears

While looking for guns for the rebels, their fathers.

A dead canary in his cage

Abandoned by its owners

In the face of daily death.

The sight of this bird

Evokes a child’s sorrow.

The gunfire outside continues

(They are used to the noise)

And huddle in the pockmarked

Halls until safe to scatter.

The children of Aleppo

 Have no teachers, doctors.

These have fled the cities, schools

But they still pine for ice cream,

For music in the streets,

For curtains not torn by violence,

For books and toys

And gardens and flowers,

For friends that have not died

Innocent blood splattering

The dirty cobble stones

At their feet.

The children of Aleppo

Are free and children again

Only in their dreams,

And perhaps, if you believe so,

After death.

How do you put back the brains

Of a child in the cup of the shattered skull?

How do you soothe the howls of the mothers,

The groans of the grieving fathers?

How do you comfort the siblings?

The children of Aleppo

Have no future as children.

They are the sacrifice of parents

And factions,

And politicians

All with the blood of

20,000 children on their hands.

The beautiful children of Aleppo

Like children everywhere

Still want to chase each other

In the gardens, on playgrounds,

Want to dance in the streets,

Want to pluck flowers for their mothers

And they still pine for ice cream.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2019

High Road

September 12, 2021

High Road

September 12, 2021

Asking directions to the high road,

I got shrugs and blank stares

yet knew there were two roads-

both led into infinity

both coursed through

all manner of life with pitfalls, trenches

where bones were broken

skulls rattled loose from moorings

like ships in high winds, dangerous waters.

What was the difference

and why should it matter?

The effort costs

energy regardless the choosing.

An old man sat at the crossroads,

a bum, grizzled gray hair

sprouting porcupine’s quills,

rheumy, pale eyes staring at the world–

little interest in what passed by.

I asked him the way to the High Road

and with a toothless grin

he stared at my feet, my hands,

lifted his eyes to my face.

I thought him mad and cursed myself

(asking questions of a fool!)

And was moving away when I heard his voice:-

“Did I know of the eagle and crow,

how they soared upon thermals

higher and higher

became dark, formless specks upon a limitless sky,

lost to human eye, invisible even to gods?”

I thought him crazed and started away-

he cackled and spat on the ground.

Something made me turn, startled,

And saw the wisdom of Solomon in his

now- shining eyes.

“The crow harries the eagle, the eagle flies higher.

Vengeful, annoying crow flies round eagle’s wing

turning this way and that, yet the eagle flaps upward

soars upon thinning air until the crow

breathless and spent, drops to the common ground-

falls to his death.”

“The High Road, the path of the eagle.

The low road, the path of the crow,

mingling with dullards

daring nothing, with eyes cast downward

only saving a bit of energy

learning nothing of worth.”

Silently he sat, an old man

eyes glazed with age and fatigue.

With a nod to his wisdom and a toss of a coin

I gathered my strength and pushed onward,

Upwards, the lift of eagles, now under my limbs.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

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