Winter Poem, #1

I wrote quite a few poems last winter, and this winter I will add to them.  This season of thin light, when it doesn’t quite reach the ground, when a nighttime snowfall can make alien territory of what we know; well, it is conducive to poetry.


Walking in the new winter woods,

crunch of frozen ground beneath

my boots,

my dog’s paws will be sore tonight

for we aim far afield.

I think of this morning when we

argued at breakfast,

the smell of maple bacon should

stop all that, but didn’t.

We can’t get past the desiccated ghosts

who have taken up residence in our hearts, inviting

slights and outright blows never delivered

but still lingering in the air.

I took the gun loaded with birdshot

in case there was a duck down by the pond.

Were, but they were those sitting ducks

didn’t seem right, too easy a target

like this morning at breakfast when either one

of us could have let swing and landed a good one

on tender flesh and raw nerves.

The dog is game for hunting, but my heart

isn’t in it.

My thoughts go back to you standing there,

that old apron around your waist,

determined not to let me see tears

and my own cracks and soon I head back with

a peace offering of a bough of holly.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009

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8 Responses to “Winter Poem, #1”

  1. Berowne Says:

    “…my dog’s paws will be sore tonight
    for we aim far afield.
    I think of this morning when we
    argued at breakfast, …”

    Two different meanings of “we”, yes?


  2. Nick Nicholson Says:

    Hi Jane,

    A lovely poem with an unusual subject. The mention of the gun at first led me to think that perhaps the narrator might use it on her husband! But I’m glad that wasn’t the case.

    I think the phrase “the smell of maple bacon should stop all that” ought to be re-cast in past tense – “the smell of maple bacon should have stopped all that” – to keep the tense consistent.

    I liked the peaceful solution at the end of the poem, it imparted a sense of compassion and forgiveness which was very heart-warming.

    Nicely done, Jane 🙂



  3. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Nick!

    Thank you for reading this poem and giving your comments.

    Actually, HE has the gun….he’s out walking the dog….but I can see where it is ambiguous.

    You are right! I am sloppy on tenses…..’stopped’ is better.

    Thanks, Nick!


  4. ladynyo Says:

    yes. I can see the ‘confusion’ for some.


  5. Margie Says:

    I agree re: tense as per the previous posters; however, I found this to be a charming, sweet poem that brought to mind the inevitable tensions between two people who truly love each other. The fact that it resolves gently makes it all the more real.


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Yup….I agree too.

    I wrote this last winter, and it is part of a cycle of ‘gentle’ poems that speaks to close relationships.

    Thank you, Margie for reading and your helpful comments. Poets should always be open to lots of advice!



  7. Margie Says:

    I hesitate so to give advice – you are obviously very talented in this area. But “I know what I like” and I will never hesitate to tell you I like something! I have been writing a little bit over the past few weeks and I’ll share soon!


  8. ladynyo Says:

    Oh Margie!

    Give advice…that’s how we all learn.

    I have been on a roll with ‘Winter Poems”….I am awash in snow, ice and winter thoughts….LOL!

    It will pass….onto spring.

    I’d love to read what you have been writing…When you are ready, please send it to me.



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