“O Absalom!”

Absalom caught in battle by a tree

From the manuscript “White Cranes of Heaven”.

O Absalom,

Ensnared by long hair in the

Boughs of an oak,

Pierced through the heart three times–

Your nature was only to please.


Pulled into mysteries

So abandoned by love

Now given over to lust

Charged with stolen rapture

Dizzy as a drunk dervish-

One hand upward to Heaven

One hand spilling to Earth

Skirts stiffened with sins hard as stone

Corrupted over a life time and now–

Flayed on an unending mandala.

Mystery of Life,

Unstoppable desire,

O beautiful Absalom,

We float upon a divine river

Entangled in the reeds of human wanting.

This is our nature,

This our calling while

Flesh answers flesh.

What quarter be given when the heart is

Overwhelmed by passions excess?

Lie still–

Let the waters cleanse our loins,

Mud of the banks soothe our wounds,

Our blood mingle with the floating grasses,

Our hearts sink beneath the surface.

Let the rivers of Babylon

Carry us away.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010

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4 Responses to ““O Absalom!””

  1. bren Says:

    I really like your poetry, it makes me think and that is always good. Many layers of meaning esp. if you are up on Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Baha’i writings.

    I gather there is some controversy over the video I sent you, but was made by Holocaust survivors so do not know why.


  2. Margie Says:

    I just LOVE this poem – it’s BIG. And majestic. And I love the image of “skirts stiffened with sins as hard as stone”. You keep getting better, love.


  3. ladynyo Says:

    Thanks, Margie!

    I like this one, too. It came out of nowhere…which is a good thing sometimes. I think you can slipstream into a zone where poetry ‘leads’ and any rational though process just follows. Lawrence Durrell writes about this, and I am trying to free myself up to learn here.

    Thanks so much for reading ….and also for leaving a comment. It means a lot to me, when other writers/readers tell me how it impacts upon them.

    Funny, last year I read this poem to a Nun…and she acted so disturbed by it..until the end, and then she said…”Wow”.

    LOL! I am not sure what she expected here, but apparently she ‘liked’ it.


    Jane….I will post a few more from “White Cranes” that have some…..broadness…to them. Hope you will like them.


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Bren….I LOVED that video! I can’t thank you enough for sending it! I watched it over and over in tears. It struck at the heart of humanity…..all ideology and politics aside, it went to the core of what is important: LIfe and redemption.

    I am glad you like my poetry: sometimes it goes deeper than I understand, but I think Durrell said something that is very true: a poet says what they mean….even if they don’t understand it. Poetry is something it is better to ‘breathe in’. Words can get in the way.

    I’m trying to get my thoughts together on all of this because I have a blog entry brewing. Art does not reason. The heaviest impact of art, any art..is in the gut, not the head. There must be a reason for this…and I think there is.

    Thanks, Bren.


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