“Winter’s Withered Hand”

Atlanta Snowfall, 2011

Atlanta and the eastern seaboard has been socked in with snow and ice.  Since January 9th, the city has slowed to a stop, with only 6 inches of snow but treacherous ice above and underneath the snow.  Six days of miserable temperatures have kept the snow on streets, roofs and yards.  At night, under street lamps, it’s a if a white sheen of heavy plastic has been thrown across the landscape, most of it still unsullied by any footstep.  It glimmers like a calm, white sea.

The hospitals are full of people who have broken limbs trying to navigate the ice and snow, which refreezes during the night.  My dogs now creep down the back porch steps and tiptoe gingerly across this slippery, foreign turf.  They are happy to come back in and curl up, sleep, not being hit by cabin fever.

The first day we sledded down an icy road.  It was hard to steer a sled on ice, and my husband almost t-boned a parked car, rolling off at the last moment.  We were screaming with laughter, going down the road over and over, until our neighbors came out with cameras to take pictures.  I think we are too old for this activity, but we now have evidence that we were fools  enough to do this.

We think the “Farmer’s Almanac” is wrong: they predict a warmer and dryer winter than usual.  We say:  Let it snow!

Lady Nyo

Winter’s  Withered  Hand

Winter’s withered hand

Scrapes across muted landscapes

And steals comfort from a sullen earth.

Birds fall frozen to the ground,

Lambs to the seasonal slaughter,

Ducks held fast in unflinching ice.

The elders give up the ghost ,

Just fade away

In this death-howling season,

And pale newborns struggle towards spring.

In this silenced land of snow,

Colors stark, dissolved,

Black limbs lifted to a somber sky

Wooden beggars pleading for alms,

I listen for the melting

One unseasonable day—

The breaking of ice around a dam,

The baby babble of some brook

The laugh of a crow overhead,

The drip-drip of a leaky faucet—

The earth will turn

On its axis

And with this

Comes the promise

Of Winter fading.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011

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6 Responses to ““Winter’s Withered Hand””

  1. Margie Says:

    Love the picture! We got nothing near that. Just a tenth of an inch coating of ice all over everything. It was so beautiful (from my windows looking out!) but very dangerous. It’s all gone now, except for the ice on my back porch. It’s too shady there for the sun to have melted it, and the temps were far too cold. It should be in the 50’s today though, so I’m hoping it will be gone soon.

    Beautiful poem – made me remember that Spring will come!


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Margie!
    This was a record setter…but your ice would have been worse here. The power lines down would have shut the city down further.

    I was out today, and there are places where it’s still very deep ice and snow….and dangerous to drive. Why is it men with SUVs who drive too fast and cut people off when the road conditions are so bad?

    These stupid Southern men think they can drive in road conditions they don’t see for 15 years or so. However, it’s getting worse each winter. The weather is much colder and there is more snow and ice. This year, since December, we’ve had three snow falls….I don’t think it’s over yet.

    The older I get the more I have to be reminded that Spring will come. We seem stuck in Winter, but generally, I love this season the best. The quiet, the solitude, the starkness of the landscape.

    Thanks, Margie for reading and leaving a comment….and your situation up there.



  3. Olivia Says:

    Sending warm wishes and loads of prayers..

    I invite you to join our 18th potluck beginning this Sunday, Hope to see you at http://www.jinglepoetry.blogspot.com/
    Week 18 Theme: Languages, Signs and Symbol. Poets , especially First Time Participants are also welcome to share old poems or poems unrelated to our theme..
    Let me know if you have questions…hope to see you in… Your participation delights us, keep writing, and keep sharpening your talent … xoxox


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Olivia!

    Happy New Year to you and yours.

    I have been interested in your site, but time and work has kept me from it. Thank you again for the invitation.

    I’ll see what I have, and hopefully will be able to be there.


    Lady Nyo


  5. Jingle Poetry Says:

    welcome sharing your poems with our poetry potluck today..

    you got talent, keep it up.


  6. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! You have persistence. Keep it up.

    Lady Nyo


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