Spring, “Blackberry Winter”, “Plum Snow” and Rumi

Large Hollyhock and New Dawn rose

This spring has turned from destruction to outright, overwhelming beauty.  The roses are blooming, and yesterday, what I thought was an outrageous weed, turns out to be a giant hollyhock, growing straight through a white rose bush.  I almost pulled that ‘weed’ out a few months ago, but now am glad I didn’t.  I have tried to grow hollyhocks for years, scattering seed, but never had any luck.  This was a seed scattered 4 years ago, and I kept pulling it as it grew, thinking it was another obnoxious weed.   It outlasted my efforts and is now about 8 feet high.  Pink and gorgeous, but just blooming out.

Perhaps the tragedies to the north, south and west of us has made me appreciate this season more.  The budding beauties, the promise of rebirth, the renewal of things bare and dark a few, short months ago has overwhelmed me.  This miracle of life, with no batteries needed, no attention or commands is nature at her best.

I transplanted old, slow growing boxwood, real boxwood, not the Japanese junipers that are a good substitute for English boxwood down here, yesterday….switching them out with some new roses:  “April in Paris”.  I am a sucker for roses in catalogs and on the internet.  I am also a sucker for the roses at Home Depot, sitting in pots, yellowing leaves with black spot, and looking expectant and oh so homeless.  About now…I have no more room to put them in the soil, so they are transplanted into pots, which are more expensive than the roses….

Queen Elizabeth Rose

Perhaps it’s this expectancy of spring that makes snarly, grumpy people change their attitude and behavior.  I have noticed more smiles from strangers, a kinder behavior, perhaps a relaxing of tension from the long, very long winter.  There are nests of mockingbirds, bluejays, kittens being born, pollen, and as I write this a robin is uncovering the grave of a chipmunk I buried yesterday.

O, Pink Hollyhock!

I do think there is a softness with spring (my husband says there is a softness to my brain matter with spring…) and perhaps a good push to poetry.  There was a tiny crescent moon last night, what the Turks call “Allah’s fingernail”, and we will watch it grow night by night.  The sound of mourning doves as they settle in during dusk, the hoot of a Barred owl, the smell of the nightblooming datura….all these inspire poetry in the dark. During the morning we have enough for inspiration, and perhaps stopping our activities, going out into the gardens, the woods, even taking a walk somewhere different, will give the imagery necessary for poetry.

I came across a piece of Rumi yesterday….and I think Rumi must have loved nature as much as his fellow man.
  Come to the orchard in Spring.
  There is light and wine, and sweethearts
            in the pomegranate flowers.
  If you do not come, these do not matter.
  If you do come, these do not matter.

 What a gentle sentiment wrapped within these few words!


Two of my own poems follow….


The present snowstorm of

White plum blossoms

Blinds me to sorrow.

They cascade over cheeks

Like perfumed, satin tears,

Too warm with the promise of life

To chill flesh.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010 from “White Cranes of Heaven”, at Lulu.com

And one  more…just because this will be posted for Oneshotpoetry.com on Tuesday.


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 the frayed glory of Winter.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011


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18 Responses to “Spring, “Blackberry Winter”, “Plum Snow” and Rumi”

  1. Margie Says:

    I remember years ago walking from our local library to my home downtown. I had to walk past about 15 quite large flowering cherry trees. It was just at the point where the blossoms were “snowing” all over the road and I still remember the joy I felt walking through the drifts of petals. Later that evening, when I undressed I shook a pile of sweet scented petals from inside the hood on my sweater. I smile when I think of that.

    Still not crazy about the snake image in my head, but at least I expected it this time! LOL


  2. ladynyo Says:

    What a lovely memory for you, Margie.

    My cherry tree died this spring, right after its blooming. I will replace it, but I think it wasn’t a Yoshino cherry, because when it died it had small cherries forming. Perhaps a mislabel by Home Depot.

    I watched the two plum trees scatter their petals this Moon Watching event. It was wonderful, and set against this huge moon, it was transcending.

    LOL about the snake. I remember, the last time I was at my mother’s in the countryside outside of Princeton, when upon walking around the front of the property, I was confronted by a garden snake…small, brown, with stripes. It raised its head as if to strike….pure fear, and I had with me a shovel…I remember aiming that shovel at the snake, because I was startled by it…and then realized how ridiculous I was being. I think there is something programmed in us to fear snakes. I’m glad I didn’t kill it. It was strange…it was an experience I can’t forget.

    Thank you, Margie for reading and leaving a comment.



  3. moondustwriter Says:

    mmm our roses are blooming and so fragrant can’t get enough of spring. Thank you for the beautiful reminder in your words and in your photographs of the beauty of spring.

    Jane – I Always appreciate you – hop all is well


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Moonie!

    I am well, reasonably. The heat is becoming oppressive today, though.

    Thank you for reading and your comment, concern.

    And I appreciate you.



  5. brian Says:

    the key question is…are you sharing some of the blackberry wine…smiles. i would eat them right off the bush….love the first one…we have pear trees and cherry blossoms that give us that rain and i love to go out and stand in its snow…nice one shot


  6. hedgewitch Says:

    Loved the Rumi–what a great little snippet that says so much. And your pictures and words as well, full of the fragrance of life returning, built from the compost of the past. “…We will make blackberry wine/From Blackberry Winter….” beautiful.


  7. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Hedge….most days are built from the compost of the past….what a wonderful thought!

    Pushing up daisies seems to be an honorable fate.

    Thank you for reading and your comment. I am reading more of Rumi, and wondering why I didn’t read him as a steady diet for life. He sings with the most compassionate embrace of humanity.



  8. Gay Cannon Says:

    Your words always so delicate and transcendent. You take me beyond the places you describe as you do all your readers. Your words have the power of fragrance to extract the past in memories and bring them brain front to review as though a short movie: pedals of springtimes past, fragrances of roses grown in hard and unforgiving soil, love in pastels. So beautiful. Thank you so much. Gay


  9. ladynyo Says:

    For you, Brian, yes, I will share my blackberry wine.

    Years ago I attempted wine…did the siphon thing, bottle to bottle, and it was like a very heavy and not so clear liquer. I gave up wine making.

    But the blueberries on one bush are staggering, and the blackberries are coming along. Maybe I’ll try again.

    Lady Nyo


  10. ladynyo Says:

    Oh Gay!

    Such praise coming from you makes me blush! Your own poetry, words infect my thought processes: and only to the good! I felt like I was tromping through that entry about the hollyhocks and roses, for if you could have seen me, you would have cringed in fear. An old ripped up kimono, high rubber boots and a spade in my hand. I scared some passersby, indeed I did. LOL!

    What you wrote here made me think. Our writing should evoke the past, scenes in readers lives….for what market does our own experience horde? The world is so full and big and full of wonderful images, tastes, smells, life!

    I learn so much more from the critiques, comments of readers, about my own poetry, than I could ever think myself. I feel so honored when people
    say they were provoked in their own memories…lol!

    Thank you so much for one of the most beautiful and thoughtful comments I have ever received.

    Lady Nyo


  11. ayala Says:

    Nice one shot…I felt like I was there….


  12. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Ayala!

    That’s a great compliment! Thank you!

    Lady Nyo


  13. Claudia Says:

    yes – let’s make some blackberry wine from blackberry winter….both of your poems are beautiful in their ripeness


  14. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Claudia!

    Ripeness….I think that’s the ticket! LOL!

    Thank you, sweetie, for reading and leaving this comment.

    Lady Nyo


  15. Kavita Says:

    Aaahh… I am already smelling the lovely fresh scents in the air…and with your poems, I just wanna step outside and enjoy this onset of Spring… play with the shower of flowers… dance around trees too maybe… yea… it’s all so whimsical… but then hey! that’s what Spring does to us…right?! 🙂

    Loved your poems, Lady Nyo… Goodbye Winter! Bring on the flower power!! 😀


  16. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Kavita!

    I think it’s called ‘Spring Fever”….LOL!

    Thank you for reading and leaving this comment!

    Hugs, Lady Nyo


  17. bluebee Says:

    How funny about the hollyhocks and how good of them to persevere, so! Spring is the most wonderful season – enjoy, Lady Nyo


  18. ladynyo Says:

    I am! Bluebee….

    Like the pollen here….it’s all around.

    You enjoy Spring where you are, too. It only comes once a year….

    Lady Nyo


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