“Shake Ye Skeleton Hambones”

My Cinderilla Pumpkin...With blemishes....


I  planned to post the next poem in what has become the “Lady Nyo Tales”, but d’versepoets.com has asked me to write something for their site, and I have: “Ten Thousand Leaves: The Love Poetry of the Man’yoshu”. This will be posted there on November 3rd.

So, since it’s Halloween, and I love this season, I present a short poem written exactly last year on a trip to the North Georgia mountains. 

I hear some religious fundamentalists call Halloween ‘Devil’s Day’.  So be it. I hope kids show up to eat all this candy. Costumed kids are scarce in years past, but we remain hopeful.  My neighbors will be hiding under their kitchen tables, afraid of that knock at the door.  They deserved to be egged….

Few residents,  and those the new urban pioneers….have put up decorations.  This is a far cry from what I remember in the countryside of New Jersey, where Halloween was a fun and spooky time. I have pumpkins out, not plastic ones, but pumpkins I have hauled from Whole Foods whose bounty has overflowed: this year I found the beautiful “Cinderilla” pumpkin, the one that was the carriage.  Since it is a heritage seed, I am hoping to have a garden of Cinderillas next fall.


Lady Nyo

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 wind

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, 2011

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37 Responses to ““Shake Ye Skeleton Hambones””

  1. Margie Says:

    Oh, I love Halloween! You capture the elements of changing winds, spooky imaginations and the full autumnal experience beautifully! I love the phrases “skeletal hambones” and “Indian snake arms”.

    The Cinderella pumpkin is gorgeous also. I wasn’t so fortunate this year. We have an abundance of big, orange jack o lantern pumpkins of all sizes. I wanted (and got) a couple of white pumpkins as they seem more ghostly to me!

    Hope you get lots of kids – I’m ready for about 100!


  2. Pat Hatt Says:

    Mystery indeed, or just alot of looking for what is not there, but you really spooked up a scare or at least a little extra caution to beware.


  3. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Pat!


    Get your black cats in,
    these Baptists will sin,
    as black cats are the devil
    and that’s on the level!

    Thanks for reading, Pat. Hope you are able to read the upcoming Man’yoshu on dversepoets.com Nov. 3th. You and those cats!!!

    Lady Nyo


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Margie love!
    I LOVE Halloween, but here in the South…these damn Baptists and Methodists have it sewn up: Devil’s Day! They co opt a wonderful holiday, where we get to do things in the reverse! I will continue to be the only one on my block with a scary yard…(though tastefully!) LOL~!

    Well, I’m decorating with ghosts, pumpkins and REALLY LOUD scary music. LOL!! Piped outside where it belongs….
    Glad you liked the poem, Sweetie! Wrote it last year exactly this time, right before Halloween on a trip up in the North Georgia mountains….

    Thank you for reading and your comment! That makes TWO of us who love Halloween.




  5. Heaven Says:

    very nice mystery and soulful images of this special night…

    i like it ~

    Have a fun spooky night ~


  6. Joanne Elliott (@soulsprite) Says:

    What a Halloween delight. So many wonderful lines.

    I love All Hallows Eve. Last night I attended a ritual celebration at my Pagan church and tomorrow night I hope to get many costumed pilgrims at my door…though we rarely do. It’s too bad all the fun has been drained from this harmless tradition and that so much has been lost in terms of how we’ve forgotten this is a time to celebrate lost loved ones.


  7. Steve E Says:

    My comment makes THREE of us who love Halloween. One, it brings back lots of boyhood memories. Two, it brings such pleasure to see little Peeps having their good times–which THEY will one day remember with fondness.

    Your poem, Jane, brought all this stuff back as if it were yesterday. Well…maybe it was!


  8. ladynyo Says:

    LOL@ Steve E~

    It was! It was, Steve….at least to us.




  9. ladynyo Says:

    You, too, Heaven!

    A wonderful celebration with so much history behind it.

    Thanks for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  10. Jingle Poetry Says:

    Happy Halloween, what a truly haunting piece.

    I can visualize the dark imagery via owls’ hooting and shadows of trees.

    stay blessed, my friend.


  11. ladynyo Says:

    And you, Jingle.

    Lady Nyo


  12. Morning Says:

    Monstrous, ghost trees

    Wedged together in

    Stumbling rows,

    Indian Snake arms

    Wave warnings

    every word counts, perfectly haunting piece, Glad to see you share.


  13. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Morning,

    Glad you enjoyed it.

    Lady Nyo


  14. leah J. Lynn Says:

    thank you for sharing this poem. I can’t wait to see what you have for us at dVerse poets pub


  15. Kay Salady Says:

    I could smell the scent of autumn leaves’ decay and hot wax dripping as I read this. Beautiful imagery indicative of this haunting hour.


  16. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Kay.

    Lady Nyo


  17. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Leah….the piece on Man’yoshu is short (1000) words, but it should be a start for gathering interest in the Man’yoshu.

    Lady Nyo


  18. C.L. Sostarich Says:

    Frantic and spooky! Great writing.


  19. Gay Reiser Cannon Says:

    Ah, Yes…love this piece. You’re always so excellent at creating that in nature which symbolizes all, which arcs from the “without” to the “within”, which brings the season into personification. I felt the tension and spookiness. Well done. Perhaps Lady Nyo for Thursday!


  20. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Gay.

    LOL! I learn more about what I write from others, than I ever could guess myself…LOL!
    Thank you, Gay, that is high praise from such a wordster as you are.

    And thanks for reading this poem.



  21. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, C.L. for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  22. claudia Says:

    i’ve already had a short glimpse into the draft of the dVerse article…looking forward to your hosting jane…
    and what a wonderful poem….so mysterious and spooky in the most elegant way…i like the inclusion of Joseph’s –coat-of- many colors…


  23. Pat Hatt Says:

    haha came back at me with a rhyme
    That was a fun chime
    Neither cat is black at my place
    So no need to cover ones face..haha


  24. ayala Says:

    Nicely done, Jane. 🙂


  25. hedgewitch Says:

    It’s sad to me too, to see this children’s holiday dwindling–for whatever social reason, religion or distrust of each other–I remember what intense fun and excitement we use to have as kids dressing up and raking in the treats–regardless, this poem is not for children, but eerie, and full of that sense of things darkening we get in fall, as well as the mysteries and dangers of the unknown twisting road. Really look forward to your article, Jane.


  26. brian miller Says:

    yay i can not wait for your piece for us!!! love the feel this evokes…nice usee of coat of many colors as well…it adds a nice tangible image…i am rather fond of halloween…i am saddened that we only had 4 trick or treaters last night…i live in the buckle of the bible belt so…but we had our jack on the porch…lovely verse ma’am


  27. ladynyo Says:

    Oh Brian, me too!

    But! Last night was wonderful! Only about 30, but 95% of them were costumed, and even the adults were!

    It was lovely, with that wonderful crescent moon in the sky. Years past we had more, but this time there were many more costumed kids…that was the fun for us.

    Glad you liked the verse, Brian…Thank you!



  28. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Hedge…I don’t know what or why the dwindling of Halloween on the scene, but I think different regions of the country are different…here in the South, well, religion, and fundamentalist stuff…hold sway. I remember the Halloweens of my youth, in the North,, and they were so full of expectation and mystery! Course, we were kids and all that candy was only once a year…That was part of the miracle of it all.

    Thank Hedge, glad you liked the poem and I’m waiting to see the impact of this very short article.



  29. ladynyo Says:

    Thanks, Ayala….I’m going to make the rounds tomorrow.

    Thanks for reading and your comment, Ayala.



  30. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Pat…I just picked up another kittten….a lovely dark calico…she’s strange, not that friendly yet, but we will work on that.

    Named her Lily.

    Thanks, Pat.



  31. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Claudia!

    Well, we will see how it goes over…I really had to shorten my breath on this one….Lol!

    Glad you liked the poem, Claudia…I love this season most of all, but I love winter and spring too…just don’t like summer down here in the Southland.

    Thanks, Claudia.



  32. darkangelwrites Says:

    Our weather was all wrong last night; yours sounds as it should be. The vegetation and the elements conspiring together, perfect.


  33. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Dark Angel…..elements conspiring….LOL! I learn more about my own poetry reading others’ comments. LOL!

    That pretty much explains it.

    Thank you so much for reading and your comment…just wish I had been able to get some pix of the costumers…they looked wonderful~!

    Lady Nyo


  34. Charles Elliott/Beautyseer Says:

    “There is too much mystery in this night!”

    Naw. Mystery’s a good thing. And a night in which the veil is thin between the living and the dead should be a healthy thing, since life is incontrovertibly a fatal condition, and we need to be more comfortable with that ultimate fact.

    Here in SoCal the Day of the Dead tradition seems to grow ever stronger. Our historic business district has held a street fair on the theme each October for at least the past two years. Those of Hispanic heritage take great joy in skeletal facepainting.

    Somehow I remember the joy of small children in costume and have never felt menaced by this special night. But Anubis is my guardian, so who shold I fear?fear?


  35. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Charles….

    Actually , this Halloween was a good one…not many (more than 30?) but just about every one was costumed, including the parents. It was lovely, with the crescent moon in the western sky early, and the jack o’ lantrens gleaming…the house looks haunted anyway with that iron fence….LOL!

    Thanks for reading and your comment, Charles. Halloween lives!

    Lady Nyo


  36. The Orange Tree Says:


    I have 30 to 40 kids stopping by, enjoyed seeing their haunted faces and the warm greetings from their parents.



  37. ladynyo Says:

    Lovely! It turned out to be a beautiful and excellent Halloween. About 30 some kids and parents, and 99% in costume!

    It was a kick!

    Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

    Lady Nyo


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