“First Snow”



The morning brought a first snow,

And with it wind over the mountain.

I watched snow turn to ice,

Invisible sleet hit the panes a’ hissin’.

Soon a crystal coat on tender branches—

Invisible hands pulling to earth,

Anchoring them fast.

I depend upon the silence

Creating a space to remember,

Solitude, too, now to be shared

Only with ghosts,

Or perhaps a cat or two.

Inside the comfort of crackling of wood,

Well seasoned of last year’s split,

The sweet, sharp tang of pine and oak,

The groan of a log shifting its failing weight.

 I remember your boot kicking it back off the hearth,

Sparks flaring upward,

 Stars enfolded by a blazing sun.

Outside the pelting sting on windows,

The howl of winter racing round eaves

Looking for attic-access between clapboards,

A hambone skeleton dance to

Shake its palsied bones warm.

Soon  fading light at twilight

Suspends the day

In a cocoon of white, unfocused mystery.

The night brings a muffled benediction

Over the land,

And memory is put aside for the morrow.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010. from “White Cranes of Heaven”, published 2011, Lulu.com

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24 Responses to ““First Snow””

  1. CZBZ Says:

    What a wonderful poem to read after my family has gone home for the holidays so I can sit in the living room just the cat, me, and my ipad.

    I wish it were possible to put my Christmas “memories aside for the morrow” but first I’ll need a Xanax, 60 mg. of Prozac, and two Sara Lee pound-cakes in a pear tree. ;-P

    I needed to read something peaceful this evening…thank you.



  2. ladynyo Says:

    ROTF!!! Oh God, you are SOOOOO funny, CZ.

    Yep, relatives take the starch outta you and leave you hanging. Been there…two ‘boys’ with no social graces and I have HAD it! LOL!

    Pass the Pound Cake, PLEASE!!! Damn glad the holidays are over.

    Hugs back,


  3. Yousei Hime Says:

    I’m glad for a bit of peace myself. My youngest is back in school and my husband is off to work. My oldest is hardly around anyway (life of a 18 year-old). Lovely images that had me appreciating the winter outside and the fire inside (had to start one after reading this).

    Watched another episode of Chihayafuru. Wondered if you’d given it a try? Here’s the link again in case you misplaced it. (That’s something I’d do for sure.)



  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hello Yousei,

    I think I watched the episode of anime you sent…..I’ll do so later, and thanks for sending this.

    And thank you for reading and your comment. Peace and solitude is what we need now.

    Best for the New Year!

    Lady Nyo


  5. hedgewitch Says:

    Beautiful and serene verse, Jane. You bring the winter in its most pleasant form–firmly on the other side of the window. ;_) Here we had almost 70 degrees for New Years, but it’s cooled off a bit–still, not that lovely crisp, amazing white weather you draw for us here. Happiest of new years enjoying your home and hearth as those north winds blow. (love that hambone dance)


  6. brian miller Says:

    nice…i love the snow…making the world fresh…and a fire ah i could sit for hours…love the hush of the snow…memories do come haunting this time of year too…


  7. marousia Says:

    Oh I love this – perfect antidote to the excitement of the season just gone – so cosy and serene – I shall sit by your fire for a while


  8. Kathy Bischoping Says:

    “Pelt” is such a gorgeous word, both fur coat and here the snap with cold. That and the boot kick and the mysterious white cocoon are the images I’ll take away on what promises to be a cold long bus home.


  9. Heaven Says:

    Lovely images of the season’s beginning specially these lines:

    “Suspends the day

    In a cocoon of white, unfocused mystery.”

    We are in the deep of winter (I hate cold though) ~

    Beautiful share ~


  10. Steve E Says:

    Ros! I’m a huge fan of peace, silence, and solitude…I have to be on guard to keep from sliding into ‘isolation-mode’, not so much now, as “used-to-be”.



  11. Kellie Elmore Says:

    we had our first snow of the year last night but, the morning brought sunshine and it has all melted 😦 damnit! Love your post!



  12. Elizabeth Young Says:

    Thank you Lady Nyo for sharing this breathlessly beautiful portrait of Winter. You have captured the snow, ice, wood fire and solitude in sync together as part of the intertwined elements of this glorious time of year.


  13. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Elizabeth!

    It’s such a wonderful season of solitude and stillness….the cold has swept the landscape clean and it’s a start of the rebirth of the land.

    Thank you, Elizabeth, for reading and your lovely, lovely comment.

    Lady Nyo


  14. ladynyo Says:

    Yep, Kellie…..no snow here YET…but plenty cold….teens this morning. It seems a waste without snow. There is hope yet.

    Thanks for reading and your comment, Kellie.

    Lady Nyo


  15. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Steve….well, I will take the peace, solitude and silence….because that is where for me the creativity starts….sometimes. I love isolation, but probably have too much of it.

    Thanks for reading.

    Lady Nyo


  16. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Heaven. Cold without the benefit of that lovely snow doesn’t seem right somehow.

    Lady Nyo


  17. ladynyo Says:

    Oh Kathy! Keep your feet warm with socks and boots and head warm with wool on that homeward bus ride.

    I am so afraid of people being cold….and animals, too. I leave blankets outside for strays…LOL!

    Thank you for reading and your insightful comment.

    Lady Nyo


  18. ladynyo Says:

    Come join me, Marousia!
    The fire is perking along (woodstove…our only source of heat in this house. The cat room gets the electric heater….LOL!) and I’ll make hot cocoa. The sun is out but the nights are bitter and raw. We will get a warm up, but I am still looking for snow.

    And glad the holidays are over. They are a diversion, but I have lots of those in my life and my writing gets pushed to the side.

    Thank you for reading and your comment, sweetie!

    Lady Nyo


  19. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Brian…yes, they do..memories…and the silence of a snowstorm is so insulating….it makes for contemplation and sometimes brings forth a poem. I am hoping that this winter throws me into some sort of creativity, but I just seem lately, after “The Nightingale’s Song” to just plod along without a creative thought in my head. I look forward to the winter to isolate me, body and soul and prick any creativity in there….or bring it in from somewhere!

    Thank you, Brian, for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  20. ladynyo Says:

    Hello Hedgewitch!!

    Yep, firmly on the other side of the window, but in this 1880’s old farmhouse now three miles from downtown Atlanta, the windows (regardless of how many we replace) leak and shutter with the gusts.
    The last two days the winds ‘they did blow’, and there weren’t enough throw rugs and blankets to throw under the doors to block the draughts….but! What a season to wash the landscape clean, to bring a sparseness into view…where less is more and comforting, or at least we can begin to appreciate the brittleness of Winter and what it does to the landscape and the internal landscape.

    It is too warm by far for Winter, but the last two days gave us an idea of what may come. I’m still looking for snow, but I do know that many do suffer because of it…and especially animals.

    Thank you, sweet Hedgewitch, for reading and your comment. I think we will get true winter weather fast enough.

    And a Happy New Year to you and yours….full of Good Health, as my Hungarian Aunt Jean at 99 likes to say.



  21. Laura Hegfield Says:

    Beautiful Jane…I was drawn to these lines:
    “I depend upon the silence

    Creating a space to remember”

    me too.


  22. Charles Elliott/Beautyseer Says:

    From my desk here in Southern California, as a 90+ degree breeze warms me, this reads like desperate, quiet resignation. I notice there is no mention of snow shovels, slippery and impassable roads, dogs that refuse to go out although they really, really need to. And all the other miseries I recall from my years on the East Coast.

    Thanks for trying to make the best of a “white unfocussed mystery.” But I’M not buying it! Hehe!


  23. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Laura! I was just writing to a friend in Maine, talking to her about you and your influence (for the good!) on me.

    Yes, I was surprised by those lines…sometimes these things happen and you surprise yourself!!

    Thank you, Laura….I am trying to arrange my day with less housework and more silence to lead to some form of creativity in poetry.

    Right now…I am scattered and no good to the world of poetry…LOL!

    Thank you, Laura, for reading and your comment. I think our hearts ‘read’ each other.



  24. ladynyo Says:

    Oh Charles!!! You had me rolling with laughter.

    Raised in the countryside of New Jersey (yes, the Garden State) winters were a place of magic and wonder…until you fall through the ice and drown. Happened…

    And yes, those dogs that don’t want to get their feet cold….LOL!

    One thing I have noticed just recently, with the advent of Winter: how swept clean the landscape is….brittle, empty, swept by wind and frost….the grass is shortened by cold, dried up, curled up and no hoar frost yet…but a few bare weeks sets the canvas for what is to come….sparsity, scarcity, silence, stillness and these terrific winds that blow you off your feet!

    Thank you, Charles, for reading “First Snow” and your insightful comments. Some days and nights there are not enough blankets to warm oneself….even with the woodstove perking along.

    Lady Nyo


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