“Quiet Birds”, posted for Poets United, and a nod to the Hungarians in my life….

Dawn awoken, jane kohut-bartels, wc. 2006

Dawn awoken, jane kohut-bartels, wc. 2006

It’s still National Haiku Month, and I’ll try to keep up.

Under the dark moon
I awaited your return
Only shadows came.

from: “A Seasoning of Lust” 2009, available at Lulu.com

Quiet birds!
I have not changed you into metaphors yet.
Your chatter adds crystallized chaos
To last night’s tokaji clouding the brain.
My eyes open with reluctance
To splinters of light
Challenging soft, painful membranes.

The taste of bitter black coffee
underlines a bitter reality–
I am no longer young.
Last night should be wrapped in tissue
Locked deep in a trunk
To find when I am past temptations-
Having room only for memories and regrets.

Quiet birds.
The day looks promising.
I await a new flock of metaphors
With polished feathers
Landing on my shoulders,
Weighing me down-
Colorful daydreams,
Peacock words,
Bird of Paradise thoughts!

For some reason,
Words, whole paragraphs,
Circle my head, then
Flap off in a thunder of wings.

I hear laughter of rude crows,
See a mess of bird droppings,
And a few cracked seeds begin my penitence-
Starvation wages for a poor poet,
Left to a flightless life.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2013

With thanks to George Szirtes, for the words: “Quiet Birds, I haven’t changed you into metaphors yet.” I couldn’t resist.

Lady Nyo

Lady Nyo

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25 Responses to ““Quiet Birds”, posted for Poets United, and a nod to the Hungarians in my life….”

  1. Sherry Marr Says:

    WOW! This poem totally knocked me out! Love the birds, resonate with the “no longer young”, the paragraphs that flap off in a thunder of wings……and especially love the “starvation wages for a poor poet, left to a flightless life.” At least our minds can still soar, and you have done some very spectacular flying in the creation of this poem.


  2. thecheesewolf Says:

    coincidence is haunting me… as I write this “The Birds” is on the TV in the room next door. Quite the juxtaposition… Your poem is a wonderful, complex and disarming piece. Hugely enjoyed it, and will return many times to it methinks. Thanks for sharing.


  3. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Cheesewolf! Love that name….LOL!

    It’s an early poem (early poem for me is 2008…lol) and I think , now that I can see certain things, I can do a revision…Thankfully, we get better eyes later on in our writing poetry….that’s IF we aren’t so much in love with our words. That is arrogance and stubbornness and leads to no progress.

    I’m half Hungarian and recently got more involved with the Hungarian community here in Atlanta. It’s a start. Am also studying the language.

    IF you have no problems with sex/violence/bad language….I am serializing my new novel (almost finished…) “A Kapitany” on my blog. Many do, so I warn them but the sex is either mild or deleted for the blog. Don’t want to scare the chickens and old ladies….

    “Quiet Birds” caused some confusion when I first posted it….because people didn’t know what Tokaji was….LOL! Lovely wine.

    But I appreciate a hard crit because I know that the reader then cares enough to really read it. So much we skim, neh? Any suggestions for revision are welcome!

    Thank you again.

    Lady Nyo


  4. Laura Hegfield Says:

    oh Jane I love the way your voice changes throughout the poem… like the many phases of our lives. Thank you for your kind words about my poem, means a lot coming from you.


  5. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Laura!
    Well, this means a lot coming from YOU!

    You are such a wonderful and evocative writer and poet. I really loved your piece at Poets United. First time for me here, and I think I’m going to like it!

    I haven’t been writing poems a long time….only about 6 years, and frankly, Laura? this poem is very early.

    I was inspired by the stolen words “Quiet Birds…i haven’t…” and it really was inspired by a tv commercial…where a pianist is sitting looking outside his large studio window, and there are telephone lines and birds sitting there. He writes from what he sees. LOL! It was a marvelous commercial.

    Thank you so much, Laura. For reading and leaving such a lovely comment. With substance, too.

    i really appreciate that most coming from another poet.



  6. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Sherry!

    For some reason, your comment landed in spam….LOL! So glad I don’t trust my spam folder.

    Thank you so much for reading Quiet Birds…and that it resonated with you. I will search for your blog…and thank you again for reading and your lovely and encouraging comment!

    Jane…yep, and no longer young. LOL!


  7. Jack Says:

    The end, though depressing, made me laugh. Poets risk a likely consignment, of pursuing something that fails to have a payoff.


  8. thecheesewolf Says:

    so much we do indeed. I have never been to Hungary – but have seen it from the Austrian and the Slovenian sides of the border (my car insurance wouldn’t let me go there that time). I have always had a fascination with central Europe. There are so many fantastic writers from the region. I have heard Hungarian is a pretty tricky language to learn – is it so?

    Will have a more in depth look at your site later in the week – I teach, so never really know what the week ahead might bring.


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  10. ladynyo Says:

    Lol! Yup, Jack….so it goes with poetry, and probably most of life.

    Thank you so much for reading “Quiet Birds” and for leaving a commnt.

    I’ll be around to read your blog today.

    Lady Nyo


  11. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Cheesewolf…Oh God, Hungarian is a Horrible Language! It’s hard and I am only just beginning to learn it. I was around Hungarians all my early life and only picked up bad words and a smattering a the language. It’s nothing like any European language, except a smattering of Finnish, and I believe only a few words of that…like ‘fish’ I am told.

    Well, we will see. My husband just informed me he will have to have knee surgery so that will certainly push any travel back…way back.

    If you have had a fascination with Central Europe, get Keith Lowe’s book: “Savage Continent”. I just finished reading this incredible book last night. It’s about the the years AFTER WWII there, and the march of the Soviets into Europe, the resistance (partisans) and everything else that happens right after a world war. Horrific, starvation, revenge, the total collapse of life as Europe knew it. Central Europe, (Hungary, Czech, the Balkans, etc..and the minorities within these nations got the brunt of it. Every Brit and Yank should read this book. I am going to read it all over again in a few weeks. It has lessons we need to know, and it seems that the same conditions are ripe for another war, especially the rise of the Right in these nations, especially the Jobbik party in Hungary. Scary.

    Good to meet you.

    Lady Nyo


  12. moondustwriter Says:

    Delightful – those noisy birds are sure making a mess of things (past and present)
    I love the inspiration from Szirtes
    hope all is well with you…


  13. ladynyo Says:

    Oh, Moondustwriter!

    I am so glad to hear from you! I noticed you sort of disappeared, but then again, I haven’t been much around, either. I’m delighted to hear from you!
    It’s been too long a time…and I miss your poetry.

    Well, George Szirtes wasn’t too happy about my using his words…he had published a new volume of his poetry, and I only saw it advertized , never read it, but there was a poem in there of that title . I wrote to him, he was pleasant, then I sent him my poem and never heard from him again. I just was so overwhelmed with the first two lines I couldn’t help myself. However, I have never done that again. I was such a new poet when I wrote this about 5 years ago, and I was a naive thief. LOL!

    But besides Szirtes reluctant contribution to this poem….it really was inspired by the tv commercial I mentioned in answer to someone. Birds sitting on a wire, like a musical staff, and that did it for me. LOL!

    I see your blog is marked private, but I sent a request. I would love to read you.

    Thank you so much for reading and your comment.



  14. janehewey Says:

    i love this. the membranes and tissue. the bitter in the middle and Bird of Paradise brightening all the way to that superb last line. sheesh… the whole thing so evocative and visceral. wonderful poem!


  15. ladynyo Says:

    And YOU gave a wonderful, incisive crit! I really appreciate that, Jane. So many don’t…it’s just a one word praise, and it leaves me wondering whether the reader really read the poem.

    I have no doubt with you! That’s a good word: visceral. It’s hard to get the right words in a crit sometimes, but this fits it for me.

    Thank you Jane. I’ll be right over to read yours.



  16. ManicDdaily Says:

    Hi Jane, It is wonderful the way the tone and focus changes over the course of the poem, from an exclamation FOR quiet, to a focus on the quieting of poetic flight. This is not Japanese–the tokay replacing sake – but has that same use of nature as a metaphor for the passage of time and the kind of self-deprecating but poignant sense of humor, with the very banal kind of touches – that’s not the right word but I cannot spell escatalogical correctly – but from the sublime to the bird dropping, from the day to day to the deeper.

    The night wrapped in tissue paper is lovely – then comes the morning after! k.


  17. ladynyo Says:

    Hi K! What is wonderful to me is how you embraced this poem. I always learn much more from readers comments (when they extend themselves into something analytical…) than I EVER know about the poem as I write it or after. that is why it is so crucial for critical review.

    You did well on escatalogical. I can’t spell it either, and probably don’t know really what it means! LOL!

    The humour is very Hungarian. They are a morose people and I think their heavy drinking (the national sport) lends to this.

    Yeah, first you yell at the birds, then the poem sets up in the middle passage…or jells. Something happens.

    Thank you, K. You have so intelligently delivered a crit that I will treasure and remember. And not because you obviously like the poem, but because you explain so much more in the internal working of it….and you have taught me what makes it ‘breathe’.

    Nature as metaphor for life. Yep, don’t seem to be able to get out of that one.




  18. brian miller Says:

    really nice jane…in particular the second stanza jumps out at me…you make a couple wonderful leaps in it and pull it off well…the bitter coffee gives a tangible affect to the bitterness next…the i am not young pops after it…also really like the last two lines…rather the penance of the poet in flightless life…nice…


  19. ladynyo Says:

    Thaanks, Brian…some poems give themselves to a certain analysis….and some don’t. This was one of my first poems ….back in 2008…and it has a particular voice that I haven’t been able to get back to. I don’t know why, either…but I learn more about my poetry through the eyes of others than I can ever understand under my own.

    Thank you, Brian…



  20. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    I love the subtlety of your imagination and the delicacy of its expression here.

    It is permissible to use lines from another poet if you make the acknowledgment, as you have done.


  21. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Rosemary….well, George Szrites wasn’t happy…he was very nice until I sent him my poem….and explained to him how taken I was with his title. I never read his poem, but his silence afterwards said volumes. He is a famous, society Turk amongst international poets and I was nothing…just starting out writing poetry. LOL~ Some Hungarians are like that…but most are very encouraging.

    There is a wonderful joke about Hungarian men that I am pushing: “Hungarian men take care of their wives…and any other woman that passes them by.” LOL!

    I have written that into a few emails to Hungarian women and they all agree! LOL!

    But!~ to get back to the poem….it was one of my very first pieces….and really was inspired by a tv commercial where a piano composer is stopped up from writing a score, until he looks outside and sees birds (crows) arranged on 5 telephone wires. And he plays the notes that appear. It was a wonderful commercial. Inspiring.

    Thanks, Rosemary…I was writing blind. Had no idea about poetry…and still don’t. It mostly eludes me.



  22. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    Ha ha, I don’t think it eludes you at all!


  23. ladynyo Says:

    Well, sometimes it seems a ‘mood appropriate’ issue, this writing poetry.


  24. Keneth Vetterick Says:

    I simply want to mention I am very new to blogs and truly loved you’re website. Very likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog . You definitely have great well written articles. Bless you for revealing your webpage.


  25. ladynyo Says:

    You are welcome, Kenneth.

    Lady Nyo


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