“Blackberry Winter”, a poem

 April is Poetry Month.  There are some great online poets, unfortunately I don’t know of any local poets  I could recommend.  If  Atlanta is a town that embraces poetry, it has eluded me, so I  am going to be posting some of my favorite poets, in particular  William Stafford (1914-1993).  Stafford is a voice of American poetry and one who is not well known amongst many American poets.   His voice is a steady voice, born in the Midwest and the forests where he was doing alternative service during WWII.   Stafford is not well known to many but I have found  some Indian poets in Mumbai, etc. have studied him in university    and  found him to be an authentic American voice.  William Stafford speaks to our hearts with poetry of challenge and consolation.  We are enriched with reading his verse.

Lady Nyo





“Blackberry Winter” is a Southern term used when there is a cold spell in the mid spring and the blackberries are just beginning to bloom. They fruit around mid to late June.

This period is also called “Dogwood Winter”, etc.  I’ve shared blackberries in the North Carolina mountains with a cotton mouth snake that I didn’t notice was under the bushes, eating the blackberries, too.  I moved away quickly, supposing that there were more somewhere else.

Lady Nyo



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 last rotting tooth.

The blackberries are blooming.

White collar frills surrounding

Kernels of lusty fruit,

Soon to be 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 Winter’s frayed glory.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2014

“Blackberry Winter” from “White Cranes of Heaven”,  Lulu.com, 2011

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23 Responses to ““Blackberry Winter”, a poem”

  1. K. A. Brace Says:

    Very pretty and comfy sounding Jane. >KB


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi KB! First, thank you for reading and your comment.

    It’s about to rain, expecting thunderstorms, but not of the violent type this morning…gray and threatening out, but we need some relief from the pollen. Nature’s fertilization. Everything is green outside, including all the cars. LOL!

    It actually is too warm outside for spring….yesterday hit 81. IF it does this so early in the spring, what will summer look like? Yikes! But the snows of this winter all over the country could use some heat. Hope you are well.

    Jane….Oh! Are you familiar with William Stafford? I have a couple of his poetry books..and he is marvelous….a good American poet that is not obscure or so ‘out there’ that you can’t read with comfort. His work goes straight to my heart and though I came late to him , only about a year ago….he stays uppermost in my mind. A very interesting poet, and one that isn’t well known, at least amongst some of the poets i have known over the years. Too bad, because he’s like Copeland in his ‘music’. J.


  3. K. A. Brace Says:



  4. Caliban's Sister Says:

    love this one. “Its last rotting tooth.” True dat. I noticed yesterday how there are still precious few buds on the trees. A beautiful poem, capturing how winter, hanging on too long, becomes a personification of mean-spiritedness.


  5. ladynyo Says:

    Good Morning, CS, or Guten Tag! (Husband is still in Hamburg and is picking up a little German and he said that “poetry is hot there”. LOL!)

    Yeap! that’s a great way to describe Winter of this year: mean-spiritedness. Exactly. Actually, Spring has Sprung here in Atlanta and the pollen is covering everything green. Achoo! I was looking this morning at the tender green of trees, it doesn’t last long, pasted against the dull white of a soon-to-be raining day. It’s etheral and so beautiful, these tender greens of different hues. The oaks, the sumachs, even the pecans are staining the sky, and on a lower level, the lavender of the wild plums and a few sprays of wisteria. Tender, tender, tender, but it won’t last long. I think this summer will be a scorcher.

    Thank you, CS, for reading and your comment. Your spring will bud out and you will be dealing with pollen like the rest of us soon. Hopefully, where you are you will have less allergens.

    Hugs, Jane


  6. TR Says:

    Hi Jane,
    “Winter does not play fair. It will not give up the ghost”

    This connects me to your other poems on winter. The time of rest and reflection of ghost past. And how spring brings hope and an awakening but how winter can still impede on us from moving forward.

    Really enjoyed this poem.



  7. ladynyo Says:

    Hi TR!~

    Thank you for reading and commenting on this poem. I love winter, but I think you are right: winter can impeded us on moving forward. I love winter because for some reason, it is the time when I feel most fruitful in poetry. LOL!! That clean, blank space for thoughts and reflections unimpeded by the beauty of spring. Every winter I plan to retreat with Rober Frost and every winter I don’t. LOL!

    I have written a lot of poems on winter but I feel a connection here….perhaps it’s the ghostly thing you mentioned. I feel invisible in Winter, and perhaps that is good for a poet.

    Love, Jane


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