“The Dark Leans In”….a new poem



April is Poetry Month.  Last night, late last night, I heard the hooting of a wood owl and earlier the cries of mourning doves.  The imagination catches fire when you are alone and it is dark.  This poem is wet behind the ears and will be reworked.

Lady Nyo

“The night belongs to other species”….this line came true just last night!~  I was outside, late, calling in two stubborn cats.  I had a cat food can that I was tripping the lid piece, thumping it loudly. It usually works.  The cats made their way up the walk but so did a full grown opossum, not at all afraid of me as he quickly moved up the brick walk to the stoop.  I was scared and yelled at him (her?) and threw the can of catfood at him, missed, and he took a sharp right to where the door of the cat room is.  Apparently he is familiar with our house!  My cats just acted like he was a ‘weird cousin’ and finally came in.  Didn’t see the possum this morning but I bet he will be back.  We are three miles frm downtown Atlanta, an urban area and this shows me  our razing of trees and our  ‘development’ brings these critters right into our lives.  It makes it clearer  we only share this planet, and in our arrogance we think we are the dominant species. We need to make right  for habitat we have destroyed.


The Dark Leans In


The dark leaned in, cool and necessary

The wind quieted the

hambone frenzy of wind chimes;

they ceased their cacophony,

the birds this spring night

tested their dusk calls,

unsure of voices muted

by the silence of the past winter.


Off in the distance a lone train whistle

perhaps the last train home

Before night blackened the earth.


Out in the country

A hand before a face was not there

Until the arising of a fat enough moon.


How silent the night!

Given over to owl hoots,

Mourning doves

And the rustle of something

In the tall weeds,

Something mysterious

But probably not.


The night is the territory of creatures

With night vision and silent flights

Of owls with upturned ends of wings,

Silent, silent, deadly drones

With red eyes like spooks

And talons like razors.


A banshee scream of prey

raises the hair on my arms.


No man walks about the dark,

No one would without some primordial fear

Knowing what is given by nature is not

On par with the lowliness creature of this dark.


Only the slight babble of the brook,

The brook that fears no rocks

Or fallen limbs or anything except drought

Makes the link to daylight where we

Are sure of our place, our courage renewed.


The night belongs to other species

As the dark leans in, cool and necessary

The wind picks up and rattles leaves beneath our feet

And we turn our steps towards a world

Of less mystery.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014











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8 Responses to ““The Dark Leans In”….a new poem”

  1. TR Says:

    Hi Jane,
    Great poem about darkness. I remember another wonderful poem about night you had written where boundaries are masked. That is what I feel when I read your poems about night. How in nature all becomes one in the night and in daylight our courage is renewed. And that the night belongs to other species. Our fear becomes heightened when all appears as one. xxTR


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi TR! Thank you for reading and liking this new poem. It’s so new and I have to look at it again and again.

    Night has specific boundaries…mentally and physically. Our courage only comes in the daylight, at least for me. I think I was scared last night, being alone right now. yes, the night belongs to the other species.

    I just received word that my 102 year old Aunt Jean is in the hospital. She became dehydated over the weekend, and you know how much I love her…she is my true mother…I call her Anya which is Hungarian for mother. So, she’s old but she’s strong and has a great attitude. I am hoping she pulls through.

    Love, Jane


  3. TR Says:

    Oh no, thinking of you and your aunt and sending positive vibes for a quick recovery. Hugs, TR


  4. ladynyo Says:

    thank you, TR….but at 102 (almost) I know that time isn’t on her side….but we can always hope.

    Love, Jane


  5. czbz Says:

    Hello dear Jane,

    Like TR, this poem put me in the mid of this past winter as another fear came to light, the banshee scream of losing a child to disease. That is how it felt when learning of my daughter’s MS, yet as the morning comes and we can see more clearly in the light, midnight fears dissipate.

    I am so very sorry to hear about your Aunt. No matter the age, losing a beloved relative in a ‘narcissistic family’ is like losing an essential anchor. They were there “in the darkest of nights” and its a huge loss to the children whose love was reciprocated by a loving adult, a role model, someone they could look up to and admire with returned affection. It is such a loss to us when they pass away so please rely on your friends to support you during your grief!

    That said, she may recover and leave the hospital although once people reach this age, “recovery” takes on a different meaning, doesn’t it?

    My relatives are centenarians. My favorite Aunt in the whole world passed away a couple of years ago. She was 100 and I was flooded with memories of her kindnesses and devotion. She was a guiding light during my divorce. Her indomitable spirit and generosity still come to mind when I’m facing difficulties in my life. She wouldn’t give up, so neither can I. She loved people in spite of her burdens and so can I. See how these remarkable people leave a lasting legacy? Her behaviors that I I wanted to emulate are also valued by my daughter and so life goes.



  6. ladynyo Says:

    Dear CZ, I can’t think of a comment that goes so straight to my heart by so many paths….Thank you so much. As you know, Aunt Jean, at almost 102, has taken me in as her daughter. She had two, Carol who died in the early 90’s I believe and her other daughter, Pam who has become so dear to me. Cousins I never really knew because of my mother’s issues. You are so right: recovery takes a different meaning at this age of my dear Aunt Jean. You were left with a marvelous legacy, CZ, that appears in all your writings and I am sure in your ‘real’ life with family. You are a blessing to so many, and also to me. Your family and especially your daughter are blessed to have you.

    My Aunt Jean, a woman whom I call “Anya” (Hungarian for mother) has loomed large in my life over the past 20 years especially. I started this blog almost 6 years ago in June with a story about her. I have learned over the years how indominable and loving she is: strength, power doesn’t have to be an issue of narcissism and control as I only knew it from another. I will write a bit later about her, especially if she dies and this is something that I am dreading, but there is always hope….I knew of a Dr. Denmark, a pediatrician here in Georgia who very shortly died at 115. Amazing. I am hoping that my dear Aunt Jean lives that long. She has the spirit and heart for it. She went back to Hungary in 1936 at 24 years old to argue before the Nazi-led courts of Hungary for the return of her family’s land. They were considered ‘rich gentry’ and their vineyards were taken…and of course, they were destroyed by the following Communists in a collectivation scheme. At 24 this burden was on her shoulders…and about a year ago on the phone she told me about the trip over on the original “Queen Mary” and back and her female companion. It was quite a tale.

    Although she is relative by marriage, I hope that just rubbing up against her and her marvelous pastries, I have gained some strength and fortitude from this marvelous and much loved woman. I can only hope but she has been my shining star for years and will continue to have any book I write in the future dedicated to her. You know the strength and goodness of a relative like your aunt and the impact she has left on you. Brava, CZ. These are the lessons that take us through life and past these burdens. Your daughter has twice the good example in her and you.



  7. czbz Says:

    What a fascinating woman! Record her history, Jane! I would so love to read about her (far more interesting than narcissistic mothers, ha!). It fills my heart with hope when strong ancestors like your Aunt, set the foundation for women like yourself.

    Whether a person does ANYTHING of historical significance or not, their lives are meaningful because of their connections to other people. Younger relatives “mirror” their example. When you hear cousins saying they want to be like “Aunt Jean”, you know she did more with her life than those long lists of accomplished people on Wikipedia pages.

    I think about the values my dear Aunt lived by and all the relatives in my family with similar values. We have many wonderful people on my mother and father’s side, whose hearts were bigger than their wallets, whose love more secure than their mortgage. ha! Their steadfastness during “dark nights of the soul” has been invaluable the past ten years of my life.

    It’s easy to get feeling sorry for ourselves, as if we’re the only people to endure insult and bad fortune. Then my mind thinks back to how Aunt Ora handled the death of her husband; how my grandfather preserved the life of his fragile grandson; and my challenges are no different than the miseries others have and will face in the future. Knowing they loved me made a significant difference whenever I felt rejected, abandoned, defective.

    I would love to read more about your Aunt Jean. ❤


  8. ladynyo Says:

    And you will, dearheart. her life is coming to a close, but I will never forget her. She started writing to me around 10 years ago, weekly, and sometimes 2=3 times a week! She told me so much about life, and her history, and that she loved space travel….and that she has (and I have seen them..) all the astronauts pix with autographs. She asked for Sagan’s “Cosmos” three Xmas ago, and there it was when I visited her last (and the first time in 24 years) on her hall table. She has written her autobiography, but it’s not put in book form. Her daughter Pam has it.

    Our challenges are no different, and probably not as great as these people before us. They went through depression and WWII and deaths, and no penicillin and no diswashers, washing machines (early) but they were very ‘social’ creatures in the best meanings. They honored history and family and have good morals..mostly. LOL!

    Exactly…knowing my Aunt Jean loved me when I WAS rejected and abanoned made all the difference in my life. I have her collection of probably 100’s of letters she sent me, all with interesting stamps. International stamps, not plain ‘forever’ stamps as we use. LOL!

    Love, and I’ll tell you privately the rest of the story.



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