“Turkey Vulture”, from “Pitcher of Moon”


Since April is Poetry Month, I will try to post a new or old poem every couple of days.  Frankly, after 4 published poetry books, I thought this January  poetry was over for me, and I would concentrate on some novel work, but this didn’t seem to happen.  The poetry, such as it is, keeps coming and like a river flowing inside, the poems keep appearing.  I don’t have any answers as to why this is, because I never started out as a poet; I thought novels, short stories was what I was destined to write.  However, I am reading Dr. Rollo May’s “The Courage to Create” and perhaps this gives some leads where creativity come from.  My belief is creativty comes from our encounter with opposition.  Courage is needed for that in some measure.

I am glad, now, about the poetry, because I find poetry to be something deep inside the psyche, something that appears unbidden mostly, and actually, in a strange way, therapeutic.  “Turkey Vulture” was written almost two years ago after a series of phone calls to a sister of a sisterinlaw. I had never met Diana, but this poem comes from her direct experience feeding strays of different species.  “Frank” was the name she called the turkey vulture.  Diana would not use these same words as Rollo May, but I think she has the essence of what he writes in her life.  She has the courage to go up against opposition on many levels and this is a good form of creativity.  I have love and respect for this woman who does not shy away from these huge birds, especially when a possum rattled my cage the other night.

Lady Nyo





I once knew a woman

Living in a scrubby trailer park

Down near the scrub pines of Florida.


She was poor as a church mouse,

half–crazed by life.

She fed all strays

-was the pariah of the neighborhood.


Every evening a flock of vultures,

Like fixed-wing aircraft,

Would skim the pines,

And land in a muddle of feathers,

Awkward birds out of their element

Land and with a group waddle

Come to the cat food offered in pans.


They were patient guests

And waited for the strays to finish.


There was decorum

Among them,

These fierce looking birds

Perhaps they knew

The charity offered

Had humbled their nature:

Or perhaps they had reformed;

I don’t know

But they had a leader named “Frank”

Who held back until the others were done.


Frank would never face you;

He sat sideways

Though I believe he peeked.

Perhaps he was ashamed

A lord of the sky

Brought down to this station,

To fill his crop with kibble

From a dented metal pan.


Come sit with me.

Extend a feather,

I promise not to stare.

Your warty red neck,

Your hang-dog countenance

Does not disturb me.


Come sit beside me,

Let our talons dig into the sand

Let the ocean cleanse our feathers

I will call you friend, brother

For the gift of trust

You have brought on your wings.



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014

From “Pitcher Of Moon




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2 Responses to ““Turkey Vulture”, from “Pitcher of Moon””

  1. Teresa Taylor Says:

    Lady Nyo, After reading your post on another site (which interested me), I followed you here ! – And I could not believe you were discussing May’s “Courage to Create”. Many many years ago I read the same book – and I was struck by the same passage. It was like a bell. I could not yet follow it to its source, that ringing, it took years. But I finally came to see clearly THE LIE between my mother and I, and all the damage it did. – You helped someone today. The post I read filled my heart and mind with Light. Thank you.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Dear Teresa! THIS is the reason I maintain this blog! The connections, the commonality of issues, damage that so many of us endure as children, and especially between the relationship between our mothers and ourselves….well, when we hear from others, we realize that we are not alone in this confusing world.

    Rollo May made an impact on me, and I didn’t even finish his book before I wrote that essay! LOL! Of course, that LIE…that our mothers tell themselves and others…and that we believe for years…well, that is the seat of our damage and it does take many, many years to work out and begin a recovery. For some? They never do, and this is the tragedy.

    I have found that amongst ACoNs (Adult Children of Narcissists) that some do understand this lie, and some don’t…or are looking for the issue in their relationships with ex husbands, boyfriends, colleagues, etc….but I believe the seat of this suffering is formed in our childhood. Our parents so many of them, undercut our abilities to face down the future narcissists in our lives. We are made vulnerable, mauled over, by our earliest experiences. So many are, but society never wants to blame the mother. So the damage and confusing and dismay continues. .

    This is very much part of the lie that Dr. May pointed out in his book. There is not just one aspect of “The Lie”….it’s multifaceted. My former inlaws told me to put aside any education for myself until my ‘husband’ got through college. And I was supporting him for 12 years. He didn’t work. The month he got his degree, he left, helped by his parents. Apparently I was not worthy of an education by them also.

    The issue grates, but clarity only comes in time. You go on to achieve what you can do….and Rollo May spoke very elegantly to this process: this “centeredness’ inside that is a refuge from all this outside. And that became a ‘fanshen’ (a turning point in Chinese) for me. To pick carefully the friends and even relatives you want to be influenced by. Just because they are blood doesn’t mean that they are good for you. Narcissists are never good for any living thing. They drain energy, they make scapegoats of certain children, they lie and rewrite history. They are vampires.

    If I helped someone today, that is the greatest gift one can receive. Thank you, Teresa. Your comment filled my heart and mind with Light and gratitude.

    Blessings! Jane
    PS: that Essay on “Courage to Create” is actually in three parts: Part One, Part Two, and the third titled: “Scapegoats and Golden Children: All Damaged in the End.” I believe I posted them one after another around November, 2014. Since narcissism and creativity is deeply bound up, I was trying to unravel the issue of creativity and what stopped us. Or what stopped me, until I realized that we can read May, but we need to sum up our own experiences. So my essays are a ‘riff’ on some fundamentals of Rollo May. I wish more of my friends would read these essays because they gave those that did some great relief from their own confusion and suffering. But creativity is the way out of the morass I believe.


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