Earth Day 2014

Viriditas, jane kohut-bartels, wc. 2001



the fish pond this Earth Day

the fish pond this Earth Day


When the whole world should celebrate, but shouldn’t EVERY DAY be Earth Day?

We concentrate, as we should, on environmental impacts: pollution, energy issues, our polluted seas, etc. but today I am thinking of something else:  that we have squeezed other species out of their natural environments and they have moved within our expanding communities. Fox, bear, opossum, racoons, coyotes, deer,  etc. are prominant here in my urban neighborhood, and the attitudes about this are extreme.  The poem below, “The Fox” has thoughts  about our environment, humankind, religion and the species we share this Earth with.  Something we should be mindful of every day, not just on Earth Day.

Lady Nyo




Yanked from sleep

By a scream

Wrapping around the belly,

Fueled by some instinct of

Long buried ancestors.


Bolting upright

Knowing without knowing

A terrible slaughter was tearing

The soft night apart.

I had heard that sound before.


Coming fully awake,

heart pounding through my chest

I listened again, and there!

The vocals of a hen attacked

By something stealing through

The soft night, waiting beyond

The edge of sleep.


Three dogs have I

City dogs, though with

The blood of once-fierce hounds.

Not one of them would

Run out to do battle.

Grabbing the collar of the

Biggest, he turned and bit me-

He was no fool.

There was danger

In that dark night-

He was doing his best

To avoid it.


Stupid hounds!

I’ll face the monsters

Out there myself!

And switching on the porch light

I saw the dark flight of something

Fly across my yard and vision,

Take a sharp left and disappear

Into the night where porch light met

A dismal darkness.


Running to the chicken coop,

Found a young hen, a pile of feathers

Mounded around her, still alive

Clucking mournfully.

How do you comfort a tail- less hen

At dawn, with a crescent moon

Throwing feeble light upon the ground of slaughter?


I’ve raised hens for enough years

To know they are merciless to the injured.

But the events of the night

Had stunned their own instincts

And she burrowed amongst them,

They crowding around, covering with feathers and warmth,

Rocked out of their slumber

Clucking out warnings to further attackers:

Let the night and its beasts hear their rage!


In the morning I asked my neighbor

Once a south-Georgia farm boy what to do.

His answer was bloodier than

The attack of this young fox,

For young he must be,

Not to kill his prey on first strike.


“Spread poison in the kudzu,

Here, I’ll lend you a shotgun-

Fox be vermin and bred for no good.”


There is something mystical

In a fox who dares to live in a city.

Or desperate.

Birthed in the kudzu growing

From the leveling of a small forest

Sheltered in one-foot wide drainpipes,

Feeding on rats and rabbits

With a taste for chicken from time to time.


I’ll lock up my chickens

Let a dog prowl the fence,

And leave off the

Modern methods of slaughter.


There must be a balance in nature

As it struggles to right itself

To bypass concrete and the destruction

Of habitat by mankind.

There will be a balance

And I will stand with the foxes.


Oh, it is a marvel and a mystery!

For every species is the center of its universe,

If only for him.


We are connected by a fine thread to all else,

Our survival depends upon this,

Yet our eyes are blinded to the truth

And something in the proclamation

Of “Inheriting the Earth”

Lies and trips us up,

And we are no more shepherds

Of these species than wolves

In human skin.


The world is what it is,

With its own rules of hunger, survival,

We just a cog in this great Mandala,

And most of us attempt to bypass

These laws of nature, still clothed with

Dead dreams of conquerors.


And some of us know this deep in our bones.


We are blind to the beauty of life

That we are not alone.

The tragedy would be if we were,

And we deny our connection to what we now proclaim “vermin”,

Believing for some bad reason this makes us more human.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014, from “Pitcher of Moon”

My new book, “Pitcher of Moon” is available from Amazon!
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6 Responses to “Earth Day 2014”

  1. czbz Says:

    That was just….fantastic. I loved it! Thank you.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    You are welcome, and thank you!



  3. Caliban's Sister Says:

    What CZBZ said. And yes, hens ARE merciless to the injured.
    ps I’m locked out of my email account for some reason, password won’t recognize. xo CS


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Sweetie!

    Oh, that’s a pain, the email thing. Hope you can get it resolved…has happened to me and boy, it’s confusing.

    Mah. Hens. Today they are trying to eat up all my new born grass in the back yard, and leaving their eggs where I can’t find them. I try to give them freedom from their very nice chicken yard, but they’ve eaten all the grass in there so they need some freedom to eat other plants: like my roses, tulips, geraniums and they are leaving the foxglove alone at least. Smart hens.

    Beautiful Spring! Finally, but Maine has snow in parts. LOL!~

    Love, Jane


  5. TR Says:

    A wonderful poem, wow: “These laws of nature, still clothed with

    Dead dreams of conquerors.” That is a haunting line. xx


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you for reading this poem, TR. I thought that poetry was over at the start of the year, but seems that it keeps bothering me. LOL!

    That poem “The Fox” is in the new book as you know.

    Hugs, Jane


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