“Olsen’s Pond”, and an opinion concerning the tragedy in Paris this week.


What we have seen of the tragedy in Paris this week is heartbreaking.   The insanity of these Islamic terrorists is beyond anything imaginable.  It is the same Nazi mentality that tormented the world decades ago. How do we protect our freedom of speech and also artistic creativity?  And uphill battle to do so, but there is no choice except to continue to write, create and speak out. But with a higher purpose. 

I don’t think it prudent to pull the whiskers of extremists. These cartoons seem  to be not only vulgar, but jejune. That includes all other religions.  It is just tasteless.  Freedom of speech doesn’t include yelling ‘fire’ in a theater, and watching the stampede regardless what some may think. 

Hopefully  moderate Muslims  understand  the world will not tolerate the barbarity of violence much longer.   They also suffer from the savagery of  Islamic extremists, and need to unite with the world against this savagery.  They are also in peril.

Je suis Charlie, aussi.


Childhood in the country has special memories, good and tragic.  Perhaps today things are different, but when I was a child tragedies happened.  Just a part of life then.  We also rode our bikes without helmets.

Lady Nyo

Olsen’s Pond

I returned to the old house,

now still, vacant,

staring with unshaded eyes

upon a snowy front garden,

shrubs overgrown with the

lustiness of summer and neglect

now split to the ground,

taxed with a heavy snow.

I tried to light the parlor stove,

old cranky cast iron smoker

clanking and rattling

in the best of times

now given up the ghost,

cold metal unyielding to wadded paper

and an old mouse nest.

The silence of the rooms only broken

by hissing wind whipping around  eaves

rattling old bones in the attic,

stirring the haunts sleeping in  corners.

It took  time for twigs to catch,

the water to turn coffee,

bacon and eggs brought from the city

and cooked in an old iron skillet–

tasting far better in the country air.

I looked down at hands cracked

in the brittle winter light,

moisture gone,

hair static with electricity,

feet numb from the chill,

the woodstove not giving

more heat than an icicle.

I walked down to Olsen’s pond,

looked through the glassine surface

remembered the boy who had fallen

through the ice while playing hockey–

slipped under the thin cover, disappearing

without a sound,

only noticed when our puck flew

Up in the air and he, the guard, missing.

We skated to the edge, threw bodies flat

trying to grab him just out of reach,

crying like babies, snot running down chins,

knowing he was floating just under the ice,

silenced as the lamb he was.

Childhood ended that day for most of us.

We drifted away to the city,

our skates and sticks put up,

Olsen’s pond deserted like a haunted minefield.

Fifty years ago I still remember that day

when stretched as far as I could

my belly freezing on treacherous ice,

grasping to reach a life just out of sight,

his muffler and stick floating to the surface–

The boy, the important part,

gone for good from a chilly winter day.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015, originally published in “White Cranes” by Lulu.com

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2 Responses to ““Olsen’s Pond”, and an opinion concerning the tragedy in Paris this week.”

  1. Liras Says:

    Perfection, as usual. Funny how the past sometimes seems just like yesterday.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hello Liras…..so good to hear from you. Yes, it’s true the past seems like yesterday. Especially when we remember something important from childhood.

    Hope you are well, and I’ll contact you for a chat very soon. Have missed you.

    Hugs, Jane


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