“Via Negativa”, from ‘Pitcher of Moon’

Winter Scene, 3

great room 4

Winter still drags on, and most of the country has been hit with deep snowstorms.  In the South, we have received almost nothing of snow, the most beautiful element of Winter.  Right now, as I write this, I look out my window with blurry eyes (it is early) and it is either rain or a very light snow falling. It is rain, the snow an illusion brought on by aging eyes.

Probably because Atlanta isn’t Boston with over 100 inches of snow this year, I look toward the solitude of being quieted in a snow fall.  The air is muffled, the greys and black of the trees stand out in sharp contrast to everything around them, the traffic halts, only the birds, cardinals and wrens and whatever attacks the bird feeders in the yards are going about their business of survival.  Inside, thanks to the labor of this fall, with a good stack of dried wood, the woodstove heats most of this old house, which is a miracle in of itself. My husband has redesigned and remodeled this 1880’s house with  a more open floor plan.  It’s not the quaint Victorians with their turrets and gingerbread, but a solid English farmhouse, built 3 miles south of downtown Atlanta, an oddity now and probably back then.  The original owners and builders were the Ragsdales, out from Lancaster, England in the 1860’s, owners of West End Horse and Mule, a carriage company. 

This poem is about the trials of Winter.  We have not experienced the continuous raw weather, the dangerous snows, the complete interruptions of power, nor the isolation where you can’t travel or even get out of your house. But this particular season changes much, gives a breather in the usual activities and within that particular space, can nudge forth a deeper creativity.  It certainly is a cessation in the usual activity of humankind and beast.

Lady Nyo

Via Negativa

Winter is the perfect channel

To carry Via Negativa,

No static

Just Silence, Stillness

And the Dark.

On this path,

We sit in contemplation,

No answers,

No struggle,

We are as empty as an eggshell.

This time is colored by little outside;

A flash of darting cardinal

Like a stream of blood

racing past our eyes,

The sound of a falling limb

makes us search the skies,

The moaning of the wind

bustling around limbs,

And the rattle of the skeleton-bones

Of attic haunts.

And yes, Death,

As Winter brings

To those who succumb to frigid winds,

And those lost from shelter.

We spiral into the Darkness,

Where we barely draw breath,

Conserve our energy,

And stare outside at such

A blank palette.

Stilling ourselves,

We draw closer to low fires,

Scratch our dried skin

Like a monk in a hair shirt,

And, with time and patience–

Spiral back into

the light of Spring.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014

originally published in “Pitcher Of Moon”, Createspace, Amazon.com, 2014

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2 Responses to ““Via Negativa”, from ‘Pitcher of Moon’”

  1. TR Says:

    Hi Jane,
    Is that a picture of your living room? It looks so cozy. 🙂 xx


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Yes..my sitting room. Not used by the menfolk, but a few dogs and cats are allowed. LOL.


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