“French Horn”

Image result for french horns


I can still hear the music

Coming over the valley,

A glissando of silver sound

My father’s French horn

All phantoms now,

The adagio of Mahler’s Fifth-

Heartbreaking, haunting  dreams,

The allegro of a Mozart something,

What I never knew

But quickening the heart.


The Aurora Borealis

Dipped her chariot too low

And a glissading curtain

Of celestial green

Ribboned the ink black sky.


My father saluted

With a cadenza of Wagner

And a Music of the Spheres,

Drawn out in lyrical passages

golden tones linked together

Floated  to those green ribbons,

A celestial duet-

With the Cosmos on one side

And a determined humanity on the other.


I can still hear the music

Coming over that valley

A haunting horn fading away

The man, too,

Both the essence of phantoms now

Into the territory of dreams.


Adagio tones

Float upon gossamer air

Birds go back to sleep

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016




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26 Responses to ““French Horn””

  1. kanzensakura Says:

    Oh my. This is lovely, haunting…I can see where you obtained your love of music. I do like how you equated the Aurora Borealis with your father’s passing and his music.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ladynyo Says:

    It actually happened in rural NJ back in the early 60’s. It was amazing and I can close my eyes and see it up in the night sky. My father’s horn was omnipresent, and he wrote out music on the back of the old plank pantry. And the first lines of his mother’s favorite hymn. Thank you, Toni…it was a quick one.


  3. Mother Willow Says:

    Oh my gosh, how beautiful this is. You have a way of writing that gives the imagery so much light making it fully alive. What an experience to be immersed in this music in the home environment. All the great composers and such melody all around.


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Such praise from an excellent writer as you are, Helene. Thank you so much! It was good and bad, because we were all musicians…I violin (really bad) and voice, brothers were instrumentalists. A lot of competition there,…and it goes on today….in our 60’s. Yikes. Both brothers are amazing musicians…but my father was the best of all of us. He played as a teenager, second horn under Toscanini. People asked him what it was like? He said he was too scared to lift his head. LOL~!


  5. whippetwisdom Says:

    This is so beautiful Jane, I especially love the image of your father and the aurora in a celestial duet :o) xxx


  6. ladynyo Says:

    My dear father took every advantage to ‘sound the horn’. I became to appreciate horn players. French horn players carry their lips home in a bucket. LOL! It’s a devilish instrument. He played from the time he was 14, and had one of the best teachers in the NE. Not because he could pay…he couldn’t, but the teacher (can’t remember his name now) was so impressed with his ability. I miss his music floating over the fields, and the long dead neighbors in rural New Jersey do, too. They listened for his notes especially during Xmas. There is something eerie and spectacular about a horn from the distance. Of course my mother followed him with a spittoon around the house. Those things collect spit fast. He cut the first knuckle of his left hand off in an accident, so he built up the valve. LOL! Nothing stopped him playing that horn(s) He had several in different keys.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Glenn Buttkus Says:

    A perfect blend of prompt & poetics–a heartfelt musical romp through several chamber(pieces) of the heart; appreciated the haiku/senryu as closer. I tend to do that a lot too.


  8. ladynyo Says:

    Ah! “Chamber pieces of the heart”! Marvelous, Glenn. thank you. The haiku is becoming a coda for me. LOL!


  9. whippetwisdom Says:

    It sounds absolutely amazing. Do you have any recordings of him playing?


  10. Victoria C. Slotto Says:

    This is so wonderful, Jane. I love the poetic qualities of your imagery and words…isn’t glissando just delicious?!


  11. whimsygizmo Says:

    Breathtaking. Goodness.


  12. ladynyo Says:

    thank you! I’ll be around tomorrow morning. Pooped here. we are having 24 degree temps and have to prepare the house and woodstove to survive tonight. But! Winter is certainly here!


  13. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Victoria. glissando is a wonderful word. I’ll make the rounds tomorrow morning. Thank you, again. And for this wonderful prompt!


  14. ladynyo Says:

    Hah. He was very young, but gave a concert in the local Mennonite church. He nailed it…at about 7 years old. A piece of Mozart and one of his own compositions. The only thing I have is a piece of staff paper where he wrote down this ABA piece. I have nothing else.

    Funny, two years later…he was in a recital and a pretty little Korean girl was ahead of him. He just lost it in mid Mozart. LOL! Lesson: never play AFTER the pretty little Korean girl. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    I so much love this one.. a wonderful bittersweet music memory. The connection between the music and nature is so strong. I can see this being sung or recited to gentle music and the sound of a brook…


  16. whippetwisdom Says:

    Wonderful! :o) xxx


  17. kim881 Says:

    I’ve finally got around to reading and I’m so glad I made sure I had plenty of time – there is some stonking poetry gong on here and yours is no exception, Jane! You’ve woven musical terms and autobiographical stories tightly and beautifully together. I can hear that ‘glissando of silver sound’ and the ‘adagio of Mahler’s Fifth- /
    Heartbreaking, haunting dreams’. I also hear melodies that quicken the heart; I know the composer but have no idea what they are called! The image you paint of the Aurora Borealis is gorgeous, which is repeated in ‘golden tones linked together /
    Floated to those green ribbons, / A celestial duet’. But most of all, your love for your father shines through.


  18. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Kim…..what a lovely review of this short poem. He was a complex, complicated man….who died November 5th, 1989….at 75. Way too young. But he was the parent I do know who always loved me. I am also a musician… but a bad instrumentalist. I went to Westminster Choir College, but it was the 60’s and life was so much more interesting outside the classroom. I was a vocalist and didn’t really use my training until 1990. LOL! Then I got a wonderful accompanist and did a couple of concerts for almost 10 years. We did a lot of Strauss/Brahms/Samuel Barber. But I had a young child who would sit under these grand pianos in practice…and I was afraid for his hearing. He survived…my voice didn’t.

    Thank you, again, Kim. Music started the poetry for me…and I bet many others here.


    Liked by 1 person

  19. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Xenia!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. ladynyo Says:

    Oh! Lovely, Bjorn! Yes, music and nature was always connected with his playing…and with him. He also was a long distance runner…marathoner. A complex and complicated man, but loved, loved, loved by many and all animals. He used to bring home stray and broken cats and dogs….fixed them, fed them, and found homes for them. Easier in the rural countryside back then. Hadn’t considered the possibilities of this being a ‘song’ but I see what you are saying. thank you, Bjorn…for your very gentle review.


  21. kim881 Says:

    Hugs back!


  22. paulscribbles Says:

    Not only is your poem a song of tribute/ recognition/ honour, to the father you once had but a still life painting of a moment that you describe so hauntingly well. Spectacular.


  23. ladynyo Says:

    Paul…that is such a lovely comment. I remember that one incident (central NJ) where the Aurora Borealis dipped so low….into our latitude…and never to be seen again. Truly a magical night with its color and my father’s music. Thank you, Paul.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. paulscribbles Says:

    As I said…you painted a picture.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. lillian Says:

    I am so late to the reading….apologies. Was at my daughter’s for the long weekend and enjoyed carovting with my grandchildren!
    Loving this beautiful response to the prompt. I especially love the haiku at the end….so sensitive, such beauty in your words. And I love the repeated refrain, “I can still hear the music
    Coming over that valley” It ties the piece together, completes the song.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Lillian…I guess because the prompt was music….it’s inevitable that a repeated refrain would appear. Some times that is the best way to tie a poem together, as you say…completes the song. Thank you, Lillian!

    Liked by 1 person

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