“The High Road”


“Sea Eagle”, jane kohut-bartels, watercolor, 2001


The High Road

Asking directions to the high road,

I got shrugs and blank stares

yet knew there were two roads-

both led into infinity

both coursed through

all manner of life with pitfalls, trenches

where legs were broken

skulls rattled loose from moorings

like ships in high winds, dangerous waters.


What was the difference

and why should it matter?

The effort cost

energy regardless the choosing.


An old man sat at the crossroads,

a bum, grizzled gray hair

sprouting porcupine’s quills,

rheumy, pale eyes staring at the world–

little interest in what passed by.


I asked him the way to the High Road

and with a toothless grin

he stared at my feet, my hands,

lifted his eyes to my face.

I thought him mad and cursed myself

(asking questions of a fool!)

was moving away when I heard his voice:


“Did I know of the eagle and crow,

how they soared upon thermals

higher and higher

became dark, formless specks upon a limitless sky,

lost to human eye, invisible even to gods?”


I thought him crazed and started away-

he cackled and spat on the ground.

Something made me turn, startled,

And saw the wisdom of Solomon in his

now- shining eyes.



“The crow harries the eagle, the eagle flies higher.

Vengeful, annoying crow flies round eagle’s wing

turning this way and that, yet the eagle flaps upward

soars upon thinning air until the crow

breathless and spent, drops to the common ground-

falls to his death.”


“The High Road, the path of the eagle.

The low road, the path of the crow,

mingling with dullards

daring nothing, with eyes cast downward

only saving a bit of energy

learning nothing of worth.”


Silently he sat, an old man

eyes glazed with age and fatigue.

With a nod to his wisdom, a toss of a coin

I gathered my strength and pushed onward,

Upwards, the lift of eagles, now under my limbs.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016, first published in  “Pitcher of Moon”, Amazon.com 2014








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13 Responses to ““The High Road””

  1. hayesspencer Says:

    Excellent! And as usual, I love your artwork


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Ah….Thanks. Some (a while ago) commented it was ‘too sentimental’. LOL! I guess in the eye of the beholder…thanks, Toni…that watercolor I started years ago, and I had to grow into finishing it. It’s really big painting for a watercolor. Thank you so much.


  3. charliezero1.wordpress.com Says:

    This poem of yours the world should read. It strikes a powerful punch. The art work is amazing…You’ve injected me with such incredible visuals I will never forget this poem. My favorite by you. 🙂


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Thanks, Charlie…this poem I’ve posted a few times before, and basically no one comments or even reads. I’ve about given up on online poetry sites: I think for me, the more important issues are this: what should poets be doing with their poety? Do we have any cultural responsibilities except to ourselves? , etc. You get the idea. It seems most sites just want to flash their poetry, but no one tackles the important questions underneath. Even to this issue of ‘what kind of poetry do you write?’. I know there are many forms…narrative, lyrical, abstract, etc…but it makes me scratch my head. I want to know but it seems others don’t care. That of course goes beyond the issue of ‘poetry criticism’ that people seem to be very shy of. Well, thank you again. your comment puts the air under my own wings and helps me go on.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. charliezero1.wordpress.com Says:

    I know exactly what you mean. I too, stopped at one point in my life posting for the very same reason. Afterwards, I had to come back and write and post again to make something of poetry and its message.

    I will remind a loyal reader to you. You have very important poetry to write. Don’t stop and don’t leave…you are important writer to me. 🙂


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Well! How can I leave with such an appeal! LOL! Thank you, Charlie. Perhaps there are more of us than we would know. And perhaps these same issues are things that make us grow and band us together? I think we just need to reach out to other poets….and raise these same issues. I have raised these very same issues on my blog a few years ago, and there were some great responders. Unfortunately one of them, Marge Chester died soon after. I knew her for 25 years….and though she wasn’t a poet, she had a discerning eye and was a loyal reader and commentator. I miss her still. I knew her pre-poetry, and it’s really rare to find someone who isn’t a poet be so good at these issues. I understand your leaving and then coming back. I think we leave because we aren’t satisfied in what we are seeing in their various poetry sites, and then we come back….hoping that things have changed. Sometimes some things have changed, but mostly not. We need to ‘take the High Road’ on these things and realize that our queries are important to us, and sometimes we just have to work them out alone. Thank you, dear heart!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. charliezero1.wordpress.com Says:

    I’m so glad you feel this way. I was afraid to feel what you felt before. I feel comfortable expressing what we have in common.

    I’m with you all the way. Things have got to change. People need to read good poetry.

    This is for you hope you like.


  8. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Charlie! I’ll watch it this evening. Working on a novel…”The Kimono”…a time warp from 21 st century to 17th Japan. Hope to publish it in this coming summer. have written this one for 8 years. It’s so important not to let other people and sites to detour you in your own work. Of course, people will do this because it’s part of human nature, but we have to be in control of our selves. We do these things …answer the call of everything else except what we are supposed to be doing,…because we don’t have confidence in our own work. It’s just applying ourselves deeply and confidence comes later.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. paul scribbles Says:

    I really liked this poem. I am familiar with high and low roads living in Scotland, although there may be different meaning attached to them by locals…but I think all would agree the high road is always more exhilarating…and you paint so well…I must have missed that before now…the Sea Eagle is alive. Amazing.


  10. ladynyo Says:

    Thanks, Paul! I like this poem, too. It reminds me to try and take the high road… I was in Scotland in 1990….it was so wonderful. I was supposed to go study a sculpture course in U. of Edinburgh, but the countryside was so beautiful….that I couldn’t sit in a class…and ditched it. Just travelled for a month around Scotland, from Edinburgh to Inverness to the top of Scotland, out to Isle of Sky during a storm (October) where the ferry took in 6 inches of water and I thought we were sinking but no one was alarmed at all…just me. LOL!… I remember taking the train from Inverness to somewhere, and we were the only ones on the train and the conductor was marvelous…sharing his breakfast with two Yanks, and mountains and countryside were marvelous to behold! Scotland was my favorite country in Europe. I want to go back again…Never got enough of Scotland. you are lucky you live there. I was a landscape and bird painter on and off for 30 years…self taught, but turned to poetry 10 years ago…now I want to get back to painting and am slowly doing so. Was an oil painter until ’95 and switched to watercolor and will never go back. Love watercolor! It’s such an amazing medium. Thank you so much for reading and your wonderful comment. It adds the lift under my own wings!


  11. Pleasant Street Says:

    You’re a good storyteller, I like this lots.
    Some people are quiet, they read and move on but it’s always worth it to put your words out there…


  12. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! I’m thinking some words don’t need to be put out there….LOL! I have lots of them that should be under the covers. Thank you for reading and your kind comment. I am half Hungarian, and that culture are great story tellers.


  13. hayesspencer Says:

    wow. Usually watercolors are smaller. Good for you!


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