“I Remember…” Albert Kohut, 1915-1989.

My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

Dusk from the East, taken by my phone.

Today is my father’s birthday.  Had he lived, he would have been 102.  He didn’t, dying at the young age of 74.  Today I read poems at Sevananda here in Atlanta for the Earth Day Celebration, between 6-9pm.  Though is poem isn’t exactly a Nature Themed poem, my love of Nature was formed by my father’s great love of it.  He had marvelous gardens, the best tomatoes, explored the gorges of New Jersey and other places, was a long distance runner, and restored a 200 year old house in rural New Jersey.  He was so loved by everyone who knew him. It’s been almost 3 decades since he died, but I love him so much.  I just wish I could have told him, shown him more of this.


I Remember….


I remember the scream

In the middle of the night

Of something dying

Down by the river,

Killed by an owl

Or possibly a fox.



I remember bolting awake

In my parent’s bed,

My heart in my throat

My father just died

The funeral over

Sleeping in

His bed,

Afraid to move from this reality

To the next,

No comfort to be had

Even with the scent of

His tobacco in the sheets.


I wandered the house,

Touched the walls,

Looked through windows

To a landscape not

Changed over years,

Ran my hands down the

Black walnut banister,

Smooth, smooth

As if the days would turn back

Just by this touch

And he would be here.


That scream somewhere on the banks

In the middle of the night,

When I jerked from sleep to

Awake, knowing, he was dead-

The father who loved me

Was gone forever.

I knew then

I was unmoored from life

floating out of reach of love.


A scream that challenged dreams

He would come back,

He wasn’t awaiting the fire

He would wake up,

Much as I did,

In a cold-sweat fear

And slowly, slowly

resume his place in the living.


There are unseen things

That happen in the night,

Down on the river bank,

Where life is challenged by death

Where a rabbit screams his mighty last

Where the heart leaps to the throat,

Where the most we can hope

Is a silent ghost

Who walks out of the river’s fog,

Extends his arms

And embraces the sorrowing.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014

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2 Responses to ““I Remember…” Albert Kohut, 1915-1989.”

  1. kanzensakura Says:

    Oh how this poem breaks my heart. This is how it felt when my father died.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Toni! Heartbreak seems to be universal when we love someone….It’s been so long ago but it seems like yesterday. And it fulfills what I have come to believe: we are remembered for the good and compassion we show in our lives. Many deserve to be forgotten. My father doesn’t. he made a big impact on everyone who knew him…his kindness, compassion, and also to animals…always bringing home strays…stands in contrast to the unkindness of others. Funny, at his funeral there was a very old couple who knew him when he was a child, and they remembered him with great love. Even the rabbit in the cage at Tornquist’s on the corner loved him. It took me many years of a convoluted childhood to realize the good in this man. Childhood wasn’t easy with a mother who had many demons. So did my father, but he got his through WWII. I think at the end he did know how much I loved him…his first child and only daughter. Relatives told me how proud he was of me….but he died before any painting or poem. How I wish he had survived longer. Thank you, Toni. Poets seem to have a thread that joins us at the hip in these things. Bless you.


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