“A Winter Poem Outside My Window”


Don’t know who is hosting dversepoets.com tonight, (it’s Bjorn!) but it’s Open Link Night where you can post ONE poem of your choosing.  It’s my favorite time of the month.


(Watercolor, Untitled, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2008)


The soil has lost its excellence.
The worms have gone deep into
The sullen earth and hide
I imagine curled up,
Embracing worm castings
And each other,
Desiccated former selves
Pale little ghosts
Awaiting the fertility of spring
The watering of a constant rain.

I squandered the bloom months,
Thinking paper and pen
Would bring its own blossoming
Scarcely noticing the vitality outside
My window,
Allowing cabbage moths and beetles
To dominate what I believed to be
My nod to farming,
To self-sufficiency,
My tithe to the earth.

Ah, the soil is hardened
By the sins of the season.
Sharp winds make
Their own furrows
The cold buries down,
Deep down
Torments any life
That would show its feckless head.
Especially those hopeful worms
Now bundled in worm-sleep.

The words, verse,
I chose to cultivate
Over cabbage, collards
Failed to bloom.
Better I had plied the hoe
And bucket to that
Than a fevered pen
To paper.

It is now winter
And the fallow earth
Plays a waiting game
Knows I have failed
In paper and soil
And mocks me with a barrenness
I feel inside and out.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2016

(This poem first published in “Pitcher of Moon”, Amazon.com 2014)



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35 Responses to ““A Winter Poem Outside My Window””

  1. kanzensakura Says:

    Oh my Jane. This is gorgeous. I love your imaginings about the world and about the ungrowth of cabbages and collards.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kim881 Says:

    I love this poem, Jane! I love the way it starts in the soil with the worms, ,
    ‘Desiccated former selves
    Pale little ghosts
    Awaiting the fertility of spring’
    and continues through the ‘bloom months’,
    ‘Scarcely noticing the vitality outside
    My window,
    Allowing cabbage moths and beetles
    To dominate what I believed to be
    My nod to farming’,
    The poem pushes its way through.hardened soil and sharp winds back to the worms and although
    ‘It is now winter
    And the fallow earth
    Plays a waiting game
    Knows I have failed
    In paper and soil’
    your poem blooms, a pale worm-flower..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you Kim! That is a lovely and complete analysis of a poem! Sometimes we get lucky in writing poems but you certainly saw the patterns I don’t think I saw consciously. Thank you, again!


  4. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! I love your seeing the ungrowth of cabbages and collards….a vital source of food here in the South!. Thank you, Toni/Kanzen, for reading and your lovely comment. Had to have the computer guy in this morning….the damn Microsoft edge updates hung up the computer since yesterday. Ugh. Always something! That is why books are better than computers! Hugs to you, dear heart.


  5. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    There is nothing more depressing than fail in gardening… somehow the joy in seeing things grow is the best of joy. Love the image of those earth worms hiding.

    We need a fertile soil for words too, and I think you do and congrats on the publication.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Friend Bjorn. Gardening reunites us with the important things in life, in our existence. Soil, food, worms (we don’t get away from those little buggers…) are essential. And perhaps to our poetry? If you are referring to “Kimono” this 12 year in the making novel I just finished and the end edits….thank you! I am suffering fatigue from it all….and it was the edits (with a friend editor ) that killed me. I think this poem above fits my present mood. LOL!


  7. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    Editing is one of the reason I will never write a longer story… (hope your friend is still friendly)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ladynyo Says:

    ROTF. Just. We have worked together for 10 years, and he has formatted the last 4 books. bless his little pointed head. This is the first time he came in (invited by me…) in suggesting edits. And it’s a better novel because he is a better writer. Grammatically. But we knocked heads together quite a lot over the past year. And he plied the whip! I am exhausted because we did things so fast. He knew nothing about 16th century Japanese culture and I have been studying it for over 15 years so that was a problem. I had to explain every damn thing, but it was good because he is an example of the general reader who knows little or nothing about the culture. He’s a good egg, and I still love him….and we will do another book of mine again…but if I could get my hands around his neck……Well, good thing he’s in Australia! (but he’s been here visiting us twice in the past few years…..LOL)


  9. sanaarizvi Says:

    “the soil is hardened by the sins of the season”… my goodness this is poignant! Beautifully penned.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Gay Reiser Cannon Says:

    How beautiful are your paintings Jane!. I’ve been enjoying the ones you put up on FB, but these are gorgeous. The poem too..subtle, the metaphor moving in the poem as the worms wriggle in the earth – the full meaning not explicated, unfolded, turned over until the very end. So well done! Sorry I’ve been AWOL so long. My writing is sporadic at best. Surely I have things to say, but the words are not bubbling to the top as sometimes happens to me. Thank you for you1

    Liked by 2 people

  11. MarinaSofia Says:

    Aww, that sounds very mournful – I for one would FAR rather write than garden and refuse to listen to any reproaches from the mud-filled garden! Such a beautiful sense of the passing of seasons though, passing of life – I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Frank J. Tassone Says:

    A vivid capture of a gardening fail. I relate. Mira is the gardener, and one year we lost all of our vegetables to deer, rabbits, and a famished woodchuck! She nearly gave up on gardening the next season!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. ladynyo Says:

    LOL Frank…I can see why she would give up! I depend upon my tomatoes (Rutgers) for all year food stuffs. This year I have already sown seeds in a hydroponic grower and they are 12 inches already. I’ve had to transplant into planters as it’s way too cold to put outside. Have you ever used Rutgers tomato seeds? Thanks, Frank for reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Frank J. Tassone Says:

    My pleasure, Jane!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you Marina Sofia. (I’m with you….I would rather write than plant but I love your “reproaches from the mud-filled garden.” LOL! It also has bad bacteria and scary stuff out there, too. LOL!


  16. ladynyo Says:

    Oh, Gay! It’s so good to hear from you, regardless the poem, etc. I have so missed your analysis but just your presence gives me such comfort. No one can ever write a critique like you! And I hope you are back in the swing of writing as I miss it so much. You give such joy to the heart and brain. Thank you, Gay. don’t disappear for so long.


  17. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Sweetie. I am looking outside at the ‘garden’, which is full of construction stuff and garbage and wonder when I can take my cultivator out and properly make a garden. Tomatoes are something I live on, and the garden is only 25×6 feet. Thank you so much for reading and your kind comment.


  18. Frank Hubeny Says:

    Beautiful watercolor. I like images that appear in layers of colors connected with something dark like those bare trees above and those geese below. I liked those worms curled up in the poem. I think I imagine them that way as well and I like the description here: “the soil is hardened
    By the sins of the season”. I would skip the tending the cabbage if I had something to write as well.

    Thanks for waking me up this afternoon. I almost forgot dVerse had OLN today in my rushing around with what can actually wait.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. ladynyo Says:

    Frank, from what you told me in email, you have so much on your plate! Yikes, I don’t know how you do it. hard and busy work you are doing. But it’s work that is very valuable.

    I love to do mirror painting: water reflections. I am a bit better now in doing this, but I do remember just turning the paper upside down and painting them that way. Not too subtle. LOL! I do remember using a razor to scrape fine lines in the weeds. That’s a good trick. I’ll be over later, going out for dinner. Truffled Chicken Salad!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Jane Dougherty Says:

    I can’t believe that you find failure in any of this. You have a beautiful blossom. How many do you want 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! As many as I can eat! I’ll be over tomorrow Jane….my eyes have given out …again. Thank you so much for reading and your comment.


  22. Gay Reiser Cannon Says:

    Thanks Jane. I like my little protest poem today. It’s subtle..it won’t bury the opposition but even small attempts to bring truth to justice are worthy I think!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. hypercryptical Says:

    A beautiful painting Jane, followed by equally beautiful words of wondering.
    Perhaps our gardens mirror, depth out our moods, our physical condition…
    Anna :o]

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Waltermarks Says:

    I think you’re better off cultivating your word garden, as these verses, green and verdant , blooming in vigor indicate. Cabbage isn’t that hard to find, lol

    Liked by 1 person

  25. kanzensakura Says:

    This poem is even more profound on the second reading I am enjoying the paintings you are sharing on FB.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Grace Says:

    I can’t cultivate and keep a garden but I do admire people who can grow veggies and flowers ~ Love the photo of your book cover ~
    Congrats on the publication.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Nan Mykel Says:

    I liked the line “bundled in worm sleep” so much I wouldn’t have minded if it ended there.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Jane Dougherty Says:

    Rest up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  29. ladynyo Says:

    Could…..Thanks, Nan


  30. ladynyo Says:

    Thanks, Grace. Gardening is always something that is stuck between other things but shouldn’t be.


  31. ladynyo Says:

    Oh Darling Toni! That you have been consistent in this really warms my heart. most readers don’t even notice. LOL! Yeah, sometimes our poems are profound when it is pointed out to us by readers. LOL! That is the way of life I think.


  32. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! You tickled me, Walter. Yes, cabbage isn’t that hard to find. Neither are carrots! Thank you, Walter.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. ladynyo Says:

    I think you are right, Anna! words are easier in a way, but faith in the miracle of soil, rain and sun is superior I think. Thank you, Anna.xox


  34. ladynyo Says:

    I’ll come read right after the critters (and me) have breakfast. Xoxo


  35. Waltermarks Says:


    Liked by 1 person

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