“Olsen’s Pond”

Returning to the old house,

now still, vacant,

staring with unshaded eyes

upon a snowy front garden,

shrubs overgrown with the

lustiness of summer

now split to the ground

taxed with a heavy snow.

I tried to light the parlor stove,

cranky old smoker

clanking and rattling

in the best of times

now given up the ghost,

cold metal unyielding to wadded paper

and an old mouse nest.

Now the silence of the rooms

broken by hissing wind

whipping around  eaves

rattling old bones in the attic,

stirring the haunts asleep in  corners.

It took time for twigs to catch

water turn to coffee

bacon, eggs brought from the city

cooked in an old iron skillet–

tasting far better in the country air.

I looked down at hands cracked

in the brittle winter light,

moisture gone,  

hair static with electricity,

feet numb from the cold

the woodstove not giving

more heat than an ice cube.

Walking down to Olsen’s pond,

Looking through the glassine surface

remembering the boy who had fallen

through while playing hockey

slipping under thin ice,

disappearing without a sound,

only noticed when our puck flew

High in the air
and he, the guard, missing.

We skated to the edge, threw bodies flat

trying to catch him just out of reach,

crying like babies, snot running down chins,

knowing he was floating just under the ice–

silenced like the lamb he was.

Childhood ended that day.

We drifted away to the city,

our skates and sticks put up,

Olsen’s pond deserted like a haunted minefield.

Fifty years ago I still remember

stretched as far as I could

belly freezing on treacherous ice,

grasping to reach a life just out of sight,

his muffler and stick floating to the surface–

The boy, the important part,

gone for good from a chilly winter’s play.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

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7 Responses to ““Olsen’s Pond””

  1. petrujviljoen Says:

    Present at your grieving Jane.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hello Dear Heart. Childhood is so full of mystery and tragedy. It forms us into the adults we grow into. May the New Year bring you Peace and Comfort as our Earth struggles with the mysteries of it’s own. With love from here!

    Like

  3. petrujviljoen Says:

    Love to you and yours!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. petrujviljoen Says:

    Wordless at what’s happening to the earth! Hope you’re back to walking normally by now!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ladynyo Says:

    Nope! Not yet. That will take more self therapy and more time. But I am hopeful And yes, what is happening to the world? Horrible.

    Like

  6. petrujviljoen Says:

    We’re having a second wave of Covid. We’re on a serious curfew, from 9pm to 6am. The animals in South Africa are going to have a fairly quiet time and so it should be! Stay safe (if that isn’t a silly thing to say seeing your circumstances). 🤦🏻‍♀️💜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ladynyo Says:

    Let us All stay safe! xoxo

    Like

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