“Olsen’s Pond”…..

January 1, 2018

via “Olsen’s Pond”…..

“Olsen’s Pond”…..

January 1, 2018

mignot-winter-skating-scene

 I start out the New Year with this poem for many personal reasons.  Some have found it too ‘hard’ to read for their own reasons.  And some have read it and found their own childhood in it.  Regardless, it remains my favorite poem.

Lady Nyo

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

revised-cover-2776

 “Olsen’s Pond” was published in “A Seasoning of Lust”, 2016, Amazon.com

 

 

 

December 30, 2017

Moon dec 30, 2017

(taken tonight, December 30th, 2017, looking East)

 

The full moon above

floats on blackened velvet sea-

poet’s perfection!

But who does not yearn for a

crescent in lavender sky?

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

(“Moon” originally appeared in “A Seasoning of Lust”, 2sd edition,  2016, Amazon.com)

“O, Mysterium Tremendum!” A Winter Prayer….

December 29, 2017

 

 

snowfall 2017 4

A Winter Prayer

O, Mysterium Tremendum!
Winter’s palette stark, unadorned
Devoid of the juiciness of Summer,
The prismatic beauty of Fall,
Yet still the perfect backdrop
For cardinals, nandina berries,
The holly and the evergreens.

We rejoice in Nature’s gifts
Of silence, stillness
When Earth has tucked in,
Burrowed down with pallid
Earthworms and things
That survive underground.

Above, mystical, blurred
A sudden snow storm has
Softened the brittle edges of vision
And brought about a mystery
This season  provides.

The flash of a cardinal
A blood-red streak in the sky,
Startles and lifts the heart.
The Nandina berries have changed
From the orange of autumn
To brilliant Christmas red.


Now humanity watches
For the return of the Sun and
The lengthening of days.

O, Overwhelming Mystery,
We, tucked in your bosom
With faith we will survive
The winter storms,
The howling winds
The hoarfrost,
The biting cold,
The darkness lasting too long,
The haunts in the attics
Shivering in hambone frenzy–
The wolves at the door.

The Earth will turn again
To be warmed by a new season.
Now we are grateful
For the gifts of silence and stillness
This leached season bestows us.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2017

“Some New Poems”…..Perhaps some tanka.

December 28, 2017

revised-cover-2776

(Just a year ago, I published “A Seasoning of Lust”, second edition, at Amazon.com)

How could I forget

The beauty of the pale moon!

A face of sorrow

Growing thin upon the tide

A face of desperation.

crescent-moon

Shooting star crosses

Upended bowl of deep night

Imagination

Fires with excited gaze.

A moment– and all is gone.

Rain and moon tonight

Creates a confusion

Moon hides behind clouds

Fleeting clouds filter the rain

Moon appears, shoots silver darts.

When I saw your head

Upon the pillow we shared

Was this forever?

I am left with a pillow

That holds a ghost in the down.

Autumn wind startles–

Lowered to an ominous

Key—Ah! Mournful sounds!

The fat mountain deer listen-

Add their bellowing sorrow.

The moon floats on wisps

Of clouds extending outward

Tendrils of white fire

Blanketing the universe

Gauzy ghosts of nothingness.

-Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017 (some of these poems were published in “A Seasoning of Lust”, Amazon.com, 2016

“Mishka, the Thief”

December 26, 2017

 

Mishka

 

My best friend, Nick Nicholson in Australia, has two cats….Sasha and Mishka.  They are brother and sister a few years old.  Mishka has  a particular career.  She is a thief.  She steals laundry, sponges, knickers, especially socks from the surrounding neighborhood. This has caused Nick great grief and concern.  He has totalled up the ”loot’ one time and there were 74 socks, 12 knickers, bathing suits, sponges, bras, etc. in that ‘gettin’.

Nick was embarassed and threw everything away, and now Mishka is bringing home insulation…that stuff in the walls.  She is quite the cat.  Quite the thief.

Of course, there is always the fear of neighbors with torches and pitchforks, but so far they don’t seem to know who the thief is…..since Mishka strikes in the night from what I understand.  I am still wondering where she got thos 12 pairs of knickers.  LOL~

She has a natural criminal mind but what the hell?  She’s a cat!

So, Mishka…..may the New Year bring you more interesting stuff and may Nick continue to love and support you, you marvelous thief.  Inventive, too.

 

Jane….

“Winter Kimono”, a poem.

December 21, 2017

 

In the white, brittle splendor

of winter’s mid growth,

You came to me,

And I thought at first of

a cardinal—a flash of streaking red,

blazing between the blackened trees.

 

It was you in the black kimono

the red of your obi

a slash of vitality in that white forest.

 

Your skin rivaled the snow- sodded landscape,

and only the crimson of your mouth

gave evidence you still lived—

 

So ghost-like were you that morning!

 

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

“First Snowfall”…..

December 20, 2017

via “First Snowfall”…..

“First Snowfall”…..

December 20, 2017

 

Xmas Entrance Hall 2017 5

 

(Not quite Winter Solstice, Tomorrow, Thursday, 11:28am)  Hard to see, but on the coffee table, there are Red, White and Green Candles, the Colors of the Hungarian Flag.

First Snowfall

 

There is such beauty in the still-night.

A sudden snowfall has pushed back

The boundaries of the mundane

And fantasy flows like outrageous mythology.

Chrystalized snow challenges the moon

Lights up a trampled ground

Gives a purity to all it touches.

 

Shadows form where before there were none

A supple mystery to something once familiar.

Now a strange and alluring world

Transformed, made anew,

Even forbidding as  huge trees

Groan with an icy burden

And bushes are split in two

With the weight of an alien gift.

 

The silence is complete.

No modern disturbance intrudes.

It is Winter’s gag on our fretfulness,

Our restlessness, our noise.

 

We are commanded to stay inside

By the fire, to read a book,

To look outside and admire

A miracle that we, with all our intelligence

Can not remake.

This is Winter’s true gift.

We are to obey the season,

This enforced solitude,

To wrap ourselves in this quilt of quiet,

Cast off our endless activity,

To finally be still,

To heal with the balm of serenity,

Silence.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

Winter Solstice Celebration and a poem: “Samhain, a Celtic Winter Song.

December 17, 2017

 

 

 

Dark mysterious season,

when the light doesn’t

quite reach the ground,

the trees shadow puppets

moving against the gray of day.

 

I think over the past year

praying there has been a

kindling in my soul,

the heart opened, warmed

and the juiciness of life is

more than in the loins–

a stream of forgiveness

slow flowing through the tough fibers

not stopper’d with an underlying

bitterness

but softened with compassion.

 

This season of constrictions,

unusual emptiness,

brittle like dried twigs

desiccated by hoar frost

just to be endured.

 

I wrap myself in wool and

watch the migrations–

first tender song birds which harken

back to summer,

then Sandhill cranes,

legs thin banners

streaming behind white bodies,

lost against a snowy sky.

 

They lift off to a middling cosmos,

while I, earth-bound,

can only flap the wings of my shawl,

poor plumage for such a flight,

and wonder about my own destination.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017  (“Samhain” published in “Pitcher of Moon”, 2014, Amazon.com)

The Divine is preceived and experienced in many different ways by individual and religious groups.  Orthodox religions have codified their own approaches to the Divine in diverse ways.  Many have been helped and encouraged by such approaches, but others have not,  feeling their personal mystical experiences can not be so defined.”

     —-from “Celtic Devotional”, by Caitlin Matthews,  Fair Winds Press, 2004.

I am one of those who have found, over the years that religion has not been helpful or encouraging.  For forty years, I have ‘gone against the tide’ of my brother’s Christianity.  I found it abusive, misogynistic, deadening.  But perhaps that is the fault of my siblings, not Christianity.  This to me is not worthy of emulating.   If this is Christianity, I want no part of it.  And I don’t think their God wants it either.

The Winter Solstice falls upon December 21th, at 11:28 EST, Thursday to be exact.  This is the year’s longest night.  We celebrate it with lights, candles and a roaring fire in the wood stove.  We include prayers and an expression of gratitude above all else.  It has a particular signifance to us that prepares us for the new year.  It opens our hearts and eyes to the beauty and peacefulness of the Winter season.  It allows, demands a stillness that only such a fallow season can bring.  It calls for a mindfulness that centers us, a looking back at the past year and an anticipation for the new one coming.

Instead of the tinsel (which I like…) and artificial trimmings we gather magnolia leaves, nandina berries, holly and fir boughs.  We decorate the four mantels with these gifts from Nature and when they dry out and lose their ‘life’ they give the gift of heat as we stuff the woodstove with their bounty.

There is so much more mystery in the Cosmos than we can imagine.  A time to dedicate ourselves in gratitude,  to show a random gratitude to those ‘wise’ ones, relatives who are gone but not forgotten, to settle down in thought and silence. To await another season of rebirth.  To wrap ourselves in the wool of love for each other.

The Light can not be truly appreciated without the Darkness that surrounds us in this season.  Each season of the year provides us with many doorways  for fresh spiritual revelations and a personal response.  I am glad that after so many years of conflict, my hsuband and I have found this pathway.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

 

Merry Christmass to All who follow this holiday.

Jane

 


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