Posts Tagged ‘Allah’s Fingernail’

Spring, “Blackberry Winter”, “Plum Snow” and Rumi

May 9, 2011

Large Hollyhock and New Dawn rose

This spring has turned from destruction to outright, overwhelming beauty.  The roses are blooming, and yesterday, what I thought was an outrageous weed, turns out to be a giant hollyhock, growing straight through a white rose bush.  I almost pulled that ‘weed’ out a few months ago, but now am glad I didn’t.  I have tried to grow hollyhocks for years, scattering seed, but never had any luck.  This was a seed scattered 4 years ago, and I kept pulling it as it grew, thinking it was another obnoxious weed.   It outlasted my efforts and is now about 8 feet high.  Pink and gorgeous, but just blooming out.

Perhaps the tragedies to the north, south and west of us has made me appreciate this season more.  The budding beauties, the promise of rebirth, the renewal of things bare and dark a few, short months ago has overwhelmed me.  This miracle of life, with no batteries needed, no attention or commands is nature at her best.

I transplanted old, slow growing boxwood, real boxwood, not the Japanese junipers that are a good substitute for English boxwood down here, yesterday….switching them out with some new roses:  “April in Paris”.  I am a sucker for roses in catalogs and on the internet.  I am also a sucker for the roses at Home Depot, sitting in pots, yellowing leaves with black spot, and looking expectant and oh so homeless.  About now…I have no more room to put them in the soil, so they are transplanted into pots, which are more expensive than the roses….

Queen Elizabeth Rose

Perhaps it’s this expectancy of spring that makes snarly, grumpy people change their attitude and behavior.  I have noticed more smiles from strangers, a kinder behavior, perhaps a relaxing of tension from the long, very long winter.  There are nests of mockingbirds, bluejays, kittens being born, pollen, and as I write this a robin is uncovering the grave of a chipmunk I buried yesterday.

O, Pink Hollyhock!

I do think there is a softness with spring (my husband says there is a softness to my brain matter with spring…) and perhaps a good push to poetry.  There was a tiny crescent moon last night, what the Turks call “Allah’s fingernail”, and we will watch it grow night by night.  The sound of mourning doves as they settle in during dusk, the hoot of a Barred owl, the smell of the nightblooming datura….all these inspire poetry in the dark. During the morning we have enough for inspiration, and perhaps stopping our activities, going out into the gardens, the woods, even taking a walk somewhere different, will give the imagery necessary for poetry.

I came across a piece of Rumi yesterday….and I think Rumi must have loved nature as much as his fellow man.
  Come to the orchard in Spring.
  There is light and wine, and sweethearts
            in the pomegranate flowers.
  If you do not come, these do not matter.
  If you do come, these do not matter.

 What a gentle sentiment wrapped within these few words!


Two of my own poems follow….


The present snowstorm of

White plum blossoms

Blinds me to sorrow.

They cascade over cheeks

Like perfumed, satin tears,

Too warm with the promise of life

To chill flesh.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010 from “White Cranes of Heaven”, at

And one  more…just because this will be posted for on Tuesday.


It is Blackberry Winter

One last shot across

The bow of an emerging Spring.

Winter does not play fair.

It will not give up the ghost

Exit with a dignified bow

Preferring to show its rotting last tooth.

The blackberries are blooming

Frills of white collars surrounding

Kernels of lusty fruit,

Fruit black as midnight

Sweet as a baby’s kiss,

Unavoidable staining of hands and mouths

To be shared with a snake or two down below.

The Easter planting is done

The earth knows Winter’s game

And blankets seed

With dark, moist soil

Cozy enough to shelter tender life.

We will make blackberry wine

From Blackberry Winter.

The present chill will

Sweeten the fruit

And we will give a toast

To the frayed glory of Winter.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011


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