Posts Tagged ‘environment’

‘Turkey Vulture’ from “Pitcher of Moon”

August 26, 2013

Frank, turkey Vulture


This poem is dedicated to my friend, Nick Nicholson.  “Pitcher Of Moon” has not be published yet, but perhaps later this fall.  I am hopeful for the 37 poems of blessings and gratitude in there.

Lady Nyo




I once knew a woman

Living in a scrubby trailer park

Down near the scrub pines of Florida.


She was poor as a church mouse,

half –crazed by life.

She fed all strays

-was the pariah of the neighborhood.


Every evening a flock of vultures,

Like fixed-wing aircraft,

Would skim the pines,

And land in a muddle of feathers,

Awkward birds out of their element

Land and with a group waddle

Come to the cat food offered in pans.


They were patient guests

And waited for the strays to finish.


There was decorum

Among them,

These fierce looking birds

Perhaps they knew

The charity offered

Had humbled their nature:

Or perhaps they had reformed;

I don’t know

But they had a leader named “Frank”

Who held back until the others were done.


Frank would never face you;

He sat sideways

Though I believe he peeked.

Perhaps he was ashamed

A lord of the sky

Brought down to this station,

To fill his crop with kibble

From a dented metal pan.


Come sit with me.

Extend a feather,

I promise not to stare.

Your warty red neck,

Your hang-dog countenance

Does not disturb me.


Come sit beside me,

Let our talons dig into the sand

Let the ocean cleanse our feathers

I will call you friend, brother

For the gift of trust

You have brought on your wings.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted 2012-13 





Poetry Challenge, Part II…Environment.

November 12, 2010

Irish Coast, janekohut-bartels, watercolor....

We read from a number of poets how they approach their writing of poetry, though I also heard privately some interesting ideas.

There is no exclusive method for writing poetry, at least that is clear. People proceed from different ‘places’, mental processes, and it is all to the good for the development of poetry.

Something that Shashi said sparked off some additional thoughts:  Shashi wrote something “about people leaving everything to write.”

That raised some issues with other writers, as I see by my email.

How much do we draw from our immediate environment in our writing?  Do we need isolation from the masses  to concentrate our thoughts and work?  How much support and encouragement do we get or  do we seek from our communities?  And then again, should we seek it from these people around us?  Are they the ‘stuff’ of poetry or are they the stuff and material of chaos, distraction, pettiness?

I think these are legitimate questions, queries.  I know that I live in a community that is broken, or perhaps ” filled with” so many issues: there seems to be two communities here in this part of Atlanta:  there is the daily hum of many issues  one would find in an urban community: racial issues, prostitution, drugs, unemployment, crime,  politics, opportunism of politicians, and the general living issues…going to work, family, and this big so-called ‘community’ that is really so divided by race, class, age and many other things, including drugs that are ‘acceptable’ to some because they don’t street deal.  It’s ok, because it’s done amongst friends.  (Drugs are a major issue in Atlanta, and now we understand that the Mexican drug cartels are very comfortable using Atlanta as a depot for further distribution.)

There is also an interesting issue of gentrification.  Over the past 10 years or so, this community has seen an influx of middle class whites and some blacks move in and try to establish themselves here.  Funny though, they seem afraid of their black neighbors.  Not all of them, but many, including some who call themselves ministers or are self-proclaimed leaders, community mouthpieces.

Perhaps it is easier for those of us (and not many) who have been here for 30-40 years.  We settle into the environment and either make our peace or we leave.  Many have, or with the current economic situation, are forced from their houses.  Foreclosures are no stranger to this land.

But back to the issue of poetical environment, for lack of a better term.  There is a lot of chaos out there.  There is an attitude that writers and poets are not doing what is oh- so- necessary right now, like running back and forth  to meetings,  joining community causes, etc.  Perhaps there is resentment for those of us who march to a different drummer, who are deeply involved with a personal creative life that demands a big portion of our day, attention and energies.

Artists, poets, writers have always been marginalized by society. Especially by those who don’t understand or have an artistic bone in their bodies.  We are expected to put aside our intense, creative abilities and become like them: living pale half-lives but demanding that we acknowledge their ‘rightness’ to lead or ‘influence’ a community.

I spent years here trying to make changes I thought or was told were necessary for ‘bettering’ the community.  That was a crock of shit.  I only delayed my own development as a writer and as a creative woman.  We swallow or believe so much inferior stuff because it is delivered by people who are sooner or later  revealed to be mundane, humdrum opportunists…with definite agendas.

And it goes deeper.  Especially amongst the young white liberals that insist the rest of us who have been here many decades learn the lessons they are going to sooner or later fall upon.  They want us to shut up as they reinvent the fucking wheel.

So it goes back to environment.  I live in an area of Atlanta that is heavily treed.  I look outside,  I go outside, I wave to my neighbors of many, many years, but I take solace and inspiration in what I see of Nature around me.  I look up at what I call ‘the saddle’, off in the distance, the juncture of trees that dip down and in a certain light look like mountains, and in another  are infused with gold from the falling sun.

Perhaps because I am what is called a ‘nature poet’ I have every reason to pull for my poetry from my environment.  But that environment must be above and beyond the chaos of humanity and those who would tell me what I must think and do. My life, and the life of other artistic, creative people here must be above the mundane that passes for ‘community’ and  leadership in this area.

I don’t buy their shit for one moment.  Our poetry, if we are poets, depends upon our independence and our intense, creative lives.

That is the internal environment we need to succor.

Lady Nyo


A pale moon rises,

Unheralded, surprising us

With its presence so early at dusk.

The summer heat makes it waver

Like a ghost under water.

The cicadas hold their breath-

Their leg-fiddles muted,

And the earth turns quiet

If only for a moment.

Brushing the lush green tree tops

It floats upward into a still-lavender sky,

Gaining presence, strength, gleam

As it balances in the darkening light,

A well-trod path– fascinating eternity.

A world-weary face appears

And casts a bemused gaze downward

Before sailing through the night

Into the harbor of Dawn.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010

Earth Day, 2010

April 22, 2010

Peach Blossoms in the garden this spring.

I posted this short entry last Earth Day, but it seems to hold up for this Earth Day, so I’m running it again.  The apple tree died, so I planted a dogwood.  Less apples, but a beautiful tree nonetheless

We get forgetful or jaded, but my son, at 21, asked me to write something on Earth Day this morning.

I have been around a relatively long time, and do, vaguely….remember the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.  In those years I have forgotten the origin and history but some things stick or become part of the conduct of our daily life.

(NPR just started playing Copeland’s “Appalachian Spring”. Can there be a better theme song for Earth Day?  An American composer who was steeped in the beauty of the New England environment.)

The 60’s had cheap gas and acid rain.  Perhaps it was a hard slog to get the attention of the public as to what was happening to the environment.  The eco movement was barely born, only in isolated concerns.

Perhaps the first ‘wake up’ call was Rachel Carson’s  “Silent Spring” published in 1962.  A wake up call indeed, for she writes about a world without birds, killed off by common pesticides and chemical agents.

People started to wake up.

Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson had been concerned about the environment for a while, and in 1962 proposed some ideas to then-President Kennedy.  But things didn’t go very far.

Senator Nelson pursued with his ideas, and had two young staffers to work on a proposed Earth Day.  He picked April 22 because he thought it would be embraced by college students, then a key element for social change, with SDS and SNCC and many campus organizations. It was past Easter and Passover, and on a weekday, it would not be disturbing the weekend activities of students.  Exams would have been over.

Spring was the season of the Earth’s rebirth and our environment needed a rebirth.

The moon walk of 1968 also helped the world’s consciousness with pix of the Earth, a big blue marble, being broadcast back from the moon.

Twenty million people participated in the first Earth Day, 1970. As Senator Nelson said:  “Earth Day organized itself”.  No one was prepared for the mass embracing of this first Earth Day.

In NYC, 5th Avenue was closed to traffic and people picknicked on the sidewalks. In Indiana, women dressed as witches threw birth control pills at gathered spectators.  In Virginia students handed out bags of dirt, symbolizing “The Good Earth”.

The then Nixon administration had no comment on the celebration of 20,000,000 people in this  country.  But within 3 months after this first Earth Day, Nixon signed in the EPA, the Clean Wather Act, the Pesticide Controll Act and other legislation.  Someone up there was noticing the mass appeal of Earth Day.

We vary in our consciousness and intent since then.  other legislation have come into law, but perhaps what is the legacy of that first Earth Day in 1970 is a tremendous national consciousness about our environment.  The ecological movement was born from then and the fruits are ripening each year.

Sometimes it seems a drop in the proverbial bucket, as we read of species disappearing every day and issues of rainforest/global warming/ other ecological concerns.

Our consciusness is ragged, and our attention spans are, too.  However, the Green Movement gathers strength and conviction and each of us has become more aware of our ‘footprint’ and also what we can daily do.  Recycling, birthed from that first few years after 1970, and composting are things we can do easily from our homes.  There are many magazines and sources to educate us now where before the ‘green movement’ was marginalized.

I planted an apple tree this morning, bought for this purpose to celebrate Earth Day, 2009.  A very small drop in the sea, but an attempt towards mindfulness for the future.

Lady Nyo

Exciting Event Tonight! RedTail Hawk caught by Brave Son…

October 8, 2008

“Mom! Come here!  Come here right now! Merlin caught a hawk!”

Oh Jesus! Merlin is our chicken killer and I run out to see what Son is yelling about.

There in the corner of the yard, up against the fence…is a young Red Tail Hawk, with my son holding it upside down, it’s wings spread wide, his mouth wide open.

Husband throws a blanket over the Hawk and we all decide that the large cat house outside in the back yard would be the perfect Mews.  That’s if he lives.

We open the door and most of the cats leave, but they are conditioned to feeding in the cathouse, so some of the stupider ones jump back in.

Hawk food.

We get Hawkie inside on an platform where Son tries to extract his welding glove from his talons and we try to remove the blanket.  We decide that time will tell if Hawk is going to live, and he seems determined to go to Vahalla with the leather glove and blanket, but we can’t do much more of an examination without further trauma of him…so we go inside and watch a bit of tv.

An hour later we decide to see if Hawk is still alive…and yep…he’s off the platform and upping up and down, trying for vertical flight.  Son gets a fencing helmet and a leather motorcycle jacket with the welding gloves, too…and we all squabble where Hawk will get the best liftoff.  He seems ok.

So we take him out of the fence to the kudzu field…and Son rights him up on his wrist, and Hawk does a few practice flaps and he’s off!  He soars about 50 feet across the kudzu and up into the trees.

I think of the precarious balance of nature and humankind.  Earlier this spring the damn City of Atlanta, in it’s rush for density and a higher tax base, ripped down 9 acres of trees right behind us.  We watched the hawks, rabbits, opposums and at one time, deer live back there, amongst the 100 year old Live Oaks and the Sycamores, dog woods and pine.  All gone now in humans rush for what???

Our RedTail Hawk came in our yard for the chickens, and it’s hard to take flight with a 70 lb. Golden Retriever mix on your back.

But the real issue is that we humans, for various reasons, all selfish, have destroyed their habitat and we here…at least the Government of Atlanta …have little concern for other species we live amongst….

We need to share the land.  We are part, and only a part…of this greater web of life.

Lady Nyo

Red Tail Hawk in Cat Cage

Red Tail Hawk in Cat Cage

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