Posts Tagged ‘freeverse’

“First Snow”

December 2, 2009

First Snow

The morning brought a first snow,

And with it wind from over the mountain.

As I watched snow turn to ice,

Invisible sleet hit the panes a’ hissing.

There was soon a crystal coat on tender branches—

Invisible hands pulling to earth,

Anchoring them fast.

I depend upon the silence

Creating a space to remember,

Solitude, too, now to be shared

Only with ghosts

Or perhaps a cat or two.

Inside the crackling wood,

Well seasoned of last year’s split,

The sweet, sharp scent of pine and oak,

The groan of a log as it shifts its failing weight—

I remember your boot kicking it back off the hearth,

Sparks flaring upward,

Stars enfolded by a blazing sun.

Outside the pelting sting on windows,

The howl of winter racing round eaves

Looking for attic-access between clapboards,

The hambone skeleton dance to

Shake their palsied bones warm.

Soon  fading light at twilight

Suspends the day

In a cocoon of white, unfocused mystery.

The night brings a muffled benediction

Over the land,

And memory is put aside for the morrow.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009

“Full Moon Rising”

November 17, 2009

This Full Moon, photo by David Halworth

This glowing orb,

this speckled beacon

of a late spring night,

hiding behind fresh greenery

as it rises gracefully,


inching closer

to the apex of the universe

like a pickpocket who

moves with oiled gears

towards a destination–

the usual pocket of gleaming coins.

Or like Casanova,

lighting up the room

with Venetian charm,

His throat and wrists

tarnished  gold lace,

a tall gondola gliding

over dark waters seeking a woman’s heart,

a smooth, well-acted routine,

but nonetheless–

Enchanting, predictable,

Great expectations never ending.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, June, 2009

SAMHAIN – A Celtic Winter Song

August 15, 2009

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  for a
kindling in my soul,
the heart opened
and the juiciness of life is
more than the loins,
a stream of forgiveness
slow flowing through the tough fibers
not stopper’d with an underlying
but softened with compassion.

This season of constrictions,
unusual emptiness,
brittle like the 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,
their legs thin banners
streaming behind white bodies,
lost against a snowy sky.

They lift off into a middling cosmos,
while I, earth-bound,
can only flap the wings of my shawl,
poor plumage for such  flight,
and wonder about my destination.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2009

O Absalom!

June 18, 2009

This poem comes from my first book: “A Seasoning of Lust”

I am going to be offline for a few, just for some vacation of the spirit. And to get some new poems worked out. And to read some books  a friend has recommended.  See you later.

Lady Nyo


O Absalom,
ensnared by your long hair in the
boughs of  an oak,
pierced through the heart three times
yet your nature was born only to please.


pulled into your mysteries
panting now, yours answer to my heart.
Abandoned by love, given over to lust
charged with stolen rapture
dizzy as a dervish,
one hand upward to Heaven
one hand spilling to Earth
skirts stiffened with sins hard as stone
corrupted over a life time and now-
flayed on an unending mandela.

Mystery of Life, unstoppable desire.
O beautiful Absalom, we float upon a divine river
entangled in the reeds of human desire.

This is our nature, this our calling while
flesh answers to flesh.
What quarter be given when the heart is
overwhelmed by passions excess?

Lie still,

let the waters cleanse our loins
the mud of the banks soothe our wounds,
let our blood mingle with the floating grasses,
our hearts sink beneath the surface.
Let the rivers of Babylon
Carry us away.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2009

A Poem from Susan Clarke

June 18, 2009

Susan wrote an introduction to this poem, but I would rather post it after people read and comment.  A bit of a mystery perhaps as to the origin.

Lady Nyo.

A Randomness of Strangers

A randomness of strangers
Collective noun
For connections made through electronic portals.
Intimate anonymity
promising distraction
or shared secrets
behind a cloak of backlit glass and plastic.

Hasty liaisons made
with men who’ve randomly
selected my profile
attracted to feathered nakedness
or open expressions of lust.

Random intimacy
With people
I wouldn’t meet in other contexts
People I’d ignore
Outsiders in the realm
Of my daily existence.

But I admit their probing questions
their intrusions into my private world
And reply with candor
That is normally reserved
For confidantes.

Perhaps a random stranger
Can offer a random observation
or hold up a mirror
to expose some hidden part of me
through wisdom
born of complete ignorance
of who I am
or have been.

The anonymity of random strangers
can be comforting
within the confines
of the family home
where those who
know me most intimately
shield me from

Susan Clarke

Copyrighted, 2009

Nick Nicholson Chimes in with a very first Crit!

June 11, 2009
Thank you, Jane, for hosting this “poetry workshop”! What a great idea!


Hello Katie!

I haven’t read very many of your poems, so seeing four new poems here is a real treat!

There is a beautiful poignancy about these pieces. They are suffused with a plaintive language that is disarmingly simple yet swells with emotional and insightful depths. Wonderful stuff!

I’ve made some detailed comments and suggestions below. Please feel free to use or ignore these suggestions, as you see fit.


A beautiful poem that, if anything, I felt was a bit too short – I wanted more!

We are presented with an intriguing contrast between the attention she takes with her hair and the inattention she shows towards her clothes. But what makes her do that? I felt like I needed some sort of explanation…

The other thing that left me intrigued (and somewhat perplexed) was the last line. Was it someone else that had adored her, or was it referring to someone that she had adored? It wasn’t clear to me and I felt like I wanted to know, to have that clarity so that I could understand this woman better.

So, overall, I felt that this poetic portrait was vivid and touching, but it seemed to me to need one or two more stanzas to show us a couple more layers of the woman’s psychology and history.


A moving portrait, and the ironic answer to the woman’s question in the final stanza highlighted the pathos of the scene.

> soft jaw trembling

Perhaps add “her” at the beginning of this line?

> When I concentrate
> her former self surfaces
> through sagging skin
> subtle straightening of shoulders

I like the ’s’ alliterations here because they’re not coy or pretentious, they’re subtle, effective and they just work!

> There are suddenly

Perhaps “Suddenly there are”?

> How much longer? She whispers

Perhaps lowercase “she”?

> I hold her hand, shake my head
> I don’t know if she’s asking
> about dinner
> or death

Beautifully written, so sad…


A poem that oozes the empty feeling when a loved one is no longer around…

I think some of the wording could be tightened up here and there, made more succinct. I offer the following as suggestions only, to ponder:

> The dusty books are stacked
> unevenly
> holding up the corner
> of an end table
> wire hangers crowd the bar
> in the closet
> others thrown carelessly on the floor

Dusty books
are stacked unevenly
holding up the corner
of a table

wire hangers
crowd the closet
others lie carelessly
on the floor

> threadbare carpet
> meets worn linoleum
> where the living room
> moves into the kitchen

Perhaps use “meets the kitchen” to parallel “meets worn linoleum”?

> Brown lumps on the counter could be washcloths

A moment of dark humour here, very good! Perhaps put “could be washcloths” on a new line to accentuate the humorous turn?

> In it, I search for some sign

The “In it” part of this line doesn’t feel quite right to me for some reason. This is just an idea I had, to ponder:

I gaze into it
searching for some sign

> some reason
> that will bring you back
> but there is no color
> or sound
> or welcome back
> in anything
> you left behind

“welcome back” seems a bit awkward and it creates an unnecessary repetition of “back” in the stanza too. Here’s another idea I had – again, just a food-for-thought suggestion:

but there is
no color
no sound
no life
in anything
you left behind


> There is no flight
> that takes you farther
> than your own mind

> there is no place
> more lonely
> than your own heart

A lovely aphoristic poem, and one that I can relate to completely!

I think the succinctness could be enhanced if the two occurences of “own” and the second occurence of “there is” were omitted. Try it, see what you think!

Katie, these poems reveal a sensitive and poetic soul. They are subtle but powerful, straightforward in their language yet full of depth. I look forward to seeing more of your work – somewhere, sometime! Thank you for sharing these poems here.


Nick….is a fine poet, but he also is a fine critic.  I know, he runs me ragged at times…..but I always learn.  He has a critic’s sharp eye and he also is one of the very best poets to come out of ERWA.  Thank you so much Nick.
Katie:  I was up late last night trying to figure out how to proceed on your poems.
My first impressions were that they were very personal vignettes but not at all about the poet…except for the last two.  You ability to look at your surroundings and to see the inners of your subjects, to look deeply into the substance of the human subjects…well, the compassionate nature of your pov is remarkable.
All these were heartbreaking.  The first poem, sounds like a woman leading a truncated life.  Perhaps a Narcissist.  The mirror is a good symbol for a narcissist, because they don’t see anything but themselves.  A mirror completes this.  As with Nick, I wanted to know more about her life, and what compelled her to do as she does…but of course, leaving us ‘wanting’ is always the point! LOL~
The Nursing Assistant: this I believe is the poignant of your poems….a real glimpse into aging, and that last line?  Oh my God, Katie, that is the ‘cut through point’.  Dinner or death.  You handled the physical descriptions as only a poet who had that experience could know.  Brava.  I think this is so strong in, again, compassionate look at what we are all in for.  But for some reason, that last line reminds me of something out of Wagner.  LOL!
WHAT YOU LEFT BEHIND:  Another strong poem, based in the reality of leaving, being left behind, the depression of a failing, but whose failing is it?  I would like to see more anger here…because anger is a certain amount of resolve in poetry.  Well, Nick is the one for the line crits, I just can’t do what he does, because he is good at what he does….I just get an over all feeling.  Nevertheless…a very strong, connective poem.  Connects with readers because it resonates deeply.  THAT is the point of poetry in my estimation.
UNIVERSE:  That is a lovely poem, and of course it resonates deeply with all of us, but I disagree with Nick on the usage of “own” twice.
Some times that is very effective….in linking stanzas…as long as the poem is short….and I think it ‘marries’ both stanzas here well.
This poem made me think  of a poem I had read last summer, a modern Japanese poet:  Kujo Takeko, who died in 1928….and she wrote:
“I do not consider
myself worth counting,
but sometimes even for me
Heaven and earth are too small.”
Not the same, but it doesn’t matter.  I also believe that poetry can strike like a bell….bringing up other tones of poetry and they mix in the mind and thought.
Thank you, Katie for putting out your lovely poems for discussion and reading, and Thank You, Nick, for doing such a marvelous crit.
Lady Nyo

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From Kathleen Troutman, one of our Poetry Group

June 11, 2009

Katie Troutman is a dear friend and very fine writer….Her poetry is something sublime to me. I am so happy that she offers up her verse for the reading and comments of people reading this blog.

Katie, these are, at first glance (and I am sure the next and the next glances) lovely.

Any poetry crits anyone ??

Lady Nyo


I am in love with this idea of poetry and sharing! I will post some of mine now-and hope the crits will help me make them more refined.


She brushes her hair
catches it in a shiny clasp
smiles toward the mirror

secure in its curl and shine
she ignores her body
draped in shapeless clothes

We can’t see inside her,
Will never know the stories
of her beautiful youth.

This woman, alone,
lives in silent memories
of eternal adoration


I watch her face
as she tries to form words
soft jaw trembling
over once familiar motions

When I concentrate
her former self surfaces
through sagging skin
subtle straightening of shoulders

There are suddenly
faint sparks in her eyes
her hands lift gracefully
as she reaches towards me

How much longer? She whispers
I hold her hand, shake my head
I don’t know if she’s asking
about dinner
or death


The dusty books are stacked
holding up the corner
of an end table

wire hangers crowd the bar
in the closet
others thrown carelessly on the floor

threadbare carpet
meets worn linoleum
where the living room
moves into the kitchen
Brown lumps on the counter could be washcloths

dull silver filigree
edges the bathroom mirror
In it, I search for some sign
some reason
that will bring you back
but there is no color
or sound
or welcome back
in anything
you left behind


There is no flight
that takes you farther
than your own mind

there is no place
more lonely
than your own heart

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