Posts Tagged ‘’

“High Road”, posted for on Tuesday

July 5, 2011

"American Bald", watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2003

 There are Bibical references to Eagles, but my interest was of another sort.  Eagles apparently have the ability to fly much higher than other birds because they have a lung capacity that can utilize the thinner air of higher atmospheres.  Other birds, hawks, crows, birds that would mob an eagle can’t tolerate the thin atmosphere and drop out of the chase.  

About the poetry:  This poem was not looked upon favorably by some.  It was  considered moralistic, banal.  I wrote it at a time where taking the ‘high road’ was a confused concept considering what I was facing: character assassination.   I got my punches in, but  realized I would appear no better than my attacker.  So, this simple, moralistic poem was more of a guideline, a reminder to me, that I had to  carefully consider my actions. 

Perhaps in a time where everything goes, and nothing is held back or forbidden, it’s good to have something that makes us consider the ‘high road’…or what we hold as this.

Lady Nyo 


Asking directions of the High Road,

I  got shrugs and blank stares

yet knew there were two roads-

both led into infinity

both coursed through

all manner of life with pitfalls, trenches

where legs were broken

skulls rattled loose from moorings

like ships in high winds– dangerous waters.

What was the difference

and why should it matter?

The efforts cost

energy regardless the choosing.

An old man sat at the crossroads,

a bum, grizzled gray hair

sprouting porcupine’s quills,

rheumy, pale eyes staring at the world–

 little interest in what passed by.

I asked him the way to the High Road

and with a toothless grin

he stared at my feet, my hands,

lifted his eyes to my face.

I thought him mad and cursed myself

(asking questions of  a fool!)

 was moving away when I heard his voice:

“Did I know of the eagle and crow,

how they soared upon thermals

higher and higher

became dark, formless specks upon a limitless sky,

lost to human eye, invisible even to gods?”

I thought him crazed and started away-

he cackled and spat on the ground.

Something made me turn, startled,

 And saw the wisdom of Solomon in his

now- shining eyes.

“The crow harries the eagle, the eagle flies higher.

Vengeful, annoying crow flies round eagle’s wing

turning this way and that, yet the eagle flaps upward

soars upon thinning air until the crow

breathless and spent, drops to the common ground-

falls to his death.”

“The High Road, the path of the eagle.

The low road, the path of the crow,

mingling with dullards

daring nothing, with eyes cast downward

only saving a bit of energy

learning nothing of worth.”

Silently he sat, an old man

eyes glazed with age and fatigue.

With a nod to his wisdom, a toss of a coin

I gathered my strength and pushed onward,

Upwards, the lift of eagles, now under my limbs.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009, 2011

“Ode To A Coopers Hawk”, posted for

June 27, 2011

American Bald Eagle, watercolor, janekohut-bartels, 2001

Recently I went through a loss and an argument.  I woke up with this poem in my mouth:  it expressed a lot of my feelings, especially about religion and spiritual issues. 

I haven’t all the answers and I don’t expect to.  That is what life seems to be all about now….the unrelenting chase of finding things that make sense, and especially promote growth: spiritual, intellectual and emotional growth.

Picking those people who are healthy for your spirit to develop is always the issue.  I wish life was longer, because I need the time.

The world is Big out there….and there are wonderful people to meet.  Wonderful people already in your life.

This poem is for Margie.

Lady Nyo

Ode to a Coopers Hawk

Come to me.

Come to me,

Winged celestial beauty.

Come to me with your notched

Mermaid tail,

Your silken roll of feathers.

Fly down into my hollowed-out soul,

Fill me with your sun-warmed glory

Nestle in my arms

And bring the curve of the horizon

Embraced in your outstretched wings.

I need no white bearded prophet,

No chorus of angels,

No mumbled prayer, no gospel song

No hard church bench, no fast or

Festival to feel close to the Divine.

The glory of the universe,

Is embodied in your flight

As you tumble through heavens,

Ride  invisible thermals

Screech with joy at freedom

Fill your lungs with thin air

And play bumper car with an Eagle.

I, earthbound,

No hollowed bones to launch me,

Just hollowed soul to weigh down,

No soft plumage to feel the course

Of wind through glossy feathers

No hunting call to herald my presence.

Still my soul takes flight

The breeze lifts my spirit,

My eyes follow you,

And we will find that glory

Transcend a sullen earth,

Transcend a mean humanity

And soar together into the blue eye of God.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011

“Song of Summer”, from “White Cranes of Heaven”, posted for

June 21, 2011

Summer in Scotland, watercolor, 2003, Jane Kohut-Bartels

Thank you so much for the many emails we received yesterday and today about Sparky.  We are devestated with his death and so appreciative of those people, friends and strangers, who have written with their condolences.  Sparky was truly a special dog, but they all are given the chance. That you have extended your hearts to him and us makes such a difference here today.  We miss him terribly. 

Lady Nyo




Summer cartwheels through the sky!

The fertility of months

Expressed from field to orchard,

Above in the sky, and deep below,

Where the earth gathers energy

And transforms by magic

Fruits for the mouth and eye.


Fledglings tipped out of nests

Try new-feathered wings on warm currents,

Calves butt heads and race in calf-tumble

Climbing rocks and playing king-of-the-hill,

Spring lambs past the date

For the tender-est  of slaughter

Coated in white curls,

The smell of lanolin strong in their wake.


There is fresh life in the pastures,

Now with steady legs and bawling lungs,

They graze upon the bounty

And grow fat for the future culling.


Tender shoots of wheat and corn,

Waist-high, defying devious crows,

Paint once-fallow fields in saffron and

A multitude of hues-

Golden tassels forming,

Waving under an oppressive sun,

And when the sky bursts open

In random welcomed rain,

Heaven meets Earth-

The cycle complete.


This is the song of Summer:

The bleat of lambs,

The cymbals of colliding clouds,

The blaze of fierce light,

The plaints of cows with full udders,

The loud quarrelling of a swollen brook,

The scream of a hunting hawk

Calling for its mate,

The pelt of an unheralded storm

Upon a tin roof,

And the quiet sighing of

An unexpected wind-

A benediction to the day.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010 

From “White Cranes of Heaven, 50 Seasonal poems”  published by, 2011

The Author, from the backcover of "White Cranes of Heaven"

“River of Babylon”, posted for OneShotPoetry

June 14, 2011

My father died 21 years ago, and I have many regrets about things I didn’t do…didn’t have the strength, courage or will to do then. I was his only daughter, his oldest child.  Of course, I couldn’t have changed his fate, I couldn’t have made any real difference, but these things  we think we ‘could have done’ continue to haunt for a long time. Perhaps poetry is a way we can make peace with the impossible.

Lady Nyo


River of Babylon

Do you remember

That visit a few scant

Months before you were gone,

When I saw the pain

Saw the end coming

But would not believe?

I wrapped you in a hospital sheet,

Hiding your face like a thief

And we wheeled down the hall,

Avoiding the eyes of nurses,

Down the elevator, down to the street.

We were laughing, elated

Making our great escape

Right under their noses.

In the mellow spring sunshine,

The scent of daffodils

Blossomed beside us,

Up and down Witherspoon,

Enjoying this tender season,

Our escape made richer

By the danger of it all.

But you had different plans,

Intentions that blossomed as you

Lay there, waiting for

The right moment,

The right weather,

The right dupe.

I was driving your Audi,

That paint-faded car with

Butter-soft seats,

And somehow you knew where it was

And though your left hand was a claw

 Held tight to your thin chest,

You casually, so casually gestured

With your right to ‘go there, turn down

This street.’

I remember how you threw

Your white shrouded arm in that direction,

And I pushed behind you,

Not knowing your intention until

Too late.

You grabbed the door handle

And I begged you to let go,

But you were fierce,

Your determination to go,

And not just for a ride.

I broke your hold,

And I broke your heart,

Just a little to me-

A mortal blow to you.

How I wish I had lifted you

into that car,

How I wish we had run away.

We could have hid on the river bank

We could have been right under their noses,

Doctors and nurses and all the authority

They took from your now-fragile life.

I could have climbed the bank to the house,

Stolen your French horn

You could have played  Mahler,

Softly, softly Father,

We don’t want them to find us-

And we could have fished for sunfish,

Listen to carp jump in the water,

We could have slept in the hollow

Of a fallen log,

Ate blackberries until our mouths, hands

Were stained purple.

We could have thumbed our noses

At the rules,

Even for a little time.

But I was afraid,

Too much the coward,

Afraid of the anger, the fury

And now I wished I had done all this,

And more,

And damn all of them! All of Them!

We could have headed West,

Unknown alien territory,

Or we could have floated down the Millstone

The river you loved so much,

Taught me to love.

We could have floated out

To the River of Babylon

And let it carry us away.

 Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011

‘O Absalom!’, from “A Seasoning of Lust”

June 2, 2011


Absalom, King David’s son, caught by his hair in battle.


The Lady Nyo, with glitter

The Lady Nyo, with glitter

It must be the sultriness of the weather, the heat that pulsates in this ‘spring’ air that brings our thoughts to passion, sex.   June opens with a furnace blast and there is still three more weeks of spring.  But summer has more than appeared, and we will have to make the best of it.  The night is cooler, and one can stand the touch of another, as long as there are fans and the touch is fleeting. 

 It is still spring, with all the fertility of  pollen, reproduction, grafting, etc….so perhaps if one’s thoughts turn to passion, it can be expected.

Lady Nyo

O Absalom!

O Absalom,

Ensnared by  long hair in the

Boughs of an oak,

Pierced through the heart three times–

The shimmer of life now fading.


Pulled into mysteries

So abandoned by love

Now given over to lust

Charged with stolen rapture

Dizzy as a drunken 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 mandala.

Mystery of Life,

Unstoppable desire,

O beautiful Absalom,

We float upon a divine river

Entangled in the reeds of human wanting.

This is our nature,

 This our calling while

Flesh answers flesh.

What quarter be given when the heart is

Overwhelmed by passions excess?

Lie still–

Let the waters cleanse our loins,

Let the mud of banks soothe our wounds,

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,

from ” A Seasoning of Lust”, published by

“Gallipoli, 1915”, posted for Oneshotpoetry

May 30, 2011


Daniel Wood, 2004


Gallipoli, 1915 

“Are you joining up, mate?”

“Why? It’s the Brit’s war”.

“Cause Aussies are part of the empire, ‘one for all’…you know the drill”.

Both young men soon in the trenches, barely eight meters from the enemy.


“Hasim, leave off the plowing, we all go to fight the British.”

“My wheat will not be planted in time for the rains.”

“Forget the planting…leave the plowing to the women.  If you don’t go, the infidels will take your fields… Once more our country will be invaded.”

Both young men crawled into their trenches, pushing past bodies bobbing like apples in gore.

The slaughter was horrific.  New men replaced dying men. Then, within hours, they  too were dead.

The trenches filled with blood, guts, madness – a stinking circle of Hell serving all faiths, welcoming all comers.  Plenty of seating.

The Aussie mates and the Turkish farm boys didn’t last the night.  Their bodies, shoved aside by a seemingly endless supply, sank in the mud.

These were the “Founding myths” of nations, claimed with pride by politicians who never saw the muck up close or personally.


Beautiful Gallipoli.

 Turkish soil and streams nourished by the mixed fruit of the dead.  

Mothers, your children rest in the now gentle bosom of the land. They sleep as brothers. Your tears feed the oceans forever.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyright, 2007, 2011

‘Poem of my Husband’

April 26, 2011

The Marriage Bed

My husband of two decades is a quiet man, not given to emotional displays.  When he uttered these words that began the poem,   I knew something was out of the ordinary.   I wondered what he was thinking.   Our marriage was secure, our life together not dull.  I realized one can never completely fathom what is going on with another, even in marriage.

He is of German stock and rather traditional in views of marriage. For years we did not have a ‘marriage bed’, (his term)  or more than a few attempts at this, and all cast off as ‘unacceptable’.  He bought two ‘overdoors’ years ago, and as an excellent carpenter, he was going to make this all important marriage bed.  They were great big things and they would look good as overdoors, and that is where they ended. One at the formal front door, and another made into a mantel.  We still didn’t have his marriage bed.

Until this past Valentine’s Day.  We bought a Rice bed.  It was so high he had to make steps for me.  For a couple of weeks he, being a tall man, would get in first and then drag me over the bed. If he wasn’t there, I would have to take a running leap.  I still can’t sleep in this bed comfortably, feeling  if I fall out  I will break something.

He is contented, finally having his all-important Marriage Bed. He sleeps and snores like a happy man.  I sleep with one eye open, moving away from the edge, spooning tightly to him, but perhaps this is the way of marriage.

Lady Nyo


“You’re all I have”

Heard in the dark

Heart almost stopping

In an inattentive breast.

I dare not look at him

Too bald a sentiment

And too true to bear

A light, comforting answer.

What would occasion such words,

Such a piteous sentiment?

When one has lived

Within another’s hours, days, years,

The fabric of this making

Can be frayed.

The warp and weave, the very thread

That appears as if out of air

(and it does)

becomes substantial.

It covers and clothes more than the body

and the life blood of sentiment,


Becomes the river within, unending,

Even transcending the pulse of life.

“You’re all I have,”

A whispered refrain

Echoing  in the heart

And burrowing deep.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009, 2011

“Quiet Birds”, posted for

April 11, 2011

"Nuthatches", watercolor, 2006, Jane Kohut-Bartels


Quiet birds!

I have not changed you into metaphors yet.

Your chatter adds crystallized chaos

To last nights tokaji clouding the brain.

My eyes open with reluctance

To splinters of light

Challenging soft, painful membranes.

The smell of black coffee cuts

Into the reality I am no longer young.

A night like last should be wrapped in tissue

Locked deep in a trunk,

To find when I am past temptations-

Having room only for memories and regrets.

Quiet birds.

The day looks promising.

I await a new flock of metaphors

With polished feathers

To land on my shoulders,

Weighing me down-

Colorful daydreams,

Peacock words,

Bird of Paradise thoughts!

For some reason,

Words, whole paragraphs,

Circle my head, then

Flap off in a thunder of wings.

I hear laughter of rude crows,

See a mess of bird droppings,

And with a few cracked seeds

begin my penitence-

Starvation wages for a poor poet,

Left to a flightless life.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008, 2011

With thanks to George Szirtes, for the words: “Quiet Birds, I haven’t changed you into metaphors yet.”  I couldn’t resist.

Picture of author from "White Cranes of Heaven",

“Ghosts”…from “A Seasoning of Lust”

April 4, 2011

Japanese Ghosts

Something different.  An earlier poem, around 2009.

Lady Nyo


Ghosts of lovers gone

circle my head in pale tones

grazing my body

with hands and lips now grown cool.

My loins slight response

barely encourages

but lust knows its course

and demands my devotion

and still calls forth  attention.

In the past I knew

plump lips, rounded soft belly

blossom of my youth.

All of these circling ghosts

touched the filament

some of them the fundament!

Fast lusty dances

mouths and tongues greedy with joy

loins wrapped around loins straining.

Now, silence- alone,

all gone in the haze of time

spooks disturb my sleep

but still my skin remembers-

the scrap of a nail,

the caress of a soft hand,

teeth grasping a lip.

The flesh loses much regard

but memories surface still.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted,  2009

from “A Seasoning of Lust”, available from

Some Haiku and Tanka, posted for OneShotPoetry.

March 28, 2011


Dogwoods are blooming
The crucifixion appears
White moths in the night.

(Dogwoods are a Southern tree here in the South.  White blooms
having the form of the Christian Cross, with nail heads.  They bloom in the spring  right before Easter. They are a symbol of Christianity in Nature.)

Under the dark moon

I awaited your return

Only shadows came.

The moon, a ghostly

Sliver, sails on a jet sea

Wild dogs howl beneath.


The fire of life

Is love. No exact measure.

A whirling dervish

Hands in opposite display

Gathers in the miracle.


The sound of frog-calls,
In the pond floats a pale moon
Fresh life is stirring
An early owl goes hunting
Wise mice scatter for cover.

Thin, silken breezes

Float upon a green-ribbon

Of spring—pale season.

Scent of lilies, myrtle, plum

Arouse bees from slumber.

Restless and confused,

Birds cry out, sky darkening

Rain lashes, flooding

Freshly planted fields drown

Wind sails red tiles from  roofs.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011

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