Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Samhain, A Celtic Winter Song

November 16, 2018


(Watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, Off Coast of Ireland)


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 ,

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, 2018


October 30, 2018


(Watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2005)



A sickle moon

Sits high in a pale night sky.

Black swifts shoot like

Miniature crescent moons

Traversing the air–

Or perhaps they are bats.


Dusk’s  breezes have settled,

The rustling of pines–stilled.

Spring brings a tender benediction

To a tender day.


The lowing bellows of milk cows

Echoes across the valley,

The hoot of an early owl,

Perched unseen in a fresh leafed tree-

The call of bull frogs,

Mournful sentries of the fresh night,

Calls us homeward, homeward.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017



“Almost Halloween”….

October 27, 2018
My beautiful picture

Night Fire Road in the Georgia Mountains


It is almost Halloween.

The early dark of dusk

Creeps in before finishing

With the day–

Strange imaginings

Cause shadows to rustle,

Briars entangle

And nothing seems exactly…right.


In the mountains

Clouds dip low

Smothering the landscape.

Only the moan of winds

Round eaves shaking the skeleton hambones

Hiding in attic corners

Breaks the silence–

A strange cacophony.


Monstrous, ghost trees

Wedged together in

Stumbling rows,

Indian Snake arms

Wave warnings

To all who dare approach

Their Joseph’s –coat-of- many colors

Blasted by Autumn winds

Tearing around the mountain.

The hoot of the owl

Drives on dis-ease until dawn.


Roads dip and swell

In a frenzied, jagged run

Straight into the heart of danger.

Nerves uneasy,

There is  much mystery in the corners

of the night!


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014

“River of Death”…..

October 24, 2018

Haibun, “River of Death”

Man'yoshu image II

 I’ve had enough horror this weekend and wanted to dial back on that.  So, I am posting this new haibun  I fashioned out of an episode of “Song of the Nightingale”, published by Createspace, 2015.  It’s a bit ghostly.


The river of death is swollen with bodies fallen into it;

in the end  the bridge of horses cannot help.


(it was a medieval military tactic to stand horses together to make a bridge for soldiers to cross the river.)


“River of Death”

Voice of Lady Nyo:

When the news of my birthing a son reached my husband, he was far from home, to the east, over mountains in dangerous, alien territory. A general in the service of his lord, the gore of battle, and the issue of ‘dying with honor’ began at first light. The air soon filled with the sounds of battle- dying horses and men, drawing their last gasps of life, churned into the mud of immeasurable violence. Death, not new life was before his eyes at dawn. And death, not life, pillowed his head at night. He stunk with the blood of battle as his bow and swords cut a swath through men in service to another and when the battle horns went silent, with tattered banners like defeated clouds hanging limp over the field, acrid smoke stained everything and the piteous cries of the dying echoed in his ears. He wondered if his life would end here. But the gods he didn’t believe in were merciful. His thoughts turned from fierce, ugly warriors towards home and a baby. Still he could not leave. He was caught by status, the prestige of his clan. He could not desert the fate set out from birth. Ah! This was the fate of a man chained to Honor.

Still, in the darkest hours of the night, he said the soft, perfumed shape of me floated down from the fleeting clouds, and I came to him through the smoke of battlefield fires, and he turned on his pallet to embrace this haunting comfort.

Shaped like a crossbow

Moon floods the battle below

Too late for the dead.

Dark is the hour

when hope is vanquished

the nightingale sings



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018

Song Book cover

Some Haiku

October 14, 2018


(Watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels)

I chase one red leaf

Across dry and brittle grass

Juice of summer gone.

The garden spiders

Fold their black spindly legs,

Die, all work now done.

Pale lavender sky

Balances the moon and sun

The scale shifts to night.


 Fallen leaves crackle.

Sparrows add the treble notes.

Season’s musical.


Dogwoods blooming

The crucifixion appears

White moths in the night.


Fall’s crispness compels

Apples to tumble from trees.

Worms make the journey.


 The frost at morning

Makes the birds plump their feathers

Squirrels add chatter.


 A swirl of blossoms

Caught in the water’s current

Begins the season.


The cold moon shines down

Upon hollow dried grasses.

Earth prepares to sleep.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018


A few favorite tanka….

October 9, 2018


(Oil, “Dusk”, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2002)



Mist drifts in waves

Ribbon-ing maple branches

The rising of moon

Make Egrets shimmer silver-

Gauzy ghosts of nothingness.



Like the lithe bowing

Of a red maple sapling

My heart turns to you,

Yearns for those nights long ago

When pale skin challenged the moon.


How could I forget

The beauty of the pale moon!

A face of sorrow

Growing thin upon the tide

No one now visits me.



The full moon above

floats on blackened velvet seas,

poet’s perfection!

But who does not yearn for a

crescent in lavender sky?

Autumn wind startles–

Lowered to an ominous

Key—Ah! Mournful sounds!

The fat mountain deer listen-

Add their bellowing sorrow.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018









“Night Fire Road”…..

September 30, 2018

D’ : This Thursday is Open Link Night.  Come and read some great poetry!


(Watercolor done by JKB to illustrate “Night Fire Road”)



Sharp right into mystery,

Down black macadam churning

The guts and apprehension,

Pot-holed surface falling

Either side into waterlogged ditches.

Hurtling towards a tunnel

Of dark, smothering trees,

Deep in the mountain.

This is Night Fire Road

Spiraling down and up

Like the dark flames of its name.

Tires dumped in the tar of night

Maybe a car or two

Stolen, torched,

Liquor bottles christening the

Games of drunken fools.

Maybe it was meant

To be named for foxfire—

Bioluminescence come down from

The borders of Heaven

A gleaming fool’s gold

Only appearing at night

To tease greed and imagination.

Or perhaps it was named

For the illicit meetings

Of furtive lovers

Who shun daylight

And go enflame passion on

Night Fire Road.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

“After Harvest Song”

September 26, 2018



This waning autumn season,

That burst upon the mindscape

Hijacked a summer landscape,

Dared mingle dazzling elements

Of color, odors, tangled undergrowth,

Where things are lost in each other

And plausible limits vanish.


And with the passage of these days

The Earth transformed in scarcity,

A stretching silence,

A gathering solitude

Where Pan’s pipes are brittle straw

Made golden, hollow by harvest.


Come celebrate this solitude

Rejoice with me in silence

Where time warps

And darkness gathers,

Where mystery is beckoned

By hoar frost and shadows.

All color now corralled

Like old dun horses

Barely moving against the grey of day.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016-18


“Storm Drain Baby”

September 24, 2018

Children of Aleppo pix

This ‘event’ happened a few years ago in Atlanta.




Yesterday a baby was born,

Placed in a storm drain

To die by a father who wasn’t.

Three days of heavy rain

Washed the Blood of this Lamb

Into the sea.


He was found, expected to live

And died,

His short life measured in scant public



The 19 year old father said as they

Led him away:

“It was a miscarriage gone wrong.”


The rain continues today

Rushing down streets

To storm drains,

Making a gurgling sound.



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017-18

“Poems of Autumn”

September 23, 2018


(Watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2003)



Autumn wind startles,

Lowered to an ominous

Key—Ah! Mournful sounds!

The fat mountain deer listen-

And add their sounds of sorrow.


Autumn coming


Bullfrogs bellow a different pitch

Autumn’s fast approaching.

And though they soak in a rocky pond

Summer’s heat they can’t escape.


Full moon reflects in half-sunk eyes

Perhaps fish mistake the moons of Mars

And in their algaed depth by night

They travel the cosmos past the stars.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018


(Watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, ’03)

%d bloggers like this: