“Food Chain”

April 18, 2018
My beautiful picture

To the East at morning

OLN  (Open Link Night) at dversepoets.com is always an interesting read of poetry.  No prompts, the poets pick what they will post there. That’s Thursday, after 3pm.



Are we really
At the top of the food chain
Or is this the conceit
Of humanity
Hit over the head with theology
And the further conceit
That Mankind has
Dominion- Over- the- Earth?

I see a bit of a food chain,
But it blurs when reality comes close.

Yesterday, the Coroner dragged a body bag
Out of the woods and over the rocks.
A homeless man died in those woods
The fox and worms and unknown things
Had at him.

He was light as a feather,
Inconsequential, probably never more
In the eyes of most while he breathed.

He must have been.
It took only one man to drag
Him like so much garbage
To the van in the street,
Bumping him over the pavement,

knocking his bones against the curb.

So….the food chain
Gets blurred, confused
In the light of actual life.
And those who say that we are the wisest
The most intelligent–
Still allow their species to die in the cold,
To rot yards from their warm houses
To be fed upon by wildlife
Who are waiting for our stupidity
To reveal the real food chain that exists
Under our noses.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2018




“A Few Tanka”

April 15, 2018


(Water color with gold leaf:  “Hummers”, Jane Kohut-Bartels)

Mist drifts in waves
Ribbon-ing maple branches
The rising of moon
Make Egrets shimmer silver-
Gauzy ghosts of nothingness.

Cranes wheeled in the sky
Their chiding cries fell to hard earth
Warm mid winter day
A pale half moon calls the birds
To stroke her face with soft wings.

How could I forget
The beauty of the pale moon!
A face of sorrow
Growing thin upon the tide,

disappearing into dawn.

Autumn wind startles–
Lowered to an ominous
Key—Ah! Mournful sounds!
The fat mountain deer listen-
Add their bellowing sorrow.

I wander the fields
Snow covers the barren soil
Sharp wind plays pan pipes
A murder of crows huddle
Black laughing fruit hang from limbs

Jane Kohut- Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018


“The Kimono”, Chapter 28, Earthquake!

April 13, 2018

Sesshu painting

The painting above by Sesshu is in my opinion a brilliant usage of ink and imagination. It takes years to even approach such a technique and I am firm in my belief that in order to even begin such is worth while of a life time of effort.  There is so much ‘good’ in this painting that it enthralls me.  There is a depth and simplicity in this painting that demands attention.


“The Kimono” be published in a matter of months….

Plum Blossom Snow

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.

Lady Nyo, circa 2016

MARI DREAMED OF SNOW falling on her face but somewhere in her mind she knew it was spring, now too far from winter. She woke up, cold, as Lord Tetsu had turned in the night and taken all the quilts. She sat up, pulling her thin kimonos around her. The dawn’s light barely infused the bay. Only thin tendrils of light skimmed the sky above the distant mountains. Something was wrong. It wasn’t snow, but cherry blossoms. They covered the ground. There was a deep humming beneath the soil.

Mari placed her hands on the ground and felt the vibrations. She wondered why Lord Tetsu had not woken. Mari stood to get a better look at the bay but even standing was difficult. She felt drunk, unstable on her feet. Something was definitely wrong. The water in the bay looked as if something was punching from beneath with a million fists, causing it to
roil and churn.
  

Lord Tetsu woke with a start and sat up. For the first time, Mari saw fear on his face.

“Do not try to stand. Throw off your geta and run!” he shouted. He grabbed her hand and they ran half-crouching up the hill towards the others, Mari gathering her robes above her knees. The tremors of the earthquake knocked them to the ground several times and each time Lord Tetsu covered her with his body. They heard screams and shouts in the distance. Nothing seemed real. Cherry trees were uprooted and tossed in a jumble against each other. Lord Tetsu saw Lord Nyo scrambling towards him and shouted for him to get back to town and get their horses. They must ride to Gassan or get as high as possible. They were in the lowlands and after the earthquake a feared tsunami could strike.

A brazier had turned over and started a small fire on some quilts. Lord Tetsu stamped it out and then looked for survivors. Lady Nyo and her servants were trapped under some branches of a fallen cherry tree. Lord Tetsu and some of the men lifted the tree and pulled them out. Blood mixed with soil streamed down Lady Nyo’s face but other than a flesh wound, she would survive. Others were not so lucky. A few servants from the inn had been killed by fallen trees. Lord Tetsu’s men dragged their bodies out and laid them together on the ground. Someone covered them with the half-burnt quilts. Lady Nyo sat against a fallen tree. Mari scrambled to her and wiped the blood from her face with her kimono sleeve. Why didn’t Lord Nyo free his wife first before he obeyed Lord Tetsu’s orders to fetch their horses? Clearly, such were the rules of this century and culture. “I am fine, don’t worry about me, please,” whispered Lady Nyo. She was in shock, her face pale with trauma. “Is my Lord Nyo alive?” Mari nodded her head and told her that Lord Tetsu had ordered him to bring the horses from the town.

Lady Nyo looked doubtful. “Surely the town has suffered what we have here. The horses might have bolted and he will not find them. We can only hope he does. Lord Tetsu wants us all to ride to Gassan Mountain. He said the higher we are, the safer we will be.”

Suddenly, a man appeared over them. Startled, Mari looked up. It was Lord Yoki. “Do not fear, my ladies,” he said, bowing. “Lord Tetsu is right. The higher we get, the better our chances of surviving will be.”

Another tremor rumbled beneath them. It lasted only a few seconds but Mari screamed in fear. Lord Yoki laid his hand on her shoulder to steady her. Mari buried her face in his robes. Either he had very hairy legs or she felt feathers through his clothing. In any case, she was glad he was there. Lord Tetsu was off directing the men, gathering what they could that would be useful for their flight to Gassan Mountain. He was not around to comfort a hysterical woman. Mari continued to wipe the blood from Lady Nyo’s face, using the other sleeve of her kimono. Lady Nyo chanted something in a low voice. Mari thought she was praying.

Suddenly, Lord Tetsu bent over Mari, pulled her to her feet and led her away from the others. He put his arm around her waist and drew her to him. “You must leave. If you stay, you will die.”

“Yes,” said Mari. “I will die with you.”

Lord Tetsu grimaced and put his hand around her neck, close to her chin, and bent her head back. He increased the pressure on either side of her jaw. The last thing Mari saw was his eyes, two black pools to drown in.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2018

Kimono Cover

“The Kimono” Chapter 17

April 10, 2018

Kimono Cover 2


Mari stood at the window, a copy of the Man’yōshū in her hand. It was a book of love poems, the “Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves”. She couldn’t read the language but a scribe had taken the time to carefully illustrate this book with erotic drawings. They were exquisite, though rather pornographic in her opinion. Compiled during the 8th century, this book was considered the pinnacle of Japanese verse, even in this more “modern” 17th century. To the Japanese, eroticism didn’t seem to have many boundaries. Sex, and even nudity, was very natural to them. They did not have a concept of sin, at least none she understood.
Lord Tetsu had ordered Lady Nyo to teach her to read and write. He was of the opinion, according to Lady Nyo, that Mari should be entertained while learning a difficult language. Therefore, he gave her this book, the Man’yōshū. Entertained? How different their cultures, stretching across the centuries like two oceans separated by mountains and sand.
It was now two months since her miscarriage but Lady Mari’s mood had not greatly improved. Her heart was a mass of confusion. She would wake in the night, sweating. She dreamed constantly but could not remember much, just disjointed scenes in clashing and violent colors. Dreams before were fathomable, but now? They were strips of some unrolling and unending painting, without words or knowable meaning to her. Just confused sensations with a hidden terror.
With patient instruction by Lady Nyo, Mari was beginning to recognize some Japanese words. She still couldn’t construct a decent sentence. There were all sorts of issues with the Japanese language and her attempts in forming a sentence sent Lady Nyo into peals of laughter. Well, at least she was entertaining to someone if not exactly “entertained” herself.
The house was a flurry of activity. Lord Tetsu was to visit sometime in the afternoon and Mari felt anxious. He had not visited her since her miscarriage. Lady Nyo said he had come to see her but apparently she was asleep due to the medicine prescribed by the doctor. The only evidence of his visit was a short poem inked on his fan. Something about laughter and fireflies.


Mari turned from the window. There were two small women kneeling outside the entrance to the room. They bowed their heads to the wooden floor as soon as she saw them. Lady Nyo came up behind them and bowed to Mari.
“So sorry to disturb you, Lady Mari. These women are here to attend to the house. Would you please come out to the rokka and view the niwa?”
Mari nodded and put her book down on a small chest. She recognized the word “rokka” as the porch overlooking the garden and “niwa” as garden. She was beginning to learn the names of things in her environment.
“Oh, Lady Mari! If you would like, I will come with you and we can read those wonderful poems together.”
What she really meant, thought Mari, is I can read these poems because you are still stupid about our language. Of course, Lady Nyo was the picture of decorum and would never say such but Mari was foul in mood and took offense secretly at many things.
The house was like a cottage with small, bare rooms constructed from a central passageway, closed off by shoji screens. They walked through the house towards the back where Lady Nyo kneeled and pushed a screen open. They faced a narrow platform looking out upon a small garden.
Enclosed by a low stone wall, the garden was very old and had a misshapen tree in the middle. There were raked pebbled paths and small green bushes with buds and a few open flowers beneath. Upon the wall were small plants growing out of the rocks. The cherry trees were almost ready to blossom. This event was as important to the Japanese of this century as much as it was in Mari’s. She heard how beautiful they were in the castle grounds when in full bloom.
The kasumi, the morning mist, had lifted but there was a possibility of rain. Mari liked the rain, it suited her moods. She could withdraw from the company of Lady Nyo and look out her window, wrapped in a silk quilt against the cool air. As she recovered, she spent less time sleeping late and would get up earlier. She liked the kasumi, it comforted her. It put a barrier between her and the world. Any rain or mist was welcomed by the people around her. There had been a drought for a couple of years. Lord Tetsu had mentioned that rice production had dropped. Famine was always around the corner.
Mari sat on a wooden bench on the rokka overlooking the garden and above the pebbled paths. The mists had all evaporated from the morning, replaced by a gentle wind. White cranes lifted off the water down by the shore, their black legs trailing like stiff ribbons behind white bodies.
It was peaceful. She felt her nerves untangle, fall away. Breathing in quietly, she could smell the scent of plum trees within the garden wall. The wind made cascades of plum snow litter the raked pebbles.
“Lady Mari, I have brought your book. If it pleases you, may I read a few poems aloud?”
Mari could not refuse this simple request. Lady Nyo’s role was to educate her in the finer arts. It was not as if it were her idea to do this. Clearly, it came from Lord Tetsu. Lady Nyo was devotedly following orders.
“Oh, Lady Mari! Here is a poem by the Princess Nukata. She was very famous many centuries ago for her lovers. She was wife to Prince Oama and then the Emperor himself!”


As I stay here yearning
while I wait for you, my lord,
the autumn wind blows,
swaying the bamboo blinds
of my lodging.


“Oh, isn’t that the most romantic of poems?” Lady Nyo clasped the book to her flattened bosom.
“Well, I would think it would be a matter of taste, my Lady.” Mari didn’t want to sound sour but the poem did not move her as it obviously did the reader.
“Oh, Lady Mari,” said Lady Nyo plaintively. “Perhaps the part of the poem that is more obscure is the key here. The autumn wind in this poem represents the visitor…or builds yearning for him. And this morning we have such a lovely, gentle wind blowing.” Lady Nyo looked at Mari with hopeful expectation. Mari laughed and asked her to read more.


Tonight, too,
does my woman’s pitch-black hair
trail upon the floor
where she sleeps without me?


Mari sat up straighter, her interest piqued. Now, that poem had interest and was modern in sentiment but why were the man and woman separated? There were more secrets than answers in this sort of poetry. “Read more.”
Lady Nyo smiled and looked for another poem to please her.


Though I sleep with
a single thin rush mat
for my bedding,
I am not cold at all,
when I sleep with you, my lord.


Lady Nyo smiled over the top of the book, again clasped to her bosom. “She must have been a poor woman to be only able to afford such bedding. But here’s another poem that speaks to men.”


Though I sleep beneath
soft, warm bedding,
how cold my skin is,
for I do not share my bed
with you, my woman.


“Now, that is nice,” said Mari wishfully. And how modern, she thought. A man who shows his main concern in bed: warm feet.
Lady Nyo read another:


Brave man like the catalpa bow
that, once drawn,
does not slacken–
can it be that he is unable to bear
the vicissitudes of love?


As soon as Lady Nyo read this particular poem, she blushed deeply.
Mari saw her reaction. “Lady Nyo, I am a stranger here. I have no history among your people. That is obvious. But please tell me: does Lord Tetsu have a wife or children?”
Lady Nyo’s face showed a sadness. She moved closer to Mari and spoke softly. “This was a long time ago but I believe Lord Tetsu still mourns. It is hard to tell with men but Lord Tetsu, though a powerful daimyo, is still a man. Years ago, before my Lord Nyo and I were vassals to Lord Tetsu, he lost his young wife and children to the sea. They were sailing to a city on the southern coast when a terrible storm took hold of the boat and all were lost. Lord Tetsu was not with them, he was on land. I understand he travelled to a sacred mountain and for years lived in the forests. He talked to the ghosts of his wife and children and shunned all men.”
Mari’s breath caught in her chest. Perhaps this was the key to his personality. He was certainly a strange man, even for a 17th century daimyo. “But surely he has remarried? Does he have a wife in the castle I have not seen?”
Lady Nyo’s eyes widened. “Oh, no! To my knowledge, Lord Tetsu has never remarried. If he had, his wife would be amongst the women with Lady Idu. Oh, it would be hard to ignore a daimyo’s wife!”
Yes, she would be first among all the women in the castle, thought Mari. “But perhaps he has a wife that lives apart from him?”
Lady Nyo shook her head. “No, not that I have ever heard, Lady Mari. Of course, many husbands and wives do not live together, which would explain why we know nothing about a wife. If that were the case, surely my husband would tell me, but in all these years, he has said nothing.”
The expression on Mari’s face took Lady Nyo by surprise.

“A man and wife don’t live together? How strange.” As soon as Mari spoke, she realized her mistake.
“Oh, Lady Mari! Surely the married people where you come from don’t live together after marriage?”
“Well, actually, they do, except if the husband has to travel…for business.”
“Oh! People are so different it seems. Here, only the farmers live together but that is because their women are needed in the fields.”
That morning, Mari learned that among the upper classes, and especially within the aristocracy, men and women lived apart. Visits were planned and each was notified by a messenger. That poem about autumn winds and swaying bamboo blinds now made sense. These marriages were conjugal visits.
“No,” continued Lady Nyo. “Lord Tetsu has no wife, as far as I know, but the finest courtesans do visit him…or he them, from time to time. It is only right and proper. He is not a hermit.”
“Who? Tell me, Hana, do you know the women? What do they look like? Have you seen them?”
Lady Nyo, heartened that Mari would use her name, blushed and shyly touched Mari’s hand. “Well, there was the beautiful courtesan, Midori, last year. Oh, Lady Mari! You should have seen her kimonos! Such silks and colors! She looked like a beautiful butterfly!” Lady Nyo giggled like a girl and rushed to explain. “I was passing from one hall to another on some endless errand and I saw her with attendants. She was so beautiful! Her skin was as white as a lily and her hair as glossy as a blackbird’s wing. Long, too. She wore it unencumbered and it swept her hems.”
Mari chuckled to herself. So, Lord Tetsu wasn’t the hermit he appeared at first to her. He was man enough.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018


“Foxtail”, a poem

April 10, 2018



(“Pitcher of Moon” available at Amazon.com)





Great winds come

Before a storm,

Tree branches pinwheel near Heaven

One shakes like a foxtail

Near the ground.


All this wind!

I think of the impermanence of life

The ghost-smoke of one loved, now gone.


Even the snow falls to the ground

But you have disappeared into air.


Perhaps that foxtail

Sends greetings

To comfort the heart?


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018, from “Pitcher of Moon”.

“The Kimono”, Chapter 11

April 9, 2018

Kimono Cover


Working on final edits of “The Kimono”.  The name change from Lord Mori to Lord Tetsu (Iron) is appropriate and needed.  Hopefully, when  the smoke clears, I will be able to publish this novel by summer/fall.


KIMONO, Chapter 11


Steven drove Mari to the doctor for the abortion. She was emotionally exhausted, and couldn’t fight him anymore.

A nurse, bowing respectfully, met them in the lobby. They sat in hard chairs, Steven saying nothing and Mari too nervous to talk.

What am I doing? Why would I kill this baby, my first and perhaps my only? What options do I have? Steven demands this and if I refuse? Can I chance a refusal?

A nurse called her name and Mari stood, not feeling herself rise. Steven placed his hand at her waist, prodding her to move. She turned and looked at him, tears in her eyes. Unthinking, like one of those Japanese robots, she moved across the room and out the door. It had been raining since they entered the doctor’s office.

“Mari! What are you doing? Come back here.” Steven’s harsh voice followed her out of the doctor’s office. She did not turn her head. She kept walking, tears falling down her face, startling a few passersby.

Mari walked through Kyoto, her hair wet with rain, her shoulders slumped and huddled in her coat. It was early spring and the rain was to be expected. Mari did not notice her surroundings, not caring where she went, what she saw, lost in her own misery.

What are my options? If I keep this baby, what can I do? Go back to the States and live with my mother? I married Steven to get away from her. He will leave me, divorce me, abandon me if I keep this child.

I am friendless here, thought Mari, biting her bottom lip. I am basically alone in this world. I have to decide for myself what to do.

She walked on aimlessly, thinking of her marriage. Flipping back and forth between guilt and resentment, she was torn in two. She knew she was not happy, hadn’t been happy with Steven for a long time. A baby would probably make it worse.

She finally returned home after tramping the streets with her hands shoved in her pockets of her coat, her shoes and hair wet, her body sodden with rain. Steven wasn’t home yet.

That night she made a decision, though in the light of reason it had none. She placed her wedding ring on the nightstand, pulled the kimono around her tightly and secured it with the red silk rope. She lay down in her bed under a full moon, awaiting the magic and dropped off to sleep.

“What? Do I hear more mice? I must remember to set traps before I am overwhelmed with invasion. Or perhaps a hungry cat? What do you think, Lord Ekei?”

Lord Tetsu was standing over his table, looking down at maps. Across from him was his counselor, Lord Ekei. He was looking  at Mari who had materialized on the floor by the window, trussed with her arms behind her back.

“Ho! Said Lord Ekei in surprise. “It looks more like a large, black rat to me. Perhaps a couple of very hungry cats or maybe even a dog. What should we do with such a large rodent? Ah! It is trying to speak.”

Mari struggled in her rope, rocking from side to side, her kimono splayed out from her body, her flesh on the tatami mat.

“Lord Tetsu, please! I am very uncomfortable. Please let me up.”

“Ah, this is quite interesting, Lord Ekei. The rat speaks clearly, implores me to untie it. Yet it comes and goes with little regard and less manners. Now, what would be the proper course to take with an ill-mannered large rat?”

Bowing to Lord Tetsu, Lord Ekei started to draw his long sword.

“With your permission, my lord, I would cut off its head.”

“No!” yelled Mari from the floor. “Lord Tetsu, please, I beg of you, untie me and let me stand up.”

“Ah! Did I hear the word beg? Perhaps this rat is learning something of manners. Perhaps I will indulge her. She squeaks like a female rat.”

Walking over to where Mari lay on the floor, he grinned down at her.

“So, girl, you make your way back to me. Is it because you missed my company or you missed writing your verse? Perhaps you can write more and entertain Lord Ekei this morning?”

Mari turned her head as far as she could and looked up at him. Tears were gathering in her eyes and her lip trembled.

Lord Tetsu drew his shoto and cut her bindings. Mari lay before him quietly, exhausted.

Lord Tetsu crouched down besides her, and spoke in a whisper.

“What am I to do with you, girl? Will you stay this time and become useful?”

Mari struggled to sit up, pulling the kimono around her and rubbing her wrists.

“Lord Tetsu, I will stay if you allow me. I have left my husband.”

Lord Tetsu stood up slowly from the floor.

“Ah. And how did you explain this state of affairs?”

“I didn’t. I didn’t want to be with him anymore. I just put on the kimono and it worked its magic.”

“Did you not think he would believe you? He would think that the moon had robbed you of your senses.”

Mari looked up at him, shivering with emotion and cold. “How could I explain anything to him? What reason would I be able to give?”

“Come, Mari”, said Lord Tetsu, lifting her to her feet and leading her to the brazier. He went to a chest, took out the quilted kimono and standing in front of her, stripped the black one from her body.

“There, you will be warmer now.”

Lord Ekei was standing across the brazier solemnly watching Mari. She stared at him for a few seconds and then gave a polite bow, her hands on her thighs as she had seen Miyo bow. Lord Ekei inclined his head to her, not speaking a word.

“Mari, sit and have some tea. You look worse than usual.” Lord Mori’s eyes searched her face as he gave her the tea.

Mari’s hands shook as she accepted the cup, holding it to her and warming her hands around the bowl.

Both lords knelt on their cushions and watched her quietly while they sipped their own tea.

Mari was lost for words but the warmth of the tea stopped her from shivering.

“So, Mari-who-was-married”, said Lord Tetsu, with a slight smile, “you have come a long way to escape a bad marriage, neh? Perhaps you will inform us why it is so?”

Mari put down her cup and stared from one face to the other.

“Do not fear Lord Ekei, Mari. He is a very old friend with much patience in his belly.”

Mari looked down at her hands, now gripped tightly in her lap.

“Lord Tetsu, all I can say is that there is little love between us now, and hasn’t been for a while. I left because I could not bear conditions between us.”

Lord Tetsu stared at her, not uttering a word. Lord Ekei snorted, folded his hands over his prominent belly and closed his eyes like a cat.

Mari looked at Lord Tetsu and tears flooded her eyes. “I wanted to have a child, and Steven did not.”

Lord Tetsu looked at her sharply. “What husband does not want his woman’s belly to grow large with many sons?”

Mari’s hands shook as she held the teacup. “Steven has always said a child would interfere with his career.”

Lord Ekei snorted again and opened one eye. This was most interesting.

“I will send you to Lady Nyo for your comfort, Mari. We will speak later,” said Lord Tetsu.

He clapped his hands once, and his chamberlain, the husband of Lady Nyo, slid back the shoji screen and entered, kneeling inside and bowing low.

“Take Lady Mari to your wife and tell Lady Nyo that she is to be the advisor and companion of Lady Mari for now. I trust your lady wife is in good health?”

“Hai, my lord. She will be honored to do as you command.” Lord Nyo bowed again.

Mari followed Lord Tetsu’s chamberlain out with only one backward glance at both of the men. She tried to make her face a mask, but her ability was impaired by her emotional turmoil. She knew her present secret would become known in a matter of days.


“So, what of her story did my lord believe?” The words of Lord Ekei were delivered with a chuckle.

Lord Tetsu walked to the window where he watched the early morning unfold. The Sandhill cranes were back. He watched them dip their heads into the water, feeding on his goldfish in the big pond. The cherry blossoms were just buds, too early for their magnificent display to come. Lord Tetsu started to hum an off keyed tune. He finally turned to answer Lord Ekei.

“Most of it. I am still troubled by her story about her husband.”

“Well, my lord, perhaps he was short-shafted and dull in pillowing. Forgive me, but women have little sense. They run away with the first man who rolls his eyes, waves his cucumber of love and pledges his everlasting devotion. Perhaps she is kurage? A changer of saddles?”

“No, I don’t think she is a run-away. It is something else, something unknown for now.
She reminds me of the poem:

“So lonely am I
My soul is a floating weed
Severed at the roots.”

“Ah, my friend, the great Basho! Yes, I could see how you would sense that in her. She is rather rootless. Without a strong husband or male member in a woman’s life, she is drifting through life.”

Lord Tetsu started humming again. Then he turned and spoke softly, more to himself.


“There is something important the Lady Mari is leaving out. I could see it in her eyes.”

“And that is?”

“She feared being a stone-woman. She feared never having a child.”

Lord Tetsu looked steadily at Lord Ekei.

“Perhaps she is with child already. Perhaps it is mine.”



” Moon Viewing in Japan”, two poems.

April 7, 2018



Painting by the author

 Written after the tsunami….




Is there a moon viewing party

In Japan tonight?

Destruction, sorrow

Covers the land,

Despair, loss

Regulates the heart.


Perhaps the moon’s presence

Is of little interest

And less comfort.

Perhaps sorrow goes too deep

To raise eyes above shock and debris.



Her gleam falls upon all

A compassionate blanketing

Of the Earth,

Softening the soiled,

Ravaged landscape,

A beacon of promise

Of the return to life,

Beauty to nature.


Two weeks and the cherry blossoms
Would have opened in Sendai.
Beautiful clouds of scented prayers
Falling upon upturned faces,
The eternal promise of hope for the earth,
Swept out to sea
With a good part of humanity.

I will sit beneath the moon tonight
Listening to frogs sing,
An owl in the woods
The birds settling in the dark—

My cherry tree is blooming
A small cloud of satin blossom–
I will count falling petals,
And offer these  as prayers.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2011-2018


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018

“Easter Morning”

April 5, 2018


It’s OLN at dversepoets.com.  Come over and read some great poetry.


The wind chimes are fierce
This Easter morning.
We thought of church where we would be aliens
Unknown and suspect, sitting on hard wooden pews; trespassers.

The music of the spheres
Is not out in the black of night
Does not pass from  star to star
As tones of energy or an ocean of harmony
But is carried by the wind from the east
That tallies majesty
With the music of wind chimes
More glorious than any carillon this morning.

I am soothed by a spirit
Random and precise,
Almost tangible blustering
piercing my heart
As it jangles the simple vehicle of
Hollow metal pipes
And awakes me to life.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted 2018


“Squirrels in Church”

April 4, 2018

As requested by Frank Tassone, (http://frankjtassone.wordpress.com)my first senryu at the end.

From my dear cousin Donnie.


The Presbyterian church called a meeting to decide what to do about their squirrel infestation. After much prayer and consideration, they concluded the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn’t interfere with God’s divine will.

At the Baptist church the squirrels had taken an interest in the baptistery. The deacons met and decided to put a water-slide on the baptistery and let the squirrels drown themselves. The squirrels liked the slide and, unfortunately, knew instinctively how to swim so twice as many squirrels showed up the following week.

The Lutheran church decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God’s creatures. So, they humanely trapped their squirrels and set them free near the Baptist Church. Two weeks later the squirrels were back when the Baptists took down the water-slide.

But the Catholic church came up with a very creative strategy! They baptized all the squirrels and made them members of the church. Now they only see them at Christmas and Easter.

Not much was heard from the Jewish synagogue; they took the first squirrel and circumcised him. They haven’t seen a squirrel since.

Wise squirrels

now become


From my brother by another mother:  Donnie Kohut in New Jersey who has the same riotous sense of humor that his father had (Uncle Zoltan)

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018


“Town Crier of the Night”

April 3, 2018


The return of the mourning doves made me think of this poem. I am soothed by their sad mummers and close my eyes to their music.


The Horned Moon shows her pale face

In a lavender-velvet sky.

Beneath critters begin to still,

Find nest or burrow

And settle for the night.

Swallows make sickle-sweeps–

Black crescents

Challenging the moon–

Disappearing into gathering gloom.

Crickets still their bows,

Raucous fiddles laid aside

With only a section

Of orchestra still fiddlin’ in the dark.

Cows mournfully call

To the cow herder—

Full udders,

A day’s labor done,

Now return to the straw

And the peace of the stall.

Bull frogs play bass to crickets
But even they, eyes reflecting
The moon above,
Shift into frog-lullaby
And sing the fish to sleep.

The brook has less babble,

The wind dies away-

The hoot of a Great Horned Owl

Is the town crier tonight.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2018



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