“Some Haibuns just to entertain”….

August 22, 2017

Last fall, I was introduced to the haibun form by Kanzen Sakura, who has become a hearty friend.  Kanzen is deep into Japanese culture and had been there numerous times.  I have  other friends who write Haibun, like friend and fellow poet in California, Steve Isaaks.  But I never was very interested in the form, until some nudges by Kanzen.

Haibun is probably the oldest recorded writings in Japan.  They basically were travel notes and from these sketches in the trail, came beautiful haiku and tanka.  Basho was one who wrote in haibun.

They are marvelous small forms, to be written as a few sentences and ending with a haiku that relates to the memory.  Here are a few of my own.  Plus a tanka.

Lady Nyo

 

images (3)

(Sumo puppies in training…)

Sumo

I love Sumo wrestling.  Or at least I think I do.  Perhaps it is the only sport where I don’t feel like I have to hold in my stomach sitting there. Watching those mountains of flesh-men grapple with each other makes my heart beat hard.  There is such history around this sport, and such a deep tradition.  The fact that they gorge themselves with a purpose makes my heart sing.  How wonderful that you can eat and eat without any concern for weight or fashion!

And, did you know that those belts they wear can cost a million yen?  Or so I have read.  I have also read that Sumo Wrestlers are some of the most humble and gentle of men.  Here, have another bowl of rice.

 

Mountains of flesh pound

A ring of sandy earth

Cunning and strength vie.

 

 Shadows

 

The newborn radishes are shadowed by cherry tomatoes. The almost-red globes drop down to visit. They compare hues.  The garden is bathed in the light of a horizontal crescent moon, grinning like an idiot, suspended over trees that cast shadows on hillocks and deepening the valleys with their creeping darkness.

It is very early Spring. Dusk and day still balance in a pale sky, though the moon has risen.  Oh, the mystery of the night where shadows churn with imagination!

I sit on a concrete wall, watching distant clouds dance on the wind. The oaks are feathery with their foliage, the pecans still winter-nude. Day is closing.  Doves are almost silent, sleepy sounding.  Bats speed by, scimitars of the night. I close my eyes and drink in the approaching dark. Only those shadows attend me, and possibly a few lurking monsters.

 

Night’s benediction:

Bull frogs bellow in the pond

Shadows blanket day.

kappa[1]

(This is a general warning against Kappa.  And also a good example of something to fear.)

Fear

 

Global Warming has brought significant changes to the South, and Atlanta is now nicknamed “Tornado Alley”.  In the almost fifty years I have lived here, I have seen disturbing changes. My first acquaintance with a ‘tornado’ was when I heard what I thought was a tornado and I was in the bathtub.  My now-ex-husband headed for the basement leaving me in the water.  It turned out to be a train. There was a track back in the woods we didn’t know of.

One flattened our local park and was called ‘severe wind shear’.  From the looks of it, it seemed like a tornado. Trees, hundred year old oaks flattened to the ground, an indeterminate path through the park, a warzone of defeated greenery.

I fear the heavy winds and rainstorms. I am powerless before them.  The only way to save oneself is to head for the basement and cower with whatever lives down there.  And of course this adds to the fear.

 

Winds begins to rise

Fear out runs common sense

The worms are safer

 

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, 2017

 

 

J

 

Eclipse? What Eclipse.

August 21, 2017

 

My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

 

For months we have been barraged with updates about the coming solar eclipse.  We thought about it, and said, sure, we will watch.  Except you can’t if you don’t find the proper glasses.  Fred looked around for those glasses, and there were none.  Until he saw our local library giving them out to the line.  He got in line, and the woman right before him got the last pair of glasses.  LOL!  So he hit several stores for welder’s glasses, and came up with none.

It’s not like we didn’t do something here.  All Sunday Fred built a really nice black box about a tapered three feet high and probably 16 inches across.  He cut out two holes for the reflection.  One hole he had his phone over and it recorded the motion of the moon.

But it was rather a dud here in Atlanta.  The sun didn’t seem to dim any, but the sky took on a weird blue/green/gray tint for about 30 minutes.  So, I guess the sun was dimming. Our rooster, Goofy, crowed and the birds and cicadas went quiet.  Mia, our English Staffie refused to go out of the house.  She can be stubborn.  There was something out there that was spooky to her.  Wise dog.

That weird tint of the sky was the most memorable of the event for us.  I think it would be the color of the last day of Earth.  That, just the color, was eerie, mysterious and had a supernatural effect on shadows and surroundings.

Maybe that was enough to crow about.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

“Snakes in the ‘Hood.”

August 20, 2017

 

 

 

My beautiful picture

Second half of vandalized mural

About three years ago, a muralist came into our community, and on a bare wall, painted the most difficult and original, high artistic endeavor I have ever seen.  He ws French, and his “Artist’s statement” was painted in French, and few could read it.  So they painted over the mural.   I would agree that this mural called for discussion as to what it ‘meant’.   It was beautiful, inspiring, confusing.  But the ‘leadership’ of this particular community decided to vote their own ignorance.   Tant pis.

 

“Snakes in the ‘Hood”

“When people see a snake, they think serpent.

When they think serpent, they see Satan”

 ….former State Rep. Douglas Dean, who was  arrested for cocaine.

 

 —

Oh, my dear garden snakes,

Run and hide in the leaf litter!

You appear each spring

Birthed from that old stump,

Your beautiful duns, browns, moss greens

Intermingling with last year’s fallen leaves.

 

I remember you as divine jewelry

Around  slender wrists as a child.

You terrified the adults

And transformed me into Cleopatra.

 

A box under my bed

Disturbed by a dust mop,

A dozen of you slithered out

The 200 year old wood floors,

Cold on your bellies.

 

The head of the  mop screamed–

I never could find you all.

Did you disappear out that window

Where you dropped to the ground?

 

I mourned for those missing,

Learned adults didn’t care

For the miracles of nature.

 

Eating blackberries from

A stretch of rambling bushes,

A July North Carolina sun

Warm for the mountains

And below me,

A cottonmouth doing the same.

 

 

Backing out of fear and respect,

But the blackberries were good

And enough for both to share.

 

I remember the black racers

Hanging  in the pine trees

And kids daring

To run under them,

Hoping one of us get squeezed

In  embracing coils

But it never happened.

You knew our game.

 

In cultures you snakes

Were the umbilical cord

Joining all humans to Mother Earth.

 

In ancient Crete

You were the guardians

Of the Goddess’ great mysteries

Of birth and regeneration.

 

The Hopi Indians

Joined the snake of the Sky Spirit

With the snake of the Earth

And dancing  in reverence,

Loosened them into the fields

Where  golden corn was growing

To  secure their fertility.

 

 

No garden hoe will touch you,

My dear little garden snakes,

No stoning of your innocence.

I will gather your twine-ing bodies

And lift you above the ignorance of bigotry.

 

They violate their God’s dictates

“Even to the lesser of you amongst us”

And you without limbs or voice

 

are surely that.

 

 

If not beloved by God,

Surely,

You will be beloved by me.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017, (“Snakes in the Hood” is published in “Pitcher of Moon”, 2015, Amazon.com)

“Striking Fear and Terror”…..

August 18, 2017
My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

(taken by camera, East Morning Sky. )

I am writing this on my computer, no pre-plans for this blog entry, but hearing of the  slaughters of citizens in Barcelona, Vic, etc. and today, in Turka, Finland.  Finland.

By now most people have heard of the massacre in Spain.  Three not-so coordinated attacks, and people killed in each attack.

But Finland.  The country of too many lakes and very cold weather.  “Several men” ran through the crowd knifing people.  At least 5 injured, and one mother pushing a pram with a baby, dead.

The attackers got away so far.

What is happening?  Only the promise of these ISIS drones, to strike fear and terror into the hearts of everyone but them.

So what should we do?  This is an attempt to create world wide fear.  And with a lot of precautions, I think Churchill had it right:  “We only have to fear fear itself.”

And what could some of those precautions be?  I would keep updated on what was happening around the world.  Never so close, do I feel, to another world war as now.  My father fought in WWII, and there has been no real peace around the world since then.

I was one who prepared for Y2K.  It was an exciting time, when we thought something would happen of some importance in the world.  It didn’t.  But!  Many of us had toilet paper for a year!  And lots of weevils in the beans and wheat we bought.  Total loss.

This present situation with our mad dog president going nose to nose with the other mad dog president for life …..US and N.Korea,  this certainly doesn’t give any of us a ‘peaceful feelin’.  It strikes fear in our hearts, frankly.

I think we are in an uneasy time of it.  We are bombarded with too many important concerns and between alt-left and alt-right fisticuffs and tearing down monuments, and N.Korea and now the terrorism in Spain and Finland, for Christ’s Sake!

I’m open to any suggestions for the preservation of life.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

 

“Poem of the Night”, to answer a challenge by d’versepoets.com

August 16, 2017

An interesting challenge over at dverse.  It has to do with music and writing a piece of your own poetry with the guiding line of a song.  Perhaps a title.

This should be a lot of fun.  check out dversepoets.com

Lady Nyo

 

Full Moon, March 2011

POEM OF THE NIGHT

 

The streets are gleaming tonight

as if a million stars were brought to earth

flattened into urban mirrors

under lamp posts reflecting

an empty  nothingness.

 

It is a dull mid-winter night

straining towards spring

with all intention of leaching

the dying season’s

last insult, unleashing it

upon mankind’s discomfort

one more time.

 

“A foggy day in London town”

Is what I think when I look down

This cotton-wool streetscape

But that has tune and purpose

and this muted stillness has none.

 

The rain left a muffling fog

mercifully erasing stark bones

of tree limbs reaching to the sky

black beggars on seasonal parade.

 

Yet,

there is a strange beauty to the night,

Transforming what was common,

Dissolving borders, barriers, dimensions,

making a mirage, an alien oasis.

 

Heavy mists swirl around the ground

lift past the unfocused light

combine with the creeping gloom

and turn a hand to pale mystery.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017……“A Foggy Day in London town”, by Ira Gershwin, 1934/ 

 

“Original Blessing”, a poem.

August 12, 2017

I have been thinking a lot about spiritual things, and this poem keeps coming up to the surface.  It was originally published in “Pitcher of Moon”, Amazon.com, 2015.  That was my fourth book and perhaps the one I struggled the most over.

Lady Nyo

917ce-pitcher

 

Original Blessing

 

I am dizzy with love,

Standing in the rain,

This cosmic blessing

Pouring on my head,

Mingling with tears of gratitude

Til one stream

can not be deciphered

From the next.

 

I am an Original Blessing,

As are you,

And we are not born in sin,

But brought into the light of life

In great joy and anticipation.

 

Our first bellows are not of pain

But surprise at the roominess of the Cosmos,

As we kick our feet, flail our arms

And finally open our eyes at the glorious colors

Of Nature.

 

Original sin would have us

Born rotten,

A theological monkey on our back–

But I know no God of the Cosmos

Who would scar these tiny blessings

With such  a heavy burden.

 

Original Blessing is a deliverance,

A deliverance of hope, trust and pride

A heritage where we can discern and save

Ourselves,

Walk in harmony with the Earth,

Stride with God across the span of life–

For this Earth is our cradle,

And all in it our kin.

 

For a truly wise person

Kneels at the feet of all creatures

And is not afraid to endure

The mockery of others.

 

And when the day sidles up to night

I will settle into the nest of the Earth,

Draw the dark blanket of the Cosmos

Across me,

Pillow my head upon stars

And know that the blessings I have been

Graced with today and always

Have come from the womb of God.

=

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

 

 

 

“The Shibari Series”, Part 6, ‘Submisson’

August 11, 2017
Kohut-Bartels-BOP-8

“Sea Eagle”, jane kohut-bartels, watercolor, 2001

 

 

I remained in the mews for my fall back to earth broke my wing.  The cage was large, one I shared with a goshawk A bird only allowed to a Master Falconer.

 

One day the Falconer claimed me from my perch, set me on his glove and launched me.  This time I had no tether and made my escape. Screaming into the wind, I climbed high until he and the hated glove were invisible.  I flew with the currents, my eyes bright with freedom.

 

Suddenly I was changing, feathers dropping from my breast and wings.  I spiraled, awkward in my descent, landing by the same brook once choked with winter’s ice. Instead of talons I had a woman’s legs and slowly my feathers molted leaving me naked, shivering, my limbs white as the remaining snow peppering the early crocuses. My cry now a sob instead of a hawk’s high shriek.

 

Instinct made me start at the sound of the hunting call and there was the Falconer, a blanket in his hands. He took his rights, my cooing not of doves.  Later, collared in steel with long jesses I walked behind his horse.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

 

“The Shibari Series”, Part 5

August 10, 2017
Kohut-Bartels-BOP-8

“Sea Eagle”, jane kohut-bartels, watercolor, 2001

 

SHIBARI #5

 

For the next week I remained in the mews. During that time I was prodded, examined and weighed. The Falconer was experienced and knew to avoid my feet when I was restrained. I would slice him, even with bindings securing my wings and the hood blinding me.

I was to eat only from his glove. He cooed, watching me as I greedily swallowed down the sparse meal, his dominance enforced.

When I was a woman I yearned for the ropes. I wanted them tightly around my body, ‘tender is the bight’ so to speak, yet now I pecked, pulled at my leather restraints. One day the Falconer found me hanging upsides down, like a bat, hooded and unhappy, but I gleefully bit him as he righted me on my perch.

Soon after, he put me to the glove and launched me into the air, I screaming in delight.

If I thought I had freedom I was fooled. The Falconer had tethered me with a long hemp rope. He jerked hard and I thumped back to earth.

“Good Girl” I heard through my outrage and humiliation.

“Good Girl” I heard as he pinned me to the ground.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017 (This entire series is contained in “A Seasoning of Lust”, by the author, Amazon.com, 2016

“The Shibari Series”, Part 4

August 8, 2017
0403Whe-R01-012

Young RedTail Hawk, Jane Kohut-Bartels, watercolor

Thank you to those who are reading this series.  I know it isn’t an easy read.  Many have criticized this series, but they, by and large, haven’t read beyond the first few parts.  or so they said.  Empowerment and transformation can be pictured in many ways.  And strength is many times forged by facing  brutal opposition.  At least that is the way I have experienced it.  We all have our own ways growth and empowerment.  

Lady Nyo

Continuing the transformation…..

 

I flew high but it was spring, and the weak thermals did not support my flight. I was hungry, without food, except for the spider. A freshly fledged hawk must learn how to fend for herself.  Beginnings are dangerous.

Cupping my wings, I hovered over a stream, watching the ice break apart far below. Three days of freedom had left me weak, confused and with a troubling need.  Breaking my bindings I was now lost, abandoned to nature, cold and alone.

“Hep-Hep-Hep”.  I heard the ‘call-in’ of the falconer below me, as I floated over the landscape.  Seeing the whirling lure with a rabbit head was too much.  Starved, I spiraled downwards, landing with a thump.

“Good Girl” I heard as the man beckoned me to his glove covered with fresh meat. As I mantled over and stepped up, he slipped a jess upon my left leg, another with silver bells on the right.

“Good Girl” I heard again as he tied me tightly to a perch.

“Good Girl” as the hood slipped over my head.

At least no one whips a hawk. And there is always the sky.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

(this entire series (and more) can be read in the new edition of “A Seasoning of Lust”, published , December 2016, by Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

“The Shibari Series”, Part Three

August 3, 2017

0403whe-r01-002

I know this is a strange series, and probably something I wouldn’t write today.  But I did write it  and I remember the period being of great psychic pain.  We work out of our predicaments by writing, if we are writers.  That is the gift and blessing.

Lady Nyo

Again, I am restrained on all sides, a fly trapped in the stickiness of a dismal fate.  I can hear the spider behind me, warming up, flicking the whip, marking his targets on my body, my wings too shredded for further flight.

What am I searching for?  I thought salvation, but there was little of that.  Perhaps transcendence?  At this point, I would settle for any transformation out of here.

The whip caught me by surprise. I jerked forward, lifted six inches in flight with a high scream, the sound pairing pain and confused need.  Blackness poured in like oil and I went limp.

I awoke, the burn deep in my feathers.  Looking to both sides, my eyes now two sharpened orbs with 6x vision.  Hooked beak, my feet wicked talons.  A furious shake and I was free of the web, free of the ropes.  Extending strong wings, I flew to the top of the beam.  With a loud hawk hunting call I surveyed the ground, hungry, need fulfilled – almost.

The spider saw me, only a moment of fear crossed its black eyes before bowing his head to fate.

=

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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