Three Poems Upon Viewing the Moon Last Night

A dear friend, Bren, issued a challenge yesterday: to write a poem about the moon last night.  No poetry of mine can capture the beauty of that particular moon.  It filled the eyes and sky as nothing I can remember.

The great tragedy in Japan was not far from my thoughts as I watched, riveted to the eastern early night sky.  I was sitting under two plum trees and gentle breezes cascaded white petals  into my lap.  Time of sorrow, time also of hope.

Lady Nyo


The moon tonight

Blood orange orb

Duenna of the cosmos

Looms in a velvet sky.

Slipping her moorings

She floats closer to earth

A commanding  presence

Creating wonderment beneath

And pulling our eyes to Heaven.


Is there a moon viewing party

In Japan tonight?

Destruction, sorrow

Covers the land,

Despair, loss

Regulates the heart.

Perhaps the moon presence

Is of little interest

And less comfort.

Perhaps sorrow goes too deep

To raise our eyes above the grave.


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 trees

Would have opened in Sendai.

Beautiful clouds of scented prayers

Falling upon upturned faces,

An eternal promise of hope for the earth

Swept out to sea

With a good part of humanity.

I will sit beneath the moon tonight

I will sit beneath a cherry tree

Feeling the kiss of bridal blossom

Fall upon my sorrowful face.

I will count falling petals,

And offer each up as a prayer.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011

Tags: , , , , , , ,

20 Responses to “Three Poems Upon Viewing the Moon Last Night”

  1. bren Says:

    Beautiful Jane!

    Sorrow and Wonder …

    gives meaning to Rumi’s :

    God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Bren!

    I saw that Rumi quote at the bottom of one of your emails, and I forgot to tell you how much it moved me.

    Very wise words, and something I must remember.

    Thank you, Bren, for your original challenge. I think it takes some of these to move many of us to write. Challenges are good.



  3. Katie Says:

    I’m so glad you viewed the moon. Ours had a ring around it-I know that’s an atmospheric thing so yours may not have had one. I stood on my tiny balcony at 2:30 am-when Max decided everybody should get up-and wondered at this magnificent spectacle. We miss it too often in our daily lives, forget to marvel at the miricle of Nature.

    I feel great empathy for Japan as well. It is, though, Nature’s reminder that all is temporary. There is nothing personal about what happened-it is devastating to the families who lost loved ones, to the people who must rebuild their lives. But Jane, it’s a lucky person who doesn’t have to rebuild their life at least once, most of us many times. This isn’t meant as a dismissal of the events in Japan, just that we needn’t be shocked that these things happen. We can look at this as a reminder that everything is temporary, and not to lock our lives and values up in things than can be gone in an instant.

    I hope Japan has the support and resources to help each citizen rebuild without making an extremely difficult time more so.


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Katie…

    The extend and enormity of the devastation goes beyond rebuilding lives as WE know it
    …these lives have suffered such a lost in human count, besides the issues of homes, jobs, social environment, and environment itself. We can be homeless in this country, we can be without a job, we can be destitute like nothing we could expect, but the balance is this: in this country, we have not been hit with such a blow. We also have social organizations that can immediately step in and give some direction, succoring and guidance. Japan is overwhelmed right now, and there are areas where there has been little relief or even recovery of bodies. This series of events will impact upon the collective Japanese consciousness as nothing else has since the bombing of WWII.

    How can we not feel shocked at these things? They total up their devastation in too human terms: families are ripped apart in death, and the support system of whole communities are gone. Rescuers and the Army have not been able to get to certain areas because they are stretched too thin. And on top of this is the fear and anxiety that the radiation is causing for now and the future of food stuffs there.
    It’s not an individual thing we see and experience in this country….it’s a collective disruption of not only what they knew, but what is to come? Sure, global outpourings will come and there is always hope for the future.

    But this two punch of earthquake and tsunami is something far beyond our ability to really understand. Perhaps because we are not in the midst of it? Then again, the Japanese are far and away better at understanding these transient issues of life when the earth rumbles under their feet at regular intervals.

    Thank you, Katie. This are trying times, neh?



  5. bren Says:

    The earthquake and tsunami are Nature – the nuclear disaster with the radiation that is leaking into the surrounding area – that is humankind made.


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Yep…and there is little we can do about Nature…except prepare as best as we can, and learn the necessary lessons. In no way do I think the Japanese people have been slack on this….but the enormity of the situation and what happened….has severely complicated this issue of rescue and relief.

    The nuclear disaster isn’t really improving….it’s like one step forward and one step back over there. There are many issues about these reactors. For one, the design, Mark I I believe, by General Electric, designed in the 1960’s were cheap and efficient, but the problems were to come later. We have a reactor in Georgia, Vogtle, that is of the same design.

    I have issues with the whole concept of nuclear power anyway, and a lot of it is based on my fear that we don’t really have control over this energy source. When something happens, whether it be an earthquake, and of course this tsunami complicated everything there….the fallout of issues are compounded. This is evident in the situation in Japan right now. Perhaps we are really in the beginning stages of our understanding of this energy source. There are so many variables surrounding the safety of this source.

    Thanks, Bren…for reading and your comment.



  7. Laura Hegfield Says:

    each word full of so much compassion and lovingkindness… I like to imagine that the bright moon gave comfort in the darkness…May this be so.


  8. brian Says:

    each one the better…offering the petals as prayers…you know i imagine they did have a moon viewing…its constant rising and falling is a foundation on which to build…


  9. ladynyo Says:

    I think you are right, Brian. The moon is so significant in that society.

    I like what you say: its constant rising and falling is a foundation on which to build. Those also are words of hope.

    Thank you, Brian, for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  10. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Laura,

    The purpose of the moon is so multifaceted. Thank you Laura, for reading these short poems and your insightful comment.

    Lady Nyo


  11. hedgewitch Says:

    I too have been watching petals fall–it seems after such a brief life, a shot of beauty, a transformation of an entire landscape from life to death–and then they are just windblown trash lying along the curbs…your poems touch me with this same sadness, and the many times magnified sadness of the larger-than-life catastrophe in Japan.


  12. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Hedgewitch!

    I am so glad you stopped by. WordPress has been screwed up today and it’s been hard to read anything of comments.

    Japan. How much more can these poor people take? It’s just unbelievable. Funny, in China, the tree that was so important was plum, and they blossom earlier than the cherry, but Japan was better for cherries for some reason. I have both, and the evoke the same sentiment of transience and brevity in me.

    Thank you, Joy, for reading and your insightful comment. Spring is here, and we all have something to ponder.

    Lady Nyo


  13. The Fool Says:

    Loved all 3 poems, Lady Nyo. A worthy tribute to the tragedy in Japan. Your poem reflects the Japanese ethos. I am a great follower of Japanese culture – Mangas, Anime and been in Niigata for 4 months. So kind of have some personal affinity towards Japan.

    By the way, I went through the archives of one stop poetry and came across your lessons on Tanka. Found them highly intrcutive and am fascinated by the Tanka form. Made an attempt at Tanka.
    Would you have time to have a look and give me feedback on how I can improve my skills in writing tankas.


  14. marousia Says:

    I especially love the final moon poem – I think you captured impermanence in it so beautifully. There is a strong spirit of resilience in it too. You somehow caught that sense of life and sadness at its passing … Sorry to be so late but WP has been misbehaving ….


  15. ladynyo Says:

    Dear Fool!

    I looked at your tanka, and I think you did a wonderful job on this form! It’s not easy, in the beginning (or the middle or the end!) but you have the sentiment down, and the syllable count and more importantly, the ‘feel’ of the tanka form.

    I think you did an excellent job! You handled that all important third line very well. Good job!

    And thank you. My favorite of the three I wrote here is the second one. As you well know, Fool, the moon figured so prominently in Japanese culture.

    Thank you so much for reading and for leaving such a lovely comment. And keep writing tanka…isn’t it a wonderful form?

    Lady Nyo


  16. ladynyo Says:

    Oh Marousia! WordPress has been very, very bad today! LOL! We all caught it.

    Thank you so much. With the falling petals, the moon, the tragedy in Japan, well, it’s very hard to get out of this mode. And very hard to get beyond the sadness right now. But I think the Japanese people are so resilient that they will recover, but they also will be changed….in many ways. So will, I hope…their government.

    You know you made me think of something here. This issue of resilience in the face of transience, of soft, immaterial things….that duality? It’s very Japanese. I think of the samurai, and their writing poems, drinking cha, the tea ceremony, …what contrasts! But life is always contrasts, neh?

    Thank you so much for reading and your comment, Marousia.

    Lady Nyo


  17. Kavita Says:

    Oh my.. how beautifully you have the connected the two starkly opposite events, Lady Nyo.. one of utter beauty, and another of sheer tragedy!

    I wish the moon could shower more than just bright yellow light on Japan…

    Your poems made me realize and digest the relative significance of it all.. (sigh)


  18. Shashi Says:

    Dear Jane

    You have captured the essence of the moon shining over Japan, with the pain and humility in your second verse so beautifully that it moved me …. the first one with your thoughts about the big moon affecting the moods and emotions below was great….
    But I loved the last one…. so sentimental… liking crying over the lost friends… the atmosphere under the big large moon was of sombre tone and the color of the moon reflecting that so beautifully and evocatively it all..
    Thanks for the same..

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    At Twitter @VerseEveryDay


  19. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Kavita!

    I think we are all starting to understand the enormity of the situation in Japan. I will post a letter sent to me by a friend , who got it from a woman in Japan. It makes clear that there is something must bigger afoot.

    Thank you, Kavita, for reading and your lovely comment.


    Lady Nyo


  20. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Shashi!

    As poets, we try to evoke the emotions and sense into things that make no sense. It’s hard, and we fall very short in these things. But we make the attempts, and that is all to the learning and the good.

    My words are shallow and of little significance to the situation. I feel that strongly and sharply, and the continuing situation there reinforces this daily.

    I like that second one, too. The way it starts. Sometimes it’s hard to continue it on, because there are just so many sensations that come boiling up through the poetry.

    Thank you, Shashi, for reading and your very lovely comment. It helps so much to know that others understand and are doing the same thing: digging deeply into our hearts and attempting to make ‘sense’ or something of terrible happenings. I hope you read the letter I am going to post today…later on this morning. It is from a woman in Sendai. It speaks to so much, but it is ultimately a letter of hope and transformation…for all of us!

    Lady Nyo


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: