‘The Rites of Spain’ , posted for d’versepoets.com


This is a work in progress…and a very early poem.  I wasn’t going to post this today, but it fits my black mood.  (the weather is oppressive…)

Lady Nyo 



Canto 1

Sharp azure skies

Rusty brown earth,

Black of women’s shawls,

Goat dung flung by boys

At passing soldiers,

The Inquisition churns onward

Like the great mandala

Crushing bodies under its wheel

Burning witches in great pyres

Ignited by ignorance

Of the blessed padres.

Time of terror,

overtime superstition.

Of hidden manuscripts

under floor boards,

and investigations

Seeded by the envy of neighbors.

Goya colors flung on

the black of night,

Red of Blood

Death of White

Green of decay

Duller grays of corruption

Shiny blues of greed

Exchanging favors,

Cardinal to Cardinal–

Madrid to Rome.

These are the colors

Of the Inquisition.

Holy Terror of God in

Man’s hands

where nothing is safe,

Humanity defiled.

Soldiers force Rabbis

to spit on the Torah,

A diversion, for the net holds much room,

All ‘thought’ is open to this furor,

For terror reigns.

The banality of evil,

Which words belie the results

Fashions such existence.

Dark shawls drawn

Over frightened faces,

only the

Whites of eyes

gleam out like hooded lanterns,

faces cast downward

when the Cardinals pass.

No one wants to be noticed,

There is Death in the

Very air.

Gossip is gone

From the full rose lips

Of  women.

They huddle


Though no safety

In numbers,

Wearing an early shroud

To cover their


A slight sway of

Curvaceous hips

Could draw the Holy Terror

Upon their innocence

Condemned by black lipped priests-

Whores worthy of fire.

Cruelty and censure is the mantra of the day.

Breathe in the

Moisture of the drowned

Catch the blood

Flayed from bodies

Hear the sharp screams from

Those tortured,

And the

Sharper silence to follow.

Hope is gone

From the heart

Of Spain.


Now fear is the mantra of the day.

The disdainful eye

Of the Church’s


Circling the

Spanish masses,

Like herding goats

From a horse,

Whip held easy

In the hand,

Ready to strike,

And strikes when not.

How many died

That could give


To Enlightment?

How many aborted

By this

Scourge of Mankind?

Compassion forgotten

Humility distorted.

Lies the particular coin of the day.

The Inquisition

Rolled onward,

Tearing up 

Soil watered by

Clotted blood.

Black tentacles

Of Power


The heart

Of Spain



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011

Tags: , , , , , ,

40 Responses to “‘The Rites of Spain’ , posted for d’versepoets.com”

  1. Steve E Says:

    Lady NYO, this may be work in progress–however, had I not studied the Spanish Inquisition before now, reading your post I would have ‘lived’ in that chaos.

    Not the first, nor the final of human injustices. Just sad that a religion which supposedly espouses “Love thy neighbor” had to be the perpetrators of such unholy happenings.

    “It is hereby decreed” that your descriptive depictions in this poetry of prose–when edited, altered and completed, be brought again to this (umm) body for comments, education, and enjoyment of reading. SO ORDERED…
    Grand Inquisitor


    is hereby ordered


  2. Steve E Says:

    Oh yeah! Since the age of 3, I have despised ‘inquisitive’ questions asked me by any inquisitor: What? Who? WHY? When? Where? How? And If not, why not?

    NOTICE ‘why’ is in caps intentionally!



  3. Steve Isaak Says:

    Excellent, perfect.


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Thanks Steve,

    Needs work…first pass…..send cool air. Feels like the Inquisition in here today.

    Thanks for reading, buddy.



  5. ladynyo Says:

    Well, thanks Steve E.

    It’s a POEM about the Inquisition…not an inquisitive question.

    Thanks for reading…

    Lady Nyo


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Steve E: you are a nut-case.


    Jane…er…Lady Nyo


  7. Joanne Elliott aka soulsprite Says:

    You and Natasha are on the same wavelength.

    I hear the flow…you’re on the right track. You’ve captured the darkness well with your images.

    Thanks for sharing even if it’s not ready.


  8. Pat Hatt Says:

    Why don’t you like inquisition
    How could you not like it
    Where did you get such a chip over it
    What is that all about
    Who is to blame
    When can I ask more
    If never, why not

    hahaha I couldn’t resist, very strong emotions you convey in this piece, Wonderful write.


  9. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Pat.

    You are a madman.

    Lady Nyo


  10. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you Soulsprite!
    I don’t know if I ever will continue it…but it’s definitely dramatic.

    Thank you for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  11. brian Says:

    you bring this time to life…the few opening lines are peaceful before the dung starts to fly and bodies become crushed under ideals of those that have the power and use it in the name of god to their own ends…really this is a fine piece and look forward to more…

    stay cool…


  12. Laura Hegfield Says:

    Jane this is powerful! I just finished reading Songs for The Butcher’s Daughter last week…a different time…but pogroms were pogroms ans sadly still are in far to many places. Thank you for pouring your heart and soul into your words.


  13. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Laura!

    I really don’t know where this one actually came from, but that Goya painting was always my favorite of his stuff…I remember when I first got married, duplicating it BIG on the back of a door in charcoal…in a rented house…LOL!

    Yes, you are exactly right: pogroms are pogroms…and the beat goes on even into today.

    Thank you, Laura for your reading and your comment.



  14. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Brian….

    In order to continue it, I will have to do a world of study…which I may…someday. It’s a terrible time that we in these last few centuries have little knowledge of.

    Thank you, Brian….for reading and your comment.

    I am a bit out of sorts right now…one ac is pumping out nuthin’ and the other barely. Yikes.



  15. hedgewitch Says:

    I can tell this hasn’t been polished quite as much as your usual work, but it’s a very visceral and well-etched piece nonetheless, full of standout lines and images. I have to say several times while reading I was struck by a feeling of echo–that we’re seeing the dawn of this age again here. The abortion-clinic protesters that shoot doctors, the maniac in Norway who after his finger has pulled the trigger on mass murder pleads not guilty, the Westboro Baptist Church that parades hateful signs at the funerals of soldiers…intolerance and corruption are in the Very Air, as you say. This is a strong piece, Lady Nyo, and very topical and well-said.


  16. poemblaze Says:

    The first stanza does a great job drawing the reader into this world. Many strong images. Will be interested to see the rest!


  17. ladynyo Says:

    Thanks, Hedgewitch…

    It needs work, looking at….but it will have to wait. This hot weather that has dragged across the nation saps strength and interest.

    And yes…Intolerance and corruption are in the Very Air!

    Thank you so much for reading and your insightful comment. I appreciate it very much.

    Lady Nyo


  18. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Poemblaze…

    thank you so much for reading and your comment…Perhaps later this fall I can do the necessary research on the Inquisition/Spain. This was just s quick shot from the hip…I haven’t a clue where it should go right now, but perhaps it will speak later to me.

    Lady Nyo


  19. tashtoo Says:

    Oh my! While we have evolved (and I use that word lightly) to a more civilized society, the pain, judgement and punishment are still being delivered today. This is a potent write of a pivotal time in our shared histories that hangs over the heads of many. Through the ether, I think, especially us girls, still feel the effects. Still live based on them, that’s for sure and certain. Glad my floorboards are solid! For a quick shot from the hip…you’ve got this reader raving!


  20. ayala Says:

    A fine poem, and it fits my black mood as well.


  21. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Ayala…

    That makes two of us tonight…but as the sun disappears, it is a bit cooler….the cicadas are loud, but the rattling ac is louder.

    Thanks, Sweetie for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  22. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Tashtoo….your comment is poetry!! We can’t get away from it far, neh?

    Yeap, just how much more civilized is our societies today?

    Thank you, Tashtoo, for your insightful comment and for reading “The Rites of Spain”.

    Lady Nyo


  23. Anna Montgomery Says:

    As I said in another comment to a woman grieving the Norway tragedy: The philosopher Isaiah Berlin brought attention to the type of pernicious nationalism espoused in the actions of the gunman in Norway.

    ‘Berlin used the term ‘nationalism’ somewhat confusingly, to refer to two quite distinct, and morally very different, phenomena. The first of these was the sense of belonging, of collective identity, of which Herder had written. The second was the ‘inflamed’ form of this sentiment, which, feeding off of resentment, frustration and humiliation, became ‘pathological’. Berlin was sympathetic to the former, critical of the latter; but he recognized the relationship of the two, and was thus aware of the power and allure of nationalism.’-from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

    So heartbreaking when people develop pathological views that harm so many innocent human beings! There is no ideology worth more than a single human life in my opinion. I think this can apply to religious fervor as well. Great work, can’t wait to see the final product.


  24. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Anna…and thank you for your thoughtful comment.

    Nationalism is confusing….Sense of belonging, a collective identity, good…but I think our sense of this has changed since Germany/Hitler. And now? More of the pathology seems to be more prevelant than the first meaning.

    Ideology can be very, very dangerous stuff in the narrow hands of those who exclude.

    Our poetry can be a powerful way to find a way out perhaps?

    Lady Nyo


  25. signed .............bkm Says:

    Evil is Evil no matter what color robes it wears or book it holds high….to think otherwise is ignorance….as is the reverse in Virtue…that is the very reason I never take claim to a any on single philosophy…your description of this reign of terror and its horror are chilling…bkm


  26. marousia Says:

    I like it and I am curious to see how it develops 🙂 it also speaks to our times


  27. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Marousia!

    Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. I’ll be curious to see how it develops, too. It’s going to take some research….



  28. ladynyo Says:

    Hi BKM…

    You are right! and you gave me the theme of Canto II! Thank you! I was fishing around, knew that the first part of what this should be was elemental, but didn’t have much to go on to the next part. You have cut a path with your comment for me. Thank you, again. These things are revealed through the more objective eyes of others, and that is why critique is so important, not just for the usual grammar issues, but for plotting!

    Thank you, for reading and your very insightful/helpful comment.

    Lady Nyo


  29. Gay Says:

    Spain, Mexico, Ireland, Italy – what arrogance! A church that hides, abuses, hates, offers rewards, indulgences, money to those who would murder its enemies, whose public relations for centuries is to say that once there were “individuals” who abused but it’s a thing of the past. There is no past, there is only a continuing present of lies, lies, lies, abuse, abuse, abuse, arrogance, greed, and male power. It is time to walk away from any entity, any person who says it has the one and only path to salvation. That in itself is the path to corruption.


  30. ladynyo Says:

    Agreed, Gay.

    Thank you for reading “Rites of Spain” and your insightful comment.

    Lady Nyo


  31. Mama Zen Says:

    Wow. You brought it to life. This is just outstanding.


  32. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Mama Zen…

    To continue it, I’m going to have to do some hard research.

    Thank you for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  33. Tom Eliot Says:

    I am a huge Goya admirer so my eyes widened when i caught sight of you inspiration.

    I was not disappointed – this is the start of somethng epic.

    Much to be admired – research wow and not having read you before i was engrossed by the style and general feel.

    I look forward to reading more of your work.

    adios senora Neyo


  34. Kelvin S. M. Says:

    …ah, this piece has something to do with my country’s past so long since the occupation of Spanish regime.. which ’til now still solicits vindication from all the hidden remains though long gone to ashes still haunting and chilling my soul… for i am one of the product of the buried past. my apology if you think i sounded so irregular in here..i didn’t mean it.. it just flowed out of my head.

    Good day.


  35. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Kelvin…for reading “The Rites of Spain”.

    I understand and welcome your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  36. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Tom.

    I am hoping this fall I can start the research for the second part. There is a lot on my writing plate right now, but I am happy this Canto 1 was well received.

    Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a kind comment. Goya is a much esteemed artist in my eyes, too.

    Lady Nyo


  37. Olivia Says:

    You always manage to do it- don’t you now?

    That loss of essence and disdain creeping in is expressed soooooo vividly!

    Hugs xoxox


  38. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Olivia!

    You are so sweet with your comment, but frankly, this might be a one-shot deal!! I am racking my brains for a continuation (as in “Canto 2) but right now???

    God, it’s empty in there! LOL! I would have to do the research into this theme to make any progression.

    Thank you, Olivia, for reading, and for your confidence in my poetry. Wish I felt it myself! LOL!

    Hugs back,
    Jane xoxox


  39. padmavani Says:

    Hello Jane!

    Chilling. Brilliant imagery. I read it a couple of times and loved the beat in the poem, like a relentless march.

    Look forward to Canto 2+



  40. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Padmavani!

    Thank you so much for reading and sending a comment…I deeply appreciate it!

    Canto 2 is going to have to wait a while. I’m back into “Devil’s Revenge” a novel I have been writing for about 5 years….it’s quirky and yesterday posted Chapter 43 for d’versepoets.

    A few read it, and I am very appreciative of those who did. It’s not poetry, but I didn’t start as a poet.

    Thank you, Padmavani…..

    Cheers back@



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