Autumn Tanka and a Poem, posted for d’

"North Carolina Stream", watercolor, janekohut-bartels, 2008

A long, hot summer is coming to a close.  Some tanka and a poem might cool us off,  and send our thoughts towards  Autumn.

Lady Nyo



When Autumn enters

Inexplicable sadness.

Season fades to death.

Hunter’s moon sits in Heaven–

Garden spiders finish, die.


Autumn wind startles–

Lowered to an ominous

Key—Ah! Mournful sounds!

The fat mountain deer listen-

Add their bellowing sorrow.


Out with the gold fish,

The bullfrogs croak their sorrow.

Summer is passing

Autumn brings sharp, brittle winds

But Winter is the cruelest.

The Moon Casts….

Autumn night winds

Hiss over the land

Round corners

And pulse under eaves.

Clashing windchimes add sharp discord

As bare branches answer with a grating groan.

Above all,

The moon casts a feeble light

Too thin to fatten the road. 

(this poem from “White Cranes of Heaven”, published by, 2011)

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011

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30 Responses to “Autumn Tanka and a Poem, posted for d’”

  1. Heaven Says:

    Nice autumn tankas..I can feel the sadness of summer’s departure.

    Sharp images here:

    “Clashing windchimes add sharp discord

    As bare branches answer with a grating groan.”


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Heaven…

    It’s easy to lose an edge with tanka, and I’ve been away for months from them. They are definitely a ‘state of mind’, and regaining that state takes effort. This summer has been so hot I have done little writing except rewriting, but with fall, I get back into the swing of tanka.

    Thank you for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  3. Pat Hatt Says:

    Yes summer is coming to a close, soon will come the winter clothes. Yuck indeed. Love how you let summer slip away in the piece and drowned it out with fall. Fall isn’t so bad, until the snow comes then I become a hermit lad..haha


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Pat,

    You are so far north of here, Winter comes so soon to you. Here? It’s been over 90 days of plus 90 weather…Yikes! Fall is a wonder because it’s the only relief of heat we get…though the past few Winters have been so cold, we yearn for the warmth of Summer again, until we are in it.

    I love Winter because it’s the season of such silence. Fall? Beautiful colors and lovely cooling breezes.

    Thanks, Pat for reading and leaving a comment.

    Lady Nyo


  5. brian Says:

    goodness…very nice textures to these…i am particularly fond of autumn…death or otherwise she dies in beauty…perhaps that is what makes the deer moan and the trees scrape…in honor of its passing…


  6. ayala Says:

    nice autumn tankas…it’s hard to believe that summer is almost over…….lovely.


  7. Kellie Elmore Says:

    Beautiful! I just tried my first tanka. Don’t think I will again. Forms always their me for aloop! Lol! But you have it mastered! Great read!


  8. tashtoo Says:

    Love the form of tanka, love the season of autumn. You have treated me to a wonderful experience here this evening…thank you for a beautiful, and much welcome reminder that we’ve almost made it.


  9. C Rose Says:

    Really lovely tanka, I enjoyed the foreboding sense of cold, very sensed. ~ Rose


  10. Jannie Funster Says:

    I f eel so ad the fat mountain deer are bellowing. I wish they could all run and hide where they’ll all be safe forever.

    Summer has been so FREAKING hot. Bring on a tank of tankas all like this!

    Wind chimes discord, I love that and hear them now, Lady.


  11. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Jannine!

    Yes, I’ve never seen a summer like this,…in 40 years in the south. Yikes!!

    I’m a bit out of touch with tanka this moment, because tanka is something you have to be ‘in the mind’ about. Heat, etc. has led me astray.

    Thank you, Jannine for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  12. edpilolla Says:

    this is a really delightful way you wrapped this up. i felt the seasons throughout in your words.


  13. Joanne Elliott (@soulsprite) Says:

    Love these! Autumn is my favorite month, not only because it is cooler, but because it makes life sharper knowing cruel winter is coming.

    You’ve expressed this wonderfully.

    Love the last lines of the second poem.

    “Above all,

    The moon casts a feeble light

    Too thin to fatten the road.”
    Life feels like this sometimes.


  14. ladynyo Says:

    Yep, Joanne, I’m with you. Autumn is the preamble of a longer season, and allows us to dip our feet in what we know is coming….with mercy.

    Thank you, for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  15. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Edpilolla, for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  16. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Rose,
    As you age, warmth and winter duel with your nature.

    Thank you for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  17. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Natasha,

    I’m with you on both points…tanka is my favorite form of poetry, but not doing it all summer, I’m off point. It takes a bit of ‘mind warp’ to get back into the sentiments, neh?

    Thank you for reading these tanka and for your kind comment.

    Lady Nyo


  18. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Kellie!
    Oh, don’t give up on tanka! It takes a while to discover the ins and outs…

    I wrote what I thought (and defended) as tanka for three years, but only about two ago realized I was just writing short freeverse! LOL!…I did some study on tanka for about 6 months and got a little better sense of the ‘rules’ but now, ???

    It’s really a deeper subject than it seems on the surface, but then again, once we do get an inkling of this form, it will entice you to write more and very, very differently.

    Don’t give up yet! Tanka form will hold you well all through your life as a poet.

    Thank you for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  19. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Ayala!

    I, for one…am very glad it’s about over, but here in the South…it really isn’t until about October. That afterburn….

    Thank you for reading and your comment.



  20. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Brian!
    You probably too young to remember this song that had “Ohhhh…Witchy Woman!” in the lyrics, but that (in the 70’s) expressed Autumn to me in song…LOL!

    I love Autumn, too, but here it’s not a long season…Summer extracts its toll and Winter seems to come suddenly. Plus here in this part of the South, we don’t have a lot of the colorful maples, etc…but it is a wonderful change, transition, from Summer.

    Thank you, Brian, for reading and your comment.


  21. safehousepoetry Says:

    I love your closing, especially “The moon casts a feeble light”


  22. marousia Says:

    Love the tanka – you have captured Wabi-Sabi – the poem is fantastic too. Masterful imagery as always


  23. Rosemary Nissen-Wade aka SnakyPoet Says:

    Ah, a different kind of autumn from the one I’m familiar with. Here it is the most beautiful season, warm and mellow. Your descriptions are beautiful in a different way.


  24. Claudia Says:

    in a way i croak my sorrows together with the bullfrogs and on the other hand…i’m ready to kiss autumn…beautiful write jane….and did you do this watercolor painting…this is just awesome..could barely concentrate on the words as i had to look at it again and again..


  25. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Claudia…

    Yes…I was a painter…landscape mostly, seascapes with clipper ships….before I attempted poetry. You are one of the few who has ever commented on the paintings…I sneak them in when I can find one that applies to the painting or the blog entry. Most people don’t even notice…LOL!

    Claudia, I don’t know how it is in Germany, but here???? 4 months of 90 degree and over weather. Yikes!! I’ve never seen this before in 40 years here in the South of the United States…I am ready, READY for some cold weather. We heat with wood, only, and I will never again complain of being cold.

    Thank you, Claudia for reading and your comment.



  26. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Rosemary…I’ll trade you weather any day.

    Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    Lady Nyo


  27. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Marousia!

    I feel a bit off with the tanka (and the poem, actually) because I think for tanka you have to really be in the ‘zone’…or a particular state of mind…and since I haven’t written many or (any) this summer….I was off my stride. But the issues of wabi-sabi…it’s a difficult one to not fall into all sorts of issues, neh?

    I am reading “Awesome Night” by LaFleur, about Saigyo, and “Ink Dark Moon” about Ono no Komachi and Izumi ___drew a blank….can’t find the book right now, and after a few nights of this….descending into this amazing poetry…especially Saigyo’s …well, it does put you into the right ‘space’ for tanka.

    Thank you, Marousia for your lovely comment.



  28. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Safehousepoetry…

    for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  29. Laura Hegfield Says:

    Even though there is sadness in this poem, it still feels “light” to me…maybe it is from the moon…more likely it is the golden sun I see in my mind as it glows through colorful leaves….autumn is both an ending and a beginning in my heart.


  30. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Laura!

    You have the amazing ability to turn this poem on it’s head and pull out the opposite and positiveness of Autumn…

    I couldn’t have described it better than you.

    Thank you, sweetheart, for reading and your insightful comment!




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