“Lady Nyo Quarrels, Forgives Her Husband”…

No, not this Lady Nyo, everything is fine with The Husband.

Two years ago I started a four-cycle poetry work, based on the  secondary character Lady Nyo  developed for a novel: “The Kimono”.  She was secondary, but  had some interesting characteristics, and aren’t writers always fascinated at what appears under our fingers? She spoke to me and I took her name for a pen name.

Some of these poems are included in “A Seasoning of Lust”, published by Lulu.com, 2009.

The Quarrel she had with her husband is something I believe most of us married have some understanding:  men can be stubborn mules, insensitive clods, triflers. (And so can women…) Lord Nyo certainly exhibits all these attributes and his wife is not letting him get away with it.  Lord Nyo is samurai, but so is Lady Nyo, both by birth and marriage.  She can give as well as she gets.

I want to add something here: I am a relatively new poet, and the support and encouragement of other poets, especially from D’versepoets.com, has meant a lot.  These poets, from all around the world, have influenced me with their beautiful and heartfelt verse.

They are my tribe.

This weekend is “JapanFest”  in Atlanta.  I desperately want to go, but have been ill.  I am going to attempt this weekend festival because…well, proceeds go to Japan Relief.  If I make it, I’ll give a write-up.

Lady Nyo


‘Lady Nyo Quarrels,Forgives Her Husband’



Stop tickling me!

Yes, I forgive you,

but  you take such liberties!

Your hands are not clean from

previous crimes.

Go wash them in the snow of

last year’s falling.

Then I will reconsider your request.



Look! There is a cardinal,

red as blood and as cocky

as a lord.

See his mate?

She is dull, but has her lipstick

on this morning.



Last night I thought of you.

My face still bears the blushes.

You thought it was good health?

No, just reflects the liberty

of dreams.



(My mind still shattered

My heart still sore.)

But I put on a fresh face

full of smiles and polite manner.

It would shock our friends if

they knew the turmoil of

my heart.



You came with a mouthful of ‘sorry’

and leave now with other parts eased.

Never mind.

Your coming and going has served a dual purpose.



The spring is so tender.

My heart blooms like the white plums.

Do you think our happiness  will last

Til apple time?



Off you go,

and don’t look back.

If you turn, you will see serenity.

But behind this mask,

is a well of longing.



Last night
I tied my kimono tightly,
bound it with a red silk rope
like an impassioned lover’s hands
around a wasp waist,
and kneeling upon a cushion,
awaited the rising of the moon.
.. –

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted 2009, 2011

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39 Responses to ““Lady Nyo Quarrels, Forgives Her Husband”…”

  1. ladynyo Says:

    I’m so glad it wasn’t “this husband”. I have been treading lightly since “she” started her fast. LOL!

    Lack of food has made her very irritable.

    The Real Husband


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Ha ha.

    When are you going to get your own computer???

    The Wife.


  3. Steve E Says:

    Years ago the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra had a composer conduct his own work–a series of rather short poems, written in this same fashion, Jane.

    His beautiful Japanese wife narrated the work, accompanied by orchestra sounds, also beautiful.

    Wish to hell I could remember the name(s). It was 55 years ago.

    I love that each well-composed piece has a dual message, so in tune with the world itself.

    Thank you JK-B


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Steve!

    I would have loved to hear that…I know it made an impression on you, and it would have done the same for me.
    Big impression after the duration of 55 years!

    This part of the cycle of Lady Nyo’s poems was different. She steps out of haiku (the first part) and then the second was tanka and this third part is freeverse. (The forth part is also freeverse, and I probably will follow up with it because it’s funny)

    With each part of the cycle I tried to develop her personality, her thoughts upon the marriage, love, her particular environment of the 17th century, etc. were. Taken as a whole, they give some sense of her life, but then again, it’s a stretch from here. LOL!

    Using poetry to frame a personality was new for me, and I think readers, when they get to read the 4 parts, get the picture. I have to say that this character became ‘fuller’ in the doing, and was much more interesting for me to develop her in some sense for this long-winded (and unfinished) novel (“Kimono”).

    Thank you, dear friend, for reading this and for your comment.



  5. brian Says:

    so glad you are in the tribe lady nyo…there is a fun playfulness to your verse…he is cocky and she in her lipstick…the tickling liberties…other parts eased…love the journey through each of them….smiles.


  6. dulce Says:

    Love this story in stanzas. Great work Lady, great work


  7. Heaven Says:

    I enjoyed the form and verses very much (including you and your hubby’s comments). I like that spring is tender, well of longing, and wating for the rising moon.

    Thanks for sharing your lovely writing ~


  8. Steve E Says:

    So glad you also decide to post weekly on OLN (@ dverse)!


  9. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Steve!

    I am, too. The outside world is confusing, dismaying. I finally found that I am most comfortable amongst poets. There is a sense and sensibility about them that is comforting, supporting and wonderful.
    Thanks, dear friend Steve, for reading and your comment.

    Knowing you is a boon in my life.



  10. ladynyo Says:

    Oh, you are very welcome, Heaven!

    This weekend I made it to JapanFest here in Atlanta. It was huge, overwhelming and so wonderful. I was able to exchange tanka and verse with Japanese poets, and talk a lot about this form with those who had written it for years in Japan. I’ll eventually do a write up later this week.

    I am so glad you enjoyed the verses, Heaven. And my silly husband’s comments. LOL!

    Thank you for reading, Heaven.


    Lady Nyo


  11. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Dulce!

    You are very kind! This cycle needs work and extension, but right now, I have to be ‘in the mood’. I am hoping with the cessation of the hot weather, this will help the synapes fire and maybe something will come of it. LOL!

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

    Lady Nyo


  12. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Brian!
    These two are some of my favorite characters….LOL! She is no wilting violet when it comes to Lord Nyo, nor life!

    As I said to Steve E….the more I am out in the world, the more I am so very grateful for this tribe of poets. The substance is real.

    Bless you!

    And thank you for reading and your comment, Brian.

    Lady Nyo


  13. Pat Hatt Says:

    Characters are such fun to use, love the playful aspect of the back and forth you give them. Fun read!


  14. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Pat!
    Thank you, and I agree….our characters are get fodder for poetry and much more.

    Thank you, Pat for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  15. Laura Hegfield Says:

    I love the playfull displeasure Lady Nyo expresses…but my favorite part is the last section…so beautiful. I hope you feel better and can go to the festival.


  16. Gay Reiser Cannon Says:

    Love this so much my heart aches. I think the more one loves and lives with another, the more the little breaks hurt; the more they’re magnified. One doesn’t live thinking of death (although it always looms somewhere in folklore, family histories) but one worries when there are arguments, even silly ones, that the time may come when the arrangement could become brittle, that love becomes like crystal, and could easily break. Beautifully and expertly written. Lovely as always. Gay


  17. Arron Shilling (@ArronShilling) Says:

    secondary characters and cardinals – i would love to use that as a jumping off poit for a poem – do what you love and others will love what you do – if they are true to themselves – i just made that up and usuallly i dont go in for that kind of statement but i relate to all you say so i thimk it fits – Lady Nyo is begining to believe –

    love the soft energy in the poem – love the idea of Lord Nyo in his kemono


  18. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Arron!

    These poems are a product of married life apparently….lol! There is a lot of sadness in her observations and words, but so it goes in life….and especially marriage…any marriage where two people are not totally ignoring each other, and are stumbling around trying to at least notice each other. Love is expressed in different and tenative ways, neh?

    And yes, you are right! There is a soft energy in these verses…hadn’t thought about it, but I think this is a good way to define these poems.

    Next week, we might get a sense of Lord Nyo’s worse behavior….I am trying to formulate this newer poem.

    Thank you, Arron, for reading and your insightful comment.

    Lady Nyo


  19. ladynyo Says:

    Oh Gay, you break MY heart reading your words. You are right. The little breaks hurt because sometimes we don’t expect them.

    I do remember my long ago first marriage, when from the first month, I had a suitcase packed with clothes in the closet for 12 years. A long time of anticipated hurt, wounds, etc. That marriage was brittle from the beginning.

    All marriages have something of the brittle as you say: it’s built in, I believe. And death, or the possibility of such, which is always present in one or the other, gives a twist to the daily gut.

    I am too old for just beginning this lesson, but living in the present should help. I am trying, not thinking too much of the past (resentments) and not looking too far into the future. All we really have is today.

    I don’t believe I could have written these verses 5 years ago, Gay. Perhaps maturity opens us to things unbidden?



  20. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Laura,

    Yes, Lady Nyo is very displeased with Lord Nyo. LOL! He deserves her ire, not quite sure what he has done to deserve it, but he’s a man, and I am sure he will….or has…LOL!

    I like that last one, too. Written about two years ago in a time of great stress and confusion.

    I did go to JapanFest..on Sunday….and it was wonderful and overwhelming, Laura. And I left with a lovely yukata (summer kimono) and sore feet. LOL!




  21. Lori McClure (@lorimcspeaks) Says:

    I think the word tribe is such a great fit for d’Verse. It is a wonderful community 🙂 This is very creative and unique. And, I love the layers here. I could feel the twinges of sadness at different points for both partners, which is definitely a part of married life if you are in it for the long haul.


  22. hedgewitch Says:

    I love all these, Jane–but number 5 brought a (knowing ) smile to my lips. You have done an amazing job of putting personality and character behind these short pieces, even in the haiku where you deal in broader more traditional topics. I ‘m glad you got the chance to go to your festival last weekend–it sounds wonderful.


  23. ayala Says:

    You did a wonderful job here..enjoyed it!


  24. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Ayala!

    Lady Nyo


  25. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Joy….

    LOL! that was one of my favorites. These two characters ‘speak’ to me…probably because I have been writing around them for the last three years…a number of ‘flashers’ (200 word stories) and these verses, and the appearance of them both in “The Kimono” (so undone…lol!) I think if you live with characters you create for a while, they take on a life of their own. At least I hope so.

    The festival was wonderful indeed, Joy. I just wish I was in better health for it. But the kyudo (very formal archery) and the drummers, the martial arts, the embroidery, the origami, the costumes, the moveable shrines, well, all these things were a shot in the arm for me. People even so graciously tolerated my bad Japanese! LOL! The food was wonderful and cheap! And that the Japanese were so open about their own poetry and interested in our poetry in the West…well, that was even more wonderful.

    Thank you so much, Joy, for reading and your lovely comment.



  26. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Lori,
    My computer froze in midst of my answer to you just now…damn microsoftinthehead.

    I think you are right: tribe is exactly what dverse has come to mean to me. The more I am out in the world, on the internet, and off, the more discomforted I am. Amongst poets like those here, I feel better. Tribe indeed.

    As to these verses, there is indeed a current of sadness running through them…marriage again as you have said. Long marriage.

    Next week I want to post another piece about them…which gives a little history as to their marriage. I might try to reform it into poetry, instead of a 200 word flasher….in any case, I hope it is well received here.

    Thank you so much, Lori, for reading and commenting on these verses.



  27. johnallenrichter Says:

    This is beautiful……. I saw Steve’s remark above and I live here in a suburb of Cincinnati too. The cardinals here are pervasive, I have enjoyed them all of the seven years we have lived here now… For the first couple of years I got to know them individually, their families, husbands wives children….. they are a mainstay at our bird feeder, just outside our kitchen window, and they stayed for years. Your poem is beautiful… and Lady Nyo’s mind is full of turmoil over him, and she hides it and remains the good faithful wife regardless, for now. She fulfills her wifely duties as he tells her he is sorry for whatever he has done, but sorry means nothing to her. She see’s the beautiful plum blooms, sights I have seen many times myself, especially as a child, and it makes her think of apples in the fall, and if her relationship will last that long. Jane I don’t know the Japanese culture and am ashamed to say that, but I am an emotional type of poet, and what I find in your words are true human emotions that are beautiful.. You wrote that you are a relatively new poet, and I want to say that you should not limit yourself by that thought. Your words and ability to put them together are just beautiful.. One of my favorite poems ever was written by Mary Elizabeth Frye, who at 32 had never written a poem before in her life. It has been used around the world at the funerals and eulogies of the great and honorable people everywhere. I have seen conjecture that her poem, “Do not stand at my grave and weep,” is the single most recognized poem in the entire world. She wrote that poem out of sheer desperation and compassion for a friend…. So I just want to say that experience means nothing, like “sorry” to Lady Nyo, it’s passion that creates beautiful poetry. And your poem here is beautiful… I’m really glad that I stopped here…..


  28. ladynyo Says:

    Wow! Rarely do I get such a passionate and insightful comment on my poetry. Thank you, John. This went straight to my heart but also made me think deeper about what I am doing with the poetry.
    I was writing back to another poet on Dverse: one who I think goes consistantly straight to the heart of the subject in her poetry and lifts it up from the mere personal to the universal. I really admire that.

    As for the cardinals….I hear you! I love them too. Yesterday I buried a baby cardinal, a fledgling who didn’t escape the jaws of one of my cats: it’s a constant issue here with trees, and new parents making nests too low and my well fed cats. It was very sad because this baby had long tail feathers and I guess he just got ambushed. I love when the mockingbirds divebomb my cats and grab fur! I could watch them for hours.

    Lady and Lord Nyo are great characters to throw your emotions at! LOL! They catch them very well and do things with your words that you would never be able to do yourself. Perhaps hiding behind these Japanese characters allows us a certain creative freedom? I am not any expert on Japanese culture, just studying it for the past 5 years, but it has been an undercurrent in my life without my consciously knowing it or understanding it. These things happen for some reason, because they have a ‘higher’ purpose that is slowly revealed much later in life. That is what has happened to me with all this tanka, etc.

    I know that poem that you speak of: it is heart breaking and illuminating at the same time. Desperation and compassion can draw out the very best in people, especially poets.

    I am so glad, John, you stopped by and read these verses. You comment has really uplifted my heart this morning and I thank you from the bottom of it for that. A gray day in the dawning, but you have me feeling hopeful!

    Thank you, John, for reading and your lovely, insightful comment.



  29. Chris G. Says:

    Ha! A splendid series – tender in some, smile-inducing in others; they capture the range, and the personality of reality, and sing for it. Lovely work.


  30. Mark Kerstetter Says:

    Of the many lovely things about this poem I’m drawn on a first viewing to part 5. That “dual purpose” could have several meanings, and leaves me pondering. You paint a vivid world, but leave lots of room for the reader’s imagination to wander. That’s a beautiful thing.


  31. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Mark. That’s the beauty of poetry, neh? Leaving room for other interpertations, ideas, conclusions? I think that openness is what makes poetry more interesting.

    These folk, the Nyos…are a gas. They reach across the centuries and cultures to connect with our own lives…I think that is what inspires me…the commonality of the human condition…regardless of time or culture.

    Thanks, Mark, for reading and your lovely comment. I’ll get to people’s blogs later tonight…heavy day.

    Lady Nyo


  32. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Chris….I am encouraged by your comment here. Sometimes it’s really a crap shoot in the dark with these things…LOL!

    Thank you so much for reading these poems and for leaving such an encouraging comment.

    Lady Nyo….will get to your blog tonight. Promise!


  33. Charles Elliott/Beautyseer Says:

    Lovely work. Story. Insightful characterization. Simple words.

    As one conceived at the blossoming of the cherries in Washington, D.C. near the end of the Second World War I took…

    Your hands are not clean from
    previous crimes

    …in a context you never intended. But love loves the unlovable or moves on, or both. I like the way the Lady is conflicted within herself. Yeats said, “Poetry is an argument I have with myself.” The good stuff certainly is! Thanks for sharing…


  34. jannie funster Says:

    magNIFicent! Love so much of this. one image that stands out is of washing his hands in last year’s snow.

    What a treat to read your words today, thanks!!


  35. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Jannie!
    You are the only one who has commented on that verse…that is my favorite, and just snuck in. You know how we write things, seemingly automatic…in the voice of our characters, and we haven’t a clue what we meant or intended? This was one of those moments…and it made me laugh. Lady Nyo (that Lady Nyo) is coming alive on the page for me. In fact, she is overtaking all my puny efforts at life. LOL!

    Thank you so much, Jannie. Thanks for reading and your comment. I am still laughing.

    Lady Nyo


  36. ladynyo Says:

    Oh Charles!

    You threw me into a past reading of Yeats…and I remember that quote. What a marvelous truth that is!

    Yes, I can see what possible context that line could have for you. Interesting for us when our words strike another level in someone’s experience, neh?

    Thank you so much for reading and your comment. It is insightful in a way that I will be thinking of for the entire night.

    Yes, the character Lady Nyo is certainly conflicted with herself. She has a lot of conflict in her marriage as next week will reveal.



  37. Little Big Blogger Says:

    Blogging about…

    […]I don’t typically suggest other online websites but I’ll break my trend for this[…]…


  38. kristen haralson Says:

    Hi Jane, This is Kristen “Customer Service Rep” from Jackson and Perkins that spoke with you a few days ago. I just wanted to stop by and take a look at your work and let you know I did look you up as I said I would. I look forward to getting a copy of your new book soon , You were such a fun and interesting person to speak with and really inspired me to get out and take on the world. Happy Holidays Jane!


  39. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Kristen!
    That conversation was so much fun, Kristen! Being a writer, we have an opportunity to do a lot of things out in the world, but making connections and friends through that is the biggest gift!

    Thank you so much, Kristen, for that wonderful and funny conversation on the phone…and for buying my new book from Lulu.com. The first one, “A Seasoning of Lust” is pretty erotic, sexy stories, and a lot of poems; the second on “The Zar Tales” is full of mysticism and magic, and the third one, the newest one: “White Cranes of Heaven” is 50 seasonal poems…and 13 of my paintings that illustrate some of the poems, but Lulu in their idiocy has listed this book as “White Cranes”.

    Regardless which one you get, Happy Holidays, Kristen. You were a lovely person to work with on that shipment.

    Jane (Lady Nyo)


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