‘Lord Nyo’s Continuing Lament’

Marge Chester 1947-2011

It is with a heavy heart I write of the death of Marge Chester. Marge was my best friend for many, many years.  Marge and I were born and raised in New Jersey and she was the partner of my deceased cousin, Bobby, for years. I called her “Coz” though we were not blood relations, but it didn’t matter.  Margie was a constant in my life and I am in a state of shock right now.  Margie was a long time reader and commentator on this blog, in fact in all my writing and she was a guiding light in so much of my life.  She died suddenly yesterday, and Roger, her partner for many years is also in shock.  Monday I sent her the end poem of this series, just for her, because I knew how enthusiastic she was about this tale and she was elated.  I called her and had a short talk, and then I find out this morning she has died without warning. Margie, we will miss you so much. You are so beloved.


Continuing this short series…. 

Lord Nyo galloped away-

He did not go far.

Armed with two swords,

His bow and falcon,

He halted at the edge of a grizzled field,

Autumn rain mixing with tufts of chaff

This harvested field

Forlorn, abandoned.

The scene fit his mood.

Sitting under an old gingko,

Only a few yellowed, fan-shaped leaves

Tiredly holding on

He pulled the bone-white fan

From his breast

And thought of poems

He vaguely remembered

From his youth.

What had seemed so right

The night before,

When he had taken his brush

To the task of reforming a life

Now in the cold rain

Under cover of gray morning,

Was more like folly–

The desperate hopes of an old fool.

What good was this brushed fan

When between man and wife

Was a sea filled with misery?

When hidden by bamboo blinds

He spied his wife quietly sitting,

Mending a gown,

Quilting a warm tunic,

While around her

Her women tittered like birds,

Laughing and playing finger games

While she,

Pale face serene,

Sat peacefully at work.

He remembered the early years

When entering her quarters,

He picked his way carefully across tatami

Larded with colorful lumps of sleeping women

And pillowed her in the dark

Unmindful of the snores

And nightmare-groans of her women.

He remembered her reading

Poems to him,

And shyly reading some of her own.

He marveled at her fertile mind.

She never carried a child.

He could have put her aside,

Taken another wife for heirs–

Yet he didn’t.

One old poem kept turning his brain.

A poem a thousand years old,

One that spoke deeply:

“This body of mine

has crossed the mountain barrier

and is here indeed!

But this heart of mine remains

drawing closer to my wife”

Lord Nyo reached inside his breast

And uncurled a paper

Plain, rough in texture,

And read what he had

Written,  one 

He did not burn.

Her voice sings

Like a bird beneath the leaves

Of a fall mountain.

If she’d only speak to me

What would we have to grieve?


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011

Tags: , , , , , , ,

28 Responses to “‘Lord Nyo’s Continuing Lament’”

  1. Steve E Says:

    Lady, I HAVE been following you, woman…mostly enthralled!

    In this latest adventure you show us–these words:

    “…halted at the edge of a grizzled field,
    Autumn rain mixing with tuffs of chaff…”

    put me right into the story. Because on my bike trips I have found myself similarly and uncomfortably ensconced, thinking those thoughts, reading those bits of my ‘words’ found in my pocket.

    And thinking of home.
    You have removed me from today’s world again, Dear…


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Dear Steve,
    Your words are balm to my spirit!

    I wondered if this continuing series (and there are two more poems….to end it finally)….would keep people’s interest. It’s not an easy piece, in part because of the times and culture…

    But! I am very glad you are reading because, for one reason, I honor your opinion. You help me so much with your encouraging comments and ideas.

    “…halted at the edge of a grizzled field,
    Autumn rain mixing with tuffs of chaff…”

    These words, as I wrote them, I realized that they also describe Lord Nyo in the early hours of the day, a graying and grizzled man, the ‘tuffs of chaff’ are his unshaven beard, etc. LOL!

    I am so glad you have hung in there, Steve. Yesterday I wrote the “End Poem” to this series, and so it ends. That will be posted in two more weeks….after we hear one last time from Lady Nyo.

    I hope you find the solace of a rural inn during those rainy bike trips. I almost had him do that, but he’s a tough old bird, and with his falcon, can use up the hours productively.

    When this series ends, I will sorely miss them, but perhaps they will have a second life?

    Thank you, dear friend, for reading this and your always encouraging comments.

    Lady Nyo (the other one)


  3. Pat Hatt Says:

    Another great addition, you always seem to capture my attention from start to finish, the close was brilliant too. Wonderfully done once more.


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Dear Pat (and cats)….

    Thank you, Pat. I didn’t know if this series would hold the interest or attention of readers because it is rather rambling a bit.
    But the end comes in two more poems, and it is finished.

    I think these characters speak to us from across culture and centuries because they exhibit the same human qualities we all do: insecurity, perhaps about love and marriage, self-worth, etc. In any case, these two have spoken to me in various tongues. Writing the male point of view has been a challenge for me, but I have learned something: what, I’m not really sure, but it will come to me. LOL!

    Thank you, Pat ….for reading and your supportive comments. I deeply appreciate them.

    Lady Nyo


  5. Kathy Bischoping Says:

    I believe I’ve read one in your series before, but a little ways back, and so it is good to re-enter the world and find that I don’t need the backstory to be fully caught up in it again. I was most smitten by “What good was this brushed fan When between man and wife Was a sea filled with misery?” and the move from his autumnal sadness to the warmth of her quilting, the lovely finger games of her ladies, and her pallor (as if she is wintry yet warm at the same time, as though winter could hold some hope).


  6. Joanne Elliott (@soulsprite) Says:

    Still loving this tale. Lord Nyo is a troubled and complex character. This segment is very well done.


  7. hedgewitch Says:

    I love those two final poems–they seem to hold a whole lifetime of feeling, and even resolution, if they could go from the paper to the eye of she who needs to read them. Beautiful, Jane–sorry to hear the series is coming to an end, but I know it will be an end to remember and savor.


  8. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Hedgewitch!

    Yep, this series is coming to an end…with three more poems and then fini. LOL!

    Since the majority of the poetry in this series has become from the Man’yoshu, there is so much in there to plumb. Each poem could start a new dialogue, easily enough, and when enough is enough is the challenge. LOL!

    Thank you, Hedge, for reading this series, and for your very insightful comments.



  9. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Joanne, I am so glad you are still loving this tale. I am too, but I’m also glad it’s about over.

    I love this Lord Nyo character because he is so …well…flawed. LOL! You are right! he is a troubled and complex character and that is why he is interesting I think. I’m pretty pleased with the end poem to come, and hope that it holds together.

    Thank you, Joanne, for reading and your encouraging comments. I am having internet/email problems today, and will get to readers blogs tomorrow, hopefully the crappy computer problems will resolve themselves overnight…with fairy dust.



  10. brian miller Says:

    i just love how this story is unfolding..i love his words…it tells his heart…and the memory of slipping into the room when he sees her with the ladies…ack…gimme more…please…smiles.


  11. tinkwelborn Says:

    nice tale you’re weaving here, and beautifully, I must add. The artwork enhances the whole piece.
    Love, and all the attendant emotions (jealousy, hate, happiness, joy, etc.) are a universal language. No translation needed.
    good job.


  12. ladynyo Says:

    Brian, you make me laugh!

    Women of a certain class slept with their ladies, servants around them. The husband had to make careful visits…LOL!
    I’m glad you are enjoying these poems, I have three more and then the series is finished. Hope you stick it out.

    Thanks, Brian, for reading and your supportive comments.



  13. jenneandrews Says:

    Totally captivating, entrancing– beautiful lyricism and craftmanship– I especially loved:

    He halted at the edge of a grizzled field,

    Autumn rain mixing with tuffs of chaff–

    In keeping with Pound’s dictum here, you make these lines “new”–xxxj btw did you mean tufts? http://parolavivace.blogspot.com .


  14. Nick Says:

    Hi Jane,

    This was a very heartfelt piece that drew me right into Lord Nyo’s heart and mind. It was good to see him “soften” from his earlier somewhat gruff attitude and bearing. Lovely stuff, looking forward to the next one 🙂



  15. Shashi (@VerseEveryDay) Says:

    A beautiful and epic poetry… liked the style and thoughts woven in between… and the last lines which she reached out to read… were so perfect and beautiful…

    ‘Her voice sings
    Like a bird beneath the leaves
    Of a fall mountain.
    If she’d only speak to me
    What would we have to grieve?’

    Its a great work…

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya


  16. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Shashi!

    thank you for reading this and your lovely comments….The vast majority of these little poems that I have stuck in this longer (mine) poem are from the Man’yoshu. Hopefully people will read this and be inspired to read the vast collection of poems in that historic word.




  17. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Nick!

    I am so glad you are reading this series….I thought you would like his transformation….LOL! He’s quite the woolly-bear! Poetry seems to be the proper influence on this old warrior.

    Thanks, Nick…always appreciated!



  18. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Jenne!

    Probably…English is my first language but I don’t do too well in that, either…LOL! Tufts it is…and I’ll change that …Thanks!

    It is hard not to be lyrical….LOL! when you are influenced by the beauty of the Man’yoshu. These words are mine, in my attempt to describe a scene but also Lord Nyo. Without a shave, he probably is a grizzled-faced man. LOL!

    Thank you so much, Jenne, for reading and your encouraging comment. And thank you for that nudge towards Pound. I have recently found him and wow.



  19. katiewritesagain Says:

    I love this. Write when you can. I’m getting settled in my temporary place, preparing for my trip. Let’s talk


  20. ladynyo Says:

    I will, Katie…so glad to hear from you. Margie died yesterday and I can’t get my mind around anything else right now. Bless you, darling.



  21. Yousei Hime Says:

    I am so sorry for your and your cousin’s loss. Deep prayers and comfort are sent your way.


  22. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you so much, Yousei.

    I am so shocked at this sorrowful news….I was just talking with Margie Monday, had sent her the end poem of this series. I am so glad I did, because she really got a kick out of it.

    I will miss my dear, dear friend. She was my rock, someone of uncommon wisdom.

    Thank you, again.



  23. ayala Says:

    Dear Jane,
    So sorry for your loss.
    So heartbreaking to lose someone that we love.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones.


  24. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Ayala.


  25. Gay Reiser Cannon Says:

    Oh my dear Jane. My heart goes out to you and wants to help you bear the grief. A friend gone in an instant before she completes her work leaving such a void..it is truly heartbreaking. My true and deep condolences, my dear.

    The poem is unfolding now. We are seeing the inner hearts and the freezing actions. As stately and formal as the embroidery of their garments, the symbolism spread thereon gives clues to the “nature of things” and as you always do you let the nature speak through them. Never rushing you keep your words taut and the tension true.
    Always beautiful. This must become a book. Each section so exquisite!

    Much love,


  26. ladynyo Says:

    Dear Gay,

    I am so touched by your words and your gestures. Marge was one of those people whom everyone loved. Talked to family (distant in NJ) yesterday and today, and EVERYONE loved her. A marvelous woman and someone to pattern behavior after.

    There are two more poems in the cycle and then it ends. But I could continue on here, but I think I need to take a break. The Man’yoshu has been such a vein of inspiration.

    The ‘tautness’ comes from trying to write in the style of Japanese literature…or what I think it is….but it is a reforming exercise in any case because we Westerners are long of the tongue!

    Monday Marge suggested this very thing, a book…what would be called a ‘graphic novel’? I would call a comic book. LOL! In honor of her, I will make these poems into a book, but there are more and other things around these two characters that I would want to include. I will illustrate each of the poems in this series with pen and ink….that should occupy my time for the next few months at least.

    Gay, thank you again, for your encouraging words and sentiments. Life goes on but not without some serious losses. Marge will live in my heart. She is secure there. I am so glad that she got to read the end poem of this series. It brought her delight.



  27. mercadeo internet Says:

    Yes, I too occasionally feel my throat tightening, my sight getting blurry during the climatic scenes of some films, but never from seeing the “good guy” getting killed off at the end. It is quite likely one of the most frenquently employed cheap sentimentality tricks in the history of cinematography. The one scene I immediately remembered while reading your post was that in “Schindler’s List”, when Liam Neeson receives a ring from Ben Kingsley. I otherwise particularly despise Spielberg’s brand of sentimentality and it was the major reason why it took me nearly 10 years to see “Schindler’s List” for the first time. I didn’t want to like it. But the above mentioned scene… It was obviously an example of a shameless abuse of my vagus nerve, according to your explanation. Yet my brain, too, knows what makes this scene so special and meaningful.


  28. ladynyo Says:

    I haven’t seen “Schindler’s List” yet….LOL!

    Lady Nyo


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