Some New Tanka…..and a poem “Plum Blossom Snow”

Man'yoshu image II

We cut down the plum trees last fall and I miss their blossoms. Usually the first of spring here. And though the poem “Plum Blossom Snow” isn’t a new one, it makes me remember my trees.

Lady Nyo

Let me not squander
The few good years I have left.
Each day the beauty,
The raw poignancy of life
Creates a desperation.

How could I forget
The beauty of the pale moon!
A face of sorrow
Growing thin upon the tide
Pulls my heart within its light.

Rain and moon tonight
Created confusion
Moon hides behind clouds
Fleeting clouds filter the rain
Moon appears– shoots silver darts.

When I saw your head
Upon the pillow we shared
Was this forever?
I am left with a pillow
That holds a ghost in the down.

Autumn wind startles–
Lowered to an ominous
Key—Ah! Mournful sounds!
The fat mountain deer listen-
Add their bellowing sorrow.

Answering echo-
One heart calls to another
A plucked string vibrates
The poetry of lovers
Kisses the roof of heaven!

Plum Blossom Snow

The present snowstorm of
White plum blossoms
Blinds me to sorrow.

They cascade over cheeks
Like perfumed, satin tears
Too warm with the promise
of life to chill flesh.

Jane Kohut-Mori-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2013

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22 Responses to “Some New Tanka…..and a poem “Plum Blossom Snow””

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  2. ManicDdaily Says:

    Beautiful poems. I especially like the second, with the images of the plum blossoms as snow storm–there is something very satiny about them, and wonderful in their warmth compared to snow. The first is also very gripping – especially the beginning. Know that feeling too well.

    I’m sorry to be so out of touch, and remiss in terms of reading and visits. My life a bit haywire with unexpected job obligations – in terms of being pulled into a very active case – and my move and now this trip. I am expecting greater simplicity soon. Not so much rain and cloud cover! k.


  3. ladynyo Says:

    Hi K! No problem. Life gets frantic at times. You are in my thoughts, though. I am very concerned for you right now. You know why.

    Glad you liked the tanka. I have been struggling with “Pitcher of Moon” and my publisher said…just send it. Don’t worry. LOL!~ Easy for him~

    I am going deep into the study (again) of Japanese literature….have a new Donald Keene anthology….(well, not new…published in 1955) Some of these new tanka I posted I first wrote in Japanese….very literally in Japanese~ LOL! Just an exercise to get into the mind set of this particular culture. When I showed them to my main Japanese reader (at Whole Foods sushi counter) he laughed his head off~! Not a good sign, but when you do these things, Japanese not being my first language…you are bound to come up with some funny things. Making progress here…and I get free sushi for the efforts! LOL!

    Thank you for reading, dear friend. I miss my plum trees. I’ll be over tomorrow.



  4. ManicDdaily Says:

    So amazing to even think of communicating in Japanese! Incredible. Congrats on all. So sorry about the trees. I grew up in DC which I miss terribly this time of year. Take care! k.


  5. ladynyo Says: must miss your cherries in DC…so beautiful! But the peaches and plums here across the fence will have to stand in for the noble cherries.

    Japanese is easy compared to Hungarian. I can’t get my head around that difficult language at all.



  6. aprille Says:

    Won’t you miss the plums as well? Such a wonderful fruit.
    I know the wrench of seeing the white petals come down too early.
    This sense of ‘last of the Summer wine’ is very moving. Wonderfully melodious, soothing in spite of its theme of finality.


  7. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Aprille..yes, the finality of it all…but then again…what ethereal beauty in the happening, neh?

    I am trying to get my head around tanka again…spring seems the perfect season for this form.

    Thank you for reading and your comment.



  8. brian miller Says:

    nice…really like the long form one…the ghost in the down of the pillow…the connection with the bellowing deer…and how hearts cry out to each other…


  9. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Brian…thank you for reading and your comment. You connected with them and that is what matters to a poet.



  10. Laura Hegfield Says:

    oh Jane, these are so beautiful, I can only imagine your longing for the lovely plum blossoms. Thank you for the prayer offerings:-)


  11. Beth Winter Says:

    Gorgeous work. I love the gentle imagery and emotion woven through Plum Blossom Snow. Perhaps remembering keeps the trees blooming.


  12. ladynyo Says:

    Oh Laura!

    I didn’t know if my comment went through, so I did it twice. LOL~!

    There are not many people that appreciate tanka or this poems, but you are one and I am deeply grateful. Perhaps pain opens pathways of something that has to be experienced?

    My prayers are with you and Ellie. From my Jizo altar, now each morning.

    Blessings, Sweetheart~!



  13. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Beth! I am so glad you read and liked these. Plum Blossom Snow, though very simple, is my favorite poem of all.

    And yes, perhaps remembering them keeps them blossoming.

    Thank you so much for reading and your lovely comment. Your work is also delicate and lovely to read and internalize.



  14. yasniger Says:

    Quite nice


  15. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you.

    Lady Nyo


  16. Steve E Says:

    How did i get away from here?
    Well, beautiful as always.
    Time is not MY enemy, because I love almost everything I do. But it IS the enemy of my blogging. Just not enough, even when I don’t sleep.

    Snowstorm of white petals, Inspired!

    Soon again, OK?


  17. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Steve! How much I have missed you!

    Yes, and no…time isn’t the enemy, but never having enough of it….is.
    Don’t the weeks fly? faster and faster.

    And our age is good to us, as long as we have health…we can do mostly what we love.

    Soon….with love and Peace!



  18. bkmackenzie Says:

    Two beautiful pieces – the second being my favorite the beauty of the plum blossoms – snows the blushed statin years- lovely…bkm


  19. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you so much for reading and your lovely commment, BK….I’m glad you enjoyed the various tanka and Plum Blossom Snow.



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  22. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you!
    Lady Nyo


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