“July Moon”, from White Cranes of Heaven

"White Cranes of Heaven", painting by the author

“White Cranes of Heaven”, painting by the author

The moon was so beautiful last night, close enough to touch. As it rose, trapped only minutes in the far trees, it loomed so big it seemed to pulse. As it rose into the early enough sky, it eclipsed the street lights. Magic enough.

Lady Nyo


A pale moon rises,
Unheralded, surprising us
With its presence so early at dusk.

The summer heat makes it waver
Like a ghost under water.
The cicadas hold their breath-
Their leg-fiddles muted,
And the earth turns quiet
If only for a moment.

Brushing the lush green tree tops
It floats upward into a still-lavender sky,
Gaining presence, strength, gleam
As it balances in the darkening light,
A well-trod path– fascinating eternity.

A world-weary face appears
And casts a bemused gaze downward
Before sailing through the night
Into the harbor of Dawn.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2010, 2013

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5 Responses to ““July Moon”, from White Cranes of Heaven”

  1. Caliban's Sister Says:

    Another beautiful peaceful poem. Are your cicadas out yet? Mine aren’t…….love CS


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi CS! I’m not sure…I think they aren’t because they are noisy little buggers and it’s pretty silent out there right now…but it’s also overcast (thankfully for that as husband with recent stroke is on the roof replacing shingles….)

    Glad you liked the poem. I just heard from Bill Penrose, who formats all my books, (this will be the fourth one, poetry of gratitude and blessings…) that he will be jumping to get it out soon. He’s a busy man, a biochemist who is a marvelous writer and friend.

    I am so grateful for Bill, and not just for his formatting genius. He’s one of the gentlest men I know, and so encouraging.

    This poem is from “White Cranes of Heaven” and that cover of the book gave me fits for about a month. I finally did it in a night…watercolor is like that. You can complete something fast and ta-da! it’s dry within hours. Not like oils….LOL!



  3. Caliban's Sister Says:

    What a beautiful cover–you were ready to paint it, as you said, did it in a night. Watercolor is only like that when you know exactly how you want it to look. It took a month of ‘fits’ before you could just sit down and do it. It works perfectly. Moody and pristine, midnight light of a full moon. xo CS


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi CS! I really appreciate your observing the paintings and this cover. Most people just don’t look…or think they are lifted from somewhere else…LOL! No, they are a product of a lot of angst.

    Actually, the first round of this cover was exactly like this final one, but way too big. When you paint in watercolor you have to consider the size of the paper. You get lost when your paper is too large…too much landscape to travel, and with wc, the issue is always interesting texture…Oil painting and I would suppose acrylic (I can’t handle that, though…acrylic…too hard difficult a medium, at least for me…) is much easier for that textural effect. Watercolor relies on shading, layering that sometimes comes out to mud.

    Finally, there are always ‘happy mistakes’ with watercolor. These things, blooms, dribbles, weird stuff you learn to manipulate because of the basically flat surface, can make or break a watercolor.

    Actually? I photographed the painting with my small digital camera where I propped the damn thing up against a window, and the light effects were because of the cast shadows of early morning. LOL! The original painting is duller by far. And what was funnier, all the shots I took of it, and also a guy who is a professional photog?? I ended up using my very first shot…that one that is moody in effect. LOL!

    And also? I think it’s time we de-mystify watercolor. The general concensus is that watercolor is ‘an unforgiving medium’. Bah. Not true! It’s all in the tints that you select. Earth tones you can manipulate easier, once you clear your head and palette of all the lovely modern tints. Earth tones can be more dissolved with water and scrubbing. Sometimes. LOL!

    Of course, you have to do some planning with wc: you have to reserve the whites, no cheating with brushing in Chinese white or using an acrylic. And the other thing? It’s crazy to do white birds on a white background. LOL! I had to tone the background fast because the white cranes didn’t pop at all. That was a problem with the first painting, and detail doesn’t necessarily show well reproduced with white birds. I was fortunate that Lulu.com reproduced what we gave them very well, because I felt that the cover was going to be a weak point. They did a marvelous job on the 12 paintings inside that illustrated some of the poems. It was a ‘live and learn’ issue for both Bill Penrose (my formatter) and myself.

    Thank you, CS, for your observations and your comments. Only another artist (as you are) would see and understand these issues with painting. It’s so good to talk with another painter. It’s rare for me and I so much welcome it!

    xox and Hugs,


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