“The Temptation of Lady Nyo”, from “The Nightingale’s Song”, Part 4

Japanese Woman


Does he know?

Does he know?

Does he know about the letters?


The court of Lord Mori

Was a small one

Where the men,

Lord Nyo included,

Sat and discussed business:

The pleasurable business of hunting,

Archery, drinking

And on occasion,

 Just for form’s sake,

Wrote bad poetry.

The women of course

Were positioned behind carved screens,

Where the eagle-eyed Lady Mori,

An old, rice-powdered dragon

Conducted her own court of

Writing more bad poetry, finger games

And layering sleeves and hems for the

Best effects…unseen by anyone else–

Except the other women.

There was a break in this

Unending monotony one day;

Lady Nyo received poems

From some unknown admirer

Stuffed in different places where

She would find them:

Her screen at court,

On her silk, embroidered cushion,

And even penned on her fan.

She never knew who could be so bold,

Never saw even a glimmer of him-

He could have been a ghost.

She recorded her answers in her journal

So she could have evidence of her innocence

Yet she buried his poems in the garden under

A bed of peonies.

She could not bear to burn them.



Yesterday I found a fan with a poem

Stuck in the screen.

Today I found another one placed

On my cushion at court.

Do you have a death wish?

Do  you desire the death of me?

You know my husband is known for his temper.

Would I end my life so dishonored?


I see you are as persistent

As the rain in Spring.

Have you no fear?

What is your interest?

Surely I am just another painted face.


I read your poem.

I could do nothing else.

This time it was inked upon

MY fan.


“The wind blows from the north

Chilling my heart.

Only the thought of a touch of your sleeve

Warms me.”

Very nice, but my sleeves are not interested.


“I throw acorns

To the darting carp.

With each nut I say a

Prayer for your health.”

Lovely sentiment, and I am

Always grateful for prayers.

But do you think of my reputation

And what you risk?


I see no poetry this morning

Though I searched for your usual offering.

I knew your interest was as capricious

As a flight of moths.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011, 2013

Tags: , , , , , ,

3 Responses to ““The Temptation of Lady Nyo”, from “The Nightingale’s Song”, Part 4”

  1. Caliban's Sister Says:

    Ahhh, poor sleeves, not interested. The Slinky arcs down another stair…… beautiful. as always. love CS


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hehe….Yah, I like that one best! LOL!

    So glad you are reading these. this slinky hopefully will be in play in the next one, too. This one coming up later this week is one that reveals Lord Nyo’s…ah…maleness.
    love back!



  3. TR Says:

    enjoy her responses; she had not choice to read it. xxoo


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