Haibun….”Badges of Childhood”

 I’ll be offline after Tuesday for a few days.    See you hopefully at the very end of the week. Snuck this in for dverse Haibun prompt Monday.)


(Spring, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2009, watercolor)


Scars are a roadmap of life. Each scar is a badge of some painful event and we wear them whether we want them  or not. Knees are fraught with  badges, at least mine are. One, a white puckered scar about the size of a small fingernail was pinned on my knee when I was four. I remember  a sidewalk, it was autumn, and apartment buildings, maybe a century old, looming over me. I remember rust colors, so it must have been autumn.  I remember the color red. That was pain. That was blood. You don’t get these badges  without the sacrifice of skin and blood. I was wearing a dress, a pinafore, because little girls didn’t wear jeans back then. They wore cotton dresses with petticoats and cotton drawers. Roller skates were the invitation for this scar and that little girls had no protection from concrete made it unavoidable. The concrete was a grating machine, oiled by the pain of little children and stretching for blocks. There was an old Jewish couple who would meet me under the draping pine trees with a Hershey bar every morning like it was my birthday! I was only four years old, but I lived for that candy. They had escaped Nazi Germany by selling off everything, yet every morning they were dressed formally, suit and tie and such lovely dresses, showing such kindness to a mere  child. I still remember that gut-drawing pain of that rusty morning. I tap the scar and know I have survived childhood. The Hershey bars helped.


Swirling winds of fall

Knees like white bones flashing

Modesty is gone.



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016


Tags: , ,

20 Responses to “Haibun….”Badges of Childhood””

  1. Brian Says:

    Such vivid words you create. I can see the sidewalk, the white flash as you tumble, the red welling of tears and then, my mouth waters knowing what the chocolate tastes like, interposed with the pictures of the Holocaust.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Brian! That was quick! Thank you. I remember this old couple…long dead now, never knew their names, but they must have suffered horribly during the war. They were so kind, and this was around 1952. They were both dressed in black….in mourning I would guess. And the Hershey bars!!!! They were HUGE to a child back then. Maybe they were just huge. LOL! I remember my mother having fits because this was right after an early breakfast. Hershey bars are STILL my favorite chocolate. I’m eating kisses right now! LOL! Thank you, Brian….I have to go off line to get this computer fixed…apparently I am in danger of losing my word doc. with all the novels and poems IF I don’t. don’t know what happened but with all this malware protection, etc….it sucks.


  3. Nick Nicholson Says:

    Beautifully written, a childhood memory perfectly captured and vividly portrayed!


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Nick! It’s so good to hear from you. I’m doing the back up thing right now.

    Thank you for reading and your lovely comment.



  5. Bodhirose Says:

    Oh, I remember all of those badges from childhood. The knees were particularly vulnerable it seems and maybe elbows! Very well told, Jane, I could almost feel those scrapes again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ladynyo Says:

    You know how parts of your bottom draws up when you ‘feel’ those scrapes or something? LOL! Yep, I’ve had a few close friends reading this this weekend tell me their response. LOL! Seems that this accident of childhood is pretty universal! Thanks for reading and your comment, Gayle

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    I do love the haiku so much here… but even more the story, where that scar grows into a story of escaping holocaust… an anniversary we just passed…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ladynyo Says:

    Ah! You finally like my stories! LOL! But I appreciate you loving the haiku. Of course, I was only 4, but the Holocaust must have loomed large around the early 50’s. I wish I knew the names of this couple…they were constant with the chocolate and the kindness. It has stuck in my mind for all these decades…and I think that childhood can be a time of great unkindness. Thank you, Bjorn.


  9. kim881 Says:

    Firstly, that’s a gorgeous watercolour, Jane.
    I love the way you started your haibun with the scar on your knee and let it take you to via the sidewalk to the old Jewish couple and their story, not forgetting the Hershey bars and that powerful image in the haiku. This is a wonderful snapshot of your childhood.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. paulscribbles Says:

    Wonderfully evocative writing. I winced once or maybe twice.

    “The concrete was a grating machine, oiled by the pain of little children ”

    “I still remember that gut-drawing pain of that rusty morning.”

    Yep. Definitely twice.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ladynyo Says:

    Yep. That’s a visceral feeling indeed. LOL! Thank you, Paul for being so kind to read this and send a comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Kim. The watercolor I picked because it’s Spring, and Spring always means children to me. Growing things. Actually nothing else I had would work. lol. Oh, that sidewalk! It haunts me even now. One experience was enough. I hate pain. LOL! The Hershey bars are forever wrapped up in the memory of that old couple.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. kanzensakura Says:

    The old couple, Holacaust survivors…an amazing haibu with a most excellent haiku at the end but then, I wouldn’t expect less. I too remember those days of immodest modesty.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ladynyo Says:

    You are too kind, Toni! Thank you so much for reading and your comment.


  15. Rosemary Nissen-Wade Says:



  16. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Rosemary.


  17. Grace Says:

    A stunning watercolor and story for us Jane ~ I have my scars too from childhood and I always remember how I got it ~ Love the haiku too ~

    Liked by 1 person

  18. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Grace. Scars are like…well, they are common for most of us. And thank you for noticing the wc. Most people don’t. LOL! Painting is harder than poetry lately.


  19. Mish Says:

    Firstly, your watercolour is divine. I loved the approach to your prose, beginning with one scar and taking us to a special childhood memory of kind people, ingrained and treasured. It is a testament of the long lasting effects of compassion. The Hershey bar meant so much more and you knew it. This is a wonderful haibun.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. ladynyo Says:

    thank you, Mish. I learn more about my poems and the intentions behind them from readers than I ever imagine writing them. Thank you so much. I am loving this haibun form!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: