Haibun Monday at dversepoets pub

Winter Scene, 3

January 9th is Haibun Monday at D’vesepoets pub.  I was asked to host this segment.    I have  been writing haibun, an ancient form of Japanese literature, usually a very few paragraphs followed by a relating haiku …for only  two months. I have a lot to learn about haibun.

 Kanzen Sakura (a marvelous poet on the staff there) introduced me to haibun through her own writings.  I had never tried this wonderful form.   Grace (also of dversepoets) will present a short explanation on haibun from previous postings.

The theme is “Childhood Experiences”, whether they be pleasurable or traumatic, but perhaps something that changed the course of your life or impacted you in some  unforgettable way.

The coincidences of life are strange.  My haibun is in part about my 13th birthday, and Monday, January 9th, is my 69th birthday.  I have never written or talked about the death of Honey, my first horse, and it took me 56 years to do so. But it feels right to do so at d’versepoets pub.

So, Haibun writers!  Post your childhood experiences and link your lives to others here!~ 

Dversepoets pub opens  Monday at 3pm EST for submissions. Check the website for directions on how to post there and leave a comment after you have linked.

Lady Nyo


 On the eve of my 13th birthday, at almost midnight in the dead of winter, I went to the barn to check on my old mare, Honey. My father bought her two years before, knowing I was a child stuck in the countryside, with few friends. Honey was dead, the old Army blanket across her, and by the moonlight coming through the door, I could see her name embroidered on the side.

The next morning, standing at a bedroom window, dressed in my jodhpurs and a too-tight riding jacket, I watched a truck with a winch pull Honey by the neck onto the bed. Her frozen legs saluted the gunmetal sky. It started to snow, blurring what was happening outside. I could hear the motor of the winch and the thumps of Honey being rolled around.

That afternoon, on my birthday, I got my first period. My distressed mother tried to distract me with words ‘I was now a woman’. The pain in my groin was the only evidence to me I was alive.


The cold winter stars

Witness the grief of a child

Time does not erase


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

Tags: , ,

65 Responses to “Haibun Monday at dversepoets pub”

  1. Hélène/Mother Willow Says:

    What an painful experiencing at such a tender age Jane. Beautiful Haibun


  2. Brian Says:

    I can feel your devastation in your words, they hit me hard.


  3. ladynyo Says:

    First, Brian, thank you for reading and your heartfelt comment. These things aren’t easy to pen and hard to read. This was traumatic for me as a child, but there were other incidents that were as traumatic I guess. Childhood for many is a series of these things, but we can and probably do …recover. I suppressed this all through therapy, never mentioning this at all. Now, I wonder why? In any case, we are strong, and I think poets work out these traumatic events as we become more seasoned poets. Or something like this. Thank you, again, dear friend. I’ll be over tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Helene. Well, you and I have been talking about ‘life’…and these things are definitely part of life and our development. And perhaps we are haunted by them in a very deep way, but perhaps we are made stronger, more resilient by them, too. I think of Robert Frost, and I think that we all have a core of strength and resistance that carries us throughout life…for the better if we make it so. Rollo May talks about these things that are deep downs the core of our creativity…or how they lend themselves into it. Thank you, dear Friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Grace Says:

    This is a tragedy to witness and carry with you ~ I can’t recall my first period but it was just inconvenient ~ And Happy Happy birthday to you Jane ~ May it be a good year for you ~


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Grace. I had suppressed any thought of this…or just dismissed any thought for all these years. Interesting that I could ‘talk’ about it only in writing and in this Haibun form. I think that is a mercy.
    And to you….May it be a good year for you, too!


  7. lillian Says:

    Oh this is so very raw to read. The cold harsh imagery — the juxtapositioning of the name “honey” with what occurred to sear these memories in you. Powerful writing.
    I went a lot lighter with my memory. But still interesting that it is a “deep” memory. We forget so many moments — sometimes it makes me wonder why we’ve remembered others.


  8. ladynyo Says:

    First, thank you, Lillian for reading and your insightful comment. Seems lately that many of m writings are dark….must be the Winter. But I look forward to reading yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    First a happy birthday to you Jane. To me this is more than a childhood memory, it’s a turning point in life. And I can feel that your birthday and the death of your horse is something that has made you into what you are. Loved the writing and the way you handled the pain by telling it without emotion, until the very end where I imagine that there is a child dying inside of you…


  10. charliezero1.wordpress.com Says:

    The pain and the experience of a tender age is heartfelt. 😦


  11. sarahsouthwest Says:

    What a disastrous conjunction of events. It must have felt like the end of the world. So bleak.


  12. ladynyo Says:

    Well…6 months later my poor father bought me another horse…this time a 6 month old filly. She almost killed me! LOL! The reasoning was this: teachers (this is back in the early 60’s when communities were closer and teachers actually called parents…along with doctors making house visits…) informed my parents that I had fallen into deep depression, and had fallen silent. Was not functioning at all at school. They were afraid that I wouldn’t survive this lost. I still have a couple of horse statues from that period and I treasure them…especially one, of a Mustang stallion. For some reason, that Mustang became a totem to me. Pulled me thorough. Childhood can be a devastating time….for so many of us….something happens.


  13. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Charlie. It was, but it was also so far away now. But perhaps not so far away. After suppressing this for 50 plus years, I am dealing with it again…but in a different and better way.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ladynyo Says:

    Absolutely, Bjorn. I wouldn’t have acknowledged that myself, it takes an outsider to see that. A turning point, indeed. Something died then (the aftermath was a disinterest in life…and teachers saw it first hand and thought I would commit suicide at 13! No….but something did die along with my horse. The stability of childhood perhaps. I have never even mentioned this in the 12 years of wonderful therapy I had until recently with a marvelous elderly Bavarian therapist….she was a mother to me. I think I can’t make it emotional..in the writing because it is too….disturbing….even now….and it was so embedded with other trauma of childhood. Thankyou for reading, but especially for the insight you have given me here.


  15. sarahsouthwest Says:

    Many children do feel things so intensely. And a horse isn’t like any other animal, is it?


  16. Victoria Young Says:

    On your birthday! What a drag. Too bad little girls have to deal with those 😦


  17. welshstream Says:

    Profoundly emotional piece of writing … the second stanza is particularly strong drawing the reader into your world. And the finishing haiku is perfect


  18. Brian Miller Says:

    ugh. quite full of feeling (even if unspoken) through some stark imagery. i love the detail you chose. the name on the blanket covering her dead body. the pull by the neck. the very tangible sound of the winch and her body. the legs saluting the sky made me think of military funerals. the change in your own physical life a forever association with the death. a very tangible read jane.

    i do hope this birthday is a bit of a happier one.


  19. Linda Kruschke Says:

    The loss of a pet is difficult at any age, but especially so as a child. The stark way in which you shared this memory highlights its impact on you.


  20. Michael Says:

    Beautifully expressed haibun Jane. the detail and emotion within your words were very striking.


  21. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Michael. This was a hard one, but waited 56 years for the light of day. Thank you for reading and your kind comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. ladynyo Says:

    You are right, Linda. The impact of this ‘event’ has haunted me my entire life. Even in therapy I never addressed it. I wonder why>?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Michael Says:

    My pleasure I think this is an excellent prompt as well have childhood memories of some kind…


  24. frankhubeny Says:

    I feel haunted by the deaths of some animals I’ve known as well. Best wishes and nice haibun.


  25. ZQ Says:

    Well experienced and written… and let go… 🙂


  26. ladynyo Says:

    It’s turning out to be, Michael. Something universal.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Michael Says:

    Yes we all childhoods of one kind or another.😁


  28. Arcadia Maria Says:

    Gripping piece. I like how you tied death of a horse to a symbolic “death of childhood” for females. Well done.


  29. Bodhirose Says:

    I feel honored somehow that you finally chose to write about this life-changing event on this forum, public but among friends too, Jane. Those young teenage years were so hard to go through even on a good day much less with other traumatic events added to it. My heart went out to the young you having to witness all that you did that day and then having your mother announce that you were now a “woman”…oh boy!

    But on a happier note…Happy Birthday, Jane! Love and peace to you. Hugs…xo


  30. ladynyo Says:

    Geez….Arcadia Maria! I didn’t know consciously that I was doing that…but it works for me! Thank you !!!


  31. ladynyo Says:

    Really not possible, ZQ. Not on a certain level. Thank you for reading.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Frankhubeny…. Why do I read your name as “Frankenbunny”


  33. ladynyo Says:

    Nope, it’s not. Not at all…It’s a passage of some sort for little girls. Thank you, Sarah.


  34. ladynyo Says:

    Menses or death of significant pets?? Both are haunting. Thank you for reading and your kind comment

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Victoria Young Says:

    I agree. Sorry about your beloved pet- such a sad intersection of events.


  36. MarinaSofia Says:

    Isn’t it interesting how painful some memories are, that it takes us so many years or decades to process them? And it doesn’t matter if they don’t seem quite as traumatic to others, if they were so to us. We each have a different filter for processing experiences. There is also quite a link between young girls and horses, isn’t there – it’s almost like the first lover? So, even more powerful unconscious thoughts there. Loss of innocence in every way.


  37. petrujviljoen Says:

    How insensitive people can be! Dragging your horse by the neck … it’s the kind of thing that makes me want to rip adults’ throats out – to make them understand. The onset of your menses at the same time, at the age of 13, a numeric with significance, has a huge connection I think, something very deep and primal there.

    I decided to not take part – there’s something I want to get at, understand and correct if I can. I’ve re-entered therapy and once I’m able to look at stuff from a safer distance I’ll talk about creatively.


  38. ladynyo Says:

    Understand. Therapy for me was a time of withdrawal from family members who were abusive and misogynistic. I had no idea of the creativity inside me….well, I did create…I;m a landscape painter by trade for a while…but writing was a wellspring of intensive creativity that I didn’t know I possessed. It also went directly against the ‘you have nothing to say nor will you ever be published’ of a narcissist mother (and brothers). After 6 books since 2009, I have left them in the dust. Therapy was the fulcrum for this…and the therapist was a mother figure that encouraged me at every turn. We definitely need people in our lives to do this. And….we need to stay away from people who just stand as obstacles in our life….especially relatives. No Contact was the method for this…And…you have to dump/ditch ‘friends’ who aren’t. I am at this age now (69) where I know that this issue is important. No more will I settle for lukewarm people in my life. Most of us have a fire of creativity….a river that flows through us, and we must not put obstacles in front of us because we have some misguided idea of guilt. I hope your re entering therapy goes well…it can be a wonderful time of discovery. Make the most of it!


  39. ladynyo Says:

    Yes, you are exactly right…on all counts here! I suppressed this for almost 6 decades because….well, I didn’t see past the horrible tragedy of it all….the chaos of family life took front and center: The kindness of a drunken father and the malice of a sober mother. These things I was dealing with at a very early age….my father was wonderful to me…and I understand why he drank after he died at 74. Way too young. But life does throw you horrible curves…you just survive by the skin of your teeth. And horses? They are the love and comfort of a young girls life.


  40. ladynyo Says:

    Yep…and never talking about it really didn’t help. I wonder why after 12 years of therapy I never even mentioned it? But…it’s been interesting and a relief to finally write about it…and to hear the thoughts of others on this. We all have a personal tragedy we carry with us. Bjorn is right. It shapes us and we become what we are through it. If it doesn;t kill us, it makes us stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. petrujviljoen Says:

    Wow! The above is very close to how I experienced childhood. It’s only recent that I’ve cut ties with the siblings altogether. The parents both passed away. I’m not cross with mother any longer, I feel the account is closed. The father is another matter though. I had a small dog, it became ill and howled it’s poor head off for weeks and it finally died and they didn’t do anything, even though I begged and pleaded. I was 8 or thereabout. Remember thinking if they could do it to the dog they could do it to me! Also never came up in previous therapy sessions. In fact buried it for so long it was only fairly recent that the memory surfaced. Also had a – who do you think you are to want to rise above – when I started reading books beyond my years.


  42. MarinaSofia Says:

    Oh, the malice of a sober mother… I know that too well. Am just writing a poem about that now.


  43. Hank Pelaez (@kaykuala) Says:


    A ‘pet’ the size of a horse would readily be felt upon its demise!



  44. Bryan Ens Says:

    This is heartbreaking. I can’t imagine such a difficult birthday.


  45. ladynyo Says:

    Jesus…the cruelty of parents begs the name. Yes, exactly…we suppress it until it doesn’t come up, or we think that it isn’t significant. I am so sorry, and about your dog. I find that pathological narcissists are not only emotionally sadistic, they are cruel to animals…it’s all about ranking to them…with them on top. Yes, I remember writing a poem…probably about 12 years old…and my parents searched the Reader’s Digest for where they thought I had copied it. Hah~ That was their literature….not mine~ LOL~! We outstrip parents, siblings when we get a real sense of our abilities and our power as writers, poets, painters. They become emotional obstacles and boulders in the road to our creativity. PLEASE….get a copy of Rollo May’s :The Courage to Create. It was published back in 1975….and I read it only a year ago, but a light bulb went off in my head. He was a marvelous psychologist….a humanist….and someone who did agree that you have to push away from people that are obstructionist…especially family. Bravo to you for what you have realized!


  46. ladynyo Says:

    Well, that was the top, but there were others….but not as bad as that. Thank you, Bryan for reading and your comment. I have a lot of visits to make this afternoon.


  47. ladynyo Says:



  48. ladynyo Says:

    Good for you! I would like to read it.


  49. Kathy Reed Says:

    What an emotional experience for a 13 year old girl..unforgettable…your heart touched by the scene in the snow as you lost a friend and became a woman in the same day.


  50. petrujviljoen Says:

    Thank you Jane. It’s such a mix-up family, totally dysfunctional on one level and on another this facade of goodness, the latter equally true at times. I’ll get the book. I also grew up with the Reader’s Digest and another local South African mediocre sensationalist magazine as standard literature. Did you see my comment on the Dverse site about Particularly Cats by Doris Lessing? If you can’t easily find it I’ll post you my copy, I’ve read it about ten times, not kidding you. Autobiographical but with cats as the main topic. You’d love it I’m sure.


  51. Victoria Young Says:

    Me too. I spent a lot of time in therapy and I never once mentioned that incident. I rarely think about it. Usually what I focus on is pure minutia 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  52. Nan Mykel Says:

    Some time ago I thought I read that you were posting three posts about narcissism. I was too busy to do them justice at the time, but now that I have time I can’t find them. Was I mistaken?


  53. C.C. Says:

    Wow, this is so powerful. The line, “Her frozen legs saluted the gunmetal sky” is just utterly heartbreaking. The reader feels the grief in that moment. Thanks for a great prompt 🙂


  54. ladynyo Says:

    Oh, you are so welcome, CC. This ;prompt should be done again….(NOT BY ME!!!) because there is so much that was shared in people’s childhood. Wondeful, sad and funny stuff. It is wonderful to read all of this, and I am slowly getting around the board. Thank you, again.


  55. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Nope! With a name like Kohut…you know I would be posting on Narcissism. LOL! One piece is “The Courage to Create” that talks about Narcissism….family narcissism, etc…and there are others. Older, back to 2010. Let me know if you can’t find the first on my blog…there is another one….”Narcissism Doesn’t fall Far from the Family Tree” (something like that).


  56. Victoria C. Slotto Says:

    I felt like crying for you, Jane. The details with which you describe them taking Honey away made it all the sadder. Quite the birthday presents you received that year.


  57. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you! Such a kind gesture…rare today. I;’ll look for it, and IF I can’t find it, I’ll contact you. I love Doris Lessing…great writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  58. ladynyo Says:

    Yeah, Kathy….and I didn’t realize how much it would change me….children just soldier on. And the adults are as insensitive then as now.

    Liked by 1 person

  59. ladynyo Says:

    you know, Victoria….I shut down completely in the following months. Teachers thought I had lost the will to live, and I did. There was one girl…a neighbor and classmate, Lauren Hophner, who mocked me and Honey;s death: her mother and mine were locked in some adult battle of something…I can still remember her taunts. Funny, in the milieu of high school, she was much different…but it was too late. I had grown apart from so many. IF I sent this haibun to my 96 year old mother, she would say: why are you writing about that? It happened 5 decades ago. But some things set the course of your life, even if you don’t realize it, and who does at 13? You push it deep down and go on. BUT it is rotten advice to ‘let it go’…for get over it. Only narcissists advise that. you learn to discern advice.

    Thank you, Victoria…I am slowly getting around the board.


  60. petrujviljoen Says:

    Good! Be well.

    Liked by 1 person

  61. whippetwisdom Says:

    Such a traumatic experience at an age when everything begins to change. Be kind to your inner child about this and wrap your arms around her. Hugs and love xxx


  62. ladynyo Says:

    You know what, Xenia??? That’s the best advice I have been given. Love and Hugs to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  63. whippetwisdom Says:

    🙋💖 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  64. paulscribbles Says:

    Powerful evocative writing to accompany an experience of the same. I often wonder about conjunctions in life. A death of a horse and the death of your youth…simultaneously.I’m not surprised the horse was a totem for you.The horse is revered in many cultures and given much respect and attributed with powerful medicine.Difficult as that time may have been you may have been secretly blessed to have Horse with you.


  65. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Paul….that is a thought I didn’t have. I just felt the loss and then suppressed so much from that time. And yes, a horse is a powerful totem or symbol. Especially to a little girl who has none. Thank you Paul, for your thoughtful comment.


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