‘Lady Nyo’s Torment’, from “Song of the Nightingale” an episode.


(This  is a watercolor of mine called “Savannah Birds”.  I gave it to a person who apparently didn’t care for it. I found it under a bed with frame and glazing broken. I brought it home.  A few years later it became the cover of “Song of the Nightingale”.  One can never account for another’s taste.)


Two years ago, I published “Song of the Nightingale”, a book containing 13 episodes of poetry describing the life of a 16th century Samurai couple in Japan.  People who had read excerpts of this book loved it, but I didn’t give it enough attention when I published it in 2015. (I went on to publish another book, “Seasoning of Lust” 2sd edition in 2016 and have recently almost finished “Kimono” a long time-warp novel.) Having been a reader of the “Man’yoshu”, a 8th century document of over 4500 poems, I was taken by the beautiful and very modern verse in this great document.  I had the story already in my mind for a few years, but the Man’yoshu gave me a very human element to  understand how people don’t really change over a 1000 years ago.  Human nature, and emotions remain mostly the same. Both of these books, “Song of the Nightingale” and “Seasoning of Lust” can be bought on Amazon.com.


“I stay here waiting for him
In the autumn wind, my sash untied,
Wondering, is he coming now,
Is he coming now?
And the moon is low in the sky.
The only company I have tonight,
Now near dawn, is the paling Milky Way,
And Oh, my husband!
There are not stars enough in the heavens
To equal my sorrowful tears.”

—verse of Lady Nyo, 16th century

Hana Nyo threw back the quilted robe from her head.
It was just a dream, just a dream.
Then why does my heart pound so?

Two nights before
Lady Nyo and her nurse
Spent the hours til dawn
Watching the flame rise and fall
Through the shoji of Lord Nyo’s room,
Watched the candle
Consume the poems he was writing–
But to whom?

“Ah, he has another woman!”
Her nurse was loyal but leaned
On the privilege of time.

Lady Nyo’s heart took flight.
Fear and shame dueled
In her blood, pushing reason
From her head.

Did he know?
Did he know?
Did he know about the poems?
Did he know of the vanished lover?

For two days it rained.
November rains poured like
Waterfalls off the eaves,
Broke the stems of the chrysanthemums,
Scattered the flower heads,
Blew great gusts of wet wind into her room,
Blanketing an already sorrowful mind
With a seasonal fury.

Lord Nyo had ridden out
The dawn after
The Night of Burning Poems,
Dressed for hunting,
His falcon on his glove,
Not a word of farewell,
Not a baleful glance in her direction.
She watched him mount his horse,
And gallop away.
She watched from the slits between bamboo blinds,
Like a thief or a beggar,
She didn’t know what she was,
Only felt the sharp sting of shame,
A particular loss of something she probably
Never had.


Lady Nyo spent the day journal writing,
Her misery reflected in an unpainted face,
Tangled hair,
Shunning food as a sacrifice:
The pain of her torment
Was not lessened.

“Once I did believe
That no love could still linger
Within my heart
Yet, a love springs from somewhere
And forces itself on me.”


“My eyes have seen you
But I’ve yet to hold you close
You’re like a laurel
That is growing on the moon
And I don’t know what to do.”

Yes, and I don’t know what to do.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2015-2016, (Song of the Nightingale” a tale in 13 episodes can be obtained at Amazon.com)


Tags: , , , , ,

22 Responses to “‘Lady Nyo’s Torment’, from “Song of the Nightingale” an episode.”

  1. lynn__ Says:

    Beautifully paired painting and verse!


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Lynn. The ‘kamis’ of comments have destroyed my reply to you, but I thank you for reading this and your comment. Jane.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bodhirose Says:

    I have a guess as to under whose bed you found your beautiful gift, Jane. I absolutely love your paintings and your incredible writing. They meld perfectly here.


  4. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Yes, you guessed right. Who didn’t care a twit for the painting or else it would have had a better placement than a louvered closet door in a spare bedroom. And she screamed bloody murder when I told her she wasn’t getting it back. Yelled (on the phone) that “it was a birthday present, you little bitch’. Well, actually, it wasn’t but if she wants to believe that….well, so it goes. She will never get another painting (etc) from me. LOL! Some people have particular personality disorders that make it miserable to be near. Soul destroying, actually.

    Thank you, Gayle. I try. Both in writing and painting. I try. I also miss but I keep trying. My computer crashed Friday and I went through hoops trying to get it fixed…but a sweet computer nerd of my son’s acquaintance showed up at 8:30am this morning and in an hour fixed everything that a computer store broke. LOL! I wouldn’t really care about being off line, except for the blog and the friends like you, Gayle, and our sweet Toni. Inside of “Song of the Nightingale” are more paintings (that devil of kami, Lord Yoki…LOL) and some calligraphy of mine…in Japanese script. Not great stuff, but I try. Again. LOLQ!

    Thank you, Gayle. It is really rare that anyone even notices the paintings but I got a lot of them…and try to pepper my blog pieces, and poetry with them.


  5. Bodhirose Says:

    What a poor, sad human being she is, Jane, but you have the right attitude with her and I’m glad you took your painting back.

    I always notice your paintings and marvel at your talent because I don’t have it. Like I said, your paintings are a wonderful accompaniment to your writings. So happy that you are still around to visit online when I get the chance. Thank goodness for those computer geeks with their knowledge and talent! We’d be up the creek without them, lol! Hugs…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ladynyo Says:

    Yeah, wouldn’t we be so? Up that proverbial creek@ LOL! Look, I taught myself to paint…first to draw (sorta) and then I copied many pictures….and then tried to make variations on the theme or so….so it really isn’t a question of talent I don’t believe…at least for myself. I just developed an eye and the hand followed. I don’t think I am anything special. I think most people can paint and draw…it’s just a curiosity and application of that stuff. And time. And effort, and you know what? Every time I try a new painting….I FREAK!!! I can’t remember a damn thing! No technique…but If I relax, it seems to come through for me. I did read “The Courage to Create”, by Dr. Otto Rank (I believe his name…I am in a forgetful state right now…) and that really made me understand that our creativity is deep within ourselves and IF we can reach down into our inners we can pull this stuff up and make it useful. Much more to this short book, but it is one that I will never forget the lessons here. And he talks a lot about the particular personality disorder: narcissism…and what a soul and creativity killer it is.
    It took me years to realize what she was…and to go No Contact with her for several. When I broke it, out of sentimental reasons (she is 97) it was just like I had hoped not: she hadn’t changed at all…she was still toxic. And that is the real lesson regardless who is toxic: Run. And run away fast. These people are like vampires, waiting to suck you dry because they really have no human empathy or compassion…or interest in anyone else except who can serve them best. hell, I have cats who show more empathy!@ LOL! Thank you, Gayle, for your understanding. it is not many who do because pathological narcissism has taken over our nation and society and we are confused about what it is and what it does. And it is a killer. A soul crusher. Some survive, and many don’t but it will change you forever….when you have had these experiences. And they are horrible. But there is life after these people fade from earth. You just have to go on and do as much with yourself as possible. And we all have that creative possibility inside ourselves. At least, those of us who haven’t given up. Bless you, Gayle.


  7. Bodhirose Says:

    I am most certain that you have a talent that many do not possess, Jane! Oh my goodness, I couldn’t do what you do if my life depended on it. Take my compliment and say, “Thank you, Gayle!” LOL!!! We both have survived these toxic people and come through as good human beings and now know what to look for so we can run as fast as our little legs can carry us far, far away! Our mistake is when our sentiments take over and we feel sorry for the elderly mother who is seemingly so fragile but her tongue is just as sharp and cruel as it ever was and will shred you up one side and down the other. RUN, JANE, and don’t look back! I ran and didn’t look back and it saved my life. Love to you, always. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Gayle. I will take your compliment. And part of the damage that these toxic people leave deep inside us is our ability NOT to think we deserve praise or compliments. I have a very hard time with this, and I know it is the afterburn of a childhood and an adulthood of abuse and neglect from bullies and narcissists. So, thank you….and I am going to work on a new painting (I have lots not finished….but the excitement is in plotting a new one. LOL) this week or weekend. We have survived, but not without scars, open wounds, but we have survived. And that is the GOOD NEWS!!! Love back to you and thank you my dear friend for your encouragement. xoxo


  9. Bodhirose Says:

    I understand the difficulty in accepting compliments. It’s part of the feeling of never being good enough. Well you are! You have more than survived…and me too…we have flourished. Each in our own way. We who have been down this path must always encourage the others who have traveled it with us, however we can. I think we owe it to each other. You’re welcome! 🙂 xo


  10. ladynyo Says:

    Absolutely right, Gayle! Paying it forward?

    I am on an anti-narcissist website, and as I read other women’s stories I find myself in them. We need to support and encourage each other. Some of these women are psychologists and that doesn’t mean they have escaped the brutality of a childhood with either one or two (or more) narcissists and their damage.

    I always push “Courage to Create”, a book that is little read. You can get it on Amazon for pennies. It’s a bit dated, 1975, but the author is excellent and his writing is universal. It’s about the creativity deep inside that keeps us alive and functioning. And when we are able to reach down and pull it to the surface, we flourish…as both of us have done in life!

    Here’s to not only survivors, but those of us who have gone beyond surviving. There are many that don’t, and one women named Token who didn’t. No one should be pressured to kill themselves by ‘christians’ because they are ‘different’. Yikes! And I would say now, but didn’t realize it then, that those who tormented her were all narcissists. I know them well…up close and personal.


  11. kanzensakura Says:

    Again I say, what a lovely poem. So full of summer and all its blessings, especially the last three lines. And of course, your artwork is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Toni…first for reading the poems, and also for ‘seeing’ the paintings. I am surprised that more don’t because the visual, to me,….generates any poetry. This ;poem is early, but some one once said it reminded them of Wordsworth. Actually I was thinking Beethoven when I wrote it. A section in Sym: 7th….very pastoral. Again, thank you dear friend. Perhaps these sentimental poems are still in fashion?


  13. Bodhirose Says:

    I think many people who become psychologists have suffered from much and have turned to education to sort out just what the heck happened in their lives…or WHO happened! One of my sisters has a Masters degree in psychology and she’s still reeling from growing up in our crazy household to this day. Not to mention the man she married at a young age but divorced many years ago. Ugh…it seems these people are so pervasive…are there more of them than ever these days?? Thanks for the referral of a book to read, Jane.

    Very, very sorry and sad for all the Tokens out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ladynyo Says:

    I am, too. Token died not because she was a lesbian, but because she was shamed for being a minister’s wife with two young daughters. But her husband was intolerable…like many ‘christian’ men who think they are superior to women and to everyone else in society. Narcissism and misogyny goes hand and hand.
    Your sister is suffering even though she has studied the root causes, etc. and knows them. It’s something, this childhood abuse from a narcissist parent (or two depending on the family..,but unfortunately the other children are ‘trained’ by the narcissist parent to attack and destroy..much like Muslim boys are abusive to their sisters (some of them…especially in India). So even though she knows the ‘why’ of it all….getting past the abuse, regardless how long ago, is very hard. You replay the tapes in your head, you doubt your own abilities and accomplishments (and when the narcissist in the family is more than a garden variety narcissist, but either pathological and sadistic (emotionally) it isn’t possible to forget and get ‘along the road’ of this history. So many times I have been told (mostly by men) to ‘get over it’. These fuckers have no idea and frankly, a closer look at them shows that they are narcissists to boot. I am very sad for all the Tokens out there, too. And that is why I have fear and contempt for the brand of Christianity that I have ‘known’ in my own family. Intolerance, hatred, fear of their own sexuality, etc….is what killed Token.

    Oh, that book: “The Courage to Create”? by Rollo May, and can be found for very little lucre on Amazon.com. Excellent book because it goes way beyond the issue of creativity. Thanks and the Blessings of the Universe on your head, Gayle.


  15. Bodhirose Says:

    Oh, when you said minister’s wife, it all became very clear. Many of those ministers are the craziest, most rigid and heartless of people who cling to their religion while living a double of life of preying on women, molestation and indulgence in drugs, alcohol…you name it. What a crock! Poor woman.

    Growing up we were also abused by an older brother (emotionally and physically, not sexually) but feel he was acting out his frustration of our situation at home and am not sure that he is a narcissist but he’s pretty checked out as far as other people’s feelings. But he’s not in touch with his own feelings either. He’s still in survival mode. So sad. I do love him.

    My narcissist husband was the type who made me doubt myself and undermined my self esteem…slowly whittling it away. I learned that there’s a name for it called “gaslighting” from the old movie “Gaslight” with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. It had always been one of my favorite movies through the years and then I realized that I was a victim of that same abusive technique myself. No, you can’t just “get over it”…oh, how I wish it were that simple, right?

    So glad that you are here to share with, Jane. I will always listen to anything you want to share with me. Hugs… xo

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ladynyo Says:

    And I with you, Gayle. It is special when you share these things with another that understand and perhaps have had some of the same experiences. Some people….without such dyfunctional families, think you are crazy. So many don’t understand or are not at all aware of the abuse that others had. Childhood is an iffy time. The parents (at least mine) didn’t seem to act more than children, but of course! I think this is very common, but when the children (or some of them) are a sacrifice to the roils of marriage….it makes for damage. And yes, ministers…some of them…are the greatest of abusers…narcissists. They get power from their ‘positions’ and therefore they judge and control all around them…. it’s the ultimate ego trip. But the damage is done, even unto death of someone. I had a first husband who was a total narcissist and also a sadist. I am thankful now, that that 13 year marriage fell apart. The husband #2 is the opposite and after 33 years of marriage….I should be able to tell! LOL!
    And I will always be here to listen to you, Gayle. Birds of a feather we are. xox

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Bodhirose Says:

    Thank you dearly for your kindness and opening your heart to me, Jane. Yes, we birds of a feather must stick together. xo


  18. ladynyo Says:

    Yep, you are 100% there! Love, Jane

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Bodhirose Says:

    Yes, after 33 years of marriage you should be able to tell for sure! How fortunate for you, Jane. I’m still looking. 🙂 xo


  20. ladynyo Says:

    Don’t give up. there are many, many decent men out there who would appreciate a decent and compassionate woman. I got remarried at 36 and so far, good. I think older people getting married make the best marriages. All the stupid stuff is gone or over and we appreciate the quieter, simpler life. I am hoping this for you, Gayle.



  21. Bodhirose Says:

    Well, I’ve just started putting myself out there so we’ll see what shows up…so far no one that I want to “keep” but I’m being particularly picky! I’m certainly not feeling desperate.

    Thank you! ❤ xo


  22. ladynyo Says:

    You know what? When you find you are fine withyourself and anyone else is just ‘extra’…you know you will survive anything. You are a beautiful woman with a great heart. And continue to be picky. It’s your oyster! Love you!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: