Haibun: “Seasons Change”

Supermoon in dec.

Jilly is hosting dversepoets.com tonight….something about radical haibun….we will see.

Lady Nyo


Autumn wind startles–
Lowered to an ominous
Key—Ah! Mournful sounds!
The fat mountain deer listen-
Add their bellowing sorrow.


The gingko filters the sunlight, the ground a crescent- printed cloth fit for a yukata. It hits my hands and feet, creating white scars that do not burn. I welcome the sun. My bones grow thin.

This passage, from summer to fall, eternal movement of Universal Design, counts down the years I have left. There is so much more to savor. Two lives would not be enough.

Tsuki, a beggar’s cup too thin to fatten the road, still shines with a golden brightness, unwavering in the chill aki wind. The Milky Way reigns over all.

Sharp moon cuts the sky
The fierce wind from the mountains
Disturbs dragonflies.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018

Tags: , , ,

47 Responses to “Haibun: “Seasons Change””

  1. Frank J. Tassone Says:

    Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    #Haiku Happenings #8: Lady Nyo’s latest #haibun!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Frank. I may try dversepoets again…..

    Liked by 2 people

  3. jillys2016 Says:

    This is a stunning write! Weaving the seasons of life with the seasons of Earth is pure genius. The image of the sharp moon lingers because of its freshness of language. So glad you joined in!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Jilly, but I don’t think I stuck to the radical rupture of what as asked. I’m an old stick in the mud with my Japanese forms. I find them inventive enough as they originally stood to still be fascinated by what they can become. Thank you. As I age (70 now) I see the inescapable weaving (I like your word…) of seasons of life and Earth as unavoidable and actually….fundamental and true.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lifelessons Says:

    A lovely piece, but I am curious about the line, “a beggar’s cup too thin to flatten the road.” –Judy

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Frank Hubeny Says:

    Nice description of the mountain deer “bellowing sorrow” in the tanka paralleling the winds disturbing the dragonflies in the haiku. The Milky Way reigns over all the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Charley Says:

    A worthy haiku at the end of a beautiful passage.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Grace Says:

    The seasons, like the passage of our life, marches on ~ Love your tanka and haiku Jane ~

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Suzanne Says:

    I like the classical feel of your haibun. It reads like something from old Japan.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. rothpoetry Says:

    the sharp moon cuts the sky! I like that!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Dwight. I love this form.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Suzanne. I’m old but not from Japan. However, I think after a few million tankas you begin to feel like you are. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Grace. I’ll be around tomorrow to read.


  14. ladynyo Says:

    Thanks, Charley. I like my tanka at the top better, but then again, it has special significance to me.


  15. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Frank! I didn’t see your name on the list. I will be over tomorrow. That tanka is my favorite so far. I laugh because Kim also did dragonflies, and mine was purely accidental. Mountain deer do bellow..and it sounds sorrowful to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ladynyo Says:

    “A beggar’s cup”. You know when the moon is lying with the horns up? And very thin? It seems to me a scant beggar’s cup. Thank you for reading, Judy. I have written numerous tanka about the moon….sometimes the moon feels demented.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. ladynyo Says:

    Oh…it should be ‘too thin to fatten the road’. (Moonlight)


  18. lifelessons Says:

    Ha.. Now that makes sense. Glad I asked…

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Suzanne Says:

    I’m just a little younger than you. I love the old Japanese poetry and art. My current hobby is buying books on the subject 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. kim881 Says:

    I see you have dragonflies too, Jane! I love the description of the
    gingko filtering the sunlight, ‘the ground a crescent- printed cloth fit for a yukata’ and, of course, the haiku. :).

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Charley Says:

    It was all very beautifully crafted!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Charley.


  23. ladynyo Says:

    Thanks, Kim! I do love dragonflies….we have a small hand dug pond, 8×6, and the dragonflies hover over it in the summer. I can’t believe the different in sizes and colors of the wings! Damselflies I understand are also a species of the same. Actually, that description of the gingko filtering the sunlight opens “The Kimono”. I am struggling to finish the last read through and then it will be published. I’m dragging my feets.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. ladynyo Says:

    Oh! what a great hobby! I had to build another bookshelf about 10 years ago to place all my Japanese poetry books…and 5 editions of the great Man’yoshu! LOL! Well, my dear husband did this. I just ordered “War and Peace” (my copy was so yellowed it was falling apart….but I just ordered yesterday a book I have been looking for for years: Death Poems of Samurais. These poems are tragic, funny, but you won’t forget them. I think dverse should have a prompt that everyone writes their death poem. I have, one of the first tanka I ever did, and it sticks with me even today. Thanks Susanne.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. ladynyo Says:

    Glad you did.


  26. lillian Says:

    Quite quite beautiful! I most especially loved these words
    “There is so much more to savor. Two lives would not be enough.”
    So very very true…..with each summer to fall…..other endings near.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Lillian!


  28. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    I love this so much… and sticking to the rules when asked to break them is actually most radical 🙂 Love the haiku so much, the contrast between the sharp wind and the dragonflies is perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Well, that is a surprise! LOL. Yes, sticking to the rules can be the most radical of all departures. When you put yourself into a sorta trance in writing these haibun….and this is a well known (at least amongst the older Japanese haibun writers) it seems to grab images and flow. Thank you, Bjorn. I stick to the rules because I haven’t found a reason to break them. Still learning them, but more so…I am learning, studying the aesthetics that produced Japanese poetry. About the dragonflies….? I was sitting outside a few years ago with a neighbor…we heard/saw a low flying helicopter , and at the same time were admiring the fleeting dragonflies. My neighbor said: That helicopter must be their “God”. LOL! Worked for me. Thank you again, Bjorn.


  30. Charley Says:

    You are welcome!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. purplepeninportland Says:

    Beautifully written. Love the wildness of the haiku!


  32. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you!


  33. Suzanne Says:

    Thank you very much for that interesting reply. I wrote a death haiku once too. It would be good to see such a prompt on d’verse. As for book shelves, I’m thinking I need a new one too.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. ladynyo Says:

    perhaps you could suggest this to the powers that be at dverse. More voices will perhaps spark some interest. I don’t do a lot of their prompts because I need time to think about them, and off the cuff never works well for me. If people were given a bit of time, perhaps it would spark more enthusiasm.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. qbit Says:


    Liked by 1 person

  36. Suzanne Says:

    I’m more like you. I only do the haibuun prompt and aren’t involved in the running of the group. I find it hard enough writing haiku. All the other poetic forms mystify me.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Me, too! And I wonder about them. where are they used except to express a certain diversity in form? I have enough trouble writing tanka/haiku/…but I LOVE haibun. It seems so broad to me. And people who say that it’s only two paragraphs and a related haiku (or not) really haven’t studied the history of haibun at all…or hardly. There are some very early haibun (way before Basho) that are essays…one with 5000 words. LOL~ I think we try to ‘bend’ these forms to more modern tastes. I ran a writing group years ago and it fell into total chaos. The two men made life miserable. Ugh. it was called: “Not Dead Yet” but after a few months, it died…LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. ladynyo Says:

    not at all …radical. LOL


  39. Suzanne Says:

    LOL about your writing group. I totally agree about the way people are now imposing word counts on haibun. There are many examples of much longer haibun in Japanese literature – sometimes even haibun without a haiku or with the haiku interspersed in long haibun. It’s a fascinating form but people are imposing some strange rules on it these days which are very limiting. Thanks for a great conversation. I’ve been enjoying it immensely. Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  40. ladynyo Says:

    Suzanne…you are not alone! I am enjoying this conversation and I am sure others who know better than word count (and I have quite a few Japanese friends who are experts in tanka, etc) are speaking their approval in what you say here. We are such fools. This crap about ‘modernizing’ haiku, etc. when they haven’t really studied the aesthetics of WHY these things were formed (centuries ago) as they are. Well, it makes me laugh. Actually, it saddens me. I have only been studying formally Japanese poetry and literature for about 12 years, but it is something that is endless and truly addictive. As is the language which I learned only to read the literature in the original (works sometimes…lol) So, keep writing and keep reading. You are not alone in your concern. I belong to the Anglo-Japanese Tanka Society and this is also a concern (in the backrooms) to others.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. ladynyo Says:

    Also, I think the usage of a haiku to end the text was styled around Basho’s time but I might be wrong on this. I usually start with a tanka , then the haibun, and end with a haiku. Get them all in there!

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Suzanne Says:

    I admire your ability to read Japanese. Writing tanka is a very field for me. I’ve been writing haibun and haiku for about 3-4 years now but am forever editing and revising old work as I learn more about the form.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Suzanne Says:

    I like the format you use. My understanding is Basho really developed the haibun form but, from memory, I think he sometimes placed haiku at places in the prose. You’ve stimulated curiosity. I’ll have to do some more research. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  44. ladynyo Says:

    Research is good!

    Liked by 1 person

  45. ladynyo Says:

    we all do that. Or should. I remember Jane Hirshfield, who is an internationally acclaimed expert in Japanese literature, being given some of my tanka (by a snotty man who couldn’t write a tanka if he fell on it….) and her comment was: Good, but not quite tanka yet. LOL. She was right but it was a bitter pill for me to swallow. I was too early in the study to understand the ins and outs of it all.


  46. memadtwo Says:

    full of all the complexities of autumn (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  47. ladynyo Says:

    thank you. had to break up a dog fight at 5am…..will read you later. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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