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“Some Haibuns”

September 19, 2017

 

images (3)  Sumo puppies in training…

I love Sumo wrestling.  Or at least I think I do.  Perhaps it is the only sport where I don’t feel like I have to hold in my stomach sitting there. Watching those mountains of flesh-men grapple with each other makes my heart beat hard.  There is such history around this sport, and such a deep tradition.  The fact that they gorge themselves with a purpose makes my heart sing.  How wonderful that you can eat and eat without any concern for weight or fashion!

And, did you know that those belts they wear can cost a million yen?  Or so I have read.  I have also read that Sumo Wrestlers are some of the most humble and gentle of men.  Here, have another bowl of rice.

 

Mountains of flesh pound

A ring of sandy earth

Cunning and strength vie.

 

 Shadows

 

The newborn radishes are shadowed by cherry tomatoes. The almost-red globes drop down to visit. They compare hues.  The garden is bathed in the light of a horizontal crescent moon, grinning like an idiot, suspended over trees that cast shadows on hillocks and deepening the valleys with their creeping darkness.

It is very early Spring. Dusk and day still balance in a pale sky, though the moon has risen.  Oh, the mystery of the night where shadows churn with imagination!

I sit on a concrete wall, watching distant clouds dance on the wind. The oaks are feathery with their foliage, the pecans still winter-nude. Day is closing.  Doves are almost silent, sleepy sounding.  Bats speed by, scimitars of the night. I close my eyes and drink in the approaching dark. Only those shadows attend me, and possibly a few lurking monsters.

 

Night’s benediction:

Bull frogs bellow in the pond

Shadows blanket day.

kappa[1]

(This is a general warning against Kappa.  And also a good example of something to fear.)

Fear

 

Global Warming has brought significant changes to the South, and Atlanta is now nicknamed “Tornado Alley”.  In the almost fifty years I have lived here, I have seen disturbing changes. My first acquaintance with a ‘tornado’ was when I heard what I thought was a tornado and I was in the bathtub.  My now-ex-husband headed for the basement leaving me in the water.  It turned out to be a train. There was a track back in the woods we didn’t know of.

One flattened our local park and was called ‘severe wind shear’.  From the looks of it, it seemed like a tornado. Trees, hundred year old oaks flattened to the ground, an indeterminate path through the park, a warzone of defeated greenery.

I fear the heavy winds and rainstorms. I am powerless before them.  The only way to save oneself is to head for the basement and cower with whatever lives down there.  And of course this adds to the fear.

 

Winds begins to rise

Fear out runs common sense

The worms are safer

 

 

–One Tanka….

I wander the fields

Snow covers the barren soil

Sharp wind plays pan pipes

A murder of crows huddle

Black laughing fruit hang from limbs 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

 

J

 

‘The River’, from “A Seasoning of Lust”

September 15, 2017

 

revised-cover-2776

THE RIVER

 

The sun streamed in the window,

Like a jarring benediction

From a loud-mouthed priest.

It fell upon us

As we spooned asleep,

Your back turned to me,

My nose on your skin

Breathing in the miracle of you.

 

Last night, our first in spent passion,

That particular coin flowed like a river

Between us.

You brought hot, wet towels

To clean up the waters left by the flood.

 

Bending over me,

Parting my thighs with your hands,

I wanted you to leave the damp alone,

And slide

Into the faintly pulsing dark chasm,

My hollow twisting at the end of you.

 

But instead,

I curled up like a fiddle-head fern,

And embraced your dark head with my hands,

Pulling your mouth to my own,

 

And we flowed down that river again.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016  (“The River” is published in “A Seasoning of Lust”, Amazon.com 2016)

“Haiku Irma”…..

September 13, 2017
My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture…the Morning After.

Haiku Irma

 

Mighty Hurricane!

Destroys a summer landscape

Pine trees recumbent.

No moon shone last night

This morning the sun shines bright

Maple leaves glowing!

Generators growl

Crickets increase their fiddling

A fox adds his voice.

The total darkness

Moon too thin to fatten road

Disturbs our courage.

Somehow not dead yet

Last night’s torrential lashings

Rebirth this morning.

 

Cedars fan the moon

Fierce winds come from the East

Blow evil to west.

Looters try their luck

Shotguns loaded by the door

Death inside and out.

Hungry hummingbird

Pushed by mighty gale from food

Determined to eat.

Now a stray kitten

Wants the warmth of my dry lap

Rain gusts don’t play fair.

Rooster doesn’t crow

Night’s loud thunder and lightning

Ruins his morning voice.

Even the hoot owls

Are silent this stormy night

Wind muffles their cries.

Leaves, branches, litter

Torrential rains wash them gone-

Did they ever exist?

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

Thanks to Irma, power was out for 50 some hours.  Couldn’t sleep, so Basho’s “Interior Road” drew me downstairs. Basho talks about direct impressions…don’t worry about ‘proper’ form.  You can go back and reform later.  He himself forgot the ‘seasonal word’ in a number of his haiku, and said so.  I decided to write these ‘haiku’ from immediate thoughts and sensations, without much struggle as to ‘what and what’.  Though it is right and proper to use kigo, etc.

Apparently it was not only the storm, but a band of looters attempting to enrich themselves on our darkened street.  Such fools!  My neighbors are keen to their behavior, but no sound of gunfire disturbed the night.  That was a blessing.  I didn’t hear of any of this until this afternoon.  I am grateful I basically slept through it all.

 

My deepest  gratitude to my cousins, Donnie and Shirley, his wife.  And my sister in laws in Miami.  And my brave and handsome husband, Fred, who brought home a Coleman stove that almost took my eyebrows off.  This was my first hurricane.  They are old hands at this, living through Hurricane Sandy and many others in Miami.

 

 

 

“9-11…..

September 10, 2017
Kohut-Bartels-BOP-8

“Sea Eagle”, jane kohut-bartels, watercolor, 2001


9-11

 

That beautiful morning–

Teasing taste of early Autumn

The unthinkable happened

And our world stopped turning

I saw the plane, I saw the fire

I saw the smoke descend like

A blanket of blinding grief

Too late to spare those on the ground

The sight of Armageddon.

 

 

Mortar-grey people transformed

Into gritty moving statues,

Holding hands, blinded by smoke,

Move down streets where

Paper, bricks, metal, glass rained down

Like the Devil’s Ticket Parade,

Walked in silence towards the bridges,

Barely a moan heard,

An Exodus unexpected on this

Morning of such seasonal promise.

 

I saw worse.

I saw people jump

From the ledges, holding hands,

Some with briefcases

And all I could do

Was howl:

 

“I will catch you!

Jump into my arms

I will not drop you.

Do not be afraid,

Aim for my embracing arms,

With the last of my life—

I will catch you.”

 

That day of fire and ash,

Inexplicable funeral pyre,

Of brave souls rushing in

And frightened souls rushing out

And the ash, the ash, the ash,

Covered everything like a silent September snow.

 

Sixteen years later

Grieving when this day approaches,

I hear the words swell up in me:

 

“We will catch you!

Jump into our arms,

We will not drop you.

You will not be forgotten,

With the last of our breath–

We will catch you.”

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 9-11-2011-2016, (This poem, “9-11” was published in “Pitcher of Moon”, and can be purchased at Amazon.com. Published, 2014)

We will not forget.  For many (most) of us, this was the first clue as to terrorism on such a  scale.   Fred and I watched as the second plane hit that tower.  May those terrorists and all that support their actions roast in Hell.  We will not allow them, regardless their country, to destroy the US.

Just a note.  My only boyfriend in Princeton High way back when, told me after 9-11, that he walked through the city, (he worked there…) and it was an exodus of grey and gritty people, silent, only a moan heard rare…and he walked until he found himself on the New Jersey Turnpike….and got home to Princeton.  God, we don’t write these things without the experience, the direct experience of others.  That puts the blood in the veins of our poetry. Thank you, Jerry…wherever you have blown to.

“Coppermine Road”, posted for Open Link Night, dversepoets.com

September 7, 2017

 

917ce-pitcher

Coppermine Road

 

When I was a child

Sitting on a hill

In south-central Jersey,

I would watch the roiling thunderstorms

Shoot daggers of lightning

Across hills of the Sourland Mountains

Setting fires to forests,

Pastures–

Torching the barns.

 

The hand-cranked siren would yowl

And all men over 21

Would answer the call.

To lurk under jacked-up cars,

To pitch hay,

Run the combine

Or start the evening milking

Would get you the cold shoulder

Or worse…

In the local gin mill.

 

Coppermine Road had

A ton of fires,

This gateway to the Sourlands

Stretching miles into Dutch-elmed darkness

As we watched

First the lightning

Then smoke rise into the air,

And heard the howl of the siren

In the valley below.

 

Mined out, this Coppermine

Emptied before the Revolution

The sturdy Dutch taking their

Share from the earth,

Leaving little of worth, just the name,

The scars of digging plastered over in time.

 

Perhaps a grand conspiracy

Between storm clouds and copper deep down

A particular cosmic revenge,

Enough to torch the barns

Scare the milk out of cows

And bedevil the men.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017  (from “Pitcher of Moon”, Amazon.com 2015)

 

“The Kimono”, Chapter 27….

September 5, 2017

 

Lord Mori

Warning:  a bit of sex in this chapter. Don’t read if this offends you.

 

I’ve been working on this novel for 10 years.  I  picked it up and put it down over those years but finally, it’s coming to an end.  it will max out around 50 chapters when it is completed.  It better end.

This summer and most of the spring I have been rewriting.  I’m posting this chapter for reader’s interest.  A few have been following this book for years.  It is not easy to come in the middle (or wherever) of a novel and it does cause confusion.  A quick view:  Mari is a 21st century Japanese American.  She is snatched by a kimono and brought to the 16th century in a mountainous region of Japan, Akita.  It is not clear to the characters of the book who is controlling the kimono.   The pix I posted at the top is a Japanese actor, 48, who is a physical representation of what I think this Lord Mori, this rather lax daimyo, looks like.  At least it’s something to look at.

Lady Nyo

The Kimono, Chapter 27

The moon peeked through the distant trees below Mount Gassan in the east.  This low to the horizon its color was a dark coppery-pumpkin as it hovered in the evening sky.  Its rising caused the very drunk men to pause in their good-humored noise as the women behind the screen heard their exclamations. How many times had the full moon risen, yet the beauty of its appearance, the miracle of its closeness always produced awe?

A servant came around the screen and whispered something to Lady Nyo.  She, in turn, came to Mari and in a very low voice said that Lord Mori has requested her company.

Lady Nyo fussed a bit with Mari’s face, patting rice powder over her features, combed out her hair and gathered it half-way down her back with a twist of red paper.  From a small, wooden box she brought out a flask of scent and applied it between Mari’s breasts.  With a nod and a sigh, she was finished and bowed to Mari with a small smile.  Mari followed a serving girl to the lake where she found Lord Mori.  He gave a slight nod in greeting and turned, walking further down to a small stand of cherry trees.  Here there were no lanterns hanging from the branches silhouetting the cherry blossoms. Only the brightness of the rising moon and a small brazier gave light.  Quilts had been placed for them on the ground.

The servant disappeared, fading silently into the shadows surrounding the grove of cherries.  Dragonflies dipped and swooped along the shoreline.  The sound of the water lapping at the beach was amplified by the silence around them. They were far enough away they could not hear the others.  The sky darkened and rose- bottomed clouds appeared over the water.

Lord Mori sipped his sake and said nothing.  Mari didn’t want to break the beauty of the young night with conversation.  It was enough to enjoy the silence and the moon reflecting in the water.

Suddenly Lord Mori made a soft exclamation and pointed to some rocks at a distance, farther down the beach.

“There- do you see kitsune?  She has come for her own hanami.”

Night was replacing dusk and the shoreline was dissolving into shadows.  Mari could hardly make out the small form of a fox. She darted back and forth, from rock to rock, rolling over those at the water’s edge and pouncing on something, probably a crayfish.

Suddenly the moon rose high enough, beaming across the water and Mari could see the russet coat of the fox.  She had a tail that looked tipped in gold, illuminated by the moonlight.

 

“Kitsune

Has a long and gilded tail

She comes at night

Down to the glistening lake—

The moon rises to light her way.”

 

Lord Mori’s voice was hardly more than a whisper.  Mari was caught, spellbound by his words.  How exact, how clever his this tanka within a breath’s notice of the fox!  Mari knew she would have struggled with her thoughts, casting aside her impressions and losing the immediacy of the moment.  With Lord Mori, it was as natural as breathing.

She turned her head to look at him as the moon went dark with a flock of passing clouds.  Lord Mori’s features were silhouetted against the shadows of the grove behind them.  How serene he appeared.  Mari touched the silk of his sleeve.  He looked down at her small, white hand and smiled as the moon reappeared in its soft brilliance.  The water was like a black mirror for the moon, so still and calm.

Lord Mori drew Mari close, she aware of the scent of sandalwood from his gown and the scent of sake.  He stroked her hair and Mari put her hand inside his kimono, on his breast.  She felt the soft beating of his heart.  With all the strangeness of her present world, with all that was unknown before her, this, this—the warmth of his skin, the scent of him at least was real, had no unsettling magic.  She had enough of magic and whatever superstitions that plagued this century and this place.

Mari shivered.  Lord Mori chuckled and drew her closer.

 

“The moon is clear

I escort a lovely girl

Frightened by a fox.”

 

Mari knew the verse to be Basho’s, a very famous poem at that. She also knew Lord Mori had changed the word ‘boy’ to ‘girl’.

Lord Mori loosened the string of his hakama and pulled aside his robes.  He pulled Mari over him, straddling his hips.  Without a word he loosened her carefully arranged kimonos up over her hips and off her shoulders.  He held her breasts, now exposed to the moonlight in his large hands and pulled her to him.  Only her obi kept her robes around her.  She felt his hand at her crotch.  It had been so long since they had mated, right before her miscarriage months ago.  She groaned as desire flooded her, stiffening her nipples, making her aroused.

Lord Mori wasted little time, his own desire evident.  Pulling her arms around his neck, he lifted her onto him and with his own groan, held her to him like a vise, pushing his hips up and back, Mari’s head rocking with his motion.  Seeking her mouth, he finally kissed her as their coupling ended.

Later Lord Mori wrapped them together in quilts and Mari slept, her head pillowed on his shoulder, the warmth of his body a further comfort.  It was still spring, not near summer at all, and the nights were cold this near to Gassan Mountain.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

Haibun Monday: “Seasons Change”

September 3, 2017
My beautiful picture

Autumn colors from my bathroom window

Komorebi:  the Japanese word for  light filtering, that time between summer and autumn., seasons changing. It is more extensive than what I write here, so read what Kanzen Sakura over at dversepoets.com says.  She is hosting Haibun Monday and her prompt is this.    There are sure to be some marvelous haibun (short paragraphs that originally were travel notes….) ending with a  relating haiku.

Lady Nyo

 

Seasons Change

 

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

 

 

The ginkgo filters  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

 Fierce wind howls from the mountains

Disturbs dragonflies.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

 

“Mountain Road”, a poem of Autumn.

August 31, 2017

kappa[1]

( A Kappa….certainly a monster.)

It feels a bit like fall with the rains and cooler weather.   Imaginary Gardens  with Real Toads has a prompt about ‘Monsters’, either symbolic or …..

This is my offering.  I find Nature sometimes monstrous.  People, too.

Lady Nyo

MOUNTAIN POEM

 

It is almost Halloween.

The early dark of dusk

Creeps in before finishing

With the day–

 

Strange imaginings

Cause shadows to rustle,

Briars entangle

And nothing seems exactly –right.

 

In the mountains

Clouds dip low

Smothering the landscape.

Only the moan of winds

Round eaves shaking the skeleton hambones

Hiding in attic corners

Breaks the silence—

A strange cacophony.

 

Monstrous, ghost trees

Wedged together in

Stumbling rows,

Indian Snake arms

Wave warnings to

At all daring to approach

Their Joseph’s –coat-of- many colors

Tattered by

Blasts of Autumn winds

Tearing around the mountain.

The hoot of the owl

Drives on dis-ease until dawn.

 

 

Roads dip and swell

In a frenzied, jagged run

Straight into the heart of danger.

Nerves uneasy,

There is too much mystery in this night!

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

 

“Healing with Nature”: a Haibun

August 29, 2017

Source: “Healing with Nature”: a Haibun

“Healing with Nature”: a Haibun

August 29, 2017

 

Flowers 2

The terrible floods out west and the continued rain there from the hurricane makes me full of gratitude for the sun and calm, almost-fall weather here in Atlanta.  The cicadas are fiddling up a storm, and we might get rain by tomorrow.  I hear this is the backlash of Harvey.  The scenes of people trekking though muddy, polluted water is heartbreaking.  What happens to the zoos, the animal shelters, the stray dogs and cats?  People have had to desert their homes and leave their pets behind.  Added heartbreak to what must be unbearable.

Nature is a double edged sword.  

Lady Nyo 

 

Healing with Nature

 

 

My solitude shared with

night time crickets and an owl

the moon must approve

soft moonbeam filters dust motes

a thousand fish swim upstream

It is late afternoon, winter by calendar, spring by temperament. The radishes have pushed above the dark soil, and look promising.

Two cats and I are sitting on a retaining wall that retains nothing, except Madame Alfred Carriere and Graham Thomas.  They both have climbed to the second story and are looking in the windows, watching us sleep.  I am surrounded by budding nature, the canna lilies brush my thighs with tenderness, making room for me. I sigh and relax into the gathering dusk.

Last night I heard the wood owls.  Their demonic chattering scared me into the chicken coop to stand guard with a rake, nervous as the hens.  Now I know they are only six inches tall and can’t eat me.

When I die, I want my ashes scattered on this garden.  Then, my ash-hands will caress the seedlings from below, my ash-heart will take pride in their growth, and my ash-ears will still hear those wood owls.

The moon is rising, a beggar’s cup too thin to fatten the soil.  Mourning doves chant their benediction and swallows tumble like sickles in the failing light. The dark embraces all below. I am healed from the day’s tribulations.  The sounds of the urban give way to the enchantment of the Night.

 

The soil our bed

Our classroom and our graves.

Reborn to the world.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 


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