Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Children of Aleppo

February 26, 2021

The Children of Aleppo

February 26, 2021

There is no childhood in Aleppo.

There are little martyrs-in-the-making

Where 5 year olds and 8 year olds

Wish for a ‘family death’

Where they can die together

With their parents,

Where they live in peace in Heaven

Never tasting the fruits of peace on Earth.

There is no childhood in Aleppo.

The children haunt the abandoned houses

Of friends who have fled the city.

There they find abandoned teddy bears

While looking for guns for the rebels, their fathers.

A dead canary in his cage

Abandoned by its owners

In the face of daily death.

The sight of this bird

Evokes a child’s sorrow.

The gunfire outside continues

(They are used to the noise)

And huddle in the pockmarked

Halls until safe to scatter.

The children of Aleppo

 Have no teachers, doctors.

These have fled the cities, schools

But they still pine for ice cream,

For music in the streets,

For curtains not torn by violence,

For books and toys

And gardens and flowers,

For friends that have not died

Innocent blood splattering

The dirty cobble stones

At their feet.

The children of Aleppo

Are free and children again

Only in their dreams,

And perhaps, if you believe so,

After death.

How do you put back the brains

Of a child in the cup of the shattered skull?

How do you soothe the howls of the mothers,

The groans of the grieving fathers?

How do you comfort the siblings?

The children of Aleppo

Have no future as children.

They are the sacrifice of parents

And factions,

And politicians

All with the blood of

20,000 children on their hands.

The beautiful children of Aleppo

Like children everywhere

Still want to chase each other

In the gardens, on playgrounds,

Want to dance in the streets,

Want to pluck flowers for their mothers

And they still pine for ice cream.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2021

Ono no Komachi, Call and Answer.

February 22, 2021

Ono no Komachi, Call and Answer.

February 22, 2021

These answered poems are just a part of a larger collection. I learned so much from this 10th century Japanese poet….one of the Immortal 100.

Did he appear

Because I fell asleep

Thinking of him?

If only I’d known I was dreaming

I’d never have awakened.


How long will it last?

I know not his hidden heart.

This morning my thoughts

Are as tangled as my hair.

My blushes turn my face dark.”

……Lady Nyo (from “Kimono”, work in progress…)

When my desire

Grows too fierce

I wear my bed clothes

Inside out,

Dark as the night’s rough husk.


No moon tonight

Only a cold wind visits.

Murasaki robe

Stained the color of grass

Invisible on this earth.

……Lady Nyo   (Murasaki is the color purple.  it is also a grass that has dark lavender tops.  It was used as a dye.)

At least no one can blame me

When I go to you at night

Along the road of dreams.


Come to me, my man,

Part the blinds, come into my arms,

Snuggle against my warm breast

Let my belly

Warm your dreams.

…..Lady Nyo

One of her most famous poems:

No way to see him

On this moonless night—

I lie awake longing, burning,

Breasts racing fire,

Heart in flames.


When my need denied

Burns my breasts-torments me

I tear open robes

To lie naked in moonlight

The wind your hands, caressing

……Lady Nyo

A Fortunate Fate

February 20, 2021


   Hana Tanaka was seventeen years old, a courtesan in old Edo. When she appeared in public, men’s eyes turned like sunflowers to her sun.

   Lovely Hana had bones of melted butter and skin shaped from powder.  She was a creature so luminous a flower of purest jade could not compare. When she rose from a nap, wearing a simple gauze robe, free of paint and perfumes, she was a vision of culture and desire.  Her laugh was a tinkling bell, her hair of bo silk, her movements like cool water.

   One day during cherry blossom time, she was entertaining, her robes folded open like gossamer wings, her rouged nipples admired by another. A young daimyo was admitted to her rooms by mistake.  This new lover was so angered he cut off the head of his rival with his long sword in one swift blow.

   Hana knelt before him, head down, exposing her swan neck, awaiting death.  Seeing her trembling fragility, her obedient meekness, he could not take her life and disappeared to write some bad verse.

   She became known as “The Immortal Flower”, a courtesan of first rank. She prospered and grew fat.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008, 2021

A Winter Prayer

February 18, 2021

A Winter Prayer

February 18, 2021

A Winter Prayer

Snowfall on trees

(Snowfall in Atlanta)

O, Mysterium Tremendum!

Winter’s palette stark, unadorned

Devoid of the juiciness of Summer,

The prismatic beauty of Fall

Yet still, the perfect backdrop

For cardinals, nandina berries,

The holly and the evergreens.

We rejoice in Nature’s gifts

Of silence, stillness

When Earth has tucked in,

Burrowed down with pallid

Earthworms and things

That survive underground.

Above, mystical, blurred

A sudden snow storm has

Softened the brittle edges of vision

And brought about a mystery

This season only provides.

The flash of a cardinal

A blood-red streak in the sky,

The heart lifts and follows.

Nandina berries have changed

From orange of autumn

To brilliant Christmas red

When all humanity watches

For the return of the Sun and

The lengthening of days.

O, Overwhelming Mystery,

Tucked in your bosom

With faith we will survive

The winter storms,

The howling winds

The hoarfrost,

The biting cold,

The darkness lasting too long,

The haunts in the attics

Shivering in hambone frenzy–

The wolves at the door.

The Earth will turn again

To be warmed by a new season.

For now we are grateful

For the gifts of silence and stillness

This season demands.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

A tanka…

February 14, 2021

A tanka…

February 14, 2021

Autumn wind startles–
lowered to an ominous key

Ah! Mournful sounds!
The fat mountain deer listen,
add their bellowing sorrow.

May be art of nature and tree

rom the novel, “The Kimono”, 2018, Amazon.

“The Kimono” chapter 38

February 14, 2021

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