Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

“The Apple Tree”

June 5, 2023


I looked at the apple tree today,

the one the storm did not take,

and saw it still full of apples,

mottled, green/red fruit, some

rotted through with ants eating

at the brown-turning flesh

and I thought of the last months

and what was ripening inside you

and we still didn’t know….

when your breasts were like

the now ripening apples, globes of heaviness, topped with brown nipples.

They lay cradled in my hands warm with life and I could feel them pulse,

the river inside still flowing.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2023


June 5, 2023


Dogwoods are blooming
The crucifixion appears
White moths in the night.


Soft rains caress earth

A hand slides up a soft thigh

Cherry blossoms bloom.


Changing curtains

Helicopter red maple

Pollen fills the air.


Willows whip about

Red kimono flares open

Eyes savor plump thighs.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2023

“The Token Rose’

May 31, 2023

The Token Rose

Outside it is cold,

No leaves flutter

In bitter winds,

No birdsong to

Sweeten the air,

Just the Token rose

Trembling in fierce gusts

Howling round the eaves.

Too early this spring,

This rose started to bloom,

A miracle of  season,

A miracle of mercy.

Named for a woman

Who died by her own hand,

A hand forced by ignorance


Isolation, and

No Mercy.

Ah, we are so hard on those

We say we love,

We are lacking in compassion

To those who march out of step,

Those who don’t believe as we do,

And then we hide from

What we have wrought,

Uneasy but still righteous.

If there is any hint of shame

We bury it deep as deep as the grave

She now lies in.

The Token Rose flutters in the cold.

Pearly white tinged with pink

Catches the feeble sunlight

And waves a forgiveness

That we, hardened of heart,

Do not deserve.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014-2023, because intolerance and hatred doesn’t have a specific date.

Fred’s Bowls…

May 25, 2023

one of Fred’s bowls….tigerwood and piine. He makes these bowls, containers, humadors, with various pieces of maple, tigerwood, piine, mahognay, tulip wood…all in small sections repeaterd 4 timers for the circum. It’s an ardous process but the results are remarkable.

May be an image of barrel

All reactions:

1Lynda Lundgren Narug





Saigyo, Poet/priest

May 25, 2023

This post is for subscribers

Saigyo, a poet / priest and also once a Samurai

May 25, 2023

This is a very  little of Saigyo, the Heian-era priest and poet.  Reading, studying Saigyo is like falling into the rim of the Universe: you have no idea where you will land nor what you will learn.  But the trip will  profoundly change you.

In “Mirror For the Moon”, a collection of translations by William LaFleur of Saigyo, one gets the idea that Saigyo transcended the usual route, the accepted and comfortable route of poet/priests of that era.

There were tons of poetry written by many poets, officials, etc. about the moon, nature, flowers, etc.  But Saigyo’s poetry had an ‘edge’, a difference:  his view of blossoms, moon, nature, was not just the usual symbol of evanescence and youthful beauty:  his view of blossoms, nature, were more a path into the inner depth of this relationship between humanity and nature.   He spent 50 years walking the mountains, road, forests, fields all over Japan and his poetry (waka) reflected his deep understanding of the physicality of nature:  all seasons were felt and experienced not from the safety and comfort of a court, surrounded by other silk-clad courtier/poets,  but out there in the trenches of nature.  His poetry is fomented in the cold and penetrating fall and spring rains, the slippery paths upon mountain trails, the ‘grass pillows’ and a thin cloak, the deep chill of winter snows upon a mountain, the rising  mists that befuddle orientation,  and especially, the loneliness of traveling without companionship.

Saigyo became a poet/priest, but before that he was and came from a samurai family.  He was, at the age of 22, a warrior.  He always struggled with his past in his long years of travel, wondering how this  former life impacted on his religious vows.  His poetry reflects this issue.

I have begun to re-acquaint myself with Saigyo and his poetry, having first come across his poems in 1990. There is something so profound, different, that calls down the centuries to the heart.  His poetry awakens my awe and wonder of not only nature-in-the-flesh, but in the commonality of the human experience.

Lady Nyo

Not a hint of shadow

On the moon’s face….but now

A silhouette passes–

Not the cloud I take it for,

But a flock of flying geese.

Thought I was free

Of passions, so  this melancholy

Comes as surprise:

A woodcock shoots up from marsh

Where autumn’s twilight falls.

Someone who has learned

How to manage life in loneliness:

Would there were one more!

He could winter here on this mountain

With his hut right next to mine.

Winter has withered

Everything in this mountain place:

Dignity is in

Its desolation now, and beauty

In the cold clarity of its moon.

When the fallen snow

Buried the twigs bent by me

To mark a return trail,

Unplanned, in strange mountains

I was holed up all winter.

Snow has fallen on

Field paths and mountain paths,

Burying them all

And I can’t tell here from there:

My journey in the midst of sky.

Here I huddle, alone,

In the mountain’s shadow, needing

Some companion somehow:

The cold, biting rains pass off

And give me the winter moon.

(I love this one especially: Saigyo makes the vow to be unattached to seasons, to expectations, but fails and embraces his very human limitations)

It was bound to be!

My vow to be unattached

To seasons and such….

I, who by a frozen bamboo pipe

Now watch and wait for spring.

(Love like cut reeds:)

Not so confused

As to lean only one way:

My love-life!

A sheaf of field reeds also bends

Before each wind which moves it.

(And Love like fallen leaves….)

Each morning the wind

Dies down and the rustling leaves

Go silent: Was this

The passion of all-night lovers

Now talked out and parting?

From “Mirror For the Moon”, A Selection of Poems by Saigyo (1118-1190)


“Haibun: Shadows”

May 20, 2023

Haibun: 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.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2023

The Kimono, Chapter 42; Lord Yoki speaks…”

May 17, 2023

Lord Yoki is a Tengu. Basically a Big Bird with magic and the ability to ‘look’ like a male human. But that Glamour slips and Lord Yoki has fallen in love.

Kimono, Chapter 42  Lord Yoki speaks.

Lord Yoki perched on the window ledge.  He felt most comfortable perching.  A Tengu was just a big bird, after all. 

He still dressed in an old linen kimono, badly patched and stained. It was this one or feathers.  It was harder and harder to maintain the glamour.  He had to concentrate on those parts that were reverting back.  His hair, his limbs, but he could do nothing about the feet. They would always remain clawed.

He was conflicted.  This was the first time in centuries (for he was very old) that his heart hurt.  He was racked with emotion from the time he awoke until the time he roosted.

He thought he might be in love.  And of course, his beloved would be one out of his league.  A mortal woman.

How could he have fallen to such a state?  He prided himself on being a tough old bird. He looked at the world through a cynical eye.  He only believed in the warmth of the thermals and sake. And a few pretty trinkets for he had a magpie nature.

And now he found himself in love.  How could he reveal himself to her? Would she find him distasteful, ridiculous, and insane?

He pecked at a flea amongst his breast feathers. He remembered the story of Lucifer.  He had fallen in love and knew she would be horrified if he revealed the truth of his form. He was a skinny, molting old bird, and a skinny old ‘man’. A devil cannot hide in the form of an angel for long.  The nature rebels.

He felt like Lucifer, the Great Deceiver.  Could she overlook his appearance to see into his heart? 

He was fooling himself.  He was up against too powerful a force opposite him.  A mortal man, even if he didn’t have the magical advantages of a tengu. Surely the man would win in any battle between them.  And he knew that he had much more to lose than a friendship.  His rival would wear his head on his battle helmet.  He had joked before to the woman about this, but he knew this man was still a barbarian at heart.

No, his love, his admiration for her would have to remain secreted in the bottom of his heart.  He chanced losing both of them and that would be unbearable, even for a stoic tengu.

If not love, how could he protect her?  Only the mystical gods knew what would happen and even they sometimes faked it. 

Bah.  He wished he was back in San Francisco, in that park, in the form of a pigeon.  Then he could look up skirts as he strutted around and there would be no complaints.

Still, he knew why he mourned. She was the only one who knew what the world was about.  The parochial mentality of the people around him drove him nuts. Though he wasn’t affected by the diseases of humanity, (except for bird flu), they still waved their  amulets in the faces of the sick, they smoked up the room with incense until the sick couldn’t breathe, and brewed noxious potions to make them swallow.  They usually died. Or maybe, because all of this.   A little common sense and some soap and water would work miracles.

She knew this.  She also knew nostrums that could save lives.  He was sure of it.  Further, she was the only one he could talk with about history.  He couldn’t read, not many birds could, there were not schools for them, schools were for fish, but still he could ask questions.  And he did.  She told him about the world before their century, and of course, after it.  The world was a pretty big place, and though his eyes were closed as he flew by the moon, he knew something of this.

These generals!  These nobles! They thought they knew about warfare?  Hah!  They knew nothing.   As a pigeon walking around San Francisco, he had seen television in store fronts.  His hackles raised at the inhumanity of nations!  Atomic bombs, nuclear bombs, these were just some of the arsenal of these modern warlords.  These daimyos who went to war against each other?  They might have been hurling rocks and sticks at the opposition considering what was to come.  His century, right now, hadn’t really seen the guns yet.  These men only had the blunderbusses of the Spanish who threw them away.

These men of this century were savages.  They killed for the sport of it.  The only laws were those that came from Edo, and most of those were ignored.  The real law lay within the two swords carried by men, and there were enough of them to go around.

Even if she could come to love him, where would he take her?  Tengus lived in mountains, in nests, where they fought other tengus for territory and tripped up arrogant Buddhist priests.  What would she think of that?

She didn’t lay eggs, and she wouldn’t know how to clean a nest properly.  And she didn’t have feathers to fluff in the cold months. She would be disgusted by the food she would have to eat.  It would be a bitter life for her.  He loved her more than that.

He knew she was a pawn in this bigger game.  Lord Tetsu needed her knowledge to build a bigger life for himself.  He was ambitious, he was a daimyo.  But could she deliver what he wanted?

Then he realized that if she tied her wagon to Lord Tetsu, he would have to secret her away from court life.  She would always live in the shadows of the castle. Was that any better than living in a warm nest in the mountains?

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018-2023

“Some more practice…..looser”

May 13, 2023

from what I am learning: sumi e is supposed to be simplicity/spontaniety/self-expression. Not there yet but heading to these Zen principles. The Hasegawa School of painting, around 16th century…was an enormous influence in this ‘type’

“Some sum-e practice…

May 13, 2023

I have attempted to learn sumi-e. just black ink with 50 Shades of Grey wash. I use rice paper for practice,,,,and watercolor when I feel I have made some progress.

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