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Memorial Day Weekend….

May 26, 2017

"Eagle" Jane Kohut-Bartels, watercolor, 2005

(“American Eagle”, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2004, watercolor)

 

Memorial Day Weekend. My father, my cousin Donnie, my mother in law Betty, my father in law Hap, our son Christopher and those who have served our country, I am grateful. We take for granted their sacrifice, and they and so many others, are the backbone of our defense and safety of our Nation. We are one of the few in our neighborhood that fly the flag, and this just isn’t enough.  Our Nation is under stress /attack from many quarters. We salute them and their sacrifices.

Many people feel that patriotism is old fashioned, out of step with multiculturalism, etc.  It is not a situation  of “my country, right or wrong’.  It is a look back at all the struggles and sacrifice that has been given by so many to build this nation and for us to enjoy the freedoms we have today.  If you think these freedoms are just something in our constitution, think again.  I have a very dear friend across the globe who got in a lot of trouble for his posts on the internet.  His employer tried to fire him and he had to obtain an attorney. A four month battle and suspension, and the place of employment is demanding that he never use social media again.  On or off the job.  This is draconian and outrageous, but it makes me understand our freedoms, and especially our freedom of speech better.  We take so much for granted in this country.  We think that things fall from Heaven but they don’t.  They are hard won by the labors and sacrifice of lives.

I live and have for almost 50 years in a part of Atlanta where fully 70% of the young men have destroyed their future of any service by drugs, crime, gangs.  So many just rent their citizenship.  They do nothing but destroy the nation with their behavior.  Then there are others who serve and die in wars and this is a great tragedy that they don’t get to live out their lives that they have done the hard labor to protect our rights in this Nation.  We must honor these last men and women.  The Devil take the others.

Make Memorial Day a celebration of those who have served and sacrificed and not just a three day holiday of food. We are going to find something to attend or do, Fred and I, this weekend that makes Memorial Day become what it is supposed to be. Bless our Nation and our future.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

The Lady Nyo, with glitter

The Lady Nyo, with glitter

“Morning”

May 25, 2017
My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

Sometimes you write a poem to dispel the demons of darkness. It is a particular touchstone that comforts, soothes the fearful breast.

MORNING

 

A wedge of sullen moon

Pales above

As life awakes beneath.

 

Birdsong threads through

Trees, a staccato cacophony

Anointing the air

Like colored ribbons

Weaving back and forth

The timbre ever changing.

 

Green spring trees, tender, tender

An early nursery of life

Can anything be wrong with the world?

 

The hammock swings gently of its own accord

Perhaps a haunt, a ghost,

Sleeping an extra hour before

Vaporizing in the morning mist.

 

Faint gunshots last night

Where someone would

Impose their vile humanity

And we are startled for a moment

Until reclaimed by sleep.

 

Morning hoot of a sleepy owl

Echoes the cry of a distant train

While seed pods from the maple

Flutter to the ground,

Airborne whirligigs.

 

We have survived the dark, again,

Its blackened mysteries,

Uneasy, things that could stop up

Our breath.

We are cradled in Nature’s promise

Of life again beginning with each day.

The moon above yawns, fades and disappears.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

Manchester, 22 Dead, 120 Wounded. (Manchester Evening News)

May 23, 2017

I can’t get my head around this.  Children as victims of savage terrorism.  And how long are we to suffer this?  These craven cowards who target youth.  And what should our response be to all of this and of the future?  “Stay Strong” is what we hear.  Don’t let the terrorists win or change our behavior.

Perhaps we should change our behavior.  I was watching a British program called “Home Fires”, a weekly series of a small English town that was bombed repeatedly.  This wasn’t about the Blitz, but what these citizens faced was much the same, only in smaller doses I would think.  They had civil defense units made up of citizens, and both men and woman had their roles.

For many of us we boomerang between anger and tolerance.  But perhaps this should change, too.  ISIS has no love or concern for whom they kill.  We are all potential targets and all just ashes and dust to them.

We open our borders and allow people from these Muslim nations to come in and settle amongst us, but should we?  I realize that it is a small percentage of terrorists that carry out their destruction from these families, but are we so blind to their end game?  Today I found out that this terrorist that blew himself up was born in 1994 in a suburb of Manchester from parents who came from Libya.  And this village has a high percentage of Muslims being ‘watched’ by the authorities.  This Salman Abedi was known to authorities (just 22 years of age) as a potential terrorist, a potential risk but for some reason he dropped off their list.

And Manchester saw last night the results of all of this.  Nail bombs are a particular ugly way to kill.  And that is what this bastard coward prepared and used.  With 22 killed, half of them children, and 60 seriously injured, and still a dozen or more ‘missing’….. what will it take?

I have no answers, but life doesn’t seem normal or sane anymore.  The future of our nations are our children.  We must do something for them to have a future, and we must do something soon.

Plus….driving to a doctor’s appt. this morning, NPR had an interview of a British Commander who expressed strong solutions to the terrorist situation.  Since, according to him, the territory of ISIS/Taliban is shrinking in Afghanistan and Syria, once as large as Indiana, there will be ISIS fighters returning to their home countries:  UK, Germany, France, etc.  What to do?  These are trained fighters, dangerous men, with every intention to continue their ‘war’ on these home fronts.  This Military Commander, and I can’t remember his name or title said this:  There were two solutions.  One, deport them immediately. Send them back to where they were fighting: Afghan. or Syria.  Doesn’t matter that there isn’t a system or organization in these countries to absorb them….that’s their problem.  Dump them at the airports.  Let these countries figure it out.  The second solution was internment camps, if the deportation process wasn’t fast enough.

All this seems radical and unimaginable.  But after Manchester, I don’t think anything now is beyond the pale.  Either action is taken to stop terrorism on home fronts or we will just ‘have to live with terrorism’ as the Muslim Mayor of London said.

If anyone heard this discussion from the BBC carried by NPR this morning, please tell me.  I want to know who this Commander is.  Did a search but couldn’t find the interview.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

“Day’s Symphony”

May 22, 2017

kohut-bartels-bop-6

(Songbirds, 1995, watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels)

Over at dversepoets pub, Victoria is presenting the lovely challenge of quadrilles, a poetry form of exactly 44 words. The key word is ‘sound’.  I haven’t written many quadrilles, but today in searching for any inspiration, I thought of the many birds I hear during the day and night.  Couldn’t fit in the hoot owls though, those scary little monsters of the night.

Lady Nyo

Day’s Symphony

 

I awake to the sound of raucous songbirds

Too near my bed.

Outside the rooster crows and crows,

Until I attend his sermon.

The hawks scream above the clouds,

Hunting horns with feathers.

At dusk, mourning doves

Deliver the benediction of night.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

Some Spring Tanka….

May 20, 2017

Rose Garden April 2017

(New Rose Garden this spring)

It is hot and sultry, too early for summer, still spring, but behaving badly nonetheless.  I was sitting on the back porch listening to the mourning doves who have returned and the tree frog in the front yard.  The bull frog in the pond hasn’t returned or surfaced yet, or probably one of the dogs has killed him.  I hope not for these sounds of spring and summer soothe the savage breast of an unhappy urban dweller.


A mourning dove cries

It is such a mournful sound

Perhaps a fierce owl

Has made it a widow.

Oh! It breaks my heart, her cry.

=

“Mist drifts in waves

Ribbon-ing maple branches

The rising of moon

Make Egrets shimmer silver-

Gauzy ghosts of nothingness.”

Cranes wheeled in the sky

Their chiding cries fell to hard earth

Warm mid winter day

A pale half moon calls the birds

To stroke her face with soft wings.

=

Like the lithe bowing

Of a red maple sapling

My heart turns to you,

Yearns for those nights long ago

When pale skin challenged the moon.

Thin, silken breezes

Float upon a green-ribbon

Of spring—pale season.

Scent of lilies, myrtle, plum

Arouse bees from slumber.

Out with the gold fish,

The bullfrogs croak their sorrow.

Summer is passing

Autumn brings sharp, brittle winds

But Winter is the cruelest.

A late Summer moon

Floats above the conifers.

Mosquitoes thicken.

Do pines know the season turns?

Their leaves don’t fall; do they know?

 –

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

 

“Song of the Nightingale”, Episode 3

May 16, 2017

Source: “Song of the Nightingale”, Episode 3

Lord Nyo’s Lament, from “Song of the Nightingale”, Episode 3.

May 16, 2017

images (9)

 

Lord Nyo’s Lament

 

Oh my wife!

My feet take me over mountains

In the service to our lord

But my heart stays tucked in the bosom

Of your robe.

Lady Nyo, circa 2015

 

 

The song of the arrow

As it arced into the sea

Was as tuneless

As a badly strung samisen.

 

Gun- metal clouds

Stretched across a dull horizon

The sun still asleep

As he should be

His quiver empty

His heart, too.

 

When had the callousness of life and death

Become as comfortable as breath to him?

He had become too much the warrior

And too little the man.

 

His distance from his wife,

From most of life

Was as if some unseen object

Kept them ten paces apart.

Perhaps it was the cloud-barrier

Of earthly lusts which obscured

The Sun of Buddha?

 

 

Perhaps he should pray.

What God would listen?

Then it came to him

That joker of a Buddha, Fudo

With his rope to pull him from Hell

And his sword to cut through foolishness-

Fudo would listen.

Fudo knew the quaking hearts

The illusions embraced

To stomach the battlefield

The fog of drink,

To face life

In the service of Death.

Fudo would save him from

The yellow waters of Hell.

 

He remembered those years

When she could bring him to his knees

With the promise of dark mystery

Between silken thighs,

And the glimpse of her white wrist-

A river of passion

Just beneath the surface.

How he had steeled his heart

Believing himself unmanned

For the love she induced!

 

Three cranes flew low to the shore,

Legs streaming like black ribbons behind.

Three cranes, three prayers, three chances

To find his way back

Bound up in Fudo’s ropes,

Prodded in the ass by Fudo’s sword.

 

He would write a poem

On a bone-white fan

To leave on her cushion.

She would know his love

She would know his sorrow.

 

The sea took his arrows

Beyond the breakers,

The glint of sleek feathers

Catching thin rays of light.

An unexpected peace came over him

As they journeyed far from his hands.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011, 2016 (Song of the Nightingale was published on Amazon in 2015 and can be bought online)

 

 

 

 

“The Stillness of Death”, Episode 2 of “Song of the Nightingale”

May 12, 2017

Song_of_the_Nightingale_COVER

Continuing on with the story……

THE STILLNESS OF DEATH

 

 

“My heart, like my clothing

Is saturated with your fragrance.

Your vows of fidelity

Were made to our pillow and not to me.”

—-12th century

 

Kneeling before her tea

Lady Nyo did not move.

She barely breathed-

Tomorrow depended

Upon her action today.

 

Lord Nyo was drunk again.

When in his cups

The household scattered.

Beneath the kitchen

Was the crawl space

Where three servants

Where hiding.

A fourth wore an iron pot.

 

Lord Nyo was known

For three things:

Archery-

Temper-

And drink.

 

Tonight he strung

His seven foot bow,

Donned his quiver

High on his back.

He looked at the pale face

Of his aging wife,

His eyes blurry, unfocused.

He remembered the first time

pillowing her.

 

She was fifteen.

Her body powdered petals,

Bones like butter,

Black hair like trailing bo silk.

The blush of shy passion

Had coursed through veins

Like a tinted stream.

 

Still beautiful

Now too fragile for his taste.

Better a plump whore,

Than this delicate, saddened beauty.

 

He drew back the bow

In quick succession

Let five arrows pierce

The shoji.

Each grazed the shell ear

Of his wife.

 

Life hung on her stillness.

She willed herself dead.

Death after all these years

Would have been welcome.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted , 2015, “Song of the Nightingale” can be bought on Amazon.com

 

 

“Song of the Nightingale” introduction…..

May 10, 2017

Song_of_the_Nightingale_COVER

 

In 2015, I wrote and published on Amazon.com “Song of the Nightingale”.  It’s a story in 13 episodes of a man and wife in 16th century Japan, he a general in a daimyo’s army and she fully half his age.  Obviously an arranged marriage.

I loved this story and apparently others did, too, but I never really concentrated on this book because life got in the way, along with other writing.  So, I am going to post some of the episodes on this blog just for entertainment and hopefully for  interest in the entire book.  A Moon Baby appears, a rather nasty Tengu priest, and other issues that involved 16th century life in Japan.  Lord Nyo refers to himself as ‘an ugly old warrior’, but his heart, immersed in war for so long, does begin to soften and attend to his wife, Lady Nyo, who is smarter than she appears.

Lady Nyo (but not the one in the book.)

 

Introduction to “The Nightingale’s Song”

In Old Japan there was an even older daimyo called Lord Mori who lived in the shadow of Moon Mountain, far up in the Northwest of Japan.  Lord Mori ran a court that did little except keep his men (and himself) entertained with drinking, hawking and hunting.  Affairs of state were loosely examined and paperwork generally lost, misplaced under a writing table or under a pile of something more entertaining to his Lordship.  Sometimes even under the robes of a young courtesan.

Every other year the Emperor in Edo would demand all the daimyos travel to his court for a year. This was a clever idea of the honorable Emperor. It kept them from each other’s throats, plundering each other’s land, and made them all accountable to Edo and the throne.

Lord Mori was fortunate in his exemption of having to travel the months to sit in attendance on the Emperor. He was awarded this exemption with pitiful letters to the court complaining of age, ill health and general infirmities. He sent his eldest, rather stupid son to comply with the Emperor’s wishes. He agreed to have this disappointing young man stay in Edo to attend the Emperor. Probably forever.

Lord Mori, however, continued to hunt, hawk and generally enjoy life in the hinterlands.

True, his realm, his fiefdom, was tucked away in mountains hard to cross. To travel to Edo took months because of bad roads, fast rivers and mountain passages. A daimyo was expected to assemble a large entourage for this trip: vassals, brass polishers, flag carriers, outriders, a train of horses and mules to carry all the supplies, litters for the women, litters for advisors and fortune tellers, and then of course, his samurai. His train of honor could be four thousand men or more!

But this tale isn’t about Lord Mori. It’s about one of his generals, his vassal, Lord Nyo and his wife, Lady Nyo, who was born from a branch of a powerful clan, though a clan who had lost standing at the court in Edo.

Now, just for the curious, Lord Nyo is an old samurai, scarred in battle, ugly as most warriors are, and at a lost when it comes to the refinement and elegance of life– especially poetry. His Lady Nyo is fully half his age, a delicate and thoughtful woman, though without issue.

But Lord and Lady Nyo don’t fill these pages alone. There are other characters; priests, magical events, samurai and a particularly tricky Tengu who will entertain any reader of this tale.

A full moon, as in many Japanese tales, figures in the mix. As do poetry, some historic and some bad. War and battles, love and hate. But this is like life. There is no getting one without the other.

 

The present Lady Nyo, descended from generations past.

 

“Metamorphosis VII and VIII”

May 8, 2017

Image result for fruit bats

Common Fruit Bat…..

I forgot to conclude this series.  These are the last two ‘episodes’ in the Metamorphosis Series.  Silly Gorean references……’

Lady Nyo

Metamorphosis VII

Tap…tap….tap…

“Bart? Whatchadoin’?” Laura yawned, just waking up.

“I’m working on a pathology.” His ‘go away answer’. Back hunched over the keyboard, typing fast.

“Which one?” Laura blinked, trying to see what Bart was writing.

“Funny. I’m looking at this Gorean website.”

“Ah geez, Bart! It’s a comic book.” Laura’s eyes widened at the picture of a woman kneeling on her knees, lips parted seductively, naked. She thought of her own knees and knew she could never hold that position. Plus, she didn’t look ‘cute’ naked. Not before, and not now with these pinkish wings attached to her elbows.

“Hey Bart? Are you serious? How am I to hold that position serving you on my knees?”

“You could levitate a bit with your wings, take pressure off your knees. You could use your imagination if you wanted to please me.”

“Please him.” There it was. Always please the Dom. What did she get out of it? Seemed like life with her dead husband, Howard, except with guano.

“Bart? I don’t think Gorean Doms wear aprons.”

Bart looked down. He forgot to remove it after the dishes. Maybe he really was a Gorean submissive? Not a good thought.

Metamorphosis VIII

“Greetings Laura”.

Bart Bartowski spotted Laura reading at the dining room table as he fluttered into the room.

Laura looked up from “Kajira Daily” and stared at him. He saluted her with his right hand thumping his left shoulder.

“You still playing at Gorean stuff, Bart?”

“Not playing, Laura. I’m convinced John Norman is a visionary.”

“Oh Bart,” said Laura, flipping through the magazine and turning it sideways to view the Kajira of the Month.   “John Norman is a terrible writer, what makes you think he’s any better at Philosophy? Plus, those Gor books are old. And you know my knees are bad.”

Bart opened his mouth to argue, then clamped it shut.

“Gorean bats don’t debate with kajiras. Get me orange juice, girl.”

“Good idea, Bart. Make it two,” said Laura studying slave jewelry on the model.

“Ah come on, pleaseeee Laura, honey? Can’t you pretend I’m a Gorean bat for a few moments? You never play with me.”

Laura started laughing.

“Ah, Bart? Gorean bats don’t beg.”

Bart glowered at Laura. Then his wings sagged.

“Tell you what, Bart. You’re a fruit bat, right?”

Laura wiggled her peach-fuzzy butt.

“So bite me.”

 

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

 

 

 


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