“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


“Storm Drain Baby”

August 27, 2017

backyard 6

This happened here in Atlanta a few years ago.   Suffer the children. 


Yesterday a baby was born,

Placed in a storm drain

To die by a father who wasn’t.

Three days of heavy rain

Washed the Blood of this Lamb

Into the sea.


He was found, expected to live

And died,

His short life measured in scant public



The 19 year old father said as they

Led him away:

“It was a miscarriage gone wrong.”


The rain continues today

Rushing down streets

To storm drains,

Making a gurgling sound.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

“O Absalom”, a Love poem, for Open Link Night, dversepoets pub.

August 24, 2017

Absalom 3


O, Absalom!

Ensnared by long hair in the

Boughs of an oak,

Pierced through the heart three times–

The shimmer of life fading.



Pulled into mysteries

Abandoned by love

Given over to lust

Charged with stolen rapture

Dizzy as a drunken dervish-

One hand up to Heaven

One hand spills to Earth

Skirts stiffened with sins hard as stone

Corrupted over a life time and now–

Flayed on an unending mandala.


Mystery of Life,

Unstoppable desire,

O beautiful Absalom,

We float upon a divine river

Entangled in the reeds of human wanting.


This is our nature,

This our calling while

Flesh answers flesh.

What quarter be given when the heart

Overwhelmed by passion’s excess?


Lie still–

Let the waters cleanse our loins,

Mud of the banks soothe our wounds,

Our blood mingle with the floating grasses,

Our hearts sink beneath the surface.

Let the rivers of Babylon

Carry us away.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

“Some Haibuns just to entertain”….

August 22, 2017

Last fall, I was introduced to the haibun form by Kanzen Sakura, who has become a hearty friend.  Kanzen is deep into Japanese culture and had been there numerous times.  I have  other friends who write Haibun, like friend and fellow poet in California, Steve Isaaks.  But I never was very interested in the form, until some nudges by Kanzen.

Haibun is probably the oldest recorded writings in Japan.  They basically were travel notes and from these sketches in the trail, came beautiful haiku and tanka.  Basho was one who wrote in haibun.

They are marvelous small forms, to be written as a few sentences and ending with a haiku that relates to the memory.  Here are a few of my own.  Plus a tanka.

Lady Nyo


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.




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.


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


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





Eclipse? What Eclipse.

August 21, 2017


My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture


For months we have been barraged with updates about the coming solar eclipse.  We thought about it, and said, sure, we will watch.  Except you can’t if you don’t find the proper glasses.  Fred looked around for those glasses, and there were none.  Until he saw our local library giving them out to the line.  He got in line, and the woman right before him got the last pair of glasses.  LOL!  So he hit several stores for welder’s glasses, and came up with none.

It’s not like we didn’t do something here.  All Sunday Fred built a really nice black box about a tapered three feet high and probably 16 inches across.  He cut out two holes for the reflection.  One hole he had his phone over and it recorded the motion of the moon.

But it was rather a dud here in Atlanta.  The sun didn’t seem to dim any, but the sky took on a weird blue/green/gray tint for about 30 minutes.  So, I guess the sun was dimming. Our rooster, Goofy, crowed and the birds and cicadas went quiet.  Mia, our English Staffie refused to go out of the house.  She can be stubborn.  There was something out there that was spooky to her.  Wise dog.

That weird tint of the sky was the most memorable of the event for us.  I think it would be the color of the last day of Earth.  That, just the color, was eerie, mysterious and had a supernatural effect on shadows and surroundings.

Maybe that was enough to crow about.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

“Snakes in the ‘Hood.”

August 20, 2017




My beautiful picture

Second half of vandalized mural

About three years ago, a muralist came into our community, and on a bare wall, painted the most difficult and original, high artistic endeavor I have ever seen.  He ws French, and his “Artist’s statement” was painted in French, and few could read it.  So they painted over the mural.   I would agree that this mural called for discussion as to what it ‘meant’.   It was beautiful, inspiring, confusing.  But the ‘leadership’ of this particular community decided to vote their own ignorance.   Tant pis.


“Snakes in the ‘Hood”

“When people see a snake, they think serpent.

When they think serpent, they see Satan”

 ….former State Rep. Douglas Dean, who was  arrested for cocaine.



Oh, my dear garden snakes,

Run and hide in the leaf litter!

You appear each spring

Birthed from that old stump,

Your beautiful duns, browns, moss greens

Intermingling with last year’s fallen leaves.


I remember you as divine jewelry

Around  slender wrists as a child.

You terrified the adults

And transformed me into Cleopatra.


A box under my bed

Disturbed by a dust mop,

A dozen of you slithered out

The 200 year old wood floors,

Cold on your bellies.


The head of the  mop screamed–

I never could find you all.

Did you disappear out that window

Where you dropped to the ground?


I mourned for those missing,

Learned adults didn’t care

For the miracles of nature.


Eating blackberries from

A stretch of rambling bushes,

A July North Carolina sun

Warm for the mountains

And below me,

A cottonmouth doing the same.



Backing out of fear and respect,

But the blackberries were good

And enough for both to share.


I remember the black racers

Hanging  in the pine trees

And kids daring

To run under them,

Hoping one of us get squeezed

In  embracing coils

But it never happened.

You knew our game.


In cultures you snakes

Were the umbilical cord

Joining all humans to Mother Earth.


In ancient Crete

You were the guardians

Of the Goddess’ great mysteries

Of birth and regeneration.


The Hopi Indians

Joined the snake of the Sky Spirit

With the snake of the Earth

And dancing  in reverence,

Loosened them into the fields

Where  golden corn was growing

To  secure their fertility.



No garden hoe will touch you,

My dear little garden snakes,

No stoning of your innocence.

I will gather your twine-ing bodies

And lift you above the ignorance of bigotry.


They violate their God’s dictates

“Even to the lesser of you amongst us”

And you without limbs or voice


are surely that.



If not beloved by God,


You will be beloved by me.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017, (“Snakes in the Hood” is published in “Pitcher of Moon”, 2015, Amazon.com)

“Striking Fear and Terror”…..

August 18, 2017
My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

(taken by camera, East Morning Sky. )

I am writing this on my computer, no pre-plans for this blog entry, but hearing of the  slaughters of citizens in Barcelona, Vic, etc. and today, in Turka, Finland.  Finland.

By now most people have heard of the massacre in Spain.  Three not-so coordinated attacks, and people killed in each attack.

But Finland.  The country of too many lakes and very cold weather.  “Several men” ran through the crowd knifing people.  At least 5 injured, and one mother pushing a pram with a baby, dead.

The attackers got away so far.

What is happening?  Only the promise of these ISIS drones, to strike fear and terror into the hearts of everyone but them.

So what should we do?  This is an attempt to create world wide fear.  And with a lot of precautions, I think Churchill had it right:  “We only have to fear fear itself.”

And what could some of those precautions be?  I would keep updated on what was happening around the world.  Never so close, do I feel, to another world war as now.  My father fought in WWII, and there has been no real peace around the world since then.

I was one who prepared for Y2K.  It was an exciting time, when we thought something would happen of some importance in the world.  It didn’t.  But!  Many of us had toilet paper for a year!  And lots of weevils in the beans and wheat we bought.  Total loss.

This present situation with our mad dog president going nose to nose with the other mad dog president for life …..US and N.Korea,  this certainly doesn’t give any of us a ‘peaceful feelin’.  It strikes fear in our hearts, frankly.

I think we are in an uneasy time of it.  We are bombarded with too many important concerns and between alt-left and alt-right fisticuffs and tearing down monuments, and N.Korea and now the terrorism in Spain and Finland, for Christ’s Sake!

I’m open to any suggestions for the preservation of life.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017



“Poem of the Night”, to answer a challenge by d’versepoets.com

August 16, 2017

An interesting challenge over at dverse.  It has to do with music and writing a piece of your own poetry with the guiding line of a song.  Perhaps a title.

This should be a lot of fun.  check out dversepoets.com

Lady Nyo


Full Moon, March 2011



The streets are gleaming tonight

as if a million stars were brought to earth

flattened into urban mirrors

under lamp posts reflecting

an empty  nothingness.


It is a dull mid-winter night

straining towards spring

with all intention of leaching

the dying season’s

last insult, unleashing it

upon mankind’s discomfort

one more time.


“A foggy day in London town”

Is what I think when I look down

This cotton-wool streetscape

But that has tune and purpose

and this muted stillness has none.


The rain left a muffling fog

mercifully erasing stark bones

of tree limbs reaching to the sky

black beggars on seasonal parade.



there is a strange beauty to the night,

Transforming what was common,

Dissolving borders, barriers, dimensions,

making a mirage, an alien oasis.


Heavy mists swirl around the ground

lift past the unfocused light

combine with the creeping gloom

and turn a hand to pale mystery.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017……“A Foggy Day in London town”, by Ira Gershwin, 1934/ 


“Original Blessing”, a poem.

August 12, 2017

I have been thinking a lot about spiritual things, and this poem keeps coming up to the surface.  It was originally published in “Pitcher of Moon”, Amazon.com, 2015.  That was my fourth book and perhaps the one I struggled the most over.

Lady Nyo



Original Blessing


I am dizzy with love,

Standing in the rain,

This cosmic blessing

Pouring on my head,

Mingling with tears of gratitude

Til one stream

can not be deciphered

From the next.


I am an Original Blessing,

As are you,

And we are not born in sin,

But brought into the light of life

In great joy and anticipation.


Our first bellows are not of pain

But surprise at the roominess of the Cosmos,

As we kick our feet, flail our arms

And finally open our eyes at the glorious colors

Of Nature.


Original sin would have us

Born rotten,

A theological monkey on our back–

But I know no God of the Cosmos

Who would scar these tiny blessings

With such  a heavy burden.


Original Blessing is a deliverance,

A deliverance of hope, trust and pride

A heritage where we can discern and save


Walk in harmony with the Earth,

Stride with God across the span of life–

For this Earth is our cradle,

And all in it our kin.


For a truly wise person

Kneels at the feet of all creatures

And is not afraid to endure

The mockery of others.


And when the day sidles up to night

I will settle into the nest of the Earth,

Draw the dark blanket of the Cosmos

Across me,

Pillow my head upon stars

And know that the blessings I have been

Graced with today and always

Have come from the womb of God.



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016




“The Shibari Series”, Part 6, ‘Submisson’

August 11, 2017

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



I remained in the mews for my fall back to earth broke my wing.  The cage was large, one I shared with a goshawk A bird only allowed to a Master Falconer.


One day the Falconer claimed me from my perch, set me on his glove and launched me.  This time I had no tether and made my escape. Screaming into the wind, I climbed high until he and the hated glove were invisible.  I flew with the currents, my eyes bright with freedom.


Suddenly I was changing, feathers dropping from my breast and wings.  I spiraled, awkward in my descent, landing by the same brook once choked with winter’s ice. Instead of talons I had a woman’s legs and slowly my feathers molted leaving me naked, shivering, my limbs white as the remaining snow peppering the early crocuses. My cry now a sob instead of a hawk’s high shriek.


Instinct made me start at the sound of the hunting call and there was the Falconer, a blanket in his hands. He took his rights, my cooing not of doves.  Later, collared in steel with long jesses I walked behind his horse.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017



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