Posts Tagged ‘Ancient Japan’

‘The Night of the Stain’, from “A Seasoning of Lust”

January 16, 2015
Japanese Lovers

Japanese Lovers


Izumi hid in the willow greenery

cascading to the ground.

Hair of blackbird gloss

Trailing in the grass

Black and green tangled

In the layers of her hems.

Her maid searched for her,

Full of duty to her mistress.

These peaceful moments now rare.

“My Lady! I found the most beautiful

Robe in the bottom of a chest.

It will be perfect for your wedding.”

Yes, her wedding.

(Better she shave her head and become a nun)

Izumi parted the willow,

Looked without interest,

Her maid holding

A pale jade silk kimono

Embossed tarnished silver embroidery,

Seed pearls gleaming from

Gossamer folds.

Izumi’s breath caught in her throat.

Hands trembling

She opened the kimono.

There it was, faded with time-

A blood stain.

He was dead now, her greatest love.

Closing her eyes

She remembered his face,

His hair black as a raven,

His sandalwood perfume, still faintly trapped

In the jade bo silk.

Through tears leaking

From shadowed lids,

She remembered that night-

The night of the stain,

When locked in his powerful arms

She screamed out—

Scattering the servants listening outside the shoji.

She had bled from

The strength of their passion.

Now she was to marry an old man,

Arranged through the court.

Scandal and poverty, Ah!

The two banes of life.

She would marry in the stained kimono.

It wouldn’t matter anymore.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011-2015

“A Fortunate Fate”, from: “A Seasoning of Lust”…..

November 23, 2012

A Courtesan’s fleeting life of beauty.


Hana Takate was eighteen years old, a courtesan in old Edo. When she appeared in public, men’s eyes turned like sunflowers to the light of her sun.

Lovely Hana had bones like melted butter and skin shaped from rice 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 makeup and perfumes, she floated like a spider’s web. A vision of culture and desire, her laugh a tinkling bell, her hair of bo silk, her movements like cool water.

During cherry blossom time she was entertaining, her robes folded open like gossamer wings, her rouged nipples suckled 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 bad verse.

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

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2008, 2012
From: “A Seasoning of Lust”,, 2009

%d bloggers like this: