Posts Tagged ‘Building upon the Man’yoshu’

“The Stillness of Death”, from “Song Of The Nightingale”

July 23, 2015



It’s taken 4 years to complete, but “Song” is now available to the public.  Hope there is enjoyment in the reading of this saga.  There are also two essays at the end:  “The Man’yoshu” and “Building Upon the Man’yoshu”.

Nick Nicholson’s photos are wonderful inside, and he did a great job formatting and designing the book.

The cover painting, another painting inside and the calligraphy are mine.

Lady Nyo

(link to Song of the Nightingale)

This is the second episode of “Song Of The Nightingale”.




“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:



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, available from Createspace,

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