Posts Tagged ‘Createspace’

‘Lord Nyo’s Lament’ from “Song of the Nightingale”

October 21, 2015



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.

Lord Nyo’s Lament

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,  2015, “Song of the Nightingale” is published by Createspace,, 2015

“9-11″….from “Pitcher of Moon”.

September 7, 2015

Painting, Bald Eagle, Jane Kohut-Bartels,

watercolor, 2005

That beautiful morning–

Teasing taste of early Autumn

The unthinkable happened

And our world stopped turning

I saw the plane, I saw the fire

I saw the smoke descend like

A blanket of blinding grief

Too late to spare those on the ground

The sight of Armageddon.

Mortar-grey people transformed

Into gritty moving statues,

Holding hands, blinded by smoke,

Move down streets where

Paper, bricks, metal, glass rained down

Like the Devil’s Ticket Parade,

Walked in silence towards the bridges,

Barely a moan heard,

An Exodus unexpected on this

Morning of such seasonal promise.

I saw worse.

I saw people jump

From the ledges, holding hands,

Some with briefcases

And all I could do

Was howl:

“I will catch you!

Jump into my arms

I will not drop you.

Do not be afraid,

Aim for my embracing arms,

With the last of my life—

I will catch you.”

That day of fire and ash,

Inexplicable funeral pyre,

Of brave souls rushing in

And frightened souls rushing out

And the ash, the ash, the ash,

Covered everything like a silent September snow.

Fourteen years later

Grieving when this day approaches,

I hear the words well up in me:

“We will catch you!

Jump into our arms,

We will not drop you.

You will not be forgotten,

With the last of our breath–

We will catch you.”

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 9-11-2011-2015

“9-11” is published in “Pitcher of Moon”, Createspace,, 2014

“Ode To A Coopers Hawk”, from “Pitcher of Moon”

July 18, 2015
was to be the cover painting for

was to be the cover painting for “Pitcher of Moon” but didn’t work out.

To my friends: enduring and good people.  The world is full of good people, we must not forget this.

Lady Nyo,… poem dedicated to my beautiful Sparky and Maggie, gone but not forgotten.


Come to me.

Come to me,

Winged celestial beauty.

Come to me with your notched

Mermaid tail,

Your silken roll of feathers.

Fly down into my hollowed-out soul,

Fill me with your sun-warmed glory

Nestle in my arms

And bring the curve of the horizon

Embraced in your outstretched wings.

I need no white bearded prophet,

No mumbled prayer, no gospel song

No hard church bench, no fast or

Festival to feel close to the Divine.

The glory of the universe,

Is embodied in your flight

As you tumble through heavens,

Ride the invisible thermals

Screech with joy at freedom

Fill your lungs with thin air

And play bumper car with an Eagle.

I, earthbound,

No hollowed bones to launch me,

Just tired soul to weigh down,

No soft plumage to feel the course

Of wind through glossy feathers

No hunting call to herald my presence.

Still my soul takes flight

The breeze lifts my spirit,

My eyes follow you,

And we will find that glory

Transcend a sullen earth,

Transcend a mean humanity

And soar together into the blue eye of God.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010-2015, “Pitcher of Moon” published 2014, Createspace,

“O Absalom” …..a passionate poem of love.

May 11, 2015

waterlily in our pond.

(water lily in our pond)

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

So abandoned by love

Now given over to lust

Charged with stolen rapture

Dizzy as a drunken dervish-

One hand up to Heaven

One hand spilling 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 is

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, 2015, “O Absalom” originally published in “Seasoning of Lust”,, 2009 and then revised and published in “Pitcher of Moon”, 2014, available at Createspace,

“Darwin’s Worms” from “Pitcher of Moon”

April 14, 2015

hardscrabble hearts


The soil has lost its excellence.

Worms hide in the

Deep sullen earth

I imagine curled up,

Embracing worm castings

And each other,

Desiccated former selves

Pale little ghosts

Awaiting the fertility of spring

The watering of a hard rain.

I squandered the bloom months,

Thinking paper and pen

Would bring its own blossoming

Scarcely seeing the vitality outside


Allowing cabbage moths and beetles

To dominate

My nod to farming,

To self-sufficiency,

My tithe to the earth.

Ah, the soil is hardened

By the sins of the season.

Sharp winds make


The cold buries down,

Deep, deep down

Torments, teases any life

That would show a feckless head.

Especially those hopeful worms

Now bundled in worm-sleep.

The words, verse,

I chose to cultivate

Over cabbage, collards

Failed to bloom.

Better I had plied the hoe

And bucket to that

Than a fevered pen

To paper.

It is now winter.

The fallow earth

Plays a waiting game

Knows I have failed

In pulp and soil

And mocks with a barrenness

I feel inside and out.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014

‘Introduction to the Characters’, From “The Nightingale’s Song”

March 3, 2015

Samurai in Battle on Horse

Some time in late March I will publish “The Nightingale’s Song”.  Actually, Nick Nicholson and I will publish it.  Nick is travelling the US in a black Mustang convertible, having the time of his life.  Nick comes from Canberra, Australia, and in his last trip here, formatted “Pitcher of Moon” (April, 2014). 

I wrote this saga three years ago, but have added chapters to it, and some essays on the Man’yoshu, the great 8th century Japanese document of poetry that inspired so much of “Nightingale”.

It is good to have this work finished. The cover painting is done, and there are a few surprises inside in the form of graphics.  We will publish this book at Createspace,

Lady Nyo





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.  A clever demand 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.  This only worked on paper for the nature of daimyos was to plunder and cut throats where they could.

Lord Mori was fortunate in having an exemption to attend 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 demands. 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 loss 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, an old nursemaid, women of the court of Lord Mori, an ‘invisible’ suitor, birds and frogs, samurai and a particularly tricky Tengu who will stand to entertain any reader of this tale.

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

The present Lady Nyo, descended from generations past.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015

“Original Blessing”….a poem

May 15, 2014
PItcher of Moon, available from Createspace,

PItcher of Moon, available from Createspace,

Kindle e-book:

Every so often, I get challenged by someone as to my religion. To me, religious or spiritual beliefs are personal, and I am not one to sally forth and try to convince anyone to believe as I do. Of course, this has led to much shunning and ridicule in my birth family. But they are extreme fundamentalists, and there is a heavy ‘hate’ issue (which is really fear) in their beliefs. I hope all these years I have lived have allowed me a more tolerant and broader picture of spiritual issues. I don’t go for dogma, whether it is clothed in liberal trappings, nor do I want to sit on a hard bench, or mumble prayers in devotion to some strange, dead prophet. But still….there is a pull towards gratitude. Sitting outside and watching the twist of huge oaks and pecans, the passing of clouds and all the bounty of nature pulls me into a profound gratitude for life.

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 other.
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 feet, flail arms
And finally open 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 the blessings I have been
Graced with today and always
Have come from the womb of the Universe.
Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2012

Published in “Pitcher of Moon”, Createspace,, 2014

Three Spring Poems….

March 20, 2014


Photo to the east

Photo to the east

Watercolor: Springtime Daffs, janekohut-bartels, 2006

Spring Daffs, wc, janekohut-bartels, 2007

Today is the first day of Spring.  I am through with this long winter and look forward this tender season.  Already the red maple in the front garden is bursting with red helicopters of seed that fall with the developing winds.  The daffodils and grape hyacinths, the periwinkle and snow drops are blooming and the grass is daring to show a lushness that begs for a mowing.  I bought two foxgloves with the hope  of blooms   and a tray of red lettuce.  Of course next week will have colder temps overnight, but there is promise in the air.  This evening the sky was a mixture of pale blue and pink. The  doves were settling in the huge oaks and pecans, their cries  a mournful sound in the dusk light.

I think we are all grateful for this change of season.  Winter has stayed too long on the land.

Lady Nyo


Spring Moon


The moon this spring afternoon

Floated high above the saddle of distant trees, hills,

As she pillowed on her part of the universe

Her face no more colored than a passing cloud.


She looked sleepy, tired—

Of course!  All this waxing and waning.


She looked down at me as she cuddled the pale sky

Just one eye awake,

A part of her mouth exposed

The rest of her face burrowed in a pillow,


No gleam, no interest  in prowling the heavens.

Just waking up—I expected her to yawn!




The wind howls tonight

Races round eaves,

Disturbs  the haunts in the attic,

Forces wind chimes

Into a metal hambone frenzy

The clash of harmony grates

On ears, on nerves

no sleep for this night.


There is death to the west

Fear in the vanguard. 

It is springtime,

No gentle embrace

Just a blaze of destruction, despair.


Is far down on the ground,

Deep as a cellar

Deep as the grave.


The moon above,

Sickly green sphere

Is in on the game.


The dogs howl

A Greek chorus

Echoing their primal fear

Over the landscape.


Each moan of wind

Heralds the apocalypse,

My eyes squeeze shut

Against grating of branches,

The rattle of panes

As I grasp for sanity

In an insane night.


I ride out the storm,

Dawn breaks,

The silence complete,

The earth placid and calm

As if the night before

Only a nightmare-

And I ridden from sleep

To the usual ground.

 Rude Spring


Sharp brittle wind

Sails like clipper glass

Cuts the skin razor thin,

And flays off winter.


This spring can’t wait.

It lies,

Promises comforting warmth

Yet delivers a numbing cold-

Too much in love with winter still.


I hear the laughter in the pines.

They moan, echo an evil chuckle.


No matter.

This argument will be over

Once the earth

Pirouettes on point.



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014

poems from “Pitcher of Moon”, published at Createspace,, 2014 

Some Tanka and a poem “Plum Blossom Snow”

March 15, 2014


Image from "Love Songs from the Man'yoshu"

Image from “Love Songs from the Man’yoshu”

We cut down the plum trees last fall and I miss their blossoms, usually the first blooms of spring here. And though the poem “Plum Blossom Snow” isn’t a new one, it makes me remember my trees.

I am comforted by the wild purple plum which blooms on the roadside in startling displays.

Lady Nyo

Let me not squander
The few good years I have left.
Each day the beauty,
The raw poignancy of life
Creates a desperation.

How could I forget
The beauty of the pale moon!
A face of sorrow
Growing thin upon the tide
Pulls my heart within its light.

Rain and moon tonight
Created confusion
Moon hides behind clouds
Fleeting clouds filter the rain
Moon appears– shoots silver

When I saw your head
Upon the pillow we shared
Was this forever?
I am left with a pillow-
Cold feathers holding a ghost.

Autumn wind startles–
Lowered to an ominous
Key—Ah! Mournful sounds!
The fat mountain deer listen-
Add their bellowing sorrow.

Answering echo-
One heart calls to another
A plucked string vibrates
The poetry of lovers
Kisses the roof of heaven!

Plum Blossom Snow

The present snowstorm of
White plum blossom

Blinds me to sorrow.

They cascade over cheeks
Like perfumed, satin tears
Too warm with the promise
of life to chill flesh.

Jane Kohut- Bartels
Copyrighted, 2014

Some of these tanka will go into the new book planned for later this fall, “The Nightingale’s Song”, to be published by Createspace ,

“Mother”, poem by Nagase Kiyoko

March 7, 2014

March is International Women’s Month.  I can’t think of anything better to post here than what I do below. Nagase Kiyoko probably is the best woman I can think of to celebrate this month with.  (In fact, she is also a great woman to celebrate Mother’s Day, this day that is painful for many ACONs).   Politics come and go, but a poet speaks through the centuries.  Certainly Nagase Kiyoko goes deep and rattles my bones like nothing else I have read lately. She opens my heart to what is true and fundamental in being a woman.

Rollo May a 20th century psychotherapist has written about creativity.  In his “Courage to Create”, he writes that creativity is generated by our encounter with opposition.  Certainly Nagase Kiyoko, who wrote poetry at her kitchen table while her children and husband were asleep, and suffered the issues of older Japanese women faced this head on.  Her poetry inspires and she is a prime example of this courage to create.  She is a good grandmother for all of us women poets.  Actually, for all women, poets or not.

Lady Nyo 




I am always aware of my mother,

Ominous, threatening,

A pain in the depths of my consciousness.

My mother is like a shell,

So easily broken.

Yet the fact that I was born

Bearing my mother’s shadow

Cannot be changed.

She is like a cherished, bitter dream

My nerves cannot forget

Even after I am awake.

She prevents all freedom of movement.

If I move she quickly breaks

And the splinters stab me.

—Nagase Kiyoko  (1906- 1995)

Nagase Kiyoko wrote poetry for 65 years.  She never called herself a ‘professional poet’, but referred to herself as ‘a useless woman’.  She was a farmer, and wrote her poetry at the kitchen table before dawn, while her children and husband were asleep upstairs.  Because of her sensual and cosmic verse, Nagase Kiyoko is considered by many Japanese women poets to be the “Grandmother” of modern poetry.  Just a short reading of her verse goes deeply into the heart of the reader.  She is ageless in her verse.  She died on her 89th birthday.

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