Posts Tagged ‘’

“Orpheus and Eurydice”, for Open Link Night at

September 21, 2017




Hear my rendering of an oft-told tale

(mixed with a leavening of Bullfinch)

Composed in view of Orpheus’

Lyre in the Cosmos.


Orpheus, son of Apollo and Calliope

(I forget Eurydice’s heritage)

Was to be blessed by Hymen.


He brought no happy omens.

His torch smoked, drew tears.

Flowers wilted,

Gods and Goddesses coughed and sputtered.


Orpheus, master of the lyre,

Whose notes melted tiger’s hearts

Made trees uproot and creep near,

Rocks to soften-

Loved his Eurydice.


But Fate conspired with happiness.

Eurydice, chased by Aristaeus

Was raped.

She died a broken, bloody death

On the end of Aristaeus’…. sword.


Fast did Orpheus descend to those Stygian depths!

His tones pleaded for the return of his Eurydice.


Sisyphus sat on his rock to listen,

Ixion’s wheel stood still

And the Furies eyes now wet with tears.


Ah! The Underworld turned upside down.


Eurydice came,

Garbed in her winding shroud,

fresh with young death.


Here’s the deal. Walk out of Hell

And don’t look back.


Orpheus! You almost made it!

Eurydice, twice dead, disappears.



In both love and death-

 It only takes one glance.



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016










“Coppermine Road”, posted for Open Link Night,

September 7, 2017



Coppermine Road


When I was a child

Sitting on a hill

In south-central Jersey,

I would watch the roiling thunderstorms

Shoot daggers of lightning

Across hills of the Sourland Mountains

Setting fires to forests,


Torching the barns.


The hand-cranked siren would yowl

And all men over 21

Would answer the call.

To lurk under jacked-up cars,

To pitch hay,

Run the combine

Or start the evening milking

Would get you the cold shoulder

Or worse…

In the local gin mill.


Coppermine Road had

A ton of fires,

This gateway to the Sourlands

Stretching miles into Dutch-elmed darkness

As we watched

First the lightning

Then smoke rise into the air,

And heard the howl of the siren

In the valley below.


Mined out, this Coppermine

Emptied before the Revolution

The sturdy Dutch taking their

Share from the earth,

Leaving little of worth, just the name,

The scars of digging plastered over in time.


Perhaps a grand conspiracy

Between storm clouds and copper deep down

A particular cosmic revenge,

Enough to torch the barns

Scare the milk out of cows

And bedevil the men.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017  (from “Pitcher of Moon”, 2015)


Haibun Monday: “Seasons Change”

September 3, 2017
My beautiful picture

Autumn colors from my bathroom window

Komorebi:  the Japanese word for  light filtering, that time between summer and autumn., seasons changing. It is more extensive than what I write here, so read what Kanzen Sakura over at says.  She is hosting Haibun Monday and her prompt is this.    There are sure to be some marvelous haibun (short paragraphs that originally were travel notes….) ending with a  relating haiku.

Lady Nyo


Seasons Change


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



The ginkgo filters  sunlight, the ground a crescent- printed cloth fit for a yukata.  It hits my hands and feet, creating white scars that do not burn.  I welcome the sun.  My bones grow thin.

This passage, from summer to fall, eternal movement of Universal  Design, counts down the years I have left.  There is so much more to savor.  Two lives would not be enough.

Tsuki, a beggar’s cup too thin to fatten the road, still shines with a golden brightness, unwavering in the chill aki wind. The Milky Way reigns over all.


Sharp moon cuts the sky

 Fierce wind howls from the mountains

Disturbs dragonflies.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017



Choka: “Grief”

February 16, 2017
My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

Over at dversepoets pub, the challenge is one of writing a poem expressing expressionism.  We will see….this was a hard one for me.

Lady Nyo






Her lovely snow-flesh


the tracery of blue veins


upon long slim arms


like embracing filaments


fold themselves gently


cold, smooth marble her skin


water streams from eyes


looks upon such delicate


unearthly beauty, now still.




Grief, mine, stoppered up,


memories, glass-sharpened


cuts a shattered heart.


no hope for recovery,


life folded inward


her pain is over, done with,


mine, just beginning.


Each of grief’s ragged breath draws


out, to join in her silence.




Jane Kohut-Bartels


Copyrighted, 2017








Haibun Monday at dversepoets pub

January 8, 2017

Winter Scene, 3

January 9th is Haibun Monday at D’vesepoets pub.  I was asked to host this segment.    I have  been writing haibun, an ancient form of Japanese literature, usually a very few paragraphs followed by a relating haiku …for only  two months. I have a lot to learn about haibun.

 Kanzen Sakura (a marvelous poet on the staff there) introduced me to haibun through her own writings.  I had never tried this wonderful form.   Grace (also of dversepoets) will present a short explanation on haibun from previous postings.

The theme is “Childhood Experiences”, whether they be pleasurable or traumatic, but perhaps something that changed the course of your life or impacted you in some  unforgettable way.

The coincidences of life are strange.  My haibun is in part about my 13th birthday, and Monday, January 9th, is my 69th birthday.  I have never written or talked about the death of Honey, my first horse, and it took me 56 years to do so. But it feels right to do so at d’versepoets pub.

So, Haibun writers!  Post your childhood experiences and link your lives to others here!~ 

Dversepoets pub opens  Monday at 3pm EST for submissions. Check the website for directions on how to post there and leave a comment after you have linked.

Lady Nyo


 On the eve of my 13th birthday, at almost midnight in the dead of winter, I went to the barn to check on my old mare, Honey. My father bought her two years before, knowing I was a child stuck in the countryside, with few friends. Honey was dead, the old Army blanket across her, and by the moonlight coming through the door, I could see her name embroidered on the side.

The next morning, standing at a bedroom window, dressed in my jodhpurs and a too-tight riding jacket, I watched a truck with a winch pull Honey by the neck onto the bed. Her frozen legs saluted the gunmetal sky. It started to snow, blurring what was happening outside. I could hear the motor of the winch and the thumps of Honey being rolled around.

That afternoon, on my birthday, I got my first period. My distressed mother tried to distract me with words ‘I was now a woman’. The pain in my groin was the only evidence to me I was alive.


The cold winter stars

Witness the grief of a child

Time does not erase


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

“Ghosts”…a choka for dversepoets pub

January 5, 2017

japanese ghosts

Japanese ghosts…..

Choka (long poem) is an ancient Japanese form of poetry that predates tanka and haiku.  It was very prominent in the great Man’yoshu of the 8th century, a collection of 4, 515 poems.  Gayle of Bodhirose’s Blog is hosting this wonderful form over at  Come read the submissions of choka over there.  It might choke you up.

Lady Nyo



Ghosts of lovers gone

circle my head in pale tones

grazing my body

with hands and lips now grown cool.

My loins slight response

barely encourages more

but lust knows its course

and demands my devotion

still calling forth attention.


In the past I knew

plump lips, rounded soft belly

blossom of my youth.

All of these circling ghosts

touched the filament

some of them the fundament!

Fast lusty dances

mouths and tongues greedy with joy

loins wrapped around loins straining.


Now, silence- alone,

all gone in the haze of time

spooks disturb my sleep

but still my skin remembers-

the scrap of a nail,

the caress of a soft hand,

teeth grasping a lip.


The flesh loses much regard

but memories surface still.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017



“Olsen’s Pond”

January 1, 2017





Returning to the old house,

now still, vacant,

staring with unshaded eyes

upon a snowy front garden,

shrubs overgrown with the

lustiness of summer

now split to the ground

taxed with a heavy snow.


I tried to light the parlor stove,

cranky old smoker

clanking and rattling

in the best of times

now given up the ghost,

cold metal unyielding to wadded paper

and an old mouse nest.


Now the silence of the rooms

broken by hissing wind

whipping around eaves

rattling old bones in the attic,

stirring the haunts asleep in corners.


It took time for twigs to catch

water turn to coffee

bacon, eggs brought from the city

cooked in an old iron skillet–

tasting far better in the country air.


I looked down at hands cracked

in the brittle winter light,

moisture gone,

hair static with electricity,

feet numb from the cold

the woodstove not giving

more heat than an ice cube.


Walking down to Olsen’s pond,

Looking through the glassine surface

remembering the boy who had fallen

through while playing hockey

slipping under thin ice,

disappearing without a sound,

only noticed when our puck flew

High in the air and he, the guard, missing.


We skated to the edge, threw bodies flat

trying to catch him just out of reach,

crying like babies, snot running down chins,

knowing he was floating just under the ice–

silenced like the lamb he was.


Childhood ended that day.

We drifted away to the city,

our skates and sticks put up,

Olsen’s pond deserted like a haunted minefield.


Fifty years ago I still remember

stretched as far as I could

belly freezing on treacherous ice,

grasping to reach a life just out of sight,

his muffler and stick floating to the surface–

The boy, the important part,

gone for good from a chilly winter’s play.



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017





“Original Blessing”, for dversepoets pub.

December 1, 2016
My beautiful picture

 The east in the morning. with promise.


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 God.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

“Autumn Dusk”

September 22, 2016


(Oil painting, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2003, “Pastoral” (after Constable)

(Morgan at has posted an interview of Madame Gormosy of Devil’s Revenge fame on her blog website.)


Stuttering winds blow across

Clouds tinted by the failing sun.

Brittle air softens,

Now a faded blue–

Shade of an old man’s watery eyes.


A late flock of Sandhill cranes lift off,

Pale bodies blending in the

Twilight with legs

Flowing dark streamers,

Their celestial cries fall to


A harsh, chiding rain.


The trees in the valley

Are massed in darkness

As waning light leaches

Color from nature,

Creeps from field to hillock

And all below prepares for the

Rising of the Corn Moon.


Even frogs in the pond

Listen between croaks

For the intention of the night.



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010-2016  (‘Autumn Dusk’ originally published in “White Cranes of Heaven”,, 2011)


“Turkey Vulture”, poem.

September 20, 2016

turkey-vulture-sept “Frank”

(courtesy of

Dedicated to Sherry Marr whose compassionate nature and especially her love for animals stands as example for me.


Knew a woman

in a trailer park

in the scrub pines of Florida.


Poor as a church mouse,

half–crazed by life,

fed all  strays-

pariah of the neighborhood.


Every evening flocks of vultures,

like fixed-wing aircraft,

skimmed the pines,

landed in a muddle of dusty feathers,

awkward, out of their element

and with a group waddle

came to the cat food offered in pans.


They were patient guests,

waited for the strays to finish.


There was decorum

amongst them,

these fierce looking birds.

Perhaps they sensed

the charity offered

humbled their nature,

perhaps they had reformed,

I don’t know.


“Frank” was their leader

who held back until

the others were done.


Frank would never face you,

he sat sideways

though I believe he peeked.

Perhaps he was ashamed

A Lord of the Sky

brought to this station,

filling his crop with kibble

from a dented metal pan.




Come sit with me.

Extend a feather,

I promise not to stare.


Your warty red neck,

your hang-dog countenance

does not disturb me.

Your feathers a faded black

on Earth,

but wheeling into the Sun,

how glorious your wings–

Feathers exploding in prisms

And diamonds from Soloman’s mines!


Come sit with me.

Let our talons dig into the sand

let the ocean cleanse our feathers.

I will call you friend, brother

for the gift of humility

brought in on your wings.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016 (an earlier form of “Turkey Vulture” was published in “Pitcher of Moon”, 2014, by Amazon.

some paintings of birds done by me.






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


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