Posts Tagged ‘dversepoets’

“Lady Nyo’s Torment”

February 4, 2018


My beautiful picture

Front Garden

Haibun Monday is tomorrow night over on dverse.  Come read some wonderful haibun  there. It is one of the very oldest and most popular forms in Japanese literature.  Priests, poets, travelers used the haibun form to document their observations, and sometimes these above were spies.

Lady Nyo

  • I stay here waiting for him in the autumn wind, my sash untied,
    Wondering, is he coming now? Is he coming now?
  • And the moon is low in the sky, the only company
    I have tonight.
  • Now near dawn, paling Milky Way appears–
  • .
  • And Oh, my husband! There are not stars enough in the heavens
    To equal my sorrowful tears.

Once I believed
No love could still linger
Within the heart
Yet, something springs from the air
And forces itself on me.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018

These poems and tanka above come from “Song of the Nightingale”, Amazon, 2015

Song Book cover


“Olsen’s Pond”

January 11, 2018

Snowfall 2017 Dec 3

Some great poetry over at  Come read and enjoy!

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, 2018





“Healing with Nature” haibun

March 6, 2017


(Oil,  ” Summer Dusk”, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2002)


Kanzen Sakura over at dversepoets pub has offered a wonderful prompt.  A meditational walk in the forest, along the shore line, anywhere there is a healing nature to a stroll.  Here, I have only a fourth of a acre, three miles from downtown Atlanta, but I have my gardens, and the sky to relax within.  And a gentle and sometimes rude Nature that brings these gifts to my feet.

Lady Nyo



My solitude shared-

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.


Barn Owl, J. Kohut-Bartels, 1999, watercolor


“European Eagle Owl”, janekohut-bartels, 2003, watercolor


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017


January 30, 2017



(“Dawn Geese” Watercolor, 2004, Jane Kohut-Bartels)


Bjorn over at dversepoets pub is presenting a quadrille challenge, with the word ‘dawn’.  Quadrilles are poems of exactly 44 words.

Lady Nyo


Tender peach clouds at daybreak

Float over placid water.

The moon still hangs on

As dawn grows bolder.

Goddess Nut calls to her sleepy houri,

Tucking them under her belly.

I heard the earliest swallows

Twitter as they flew by,

Sharing the night’s gossip.

“When Cu Chulainn Courts Emer

November 10, 2016



I tried mightily, twisting and turning to form an Alouette but to no good.  So I am substituting this short Sonnet.  I am a terrible rhymer.

“In that sweet country, I’ll rest my weapon”

Said Cu Chulainn to beauteous Emer

And a war spasm came upon him fast

With face distorting, hair stood upended

Teeth barred in anger, cock a rigid mast

His body whipped around, his knees unbended,

And sweet Emer prayed his luck would last.

Her father, King Lug, Celtic God of Light

Set her swain to tasks and toil unending,

While Bricru the Poison Tongue cries in fright:

“The Hound of Ulster, Irish unbending,

Leads in battle for comes he in his might!

And Emer waits with patient love the day

When Cu Chulainn comes near and claims his right!


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

(The sonnet above was produced for a book, “Devil’s Revenge”, with a detour into Celtic mythology.)

“Poem of the Night”

November 4, 2016

My beautiful picture

Poem of the Night


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, 2016


In the Garden at Dawn…..

June 23, 2012

I am not much of a gardener, but each year attempt something to cover a nice, fertile space that has, over the years, transformed from a driveway to a garden.

This year I planted only Brandywine tomatoes and Cinderella pumpkins….not knowing that Brandywine gives HUGE tomatoes but not many of them.  It’s a bust for canning, this species of tomato,  best for sliced tomato sandwiches with mayonaisse and a good, thick peasant bread. 

I had no idea how much realestate pumpkins took, as I have never been able to harvest even one.  Looks like this year I will have four, from two plants.  Considering the spread of the vines, and the invasiveness of these two, well, the Brandywines have been looped around with Cinderella, and they have grown so heavy I have had to fashion slings for them.  They insist on growing four feet above the ground, and using the trellis for the cucumbers.

I am posting some pix of both….two weeks ago of each, and of today.  And today, I will harvest that huge tomato that I have coddled into existence.  That is my garden glove under its butt so the wire doesn’t molest its tender fruit.

Spring has been good, not hot like last year, but since the first day of Summer, it has been broiling.  This weekend expected 93-95 degrees, and this is usual now with the weather. We have to get through July and August before any cool down, and I am praying for September.

To make it more bearable, my dear husband made a wonderful outdoors shower today, right across the tomatoes, and sheltered by the ordamental ginger.  I can go out there at any hour and strip, unseen by mortals except the birds, and cool off.  We had a few pools years ago, but they were impossible to maintain.  Our goose ended up using them, and he didn’t share well.  So, the shower, where the water can replenish the tomatoes if I direct it right, is the answer.

Lady Nyo



In the Garden at Dawn


Dawn moon appears

Low in the eastern sky,

Like an idiot’s grin

From cheek to cheek,

A glow so intense

It startles the eye.



My hands deep in soil

Planting tender shoots of life

With reverence that feeds the soul

As seedlings feed flesh later to come.


There is God in this black soil,

Earthworms and tiny bits of life

Independent of will or wishes.


Moonbeams spill on this tilled earth

Like a benediction or blessing,

And bathes plants and planter with expectation,


“High Road”, poem

April 26, 2012

“Eagle Landing”, Jane Kohut-Bartels, watercolor, 2005

Victoria Slotto over on d’ is asking for members to write a allegorical poem, in her prompt : Allegory: Meeting the Bar.

Haven’t a clue if this meets the criteria, but I’m game. I want to play along, learn something, but I found this prompt very hard.

Lady Nyo 


High Road 

Asking directions of the high road,

I  got shrugs and blank stares

yet knew there were two roads

both led into infinity

both coursed through

all manner of life with pitfalls, trenches

where legs were broken

skulls rattled loose from moorings

like ships in high winds, dangerous waters.

What was the difference

and why should it matter?

The efforts cost

energy regardless the choosing.

An old man sat at the crossroads,

a bum, grizzled gray hair

sprouting porcupine’s quills,

rheumy, pale eyes staring at the world–

 little interest in what passed by.

I asked him the way to the High Road

and with a toothless grin

he stared at my feet, my hands,

lifted his eyes to my face.

I thought him mad and cursed myself

(asking questions of  a fool!)

 And was moving away when I heard his voice:

“Did I know of the eagle and crow,

how they soared upon thermals

higher and higher

became dark, formless specks upon a limitless sky,

lost to human eye, invisible even to gods?”

I thought him crazed and started away-

he cackled and spat on the ground.

Something made me turn, startled,

 And saw the wisdom of Solomon in his

Now- shining eyes.

“The crow harries the eagle, the eagle flies higher.

Vengeful, annoying crow flies round eagle’s wing

turning this way and that, yet the eagle flaps upward

soars upon thinning air until the crow

breathless and spent, drops to the common ground-

falls to his death.”

“The High Road, the path of the eagle.

The low road, the path of the crow,

mingling with dullards

daring nothing, with eyes cast downward

only saving a bit of energy

learning nothing of worth.”

Silently he sat, an old man

eyes glazed with age and fatigue.

With a nod to his wisdom, a toss of a coin

I gathered my strength and pushed onward,

Upwards, the lift of eagles,

Now under my limbs.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2012 (a bit revised)

“Coppermine Road”

March 4, 2012


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 it was a grand conspiracy

Between storm clouds and copper deeper down

A particular cosmic revenge,

Enough to torch the barns

Scare the milk out of cows

And bedevil the men.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2012

Stolen poetry…..

February 8, 2012

Sunset in a Violent Sky, copyrighted, 2007, janekohut-bartels, watercolor...this painting was copied by a person and enlarged without permission to hang on their

Recently, I received news  a poem of mine had been ‘stolen’.  Actually, a poet on an unknown poetry website had taken my poem, changed the title and a few lines in two stanzas, and published my poem on this website under her name.  What was especially galling was she  is no poet, and her revisions were horrible, awkward…an attempt to make something ‘more’  erotic by  adding cheap and tawdry phrases.   Confronted, she said that ‘she was inspired’ by other poet’s work.  The webmistress contacted me and asked if this was my poem.  I was surprised, because I didn’t know without the proper title how one would go about tracking the original poet.  Apparently, she had her suspicions, and googled the first couple of lines and my name and website came up.  She was deleted from this  unknown website.

I was dismayed.  Poetry generally comes from some of the deepest places in our beings: it’s an outward form of some very personal experience, or something like that.  This poem was written in 2008, at a difficult time in my life.  I was going through some physical and emotional changes and a year later, it received an award, (up until now, the only one….) as “Poem of the Year” on a particular website.  I had left that website, but was grateful for the award.

This ‘news’ about the plagiarized poetry came at a point when I was reading a chapter about creativity.  In Fox’s “Original Blessing”, this third path, Via Creativa, speaks of the hard labor necessary to produce artistic works, regardless of the medium.  It is not an activity of ‘letting it all hang out’ as we have been told by certain cultural ‘standards’ but one of a deep discipline.  To attempt to bypass this hard labor is not only stupid,  but robs the person of a deep meditation with oneself and a growth from this activity.  It is also hard to trust those images that come to us at the beginning of our creativity.  We are very judgmental towards our attitudes of our own self-expression.  We have to develop an attitude of trust, a trust that out of our silence, our waiting, our openness, our emptiness… these images can come.  I do know after 30 years of painting, each blank canvas, each clean piece of watercolor paper sends me into anxiety.  I don’t ‘trust’  I can again, produce something coming from the relay from the brain, through the eyes to the hand.  I forget I have 30 years of technique behind my painting, and feel like I have nothing to build upon for the next piece of work.  But I do, I just don’t trust myself.  It takes my ‘letting go’ of  judgmental attitudes  towards myself, towards my expectations, and settling down into the work and trusting  ‘something’ will come of it.  But it still is always a struggle to trust myself to be able to do something in this creative vein.

One of the problems for most creative people is to pick the image that sings loudest to us.  Perhaps because we fail to choose the strongest image, we give up creating anything.  The (dead) Zen artist Kenji Miyazawa said this about that:

“You experience something deeply. Later, you picture it in your own mind; you idealize it; you cooly and sharply analyze it; you throw all your passion and power into it. Then you fuse all these things together into one.  If you do this without self-consciousness, the depth and the power of creation will be much greater.”

In music, I have come across this ‘without self-consciousness’ terms as ‘getting out of the way’.

Somewhere Meister Eckhart talked about the ‘bridle of love’ that we need to steer our passions.  Not to control or abuse them, but to make them work for us.  This is discipline, done respectfully towards ourselves, for our developing and revealing creativity.  We suffer enough abuse, by ourselves and society, so adopting an environment of hard work, of sweat, of exhaustion, of joy and of discipline will only push our creativity further along.  This poor poet who didn’t trust herself enough to settle, look deeply within and create, is more to be pitied than  scorned, but perhaps put in stocks???  She stole other poet’s poetry because she did not love or honor herself.  Hopefully she will learn to love herself enough to become truly creative. Hopefully, she will not rob herself of this wonderful process.

The small poem below was inspired by these words of Daichi-zenji (1290-1366) “and bring back a pitcher containing the moon’.  Just those words set my brain on fire.  There is nothing wrong with ‘being inspired’ by the work and words of another poet: just be sure that inspiration is true to your own vision and abilities and you are not putting your chop on the work of another.

Lady Nyo


Pitcher of Moon

I dip into the pond

And gather a pitcher of moon.

Above, it glimmers

Smiles at my efforts,

This late- winter moon.

It is just a bowl of cool water

I am holding

But the magic of the cosmos settles

In this plain clay vessel.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2012

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