Posts Tagged ‘fear’

“Some Haibuns just to entertain”….

August 22, 2017

Last fall, I was introduced to the haibun form by Kanzen Sakura, who has become a hearty friend.  Kanzen is deep into Japanese culture and had been there numerous times.  I have  other friends who write Haibun, like friend and fellow poet in California, Steve Isaaks.  But I never was very interested in the form, until some nudges by Kanzen.

Haibun is probably the oldest recorded writings in Japan.  They basically were travel notes and from these sketches in the trail, came beautiful haiku and tanka.  Basho was one who wrote in haibun.

They are marvelous small forms, to be written as a few sentences and ending with a haiku that relates to the memory.  Here are a few of my own.  Plus a tanka.

Lady Nyo


images (3)

(Sumo puppies in training…)


I love Sumo wrestling.  Or at least I think I do.  Perhaps it is the only sport where I don’t feel like I have to hold in my stomach sitting there. Watching those mountains of flesh-men grapple with each other makes my heart beat hard.  There is such history around this sport, and such a deep tradition.  The fact that they gorge themselves with a purpose makes my heart sing.  How wonderful that you can eat and eat without any concern for weight or fashion!

And, did you know that those belts they wear can cost a million yen?  Or so I have read.  I have also read that Sumo Wrestlers are some of the most humble and gentle of men.  Here, have another bowl of rice.


Mountains of flesh pound

A ring of sandy earth

Cunning and strength vie.




The newborn radishes are shadowed by cherry tomatoes. The almost-red globes drop down to visit. They compare hues.  The garden is bathed in the light of a horizontal crescent moon, grinning like an idiot, suspended over trees that cast shadows on hillocks and deepening the valleys with their creeping darkness.

It is very early Spring. Dusk and day still balance in a pale sky, though the moon has risen.  Oh, the mystery of the night where shadows churn with imagination!

I sit on a concrete wall, watching distant clouds dance on the wind. The oaks are feathery with their foliage, the pecans still winter-nude. Day is closing.  Doves are almost silent, sleepy sounding.  Bats speed by, scimitars of the night. I close my eyes and drink in the approaching dark. Only those shadows attend me, and possibly a few lurking monsters.


Night’s benediction:

Bull frogs bellow in the pond

Shadows blanket day.


(This is a general warning against Kappa.  And also a good example of something to fear.)



Global Warming has brought significant changes to the South, and Atlanta is now nicknamed “Tornado Alley”.  In the almost fifty years I have lived here, I have seen disturbing changes. My first acquaintance with a ‘tornado’ was when I heard what I thought was a tornado and I was in the bathtub.  My now-ex-husband headed for the basement leaving me in the water.  It turned out to be a train. There was a track back in the woods we didn’t know of.

One flattened our local park and was called ‘severe wind shear’.  From the looks of it, it seemed like a tornado. Trees, hundred year old oaks flattened to the ground, an indeterminate path through the park, a warzone of defeated greenery.

I fear the heavy winds and rainstorms. I am powerless before them.  The only way to save oneself is to head for the basement and cower with whatever lives down there.  And of course this adds to the fear.


Winds begins to rise

Fear out runs common sense

The worms are safer


I wander the fields

Snow covers the barren soil

Sharp wind plays pan pipes

A murder of crows huddle

Black laughing fruit hang from limbs 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017






May 25, 2017
My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

Sometimes you write a poem to dispel the demons of darkness. It is a particular touchstone that comforts, soothes the fearful breast.



A wedge of sullen moon

Pales above

As life awakes beneath.


Birdsong threads through

Trees, a staccato cacophony

Anointing the air

Like colored ribbons

Weaving back and forth

The timbre ever changing.


Green spring trees, tender, tender

An early nursery of life

Can anything be wrong with the world?


The hammock swings gently of its own accord

Perhaps a haunt, a ghost,

Sleeping an extra hour before

Vaporizing in the morning mist.


Faint gunshots last night

Where someone would

Impose their vile humanity

And we are startled for a moment

Until reclaimed by sleep.


Morning hoot of a sleepy owl

Echoes the cry of a distant train

While seed pods from the maple

Flutter to the ground,

Airborne whirligigs.


We have survived the dark, again,

Its blackened mysteries,

Uneasy, things that could stop up

Our breath.

We are cradled in Nature’s promise

Of life again beginning with each day.

The moon above yawns, fades and disappears.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017


The Point of Being Adult

October 20, 2009

Lord knows I have some other things right now to do besides write a blog entry, but that is the privilege of having a blog…you can blab all you want.  Your friends and dear ones will listen.

The thumb-biters don’t count.

There are a couple of things on my mind…blurry as it is because my sleep cycle has been disrupted by trying to get this latest ms together, and all the attendant stuff to publish a book.  Like cajoling people to write blurbs.  And attending to friends who are in distress right now and those who need to make  some changes in their lives ..even in little steps.

One dear friend has discovered that her husband of 15 years has mild to moderate dementia..Alzheimers?  I am not spelling that correctly and my spell check is asleep/disabled or ignoring me this morning…but it’s a tragedy in any case.  The dementia, not the spell check.

This man isn’t that old, in his early mid 60’s, but for the past 5 years he’s exhibited ‘the signs”.

My friend is running away from it all. Constant trips around the country, sure that there will be total chaos when she comes home, which happens from trip to trip, and just not knowing what to do.

And what do you say?  I’ve tried to talk to her about the wonderful world of counseling out there, and she’s been through that before, but for her own benefit.  I would think that now is the time to throw this issue in the lap of a competent counselor.  If not now, I don’t know when.

But we can’t force people to do as we think, even when we see the pain they are in.  So I will continue to listen where she talks, or writes, and apply patience and try not to push.  It’s not easy because two people are involved and she’s  overwhelmed in her own pain.

For now, it’s lunches and endless cups of tea, and just hugs…and mostly applied ears.  But I can’t begin to know her pain.  And it and her confusion and fear must be enormous.

We wait all our lives to grow up, and then when we are….these are the things that grown ups do. Our roles are clear, but damn if we want them.  But we have paid the price of admission in life and if we can’t be there for the traumas of our friends, what worth do we have?

I don’t know, but I  feel what she is going through. In part because I am almost 9 years older than my dear husband and sometimes I wonder if  he wonders the same about me.  I forget things, I can’t find the words and things are thusly:  “Go get that thing out of the car/drawer/closet/fridge, etc”.  “Thing” has many meanings and I can’t remember what it’s name is.  IF I think s-l-o-w-l-y….Thing gets it’s proper name….but slowing down life is an effort.  For some reason my son and husband always comes back with the proper ‘thing’ so I guess I’m not that ‘out there’ yet.

I am not a sadist, but lately I have thought about my own level of cruelty.  Life does not force us to be so, not if we are mindful of the consequences, but we can be blind to them.  We are caught up in the moment of insult/slight/offense/and sometimes hatred.  Sometimes certain people can really push our buttons….and the reptilian brain kicks in.  Some people do this because they are churls and delight in the hurt, but we have to remember we have choices.  We can chose to walk away and ignore.  Perhaps that is what being an adult is.  At  least part of it.

Perhaps the most important part of being an adult is the compassion we can show without being embarrassed.  What is the point of having empathy if we don’t use it for another’s pain and need?

Even behind the words of a thorough-going sadist there is a lot of pain somewhere….deep down there.  It’s not easy to know how to respond, but perhaps this is where we fail the most to be adult.

Lady Nyo

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