Posts Tagged ‘Haibun’

“Unconditional Love”, a haibun.

February 19, 2017


Gally, Galahad, found in the end of a driveway 12 years ago…starved and unable to walk.  Today, a healthy and lovely couch potato.


Baba 2

Baba, one of two my son brought home about 8 years ago.  “Mom, I have a surprise for you” and I always knew what it was to be.  Baba the Bully. He was supervising the remodel and painting of the cat room.  He picked “Bluebird” for the walls.


Over at dversepoets pub, Kanzen Sakura (aka Toni) is hosting and has presented a prompt that should bring a basket full of lovely fruit!  Pleasure, what is free in life, etc…there are many ways to go about this, but I’ve picked something that has been a thorny issue lately: unconditional love. in the theological sense, I see a wall of argument.  But in practice..?  It’s so much easier.  Mostly.  I practice this on animals.  Humans I’m not so sure of.

Lady Nyo

Many, faced with my multiple cats and dogs, asked if I was crazy? Perhaps I am. I don’t give a damn about most things today that others are yelling about. I give a damn about animals (always ever growing) I find on the streets, injured, abandoned, starving. Here in brutal Atlanta, it is almost a daily occurrence.

I have four dogs, and in this long life I have had many more. They were all pitiful strays. They lived out their lives here and are planted under rose bushes, boxwood, daffodils. Too many to count over 45 years on this property. And everyone mourned, not forgotten.

Cats? Presently I have nine. One, Tobie, lived to twenty years. He came out of a tree one day and never left. Before Xmas, I found a young male, hit by a car and crippled. He could ‘walk’…he flipped from side to side and the inside of his back legs were a mess of sores where urine ate at his flesh. He was skinny, with a crushed pelvis. A month of bed rest (cage) provided a miracle. Now Willow is walking at a crouch. But this is progress. His black coat shines like bo silk. His daily progress gives me great joy.

So many people don’t avail themselves of one of the most beautiful benefits of animals: unconditional love.  It’s Free! Once they give into trust, you can’t help but bond. That a tiny kitten or a feral cat, or a burned dog can allow you to pick them up and not be afraid? This is a miracle to me.

This kind of love enlarges the soul, expands the heart.  And it is always available.

I don’t have to beg the cats to listen to a new poem. I can tell whether I bore them or by the closing eyes, perhaps they are soothed by my cobbled words. And no cat is indifferent to your presence. They are wise and know their place in the Universe. I am not so wise.


Life’s greatest pleasure!

Soft purr of contentment

Immeasurable gift.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017



Haibun: Birthday Party

February 5, 2017




(“Hummers” …watercolor, with gold leaf, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2003)

Over at dversepoets pub, it is Haibun Monday, and Bjorn is presenting the challenge of haiga.  A painting or illustration that relates to the haiku written.  Though this painting of mine might seem scant in relating to the Haibun/haiku below….It does.  At least to me.  The Haibun describes a father’s love, the wars of childhood, and the painting?  His three children: little Hummers which he used to call us. For those who don’t know birds….Hummers are fierce.  They are tiny but survive because of their tenacity.  Sort of like children when we have to.

Lady Nyo


Haibun: Birthday Party

Mean, spoiled Nancy Madsen was having her 10th birthday party. Nancy was always turned out in pretty dresses, with petticoats and a clean face. She had blond curly hair, like Shirley Temple, except without the talent. She was the youngest of three, so her mother took special care with her. My mother? Not so much. I was left to my own devices, and those weren’t always the best. There was no fairy godmother hovering over me.

I was sitting on a stool, stupidly too near the drop off onto the road beneath. I was taking a back seat, trying to disappear. Nancy’s mother didn’t like me much. Her dog, Freckles, a Dalmatian, had bit me in the eye the year before. She blamed me for ‘disturbing his nap.’ Back then there were no lawsuits or doctor visits for this ‘small stuff’. You had iodine slapped on the wound and went back to play. I remember being uneasy about her party, as my mother picked the gift herself. I didn’t know what she had wrapped up in gift paper. I was hoping it wasn’t my Betsy-Wetsy doll.

Nancy floated around the tables, playing birthday diva. She decided to sit on me. A big mistake for a lot of reasons, two of which I remember: One, I was deathly afraid Nancy would tip us over the cliff, and two….she was fat. I thought I wouldn’t survive this. I couldn’t breathe.

So I bit her. In the back. Nancy leaped up screaming and a general riot broke out. I couldn’t get to why I had bit her, but by the faces of the adults I knew I was no longer welcome.

My father ordered me to the car. I went, weeping, sitting in the back of the old Studebaker station wagon. I was very worried, mostly about the anger from my mother as soon as she heard what her only daughter had done. Not that she liked any of the adults at the party, and it was generally mutual, but it clearly was another failing of a daughter she really didn’t care for.

My father approached the car, his face beaming. “We won’t tell your mother about this. Let’s go get some Breyer’s ice cream.”

This wasn’t the first time my father stuck up for me. We were in a secret war against my mother until he died. He was my best friend though I didn’t appreciate it then. I do now.


Childhood is tough

Adults are the enemy

Kids fodder for wars

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017






Haibun: Weather Report, for dverse.

November 28, 2016

chickens 2

(our hens, mostly nameless….for eggs only)


true to form: we are losing power here….the computer/stove/lights/dishwasher/washer and dryer and every other damn  thing that runs on this invisible juice.  Anyone I have missed in visiting, I will try to make admends…. tomorrow or when we stabilize.  Thanks…


Haibun:  Weather Report



Solitude is shared

by night time crickets,  plus owl

the moon must approve

soft moonbeam filters dust motes

a thousand fish swim upstream


My solitude was enforced by a hot summer and then a 43 day drought. They haven’t seen such since 1884. From inside, I watched bushes dry up, flower beds melt and a vegetable garden giving up the ghost. Our water bills, the second highest in the country, tripled when we tried to water. Digging up an ailing rosebush, the soil was baked brick. Amazed the rose bush survived. Half was gone. The vegetable garden whimpered when I passed.

This fall brought tragedy. A beloved cat, Stripy. One month on and I am still mourning. Our seventeen year old Golden/Chow is getting quarrelsome. The addition of Mia, an English Staffordshire bull terroir isn’t helping his disposition. We are all aging here, even the hens. The good news is this drought is to be broken a little starting tonight. There are 30 forest fires burning in North Georgia. We hear these fires will be burning until Xmas. Even those of us who don’t believe in prayer, are praying.



Frosty autumn night

The moon glides through chilly dreams

Red Maple stands sentry

The rains have started this morning, around 2am.  I could smell it…still far in the distance, like an old camel, so thirsty we are for any rain after 43 days.  It started gently, as if washing the grime off the skin of our world and then harder and harder to dissolve the dirt.  The sound of the baritone wind chime outside my bedroom window gave the most beautiful music as if welcoming the rain with a celestial song, for what is a wind chime but a way for the wind to announce its presence besides a howl?   I opened windows and smelled the combined smell of asphalt, ozone and moisture.  I thought of some Berbers I knew, who wrote songs about the rain only falling every five years in parts of the desert.  O, Blessed Rain!



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016


Haibun: Nightmare

November 19, 2016

Winter Scene, 3


Haibun: “Nightmare”

I awoke this morning, being thrown to the ground by a nightmare. What would make me dream in garish technicolor about a marriage ended over three decades ago? It ended badly, but it also started the same. We were too young, and caught up in a ridiculous political cult where he was the ‘revolutionary leader’ while I was of a much lesser status in life and marriage. The abuse grew constant and I, not having the strength to physically abuse, honed my words to the sharpest point.

When you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas….

Perhaps this nightmare was a product of what we have seen on the national stage: misogyny, attempts at humiliation, fear and a bullying of weaker elements in society. Whatever brought this nightmare of a person into my subconscious, one I have not thought of in years, whatever made me sit up gasping for breath, I walked around my house in the grey dawn, touching furniture, mantels,  grateful for the gentle, kind man married to for 32 years, looking through large windows at the old apple tree that gave us such wonderful fruit this year. Walking outside, the raw  late fall dawn cleared my mind and gladdened my heart: The finally-changed leaves and the whipping, smoky wind, the peal of the different wind chimes were like church bells calling me to a reality that life is good and a nightmare is just a bad dream that will vanish like a rotten apple in time


Fall’s crispness compels

Apples to tumble from trees

Worms make the journey.




Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016
















Two haibun and two haiku.

November 18, 2016

waterlily in our pond.

(our small fish pond in summer)

For K. Sakura.

Haibun:  Solitude


My solitude is shared by the night time crickets and a soft hooting owl. Having withdrawn from crushing-concerns, the moon must approve. She shines comforting moonlight through a ruined roof. Moonbeams filter dust motes as if a thousand fish are swimming upstream and turning around.



Tonight I will sleep.

The moon floats though my dreams

Comfort blankets me.


Haibun :  Summer =

The summer was beautiful, despite the heat.  Last night the moon looked like a beggar’s cup, soft brilliance glowing.  The days in the Deep South are sultry, but the wind picks up in late afternoon when a storm is coming and then these huge oaks and pecans are whirligigs high in the sky. Barley tea, iced tea and lemonade are the drinks of choice, harkening back to an earlier time.  Closed drapes, blinds at noon work to regulate temperature, though one doubts this will.

The heat brings to life cicadas, or whatever is making a constant buzz outside.  It comes in waves, where one group, or species, competes in volume with another. A call and answer of tent meeting insects. The dogs of summer are wise: flattening themselves on the cool tiles of the laundry room, they remain motionless until the cooling of the night when they chase rats in the kudzu.  They have developed a taste for watermelon, and we sit on the back porch and share with them, all spitting seeds,  while a wood owl barks from a huge oak above. We never see him, but his hoots add to the symphony of summer nights.

Sultry air disturbs

The sleep of husband and wife.

They pant without lust.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016




Haibun….”Badges of Childhood”

November 12, 2016

 I’ll be offline after Tuesday for a few days.    See you hopefully at the very end of the week. Snuck this in for dverse Haibun prompt Monday.)


(Spring, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2009, watercolor)


Scars are a roadmap of life. Each scar is a badge of some painful event and we wear them whether we want them  or not. Knees are fraught with  badges, at least mine are. One, a white puckered scar about the size of a small fingernail was pinned on my knee when I was four. I remember  a sidewalk, it was autumn, and apartment buildings, maybe a century old, looming over me. I remember rust colors, so it must have been autumn.  I remember the color red. That was pain. That was blood. You don’t get these badges  without the sacrifice of skin and blood. I was wearing a dress, a pinafore, because little girls didn’t wear jeans back then. They wore cotton dresses with petticoats and cotton drawers. Roller skates were the invitation for this scar and that little girls had no protection from concrete made it unavoidable. The concrete was a grating machine, oiled by the pain of little children and stretching for blocks. There was an old Jewish couple who would meet me under the draping pine trees with a Hershey bar every morning like it was my birthday! I was only four years old, but I lived for that candy. They had escaped Nazi Germany by selling off everything, yet every morning they were dressed formally, suit and tie and such lovely dresses, showing such kindness to a mere  child. I still remember that gut-drawing pain of that rusty morning. I tap the scar and know I have survived childhood. The Hershey bars helped.


Swirling winds of fall

Knees like white bones flashing

Modesty is gone.



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016


Haibun, “River of Death”

October 31, 2016
Man'yoshu image II

Image from “Love Songs from the Man’yoshu”


This will be my haibun for dversepoets pub.  I’ve had enough horror this weekend and wanted to dial back on that.  So, I am posting this new haibun  I fashioned out of an episode of “Song of the Nightingale”, published by Createspace, 2015.  It’s a bit ghostly.


The river of death is swollen with bodies fallen into it;

in the end  the bridge of horses cannot help.


(it was a medieval military tactic to stand horses together to make a bridge for soldiers to cross the river.)


“River of Death”


When the news of my birthing a son reached my husband, he was far from home, to the east, over mountains in dangerous, alien territory. A general in the service of his lord, the gore of battle, and the issue of ‘dying with honor’ began at first light. The air soon filled with the sounds of battle- dying horses and men, drawing their last gasps of life, churned into the mud of immeasurable violence. Death, not new life was before his eyes at dawn. And death, not life, pillowed his head at night. He stunk with the blood of battle as his bow and swords cut a swath through men in service to another and when the battle horns went silent, with tattered banners like defeated clouds hanging limp over the field, acrid smoke stained everything and the piteous cries of the dying echoed in his ears. He wondered if his life would end here. But the gods he didn’t believe in were merciful. His thoughts turned from fierce, ugly warriors towards home and a baby. Still he could not leave. He was caught by status, the prestige of his clan. He could not desert the fate set out from birth. Ah! This was the fate of a man chained to Honor.

Still, in the darkest hours of the night, he said the soft, perfumed shape of me floated down from the fleeting clouds, and I came to him through the smoke of battlefield fires, and he turned on his pallet to embrace this haunting comfort.

Shaped like a crossbow

Moon floods the battle below

Too late for the dead.

Dark is the hour

when hope is vanquished

the nightingale sings



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016






Please don’t read my work from the site: JP at Olive Grove.  Jingle Nozelar Yan owns the site and is a common thief and liar.    She said  she doesn’t have to ask permission to revise or post your work.  She said she depends upon this. She preys on real poets because she isn’t one.  She refuses to follow the US Copyright laws of the US.  This behavior is insulting to the entire poetry community.  Jingle Bells Yan is no poet If you love poetry, avoid her like the plague she is.

“Plague of Death”…haibun for d’verse.

October 17, 2016


(from my files. can’t remember where to accredit this, but thank you!)


The sound of gunfire rivets the night. Sirens add to the harmonics of chaos, as a wailing woman kneels in the street, arms thrown out, face contorted. A ghetto Pieta. No one saw nothing. No face came to mind, as two men back away, invisible blood on hands– deliverers of Death.  So easy, they have done it before. The Devil pays well. We know to stay away from the mean streets, but random killings haunt every section of the city.  Survival is a crap-shoot in Atlanta.

A hard rain continues to fall, washing away the river of life.



No heart is exempt

Distance makes no barrier

The sun rises, sets.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016


Please don’t read my work from the site: JP at Olive Grove.  Jingle Nozelar Yan owns the site and is a thief and a liar.  She steals my work, rewrites it, and slaps my name on her ‘revised’ garbage.  She said  she doesn’t have to ask permission to revise or post your work.  She said she depends upon this. She preys on real poets because she isn’t one.  She refuses to follow the US Copyright laws of the US, (she’s a Chinese national). This behavior is insulting to the entire poetry community.  Jingle Bells Yan is no poet and a true opportunist If you love poetry, avoid her like the plague she is.




“The Punishment”, a haibun for d’verse.

October 3, 2016

My beautiful picture

Peach blossoms in the back yard. Spring


While binding me for his pleasure, I uttered displeasing words. With a level glance he considered options and too soon decided my fate. Grabbing my hair, he pulled me to my feet, opened the shoji, and forced me out into an early spring’s snow. A lavender sky tinted the snow purple, gray in the shadows. Ordering me to kneel, I obeyed, shivering in the cold morn. Drawing an early cherry blossom from his sleeve (a gift that was to be mine), he threw it down. It was his pleasure for me to feel the sharpness of the morning until the soft snow covered the blossom. I, who a month ago would not have cared what I said, now trembled with remorse, feeling more than cold air. My nakedness revealed my shame. A crow in the cherry tree laughed scornfully.

When sentiment grows deep and the heart overflows, one submits out of love.

The snow soon covered the blossom at my knees. Fearing I would die, he picked me up, carried me to the brazier and tucked me deep amongst his robes, singing softly of the foolish maiden who would die for the last word.

A swirl of blossoms

Caught in the water’s current

Begins the season.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016


An email from Jingle Nozelar Yan (JP at Olive Grove ):

“when you post on word press or blogger, you do not have to pay or ask permission in person. which is what we count for.”

Every poet and poet group I frequent would find that surprising!  There are Copyright Laws in the US,  Jingle. Even in China. But bless your little  heart.

Please  don’t read my work on her site. If you care about literature, you will go to the original source and bypass Jingle Bells.



“First Snowfall”, haibun form for d’versepoets.

September 19, 2016


My beautiful picture


First Snowfall


There is such beauty in the night. A sudden snowfall pushed the boundaries of the mundane back and fantasy flows—an outrageous mythology upon the landscape. The white challenges the moon, lights up a trampled ground and gives purity to all it covers. Shadows form where there were none, now a supple mystery to something once familiar. A week ago leaves were brocaded quilts beneath our feet, crackling with a season’s wind- driven music, tearing around eaves and scaring the haunts in the attic.

Behold a strange, alluring world transformed, made anew.   Huge trees groan with icy burdens. The moon paints the top of pines with frostbite. Bushes split in two with alien gifts and powerlines are crystalized spider webs crisscrossing streets. The silence is complete.



A half-moon drifts

Across wintry sky.

Trees become monsters.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016


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