Posts Tagged ‘Japanese Haiku’

“Lady Nyo Forgives Her Husband”….and a continuation of National Haiku Month.

February 4, 2013

Haiku Crane

This is National Haiku Month: Write a haiku a day.

Fallen leaves crackle.
Sparrows add the treble notes.
Season’s musical.

Dogwoods are blooming
The crucifixion appears
White moths in the night.

I will not shed tears
Let the tall murasaki
wet my silken sleeves.

Outside the window
there is a world of chaos
Inside, warm fire.

A swirl of blossoms
Caught in the water’s current
Begins the season.

The north wind blows hard
Chills both man and animal
Life is not certain.

Haiku (classical form) is done as 5-7-5. There are many who creatively write ‘outside the box’. I still count on my fingers, and squeeze the ‘haiku’ into the box.

The poems (Lady Nyo Forgives Her Husband) were written a few years ago in answer to “Bad Quarrel”. And extended version of both are in “A Seasoning of Lust”, published by, 2009, plus more stories of Lady Nyo. I am trying to fit them in the upcoming book “The Nightingale’s Song”. Right now I haven’t a clue what to do with them, but they should be in there. Perhaps I will just stick them in the middle of the book and leave it at that.

Lady Nyo (not the one of the poems but sometimes too close for comfort)



Stop tickling me!
Yes, I forgive you,
but you take such liberties!
Your hands are not clean from
previous crimes.
Go wash them in the snow of
last year’s falling.
Then I will reconsider your request.


Look! There is a cardinal,
red as blood and as cocky
as a lord.
See his mate?
She is dull, but has her lipstick
on this morning.


Last night I thought of you
My face still bears the blushes.
You thought it was good health?
No, just reflects the liberty
of dreams.


(My mind is still shattered
My heart still sore)
But I put on a fresh face
full of smiles and polite manner.
It would shock our friends if
they knew the turmoil of
my heart.


You came with a mouthful of ‘sorry’
and leave now with other parts eased.
Never mind.
Your coming and going has served a dual purpose.


The spring is so tender.
My heart blooms like the white plums.
Do you think our happiness will last
til apple time?


Off you go,
and don’t look back.
If you turn, you will see serenity.
But behind this mask,
is a well of longing.


Last night
I tied my kimono tightly,
bound it with a red silk rope
like an impassioned lover’s hands
around a wasp waist,
and kneeling upon a cushion,
awaited the rising of the moon.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2013

Seasonal Haiku

March 9, 2011

It was two days ago when I posted the picture of the great wave.  I wouldn’t have guessed at the coming significance of this illustration.  I am shocked and saddened by the destruction done in Japan by earthquake and tsunami.  I mourn for the loss of life which is underestimated at this time.

This is spring planting time, as it is in 1/2 the world.  The useful land in this mountainous country is small, though the valleys and coastal areas are fertile.  It seems the tsunami has come at an unfortunate time, though it would be said there is no fortunate time for this disaster. Watching the waters cover the fields and destroy the freshly plowed soil is a great hardship to come.  A hundred years ago this would have brought starvation and famine to the land.

I came across two poems today I thought appropriate for what has happened.

“On the shingle

Beaten by waves

He sleeps with his head

Amongst the rocks.


“In the eternal

Light of the spring day

The flowers fall away

Like the unquiet heart.”

—-Ki No Tomonori

Though tanka and haiku are recognized Japanese forms of poetry, modern poets embrace and adopt many of their elements and bend a few more.

Tanka is much older than haiku, this last being developed in the 17th century, with the great Basho being the acclaimed master of this form.  Recently I undertook a deeper study of tanka, but feel I have just scratched the surface of this fascinating poetic form.

I am not too sure of the ‘rules’ of haiku, but I know there are some.

Lady Nyo

The clouds flee the sky,

Bitter north winds push them far.

My heart follows now.

Fallen leaves crackle.

Sparrows add the treble notes.

Seasonal music.

The cold moon shines down

Upon hollow dried grasses.

Earth prepares to sleep.

The frost at morning

Makes the birds plump their feathers

Squirrels add chatter.

The air grow colder.

Soon wool will not be enough.

Come inside- stay warm!

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010, from “A Seasoning of Lust”,

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