Posts Tagged ‘Kimonos’

‘The Temptation of Lady Nyo’, posted for d’

October 3, 2011


The character Lady Nyo (from the unfinished novel, “The Kimono”) has attracted an admirer at court.  When attending court, women were secured behind open, ornate carved screens, or painted and decorated silk screens.  Since these women were ladies-in-waiting of the Empress and other relatives, they were allowed to attend events and to be called upon for various activities there. Dancing and playing music, reciting poetry were especially desired by the court.  They spent a lot of time behind these screens arranging their layered hems and sleeves of their many kimonos, (usually 12 ); colorful, scented butterflies to lessen the boredom of a routine court. 

Of course it was also to attract admirers:  married women led in this activity and poems were left (placed in the carvings of the screens) next to the hems of a desired women by a courtier, etc.  Poems, tanka, were inked upon fans and also left where they would be found by the desired.  (in her carriage was one place). 

It was necessary for the success of an admirer that the verse be considered ‘elegant’ and the stationary appropriate.  Perhaps a branch of a budding cherry or plum tree was attached or in the fall, long marsh grasses or colorful leaves.  Not only the poetry and layering of seasonal color in kimono was applauded, but the mixing of perfumes appropriate to the season was also of great value.

Lady Nyo has a certain ‘revenge’ upon her brute of a husband.  She has attracted the interest of a particular man, but she must show her distain first.  The level of his poetry would determine  whether he would be of any interest to her.  In most cases, the man would not be revealed as to whom he was until that first visit at night in her bedroom.  Sometimes it would be the husband who would coming courting. 

The Temptation of Lady Nyo




Yesterday I found a fan with a poem

Stuck in the screen.

Today I found another one placed

On my cushion at court.

Do you have a death wish?

Do  you desire the death of me?

You know my husband is known for his temper.

Would I end my life so dishonored?




I see you are as persistent

As the rain in Spring.

Have you no fear?

What is your interest?

Surely I am just another painted face.




I read your poem.

I could do nothing else.

This time it was inked upon

MY fan.




“The wind blows from the north

Chilling my heart.

Only the thought of a touch of your sleeve

Warms me.”

Very nice, but my sleeves are not interested.




“I throw acorns

To the darting carp.

With each nut I say a

Prayer for your health.”

Lovely sentiment, and I am

Always grateful for prayers,

But do you think of my reputation

And what you risk?




I see no poetry this morning

Though I searched for your usual offering.

I knew your interest was as capricious

As a flight of moths.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009, 2011, from “A Seasoning of Lust”, published by

“Spring Forward” and Spring.

March 26, 2010

Kimono looking a little thin.....

Tomorrow is the local Spring Forward Festival…..the first one in this collection of about 3 neighborhoods.  It’s been fraunt with issues from the start…the usual politics, racial issues and naysayers.

However, Vern, a neighbor and friend…has brought this first festival together and there are some really good and interesting people who have come out to support it so far.  These are the organizers and the worker bees.

These have been, for the last 10 or so years, neighborhoods of gentrification.  I’ve been here for 37 years so I remember some of the older residents (and I am becoming one of them now).  It used to be a white neighborhood, then in the mid 70’s became black as integration took hold here in the South, and white residents grew old and died off.  The crack epidemic didn’t help these beautiful old WWI and before neighborhoods, and criminal activity of all sorts inflitrated the area.  A continuely corrupt city government with one mayor going to prison for fraud, etc….didn’t help.  There was quite a racial divide, and whites moved farther and farther away from the city.  Then the trend started to reverse, and whites other races started to move back in.  That was about 10 years or so ago.  There was some resentment by resident blacks but in many cases these people were part of the problem.  My neighbors watched and were excited because they saw an influx of ‘new money’ and energy and a willingness to tackle problems with these new folk moving in.  I was too, though most of them were much younger than we were.

So out of the blue…Vern, who is a social worker sick and tired of the system….came up with this festival idea.  It was quite a challenge because many of us have been sitting on our collective asses for a long time….and we had become chary of events.  In most cases when people attempted to have something public, there were so many hoops that you had to jump through, so many fees because the City of Atlanta has to get their pound of flesh for the parks we pay out of taxes.

There was also the issue of politicians.  Damn them! You couldn’t go to a local community baseball game (meetings, etc) without one or two standing there with their campaign workers….UNINVITED…passing out brochures, leaflets and pressing the flesh.  Hopeful school board members, etc…were like flies over these community events.  And many didn’t live in the area.  A blight unavoidable because these people didn’t have the manners to ask first if they could pass out and corner potential voters.

But this time there seems to be a consensus that politicians will not be allowed to give speeches, pass out literature, use this event for their own promotion.  That is a radical rupture from the way things usually go around here.  And This Is Good.

There has been some issues of ‘people not wanting to go door to door and announce the festival because they don’t feel comfortable doing so’.  Then why are you LIVING here?  You talk about community all day and night  but how in HELL are you to get to know your neighbors???  How do you Build community?

These are new people…whites mostly, and they either will get over that or they will leave.  We treasure our neighbors…black and white, because they have been here almost as long as we.  Yesterday Bobby delivered a bit of good oak to our gate because on a job site they were cutting down some oak trees, and he thought of us.  Blessed man, and thank you!  We will use that good wood next year…perfect timing for drying.  Verlie had to pee the other night at 2am and while up saw four men jump the fence of our neighbor who had a stroke.  He came outside with his phone as he called the cops.  They were gone by the time the police arrived but they left when they saw Verlie watching and callin’.  Another Blessed neighbor.

Spring brings hope and energy to the land.  We have had some major events here with Fred’s kidney failure and he’s having outpatient surgery this am.  The power surge and resulting outage wasn’t fun and cut into a lot of other activities.  We both played a very minor role on the Spring Forward Festival event, but I have composed and will read the opening poem tomorrow at 11am. Vern came up with the idea of a Crazy Spring/Easter Bonnet display on heads and this looks fun and promising…Mine is already gluegunned together…and I have birds, flowers, ribbons, a sailboat, much junk up there that it won’t go unnoticed.  A lot of the gay folk are embracing this Bonnet idea and that should be quite a display.

I was thinking about the different cultures here in our area.  It’s more than black and white, but we forget this.  We need to do a lot more outreach to the Hispanic and Asian residents amongst us or around us.  I decided to wear a formal kimono, actually two….with an obi sash I made just for this Festival.  Something that screamed SPRING!!!!  The local fabric store supplied the beautiful cloth at a very good price….and my husband will also wear a kimono of my making.  This will be funny because he will be wearing (again) a ‘purse’ down his leg.  That seems to be the only joke of urologists:  purse means urine bag.  But he, at least…won’t have to run to the park toilet, over the bridge, up the hill, etc.  He can stand there, smile and wizz as he is talking.  Nobody will even know.

Our hens are laying prolifically with this warmer weather and the increased light.  I think I’ll put a sign on the back of his kimono advertising  “Organic, Free Range Eggs:  $4 a dozen.”

The weather says sunny and 65 degrees.  I did a run through of the kimonos and they ….and the obi….are Heavy.  How can silk be so heavy?  But I guess I can shed layers or go home and change into jeans and sheepskin boots.  I’m not willing to have cold feet yet, regardless what the weather says.

Lady Nyo

PS: Malcolm’s weblogs:

Just a random poem….


The flowers, the cherries,

The blossoming things,

Colorful heralds of tender Spring–

Do not bloom for our eyes

Or delight.

They bloom for the bugs,

The insects

In a lovers relationship

Of give and take.

But we are

Nestled in the curve of the planet

Perhaps with the status of bugs,

Transient, fragile things,

Then perhaps the cherries

Do bloom for us.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010

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