Posts Tagged ‘lulu.com’

“First Snow”….a poem

December 6, 2016
My beautiful picture

Merry Christmas!

 

The morning brought a first snow,

And with it wind over the mountain.

I watched snow turn to ice,

Invisible sleet hit the panes a’ hissin’.

Soon a crystal coat on tender branches—

Ghostly hands pulling to earth,

Anchoring them fast.

 

I depend upon the silence

Creating a space to remember,

Solitude, too, now to be shared

Only with haunts,

Or perhaps a cat or two.

 

Inside the comfort of crackling  wood,

Well seasoned with last year’s split,

The sweet, sharp tang of pine and oak,

The groan of a log shifting its failing weight.

I remember your boot kicking it back off the hearth,

Sparks flaring upward,

Stars enfolded by a blazing sun.

 

Outside the pelting sting on windows,

The howl of winter racing round eaves

Looking for attic-access between clapboards,

A hambone skeleton dance to

Shake its palsied bones warm.

 

Soon fading light at twilight

Suspends the day=

A cocoon of white, unfocused mystery.

 

The night brings a muffled benediction

Over the land,

And memory is put aside for the morrow.

=

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010, “First Snow” originally published in “White Cranes of Heaven”, 2011, Lulu.com

This poem got some needed revisions by me this morning

“Autumn Dusk”

September 22, 2016

Kohut-Bartels-LS-17

(Oil painting, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2003, “Pastoral” (after Constable)

(Morgan at  http://booknvolume.com has posted an interview of Madame Gormosy of Devil’s Revenge fame on her blog website.)

 

Stuttering winds blow across

Clouds tinted by the failing sun.

Brittle air softens,

Now a faded blue–

Shade of an old man’s watery eyes.

 

A late flock of Sandhill cranes lift off,

Pale bodies blending in the

Twilight with legs

Flowing dark streamers,

Their celestial cries fall to

Earth–

A harsh, chiding rain.

 

The trees in the valley

Are massed in darkness

As waning light leaches

Color from nature,

Creeps from field to hillock

And all below prepares for the

Rising of the Corn Moon.

 

Even frogs in the pond

Listen between croaks

For the intention of the night.

 

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010-2016  (‘Autumn Dusk’ originally published in “White Cranes of Heaven”, Lulu.com, 2011)

 

“Queen of Sheba”…….poetry

July 13, 2016

 Image result for Queen of Sheba

 

She walks right by me, Queen of Sheba,

Black skin glinting like steel in the sun.

Proud breasts topped with prouder nipples

Black rubies jutting east to west.

 

Her spangled turban hits the North Star

Jeweled feet trample the South Pole beneath,

All space between guarded by curved fangs,

Such dangerous territory–alien ground.

 

Tattooed ribbons flow down sinuous arms

Black snakes born with sensuous intent.

Hot sun glances off gold-tipped teeth–

A shot of mystery between mahogany lips,

Giving rarely a smile– more of a sneer.

 

 

Kohl eyes flash a steady disdain,

While measuring the urban jungle

From cracked sidewalks littered

With the broken shards of broken lives,

To burnt out neon signs of tumbled pool halls.

 

 

I offered the most honeyed of fruits,

Celestial music of spinning spheres,

Jewels of priceless glowing stars,

Captured in baskets for her fondling,

Brought to earth to surround with

Undeniable majesty-

An aura of delight,

Honor,

Cosmic glory.

 

 

Ah, Cruel Queen of Sheba!

No glance in my direction.

Obviously had other fish to fry,

With plenty of empires to plunder–

Though I promised the

Wealth,

Splendor,

Fame,

And the Wisdom of Solomon.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016 (Queen of Sheba originally published in “A Seasoning of Lust”, Lulu.com, 2009)

“Tanka for Almost Spring”

March 17, 2016
My beautiful picture

corner of my front garden

 

I am giving a presentation April 18th, at our new, local library.  It’s a beautiful building, using parts of the old Baptist church that was torn down a few years ago.  Stained glass windows, and four elegant columns are fronting this very modern building outside at the street.

I have an issue:  this neighborhood is not an area of highly educated residents.  It has a lot of people  on public assistance and frankly. the schools are substandard. It also has black youth gangs, who roam the neighborhoods and cause a lot of trouble, anger and damage.  So, Tanka is a rather rare form and certainly unknown to the majority of residents here.  My aim is to bring tanka to this audience and to try to spark their own abilities to write poetry.

There is no guarantee that many or any will attend, but the librarians know the issues here and are reaching out to different areas.  I am grateful for their efforts because tanka has the ability to speak to souls.  I see what the exposure to Japanese poetry did for my own soul, and I think that perhaps it could do some of the same for the directionless black youth in the neighborhood. We will see what happens here. Also, these tanka are very early in my study, so I would say  these pieces don’t exactly meet tanka ingredients.  Generally there is a need of a ‘kigo’ word, and I see that most of these don’t have that.   But as poetry, they pass.

Lady Nyo

 

 

The moon floats on wisps

Of clouds extending outward.

Tendrils of white fire

Blanketing the universe

Gauzy ghosts of nothingness.

Come into my arms.

Bury under the warm quilt.

Your scent makes me drunk

Like the wine we gulped last night.

Too much lust and drink to think.

—–

Like the lithe bowing

Of a red maple sapling

My heart turns to you,

Yearns for those nights long ago

When pale skin challenged the moon.

—-

Presence of Autumn

Burst of color radiates

From Earth-bound anchors

Sun grabs prismatic beauty

And tosses the spectrum wide!

Bolts of lightening flash!

The sky brightens like the day

too soon it darkens.

My eyes opened or closed see

the futility of love.

Autumn wind startles–

Lowered to an ominous

Key—Ah! Mournful sounds!

The fat mountain deer listen-

Add their bellowing sorrow.

 

 

Cranes wheeled in the sky

Their chiding cries fell to hard earth

Warm mid winter day

A pale half moon calls the birds

To stroke her face with soft wings.

 

Glimpse of a white wrist

Feel the pulse of blood beneath-

This is seduction!

But catch a wry, cunning smile

One learns all is artifice.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008-2016 (some of these tanka were published in “White Cranes of Heaven”, Lulu.com, 2011)

 

 

Olsen’s Pond

January 5, 2016

mignot-winter-skating-scene

 

 

 

I returned to the old house,

now still, vacant,

staring with unshaded eyes

upon a snowy front garden,

shrubs overgrown with the

lustiness of summer and neglect

now split to the ground,

taxed with a heavy snow.

 

I tried to light the parlor stove,

old cranky cast iron 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.

 

The silence of the rooms only broken

by hissing wind whipping around eaves

rattling old bones in the attic,

stirring the haunts sleeping in corners.

 

It took a time for twigs to catch,

the water to turn coffee,

bacon and eggs brought from the city

and 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 chill,

the woodstove not giving

more heat than an icicle.

 

I walked down to Olsen’s pond,

looked through the glassine surface

remembered the boy who had fallen

through the ice while playing hockey–

slipped under the thin cover, disappearing

without a sound,

only noticed when our puck flew

Up in the air and he, the guard, missing.

 

We skated to the edge, threw bodies flat

trying to reach him just out of catch,

crying like babies, snot running down chins,

knowing he was floating just under the ice,

silenced as the lamb he was.

 

Childhood ended that day for most of us.

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 that day

when stretched as far as I could

my 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 day.

 

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015

“Olsen’s Pond” was first published in “Seasoning of Lust”, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2009, by Lulu.com.  Later this poem was published in “Pitcher of Moon” also by Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2014, Createspace, Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

“Autumn Dusk” and “Mourning Dove”, a poem and a tanka.

October 13, 2015

“Night Fire Road”, janekohut-bartels, watercolor, 2010

Photo to the east

Photo to the east

Watercolor, 2006, Jane Kohut-Bartels,

Watercolor, 2006, Jane Kohut-Bartels, “Dawn”

 

Stuttering winds blow across

Clouds tinted by the failing sun.

Brittle air softens,

Now a faded blue–

Shade of an old man’s watery eyes.

A late flock of Sandhill cranes lift off,

Pale bodies blending in the

Twilight with legs

Flowing dark streamers,

Their celestial cries fall to

Earth–

A harsh, chiding rain.

The trees in the valley

Are massed in darkness

As waning light leaches

Color from nature,

Creeps from field to hillock

And all below prepares for the

Rising of the Corn Moon.

Even frogs in the pond

Listen between croaks

For the intention of the night.

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

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

A mourning dove cries

It is such a mournful sound

Perhaps a fierce owl

Has made it a widow.

Oh! It breaks my heart, her cry.

Chessie coming through a flower bed of zinnias

Chessie coming through a flower bed of zinnias. 2000- Oct. 13, 2014. We miss you, Chessie.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015, from “White Cranes of Heaven”, Lulu.com, 2011.

“Songs of Summer”, from “White Cranes of Heaven”,

June 22, 2015
Giant English Hollyhock

Giant English Hollyhock

SONGS OF SUMMER

 –

Summer cartwheels through the sky!

The fertility of months

Shines from field to orchard,

Above  and deep below,

Where earth gathers green energy

 transforms by magic

Fruits for the mouth and eye.

 –

Fledglings tipped out of nests

Try new-feathered wings on warm currents,

Calves butt heads and race in calf-tumble

Climbing rocks and playing king-of-the-hill,

Spring lambs past the date

For the tenderest of slaughter

Coated in white curls,

Smell of lanolin sweet in their wake.

 –

There is fresh life in the pastures,

Now with steady legs and bawling lungs,

They graze upon the bounty

And grow fat for  future culling.

Tender shoots of wheat and corn,

Waist-high, defying devious crows,

Paint once-fallow fields in saffron and

A multitude of hues-

Golden tassels forming,

Waving under an oppressive sun,

And when the sky bursts open

In random welcomed rain,

Heaven meets Earth-

The cycle complete.

 –

These are the songs of Summer:

The bleat of lambs,

The cymbals of colliding clouds,

The plaints of cows with udders tight,

The loud quarrelling of a swollen brook,

The scream of a hunting hawk

Calling for its mate,

The pelt of an unheralded storm

Upon a tin roof,

And the quiet sighing of

An unexpected wind-

A benediction to the day.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011-2015

“O Absalom” …..a passionate poem of love.

May 11, 2015

waterlily in our pond.

(water lily in our pond)

O Absalom,

Ensnared by long hair in the

Boughs of an oak,

Pierced through the heart three times–

The shimmer of life fading.

I,

Pulled into mysteries

So abandoned by love

Now given over to lust

Charged with stolen rapture

Dizzy as a drunken dervish-

One hand up to Heaven

One hand spilling to Earth

Skirts stiffened with sins hard as stone

Corrupted over a life time and now–

Flayed on an unending mandala.

Mystery of Life,

Unstoppable desire,

O beautiful Absalom,

We float upon a divine river

Entangled in the reeds of human wanting.

This is our nature,

This our calling while

Flesh answers flesh.

What quarter be given when the heart is

Overwhelmed by passion’s excess?

Lie still–

Let the waters cleanse our loins,

Mud of the banks soothe our wounds,

Our blood mingle with the floating grasses,

Our hearts sink beneath the surface.

Let the rivers of Babylon

Carry us away.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015, “O Absalom” originally published in “Seasoning of Lust”, Lulu.com, 2009 and then revised and published in “Pitcher of Moon”, 2014, available at Createspace, Amazon.com

‘The Night of the Stain’, from “A Seasoning of Lust”

January 16, 2015
Japanese Lovers

Japanese Lovers

THE NIGHT OF THE STAIN

Izumi hid in the willow greenery

cascading to the ground.

Hair of blackbird gloss

Trailing in the grass

Black and green tangled

In the layers of her hems.

Her maid searched for her,

Full of duty to her mistress.

These peaceful moments now rare.

“My Lady! I found the most beautiful

Robe in the bottom of a chest.

It will be perfect for your wedding.”

Yes, her wedding.

(Better she shave her head and become a nun)

Izumi parted the willow,

Looked without interest,

Her maid holding

A pale jade silk kimono

Embossed tarnished silver embroidery,

Seed pearls gleaming from

Gossamer folds.

Izumi’s breath caught in her throat.

Hands trembling

She opened the kimono.

There it was, faded with time-

A blood stain.

He was dead now, her greatest love.

Closing her eyes

She remembered his face,

His hair black as a raven,

His sandalwood perfume, still faintly trapped

In the jade bo silk.

Through tears leaking

From shadowed lids,

She remembered that night-

The night of the stain,

When locked in his powerful arms

She screamed out—

Scattering the servants listening outside the shoji.

She had bled from

The strength of their passion.

Now she was to marry an old man,

Arranged through the court.

Scandal and poverty, Ah!

The two banes of life.

She would marry in the stained kimono.

It wouldn’t matter anymore.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011-2015

‘A Fortunate Fate’, from “A Seasoning of Lust”

January 13, 2015

 Cherry Blossom Viewing by Daimyo's daugher

(Cherry Blossom Viewing in Old Edo with Daimyo’s daughter…first panel)

This tale originally appeared in “A Seasoning of Lust” published by Lulu.com in 2009.  I reworked it a bit for the blog.

Since it is the New Year I have decided that I will have more fun with this blog.  I will attempt to entertain readers with works that aren’t so solemn or serious.  To that purpose I will present my “Japanese Tales”, a collection of stories based on fictional characters.  I will also post chapters from an earlier novel, “Devil’s Revenge” which will contain a warning where there is sexual content. All of this is mild stuff, but some readers appreciate a warning. It’s a funny piece of work, one between a mortal and a devil, with other devils chiming in eventually.

I thought a lot about the Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris last week, and how writers can support our craft and not be cowed by the violence that is intended to shut down our various freedoms.  I also don’t believe it wise to yank the whiskers of people who have such a different set of values.   However, I am just a writer and not a politician. I will use this blog to further my writing and to entertain my readers. Connecting to people around the world through stories and poetry is one of the purposes I see of this blog and one of the greatest of satisfactions for this writer at least.

In the spring I will publish “The Nightingale’s Song”, which is a collection of poems about a 17th century samurai couple and their marriage.  I have had the best of times writing these pieces and hope they entertain readers of this blog as much as they have entertained me.

Lady Nyo

A FORTUNATE FATE

Hana Tanaka was seventeen years old, a courtesan in old Edo. When she appeared in public, men’s eyes turned like sunflowers to her sun.

Lovely Hana had bones of melted butter and skin shaped from rice powder. She was a creature so luminous a flower of purest jade could not compare. When she rose from a nap, wearing a simple gauze robe, free of paint and perfumes, she was a vision of culture and desire. Her laugh was a tinkling bell, her hair of bo silk, her movements like cool water.

One day during cherry blossom time, she was entertaining, her robes folded open like gossamer wings, her rouged nipples admired by another. A young daimyo was admitted to her rooms by mistake. This new lover was so angered he cut off the head of his rival with his long sword in one swift blow.

Hana knelt before him, head down, exposing her swan neck, awaiting death. Seeing her trembling fragility, her obedient meekness, he could not take her life and disappeared to write some bad verse.

She became known as “The Immortal Flower”, a courtesan of first rank. She prospered and grew fat.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008, 2015


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