Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Spring Haiku, Tanka and Two Poems

February 28, 2017

spring garden 4

(Front Garden in Spring)

It is Winter-Spring. Most of February has been warm and now the daffodils, tulips, snowbells, grape hiathyns, and azaleas are in full bloom.  Strange and unusual for February.  Tomorrow is predicted severe storms in the South, with possible tornadoes.  We didn’t have a decent Winter, so the fleas and mosquitoes will start their pestering of anything with flesh and blood very soon.  This morning, I found three  dead baby squirrels , killed by my dogs. They were only a month or so in the living, perfect little babies.  I don’t know what nest they came from, or fell, but the dogs mauled them.  Such beautiful and tender little creatures.  How sad that they didn’t get to live this spring.  So many are taken by tornadoes and severe wind storms here, people and animals.  Well, all this has turned my heart to Spring, and the fragile  and impermanent beauty of it all.

Lady Nyo 





Dogwoods are blooming

The crucifixion appears

White moths in the night.



Soft rains caress earth

A hand slides up a soft thigh

Cherry blossoms bloom.


Changing curtains

Helicopter red maple

Pollen fills the air.


Willows whip about

Red kimono flares open

Eyes savor plump thighs.



A swirl of blossoms

Caught in the water’s current

Begins the season.




The sound of frog-calls

In the pond floats a pale moon

Fresh life is stirring

An early owl goes hunting

Wise mice scatter for cover.


Thin, silken breezes

Float upon a green-ribbon

Of spring—pale season.

Scent of lilies, myrtle, plum

Arouse bees from slumber.



Great winds come before a storm,

tree branches whirl-

green pinwheels near heaven.

One shakes like a foxtail by the ground.

All this wind!

I think of the impermanence of life,

the ghost-smoke of one loved, now gone.

Even the snow falls to the ground

But you have disappeared into air.

Perhaps that foxtail sends greetings

to comfort the heart?

Rude Spring

Sharp brittle wind

Sails like clipper glass

Cuts the skin razor thin,

And flays off winter.


This spring can’t wait.

It lies,

Promises comforting warmth

Yet delivers a numbing cold-

Too much in love with winter still.


I hear the laughter in the pines.

They moan or echo an evil chuckle.


No matter.

This argument will be over

Once the earth

Pirouettes on point.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017












Choka: “Grief”

February 16, 2017
My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

Over at dversepoets pub, the challenge is one of writing a poem expressing expressionism.  We will see….this was a hard one for me.

Lady Nyo






Her lovely snow-flesh


the tracery of blue veins


upon long slim arms


like embracing filaments


fold themselves gently


cold, smooth marble her skin


water streams from eyes


looks upon such delicate


unearthly beauty, now still.




Grief, mine, stoppered up,


memories, glass-sharpened


cuts a shattered heart.


no hope for recovery,


life folded inward


her pain is over, done with,


mine, just beginning.


Each of grief’s ragged breath draws


out, to join in her silence.




Jane Kohut-Bartels


Copyrighted, 2017








“Musings on a Closing Day”

February 11, 2017


Over at dversepoets the prompt is the word ‘heart’ included in a poem.

Lady Nyo


“Musings on a Closing Day”

I move my chair

to observe Mt. Fuji-

monstrous perfection

topped with the cooling crust

of spring snows.


Languid movement

of a branch,

like a geisha

unfurling her arm

from a gray kimono,

makes petals fall,

a scented, pink snow

covering my upturned face

with careless kisses.


Timid winds caress

my limbs,

a fleeting relief

to tired bones

brittle now with

the sullen defeat of life.


Raked sand of garden

waves barely disturbed

by feet like two gray stones

as grains flow

round ankles.


I realize once again

I am no obstacle to

the sands of time.


My heart is quieted

by the passage of nothing

for in this nothing

is revealed the fullness of life.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016  “Musings on a Closing Day” published in the new second edition of “A Seasoning of Lust”,, December, 2016

Bhava Yoga

February 9, 2017


(“Italian Dawn “, Jane Kohut-Bartels, watercolor, 2003)

Open Link Night over at dversepoets. com.  Come over and see what Grace and others have submitted.

Bhava Yoga


Morning’s roseate sky

Has been blasted away,

Branches now whirligigs

Swirl with a fierce southern wind

As windows rattle in frames.


A tattered umbrella

Shades from a relentless sun.

I listen to Bhava Yoga

The vibration of Love,

Where imagination meets

Memory in the dark.

Yet surrounding these soothing tones

The world outside this music

Conspires to disrupt, sweep away

All thought, reflection.


The fierce wind gets my attention.

I can not deny its primal force.


Still, the pulse of Bhava Yoga

Draws me within,

Feeds imagination with memory,

Calls forth something as enduring as the fury outside,

And I feel the pulse of the infinite.


We are like birds,

Clinging with dulled claws to

The swaying branches of life.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014 (from Pitcher of Moon,, 2014)


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






“Winter Widow”

February 3, 2017


“Winter Widow” is published in the new edition of “A Seasoning of Lust”,


At the window she saw the naked trees of winter lit by a slivered crescent moon, casting thin shadows upon frigid ground. Skeletons in the moonlight, ghostly trees, as brittle as her own internal landscape. There was little flesh about her now, she a fresh widow, reduced by grief until resembling the fragile branches outside in the sullen night.

There was a time when she was juicy, ripe with swelling tissue, wet with moisture, velvet of skin. She lapped at life with full lips and embracing gestures. Speared on her husband  she moaned, screamed with laughter and pivoted in sheer joy. Her life had been full, overflowing, desirable, endless, a portrait of promise.

He died one day, and life turned surreal. So much remained, only the reason for living gone. The temperature of life grown colder, like him under the soil.

Outside it started to snow. She watched the gentle coverage of branch, bush and ground, a tender benediction offered to a cradled earth. She went and knelt in the snow, now grateful for this arousal to life and sensation.

She would live, but thought he must be so cold under the snow.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

My beautiful picture






“The Token Rose”, a plea for love and tolerance.

February 1, 2017


The Token Rose


Outside it is cold.

No leaves flutter

In bitter winds,

No birdsong to

Sweeten the air,

Just the Token rose

Trembling in fierce gusts

Howling round eaves.


This rose started to bloom

Too early this spring,

A miracle of season,

A miracle of mercy.


Named for a woman

Who died by her  hand,

A hand forced by ignorance



No Mercy.


We are so hard on those

We say we love,

We lack  compassion

To those who march

out… of… step.

Those who don’t believe

as we do,

Then we hide from

What we have wrought,

Uneasy but still righteous.


If there is a hint of shame

We bury it deep as the grave

She now lies.


The Token Rose flutters in the cold.

A pearly white

Catches the feeble sunlight

And waves a forgiveness

That we, hardened of heart,

Do not deserve.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014-2017

At the beginning of the year, I post this poem in tribute to Token, a woman I knew a long time ago. She, a minister’s wife, with two small daughters, believed she was a lesbian and left her family.  She suffered harassment and intolerance, little compassion from those around her.   She came to the end of her rope after about a year, and while talking on the phone to relatives, shot herself in the head and died.

I don’t know what those involved felt. Was there any guilt or remorse? These people considered themselves “Christian”.   They still do.

Faced with the issue of unconditional love, this isn’t of Christ. I struggle with this issue of unconditional love myself.  I don’t know if I can ‘love’ those who take such judgement into their own hands and a woman dies.  How do you love such people? How do you love anyone who threatens your life?  Token  was a woman who went against something  she could not bear.  Right or wrong, she deserves our love and compassion.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017








January 30, 2017



(“Dawn Geese” Watercolor, 2004, Jane Kohut-Bartels)


Bjorn over at dversepoets pub is presenting a quadrille challenge, with the word ‘dawn’.  Quadrilles are poems of exactly 44 words.

Lady Nyo


Tender peach clouds at daybreak

Float over placid water.

The moon still hangs on

As dawn grows bolder.

Goddess Nut calls to her sleepy houri,

Tucking them under her belly.

I heard the earliest swallows

Twitter as they flew by,

Sharing the night’s gossip.

“Queen of Sheba”

January 25, 2017



Queen of Sheba” is a poem in flux…movement.  I published it in the new edition of “A Seasoning of Lust”, published in mid December, 2016, by  I’ve changed it a bit here, and I believe many poems can be revised, rewritten.  I tried for rhythm in the beginning and found it hard to sustain. 

Lady Nyo

Queen of Sheba

She walked right by me,

The Queen of Sheba

Black skin glinting like steel in the sun.

Proud breasts topped with prouder nipples

Black cherry rubies jutting east to west.

Spangled turban hits the North Star

Jeweled feet tramples South Pole beneath,

All space guarded by curved, sharp fangs,

Such dangerous territory–alien ground.

Tattooed ribbons down sinuous arms

Black snakes born with sensuous intent.

Hot sun glances off gold-tipped teeth–

Shot of mystery tween mahogany lips,

Rarely a smile– more of a sneer.

Kohl eyes flashing steady disdain,

Measuring decayed urban jungle

From cracked sidewalks littered

With  broken shards of broken lives,

Burnt out neon signs,

Tumbled pool halls,

Violence growing—

Like kudzu in the night.

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,


Cosmic glory.

Ah, Cruel Queen of Sheba!

No glance in my direction.

Obviously  other fish to fry,

Plenty of empires to plunder–

Though I promised the




And the Wisdom of Solomon.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017, from “A Seasoning of Lust”,  published December, 2016, by Amazon. com.





“The High Road”

January 14, 2017

“Sea Eagle”, jane kohut-bartels, watercolor, 2001


The High Road

Asking directions to the high road,

I got shrugs and blank stares

yet knew there were two roads-

both led into infinity

both coursed through

all manner of life with pitfalls, trenches

where legs were broken

skulls rattled loose from moorings

like ships in high winds, dangerous waters.


What was the difference

and why should it matter?

The effort cost

energy regardless the choosing.


An old man sat at the crossroads,

a bum, grizzled gray hair

sprouting porcupine’s quills,

rheumy, pale eyes staring at the world–

little interest in what passed by.


I asked him the way to the High Road

and with a toothless grin

he stared at my feet, my hands,

lifted his eyes to my face.

I thought him mad and cursed myself

(asking questions of a fool!)

was moving away when I heard his voice:


“Did I know of the eagle and crow,

how they soared upon thermals

higher and higher

became dark, formless specks upon a limitless sky,

lost to human eye, invisible even to gods?”


I thought him crazed and started away-

he cackled and spat on the ground.

Something made me turn, startled,

And saw the wisdom of Solomon in his

now- shining eyes.



“The crow harries the eagle, the eagle flies higher.

Vengeful, annoying crow flies round eagle’s wing

turning this way and that, yet the eagle flaps upward

soars upon thinning air until the crow

breathless and spent, drops to the common ground-

falls to his death.”


“The High Road, the path of the eagle.

The low road, the path of the crow,

mingling with dullards

daring nothing, with eyes cast downward

only saving a bit of energy

learning nothing of worth.”


Silently he sat, an old man

eyes glazed with age and fatigue.

With a nod to his wisdom, a toss of a coin

I gathered my strength and pushed onward,

Upwards, the lift of eagles, now under my limbs.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016, first published in  “Pitcher of Moon”, 2014








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