Posts Tagged ‘Tsuki’


July 6, 2017


On the 4th, because of all the gunshot and fireworks by the Cretins around here  (4 plus hours of heavy barrage)  Tsuki (Moon in Japanese) disappeared.  We feared the worse because people were shooting guns: shotguns, pistols, automatics, semiautomatics, Blunderbusters, etc…..whatever these morons could get their hands on. Yikes!  I think this is the first year fireworks were available in Georgia and digits were lost in the fun all over.

Tsuki came back at dusk 24 hours later….and won’t go outside now.  He is a head butt-er and sleeps wherever he can find human flesh.  Glad my Creamcycle is back!

Lady Nyo

‘Lord Nyo Meets His Son’, from “The Nightingale’s Song”, Part 12

September 29, 2013

fullmoon mystery moon

Two years ago this November  Marge Chester died.  The night before she did, she called  to discuss this last episode of  what was to become “The Nightingale’s Song”.  She said these words of Lord Nyo, ‘this grieving ugly warrior’, had made her cry. She  followed the series of poems and had ‘become close’ to Lord Nyo and his transformation, his struggle to change in thinking and behavior.  Marge was a friend for over 24 years, the mate of my cousin Bobby who also died.  I couldn’t have had a better and kinder friend.  She was the strongest woman I have known. This end espisode is dedicated to Marge.

Lady Nyo

Perhaps a strong man

Should not offer love without

Having love returned

But this grieving ugly warrior

Still finds his love is growing


Lord Nyo stunk with the blood of battle

As his bow and swords cut a swath

Through men in service to another,

When the battle horns went silent,

With tattered banners like defeated clouds

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 mercifulHe lived,

And his thoughts turned from fierce, ugly warriors

Towards home and a baby.

It took   a month

For Lord Nyo to lead his remaining men,

Battle-weary and maimed

Some in  body, all in spirit

Some not destined for further life,

But to die in the arms of women

In the shade of Gassan mountain.

No shame in this,

They had fought like devils

And only their daimyos

Could claim ‘victory’.

Lord Nyo pushed himself,

His aging war horse,

His men,

Only stopping to bathe

Once in a cold mountain stream,

To wash the dust of battle

From his eyes,

The soot of many fires from his face.

He still looked like a ghoul,

would frighten any baby.

Finally he came through the wicket gate

Of his house,

Saw the assembly of servants, women

And Lady Nyo on the veranda,

All bowing to the ground

In honor of their lord,

Though Lady Nyo held his new son

Like a Madonna before her,

And Lord Nyo, ugly, old warrior that he was,

Felt the sting of a woman’s tears fill his eyes.

He bowed to his wife,

A deep, respectful bow,

And went to view his son

In the arms of his lady.

His son was blowing bubbles,

Cooing like a turtle dove

But when he saw his father,

His leather armor and helmet still on his head,

His eyes widened in fright

Then shut tight

As he howled like a dog

Greeting the full Moon!

The women all shuddered!

What a greeting to a new father,

And what would their lord do?

Lord Nyo narrowed his eyes,

Threw back his head

And gave a great howl of his own.

Tsuki stopping in mid-yowl,

Staring at this leather-clad stranger

Who would dare howl louder than he!

It was not seemly

For a great warrior,

Just back from a long battle

To show such interest in a child,

But Lord Nyo put all that aside.

A tender nature came forth

And no one would laugh or smirk,

For he was a new father,

Though an aged one,

And would by rights,

Enjoy his only son.

He fashioned leather balls

To roll under bamboo blinds

To entice Tsuki

Like a kitten to chase,

even poked a small hole in the shoji

Of his lady’s rooms so he could watch

Unknown (he thought)

Of the servants and even his wife,

But all knew and whispered

Behind their sleeves

And noted his curious love.

No one thought the lesser of him for doing this.

Lord Nyo made

By his own hand

A tiny catalpa-wood bow,

With tinier arrows,

Fitted with feathers from a hummingbird

And arrow heads of small bone,

Something to shoot at birds,

Or perhaps cats,

But Tsuki only gnawed on the gleaming wood,

His teeth coming in,

And all he could reach

Was his personal chew-toy.

One day soon after his return,

Lord Nyo peered through the shoji,

Watched the old nurse bathe his son

When Tsuki climbed from his bath

And started to cross the tatami mat.

Lord Nyo saw the tail,

And almost tearing the shoji off its tracks,

Stormed into the room.

“Wife, Wife!

What little devil have your spawned!

What malevolent kami have you lain with!”

Lady Nyo, writing a poem in her journal

Rose quickly from her low table

And rushed into the room.

“My Lord!

I am told this little tail

Will disappear in time.

It marks our son for now

As a gift of the gods.

This little vestigial tail

Portends great deeds to be done

By our Tsuki.”

The old nurse shrunk back,

Well familiar with the temper

Of her lord,

Praying at this moment

For the kindness of a stray kami

To turn her into a bar of soap.

Tsuki, for his part

Saw his father

And with a great squeal of joy

Crawled as fast as his fat little legs could carry him,

His tail a propeller going round and round

Not at all helping the situation.

Lord Nyo staggered back against the shoji

Ripping even more of the delicate rice paper

And the frame asunder.

Lady Nyo rushed to pick Tsuki up,

Wrapping him and his offending tail

In the long sleeve of her kimono,

Holding him to her breast


But Tsuki wanted his father

And cried, “Baba, Baba!”

With a piteous tone,

Not knowing the proper name for Father,

As the nurse rolled her eyes

Cowering behind her lady,

Wondering if this ugly, old warrior

Had lost his wits in battle.

We know Tsuki was a gift of the gods,

Or at least Tsukiyomi,

The god of the Moon.

When Tsuki was in his basket

And the moon was full,

Lady Nyo and her old nurse

Placed small lanterns around his cradle,

To lessen the glow of her son,

As he slept in the moonlight.

It was unearthly how much Tsuki gleamed at night

But how pale tofu-colored he appeared during the day.

One night of the full Moon,

Lord Nyo lay besides his wife

And was awakened by Tsuki gurgling

From his basket.

His son talking to the

Moonbeams which danced into the room

From the high window above his cradle.

The small-wicked lanterns had burned out

And the moon and the moon child

Brightened the room.

Lord Nyo watched his son weave strands of moonbeam

With his feet, cooing and laughing,

Clear crystal ribbons of light floating

Around him

Out the window

And up to the moon.

He saw the benevolent face of Tsukiyomi above,

Looking with obvious love at his son.

Lord Nyo felt the weariness of years fall away;

Felt tender love for this Moon-child,

And yes, both of them blessed by the changeable gods,

A gift for an ugly, old warrior

A gift of life in the midst of such death,

A gift for the remaining years of his life.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2012, 2013

“Moon Child” from “The Nightingale’s Song”, Part II

February 13, 2012

Utamaro wood block print from

This poem is new and going through revision. Many  years ago I read a short story by an Italian author (I can’t remember the name) about walking on the moon.  That was the generator of this present poem, plus a dream.

Lady Nyo

Notes: Lord Jizo is the kami (saint) of pregnant women, children, stillborns, travelers.  There are many statues and simple temples along country roads where Lord Jizo is bedecked with bibs, toys and knitted clothing in gratitude for babies, and in memory of children who have died young.

Tengus are mythological (??) birds (kami) who shapeshift into humans.  They bedevil arrogant Buddhist priests and are tricksters. They also were known to teach martial arts to samurai.  They generally reside in the mountains and are associated with the Yamabushi cult.

Murasaki is a purple color and also a grass or flower

“Tsuki” means Moon


“The Nightingale’s Song”, Part II  “Moon Child”


Lady Nyo was barren.

Once there was hope of heirs,

Babies to raise, coddle.

But fate provided nothing,

Not even a stillborn to mourn,

Buried under the snow

With the fog of incense rising

To a leaden sky.


Many times Lady Nyo

Passed the temple of Lord Jizo,

Riding in her palm-leaf carriage

Drawn by white oxen adorned with ribbons and bells.

Many times she peeked through curtains

At his simple, stone statue,

Bedecked with babies’ bids, knitted hats,

The offering of a grateful mother, or

A mournful one.


Ah! To be as much a woman

As her lowest servant with a swelling belly!

How she wanted to leave her own offering

Of her child’s garment at his feet!



Lady Nyo decided on a pilgrimage.

She would walk barefoot through the fragrant murasaki grass,

She would wear a humble cotton gown,

She would seek advice from temple priests.


Lady Nyo and her old nurse set out one morning,

And though her old nurse grumbled and groaned,

Lady Nyo was the vision of piety walking

Through the delicate morning mists –

These frail ghosts of nothingness.


The priest had a long, red nose,

Wore a robe none too clean,

And he scratched at lice

Under the folds of his gown.

He had feathers growing in his ears

And feet like a large bird.


A Tengu!

A trifler of men and women!

But they were staring at his nose,

And missed his feet.


“When the Moon grows full,

Row out in the bay,

Directly under the Moon

And climb up a long ladder.

You will be pulled by the Moon’s tides

To its surface,

And there you will find what you want.”


When the Moon blossomed into a large

Bright lantern in the sky,

They rowed out in the bay,

Two trusted ladies to steady the ladder

And one to spare.

Lady Nyo kicked off her geta,

Tucked her gown into the obi

(exposing her lady-parts),

And ignoring the clucks of her old nurse,

Climbed directly under the Moon.


So powerful

Was the pull of the Moon

That fish and crabs,

Seahorses and seaweed,

Octopi, too

Rose straight up from the waters

Into the night’s air!

Lady Nyo’s hair and sleeves

Were also pulled by the Moon

And her kimono almost came over her head!


With a somersault

She flipped onto the surface

And found her bare feet

Sinking into the yellow-tofu of the Moon.


She heard a gurgling

And gurgling meant babies,

So she searched on spongy ground

Followed by a few seahorses who were curious

And a few fish who weren’t.


Past prominent craters

One could see from the Earth,

Lady Nyo found a baby tucked in the Moon’s soil.


Ah! A fat little boy blowing bubbles,

Sucking on toes,

Bright black eyes like pebbles

Black hair as thick as brocade!


Lady Nyo bent down,

And lifting him

She heard a sucking noise.

He was attached to the Moon

By a longish tail

That thrashed like a little snake

As she pulled him free.


She placed him at her milk-less breast

But soon he grimaced and started to howl,

 So she tucked him in her robe,

Aimed for the ladder,

Somersaulted back into the night,

Where she and her ladies rowed for shore.


The baby, now named Tsuki,

Was put to a wet nurse

His tail mostly disappearing,

Shriveling up like a proper umbilical cord–

Though there remained a little vestigial tail

That wagged with anticipation when placed at the breast,

Or when the full Moon appeared

In the black bowl of night.


The Tengu had flown the coop,

Never to be seen again.

But Lady Nyo no longer envied ladies

With swelling bellies,

For her own arms were full and heavy

With this yellow Moon-child.


Through fragrant fields

Of murasaki grass,

Lady Nyo and Tsuki

Would walk alone,

Where they would lay

Offerings of knitted bibs,

Strings of money, toys

And a feather

At the feet of Lord Jizo,

When the Moon was fullest

In a promising sky.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2012






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