Posts Tagged ‘turmoil’

Lord Nyo’s Continuing Lament, Part 7, from “The Nightingale’s Song”

August 9, 2013

Samurai Lovers, #2


Lord Nyo’s Continuing Lament, from “The Nightingale’s Song” Part 7


Lord Nyo galloped away-

He did not go far.

Armed with two swords,

His bow and falcon,

He halted at the edge of a grizzled field,

Autumn rain mixing with tufts of chaff

This harvested field

Forlorn, abandoned.

The scene fit his mood.


Sitting under an old gingko,

Only a few yellowed, fan-shaped leaves

Tiredly holding on to life,

He pulled the bone-white fan

From his breast

And thought of poems

He vaguely remembered

From his youth.


What had seemed so right

The night before,

When he had taken his brush

To the task of reforming a life

Now in the cold rain

Under cover of gray morning,

Was more like folly–

The desperate hopes of an old fool.


What good was this brushed fan

When between man and wife

Was a sea filled with misery?


When hidden by bamboo blinds

He spied his wife quietly sitting,

Mending a gown,

Quilting a warm tunic,

While around her

Her women tittered like birds,

Laughing and playing finger games

While she,

Pale face serene,

Sat peacefully at work.


He remembered the early years

When he would enter her quarters,

Pick his way carefully across the mats

Larded with colorful lumps of sleeping women

And pillow her in the dark

Unmindful of the snores

And nightmare-groans of her women.


He remembered her reading

Poems to him,

And shyly reading some of her own.

He marveled at her fertile mind.


She never carried a child.

He could have put her aside,

Taken another wife for heirs–

Yet he didn’t.


One old poem kept turning his brain.

A poem a thousand years old,

One that spoke deeply:


“This body of mine

has crossed the mountain barrier

and is here indeed!

But this heart of mine remains

drawing closer to my wife”


Lord Nyo reached inside his breast

And uncurled a paper

Plain, rough in texture,

And read what he had

Written,  the one 

He did not burn.


Her voice sings

Like a bird beneath the leaves

Of a fall mountain.

If she’d only speak to me

What would we have to grieve?


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011, 2013
















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