Posts Tagged ‘“White Cranes of Heaven”–to be published.’

More Tanka In The Morning….

February 15, 2011

"White Cranes of Heaven" book cover, painting, wc, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2010

I believe in writing from immediate observation; that is to say, Sunday, while doing yard work on the first warm day we have had all winter, I heard the Sandhill cranes high in the sky, and saw them in formation heading towards a surprisingly early rising moon.  One of our cats, Chessie, who is getting old and slow, was sitting on a bench, and refused to attend to a barking dog, nor to me who was trying to get him to move over.

Tanka is  a snapshot of the moment.  It can be sharply in focus, or blurred, and is sometimes memorable. Seeing these Sandhills against the moon is fixed in my mind.  Seeing Chessie sitting in the sun reminds me that life isn’t forever.

A few of these tanka will be included in the soon-to-be published, “White Cranes of Heaven”.

Lady Nyo


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.

A cat sits dozing

Beneath a thorny rosebush

No foot can reach him

His paws retract the sharp claws

A deep purr closes his eyes.


Human frailties

wounds that bleed such heated blood

leave a dry vessel.

Without the moisture of love

the clay reverts to the ground.

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.


Overhead, the cranes,

Sandhills– swirl in broad circles.

Broken GPS?

No matter, their cries fall down

Celestial scolding rain.

The fire of life

Is love. No exact measure.

A whirling dervish

Hands in opposite display

Gathers in the miracle.

The full moon above
Floats on blackened velvet seas
Poet’s perfection!
But who does not yearn for a
Crescent in lavender sky?

In this single branch
Of a wintry holly,
A hundred words hide.
A thousand blushes appear.
Do not overlook the thorns.


Lithe-bodied, she climbs-
She has now mounted my soul!
Clinging with strong legs
Her breast pressed against me
Shapes an intangible thing.



So lonely am I

My soul like a floating weed

Severed at the roots

Drifting upon cold waters

No pillow for further dreams.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2008, 2011


August 23, 2010

Cu Chulainn, from

A few years ago I started writing sonnets and found them difficult. Perhaps because they were my first attempts in writing this form, but also because I don’t like rhyming poetry.

Sonnet structure is hard, but we modern poets are also lazy.

These two sonnets are based on Celtic Mythology, something I was studying back then.  The mythology of Cu Chulainn, the “Hound of Ulster”, is full of sex and violence….themes universally pleasing to the ears of listeners.

Lady Nyo


“In that sweet country, I’ll rest my weapon”

Said Cu Chulainn to beauteous Emer

And a war spasm came upon him fast

With face distorting, hair stood upended

Teeth barred in anger, cock a rigid mast

His body whipped around, his knees unbended,

And sweet Emer  prayed his luck would last.

Her father, King Lug, Celtic God of Light

Set her swain to tasks and toil unending,

While Bricru the Poison Tongue cries in fright:

“The Hound of Ulster, Irish unbending,

Leads in battle for comes he in his might!

And Emer waits with patient love the day

When Cu Chulainn comes near and claims his right!


When Lug dragged his cock upon the earth deep

And threw up mountains and hillocks in haste

Fair Aine came behind him with sweet seeds reap’d

And fertile was the land, no virgins chaste

Followed the reapers and saw the crows fly

Up in the air with black wings flapping sound.

She watered the plantings with moisture, sighed

For Lug had other of mistresses round

Fair Aine pined in sorrow, her heart laid bare

All other women Lug held with his charm

When she walked afield, the men  did dare

To raise their eyes and hearts without alarm.

The children she bore now, peppered the earth,

And Lug still dragged his cock, taunting with mirth!

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009, 2010

%d bloggers like this: