Posts Tagged ‘“White Cranes of Heaven”’

“July Moon”….

August 20, 2018
My beautiful picture

Cover for White Cranes of Heaven, 2011, Lulu.com Watercolor, janekohut-bartels

 

JULY MOON

 

A pale moon rises,

Unheralded, surprising us

With its presence so early at dusk.

 

It wavers in the summer heat

Like a ghost under water.

The cicadas hold their breath-

Their leg-fiddles muted,

And the earth turns quiet

If only for a moment.

 

Brushing the lush green tree tops

It floats upward into a still-lavender sky,

Gaining presence, strength, gloss

As it balances in the darkening light,

A well-trod path– fascinating eternity.

 

A world-weary face appears

And casts a bemused gaze downward

Before sailing through the night

Into the harbor of Dawn.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

( a version of “JULY MOON” was published in “White Cranes of Heaven”, 2011, at Amazon.com)

The summer is so beautiful, despite the heat.  Last night the moon looked like a beggar’s cup, brilliant in the sky.  The days in the Deep South are sultry, but the wind picks up in the late afternoon when a storm is coming and then these huge oaks and pecans are whirligigs high in the sky.

Barley tea, iced tea and lemonade are the drinks of choice during the summer, harkening back to earlier times.  Closed drapes, blinds in the heat of noon day sun actually work to regulate the temperature , though one doubts this will.

The heat brings to life the cicadas, or whatever is making a constant buzz outside.  It comes in waves, where one group, or species, competes in sound with another.  The dogs of summer are wise: they flatten themselves on the cool tiles of the laundry room and remain motionless until the cooling of the night where they chase rats in the kudzu.  They also have developed a taste for watermelon, and we sit on the steps of the back porch and share with them, while a wood owl sounds from an huge oak above us. We never see him, but his hoots are a fixture of the summer nights.

Lady Nyo

“First Snow”

November 29, 2017

My beautiful picture

(Mimi walking in the front garden snow)

 

“FIRST SNOW”

 

This 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—

Invisible 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 ghosts,

Or perhaps a cat or two.

 

Inside the comfort of crackling of wood,

Well seasoned of 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

In 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

My beautiful picture

Cover for White Cranes of Heaven, 2011, Lulu.com Watercolor, janekohut-bartels

“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)

 

“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)

 

 

“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.

Some Tanka…..

August 23, 2015

Song_of_the_Nightingale_COVER

Just published at Createspace, Amazon.com

Cover for White Cranes of Heaven, 2011, Lulu.com Watercolor, janekohut-bartels

Cover for White Cranes of Heaven, 2011, Lulu.com
Watercolor, janekohut-bartels

So lonely am I

My soul like a floating weed

Severed at the roots

Drifting upon cold waters

No pillow for further dreams.

The truth of longing

Has nothing of nice logic.

A matter of hearts

So uneven, exciting!

But most painful, nonetheless.

The moon floats on wisps

Of clouds extending outward

Tendrils of white fire

Blanketing the universe

Gauzy ghosts of nothingness.

When nature is known

Reason for awe can be found

In familiar sights.

Intimacy at the core—

Astounding revelation!

Human frailties

wounds that bleed such heated blood

leave a dry vessel.

Without the moisture of love

the clay reverts to the ground.

The fire of life

Is love. No exact measure.

A whirling dervish

Hands in opposite display

Gathers in the miracle.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2012

“July Moon” from “White Cranes of Heaven”

July 14, 2015

crescent-moon

The summer is so beautiful, despite the heat.  Last night the moon looked like a beggar’s cup, brilliant in the sky.  The days in the Deep South are sultry, but the wind picks up in the late afternoon when a storm is coming and then these huge oaks and pecans are whirligigs high in the sky.

Barley tea, iced tea and lemonade are the drinks of choice during the summer, harkening back to earlier times.  Closed drapes, blinds in the heat of noon day sun actually work to regulate the temperature , though one doubts this will.

The heat brings to life the cicadas, or whatever is making a constant buzz outside.  It comes in waves, where one group, or species, competes in sound with another.  The dogs of summer are wise: they flatten themselves on the cool tiles of the laundry room and remain motionless until the cooling of the night where they chase rats in the kudzu.  They also have developed a taste for watermelon, and we sit on the steps of the back porch and share with them, while a wood owl sounds from an huge oak above us. We never see him, but his hoots are a fixture of the summer nights.

Lady Nyo

JULY MOON

 

A pale moon rises,

Unheralded, surprising us

With its presence so early at dusk.

 

The summer heat makes it waver

Like a ghost under water.

The cicadas hold their breath-

Their leg-fiddles muted,

And the earth turns quiet

If only for a moment.

 

Brushing the lush green tree tops

It floats upward into a still-lavender sky,

Gaining presence, strength, gleam

As it balances in the darkening light,

A well-trod path– fascinating eternity.

 

A world-weary face appears

And casts a bemused gaze downward

Before sailing through the night

Into the harbor of Dawn.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010-2015

“White Cranes of Heaven” available from Lulu.com

“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

Saigyo, Warrior Priest and Poet, some of his poetry and a little of mine.

May 4, 2015
was to be the cover painting for

was to be the cover painting for “Pitcher of Moon” but didn’t work out. Jane Kohut-Bartels, small watercolor.

This is a very  little of Saigyo, the Heian-era priest and poet.  Reading Saigyo is like falling into the rim of the Universe: you have no idea where you will land nor what you will learn.  But the trip will  profoundly change you.

In “Mirror For the Moon”, a collection of translations by William LaFleur of Saigyo, one gets the idea that Saigyo transcended the usual route, the accepted and comfortable route of poet/priests of that era.

There were tons of poetry written by many poets, officials, etc. about the moon, nature, flowers, etc.  But Saigyo’s poetry had an ‘edge’, a difference:  his view of blossoms, moon, nature, was not just the usual symbol of evanescence and youthful beauty:  his view of blossoms, nature, were more a path into the inner depth of this relationship between humanity and nature.   He spent 50 years walking the mountains, road, forests, fields all over Japan and his poetry (waka) reflected his deep understanding of the physicality of nature:  all seasons were felt and experienced not from the safety and comfort of a court, surrounded by other silk-clad courtier/poets,  but out there in the trenches of nature.  His poetry is fomented in the cold and penetrating fall and spring rains, the slippery paths upon mountain trails, the ‘grass pillows’ and a thin cloak, the deep chill of winter snows upon a mountain, the rising  mists that befuddle orientation,  and especially, the loneliness of traveling without companionship.

Saigyo became a poet/priest, but before that he was and came from a samurai family.  He was, at the age of 22, a warrior.  He always struggled with his past in his long years of travel, wondering how this  former life impacted on his religious vows.  His poetry reflects this issue.

I have begun to re-acquaint myself with Saigyo and his poetry, having first come across his poems in 1990. There is something so profound, different, that calls down the centuries to the heart.  His poetry awakens my awe and wonder of not only nature-in-the-flesh, but in the commonality of the human experience.

Lady Nyo

Not a hint of shadow

On the moon’s face….but now

A silhouette passes–

Not the cloud I take it for,

But a flock of flying geese.

Thought I was free

Of passions, so  this melancholy

Comes as surprise:

A woodcock shoots up from marsh

Where autumn’s twilight falls.

Someone who has learned

How to manage life in loneliness:

Would there were one more!

He could winter here on this mountain

With his hut right  next  to mine.

Winter has withered

Everything in this mountain place:

Dignity is in

Its desolation now, and  beauty

In the cold clarity of its moon.

When the fallen snow

Buried the twigs bent by me

To mark a return trail,

Unplanned, in strange mountains

I was holed up all winter.

Snow has fallen on

Field paths and mountain paths,

Burying them all

And I can’t tell here from there:

My journey in the midst of sky.

Here I huddle, alone,

In the mountain’s shadow, needing

Some companion somehow:

The cold, biting rains pass off

And give me the winter moon.

(I love this one especially: Saigyo makes the vow to be unattached to seasons, to expectations, but fails and embraces his very human limitations)

It was bound to be!

My vow to be unattached

To seasons and such….

I, who by a frozen bamboo pipe

Now watch and wait for spring.

(Love like cut reeds….)

Not so confused

As to lean only one way:

My love-life!

A sheaf of field reeds also bends

Before each wind which moves it.

(And Love like fallen leaves….)

Each morning the wind

Dies down and the rustling leaves

Go silent: Was this

The passion of all-night lovers

Now talked out and parting?

From “Mirror For the Moon”, A Selection of Poems by Saigyo (1118-1190)

Three of my own “Moon” poems….in the form of Tanka.

The moon floats on wisps

Of cloud that extend outward

Tendrils of white fire

Burn up in the universe–

Gauzy ghosts of nothingness.

——–

Shooting star crosses

Upended bowl of blue night

Imagination

Fires up with excited gaze!

A moment– and all is gone.

_______

(and one more….)

——

The full moon above

floats on blackened velvet seas,

poet’s perfection!

But who does not yearn for a

crescent in lavender sky?

———-

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015……these last three poems were from “White Cranes of Heaven”, Lulu.com, 2011, Jane Kohut-Bartels

 


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