BY JAN HAAG

INTRODUCTION + POETRY + ESSAYS + MUSIC + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART

HAAG'S BIO

ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS



A REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST


HOMMAGE À PROUST

The first poem is a madeleine of remembrance, the poems that follow, a cup of tea into which the madeleine is dipped again and again and again and again, right down to the crumbs. JH, October 15, 2004


INDEX



THIS IS WHAT HAS HAPPENED

#91
09-30-04

This is what has happened since I arrived, became aware
of the world: I remember scruff
all around, vast
scruffy fields of golden straw and platinum

weeds, empty lots and unkept (unkempt -- I always wondered: Why
the "m"?) gardens, piles of fallen
leaves. My first
memories: spaces, the sky, the mountain view

of the forest, the timberline* (I could never see that
line**, nor the beasts in the
constellations). But there
was air and sunlight, moss and rain,

thunderstorms with lightening flashes lighting up the house and barn
(where the car was kept), dripping
trees with puddles
of fire and a hedge*** far higher



*timberline -- "line marking the upper limit of tree growth in mountains or northern latitudes" -- http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Timberline
** line -- "a spatial location defined by a real or imaginary unidimensional extent" -- http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Timberline
***hedge = "'Dutch (haag) to signify 'enclosure,'"

4 stanzas -- 10, 6, 3, 7






SINCE I ARRIVED,

#92
09-30-04

than the highest human, dense, impenetrable, fencing off our world
from others and the little-used highway;
my perfect sister
dominating; our tummies tight with green plums;

our white-booted cat leading us to Moss Hill's candlewick softness;
the loss of Tinkerbell, my grey-tiger-striped
stuffed kitten, into
the creek that flowed to the sea;

Bootsie biting through my ankle when Con, my brother, accidently
slammed the car door on her
tail in the
barn in the rain waiting to go

buy new shoes; the twisted foot, the cast, the crutches,
the fearful clatter they created falling
down stairs towing
me withering, writhing with embarrassment!!! no time





BECAME AWARE OF THE WORLD:

#93
09-30-04

to feel the pain, only the conscious, blushing relief that,
after school, though it made the echo
worse, no one
came running except my teacher, scolding! down

the hollow, hallowing stairwell. End of memory. We moved from
Bellingham to Tacoma, leaving behind the
Canadian border, the
Peace Arch, the Easter Sunrise Services on

Seaholm Hill, the "nameless" lad I walked across the room
to kiss in first grade just
as we had
left marshy, scruffy, untilled fields in Marysville

while I was not old enough to remember, but which saturated
my blood as summers of daffodils,
winters of chrysanthemums.
Later, our garage-house became a taxidermist's farm





I REMEMBER SCRUFF

#94
09-30/10-1-04

convincing infant, soul-hidden me, 'til I was forty-five and began
to think, that I was really
a stuffed animal,
browsing on the chaff of the land

ignorant of a rich, smelly, manure-ing soil beneath the platinum
and the gold. But childhood was
a delight, apple
cider presses, here, there, and, in Roseburg,

my Granddaddy's peach farm where no peach was picked until
it was plump and juicy ripe,
hand-wrapped in tissue
in a peach-smelling shed of silvered wood.

Rumble-seat riding in the Nash, swimming in the Umpqua, dancing
naked-brown at five on rocks beneath
the covered bridge,
breathing the parched peach fields' floating dust,





ALL AROUND, VAST SCRUFFY FIELDS

#95
10-01-04

thin, brittle weeds here and there, their heads as bent
as weathered ribbons in the cemetery...
Ghostly Granddaddy digging
the graves deep in the rain with

his whole and his two-fingered hand -- two fingers lost to
the railroad when younger. He had
dug a well,
lined it with stone, kept home-made root-beer,

icy and a little icky, to my already commercialized, opinionated,
seven-year-old taste. They were huge stones.
I used to
lie, peering over the edge, wondering how

he did it. We helped pick peaches, but we didn't
help with the stones. We stole
the ribbons, but
we didn't go to the windswept funerals.





OF GOLDEN STRAW AND PLATINUM WEEDS,

#96
10-01/02-04

My hair was honey blond, thick, like twists of hemp
and soft as down -- it was
my first love.
In the mirror above the mahogany piano's

gleam, home alone, I'd let the sun shine through, releasing,
strand by strand, the honey-bee
glints, to dance
across my face, enchanted by my beauty.

My second love was Max, the pillow -- made of goose-down
by my gutsy, Goose-girl Grandmother -- left,
years later, on
the Chicago train en route to England.

I cried, called, sent letters, never recovered it. Tinkerbell, dignity,
Max-the-pillow, trust: defining losses of childhood,
youth, married life.
Gone. There would be other losses. Spaces





EMPTY LOTS AND UNKEPT

#97
10-02-04

opening in my psyche found odd flotsam lodged deep in
the cracks of my broken heart.
Never finished with
childhood: even sitting with Shiva-purna at seventy,

tears start for that Roeder-school-child, that little-finger-smashed-in-the-car-door girl visiting the
collasped/yet-to-be-rebuilt Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Does
this memory survive
because of the snapshot of that sorrow?

Does pain cling because of the carelessness of my father?
My childhood was a happy one:
Bootsie chasing dogs
from the schoolyard; little blue capes against

the snows of winter; four uncles in khaki -- we tried
to braid their crew-cuts while they
slept. My dearest
love among them came home crazy -- interred





(UNKEMPT -- I ALWAYS WONDERED:

#98
10-02-04

awhile at American Lake, never quite recovered -- achieved a later
sainthood as toothless-teacher-of-art to immigrant children,
no longer possessed
by the matinee-idol-handsomeness that caused my youthful

crush...one moment's nonplussed horror when he kissed me as
a lover. I was never educated.
Oh, I went
to school, but it's taken 'til yesterday

to even touch upon an understanding of the world's human
inhabitants. Cat's are easier. Hence my
early love of
Bootsie, Alexandra, Ganymede, Quixote, Yossarian, Thais, Futhorc --

and my painful shyness, painful to them and me. Who
wants to hang with a mute?
The pain of
parting with Mithradates due to tom-cat rivalry...





WHY THE "M"?)

#99
10-02/04-04

Unkempt, from the Flemish, means "uncombed" according to the OED,
hence an "m" here, no doubt,
for the same
reason as in "comb," which, though unexplained,

goes all the way back to Sanskrit gambha, "tooth." Do
I dare look up the Sanskrit?
But that is
much later in life and, half a

lifetime back, another uncle, shockingly, bussed me once as well.
Apparently, by then I was pretty
and a little
less knowledgeable about life than a kitten.

Oh horrors! All my uncles are dead now. Fashion, today,
is horror of incest. Actually in
thought, I thought
I'd missed some fun. Speaking of sexuality





GARDENS,

#100
10-04-04

my sole woman to woman encounter was a source of
remorse -- I treated her badly after
our lovely mutuality.
Between this poem and the last, I

spent the better part of a restless morning, one a.m.
on, with a poem demanding birth:
The Arms Race.
But I have postponed it. I must get

back to my childhood. I've skipped across the waxing moon.
I was at Moss Hill with Bootsie.
My father had
not yet ripped me from the fence

which gashed my leg deep with gushing blood. I carried
the scar for years, I don't
feel it now.
I look. Hardly able to tell it





PILES OF FALLEN LEAVES.

#101
10-04-04

from a white-spot, there it is! smaller than it was
on my small haunch amid less-wrinkled --
than if I
were thin -- skin. Concentrate! I command my

old gray cells, on grade school, the move to Tacoma,
to Seattle, more grade school, junior
high, socializing problems,
lunching in the toilet, crying all night;

the old haunted house in the swamp we never looked
into, abandoned Craigdarroch in Victoria which
we did haunt,
wandered in -- now landmarked, as historically

significant; my nervous father, about to speak at the Empress,
my shock at his trembling hand;
cream from room-service
trolleys, for our secreted three way snacks,





MY FIRST MEMORIES:

#102
10-05-04

vast halls, jellied tomato consommé on ice in silver tureens,
my sister's mouth open in wonder,
unable to eat.
I fed her. Butchart Gardens. On another

trip my father found a trifle for me by asking
drivers in the ferry-line cars -- but
way later in
life. Now it's all chock-a-block, jumbled together.

To whom does the sequence matter? This morning, I can't
remember if it was my mother
or Betty with
whom I bought, at a lawn-sale, for

a dollar, a length of soft, gray sweat-cloth that has
served as a cuddly warm blanket
for the past
eight years --and a blender. Doris? Betty?





SPACES, THE SKY,

#103
10-05-04

"All is one," Hindus say: It gets more difficult each
year to find the exact separation
between thee and
me. Is that your arm? Mine? Your

thought? Or did you borrow it from me? Or I
from you? I've never understood the
value of attribution.
It seems to me you eat and

it becomes you. Do I need to remember this word
was once a zucchini? Who knows
where you breathe
it in? Who cares? When you breathe

it out, whose is it? Yours? Mine? Who keeps track?
Yet, being massively plagiarized, I was
mightily angered. A
few poems, flattering, over a hundred -- stealing!





THE MOUNTAIN VIEW OF THE FOREST,

#104
10-05/07-04

I've lost the thread, everything tangled into a chaos. When
were you a child and when
were you seventy?
Has today come? Or is this tomorrow?

Who draws the line? Who drew the timber line? Unless
you are talking of hair, just
keep silent. I
look up "keep." "No one," says OED,

"knows where it came from." About 1,000 c.e., it came
suddenly into literary use. My interim
soul decided long
ago that I wouldn't be a player.

Not meant to be, I've come to not wanting to
be. I freeze when I come
near being. I'll
stifle if I don't get out, take





THE TIMBERLINE*

#105
10-07-04

a trip to Bremerton today. I hear sirens, I look
out each time with a jet-engine
trill climbing my
nerves, knowing the city -- the only city

in my purview* -- will be roiling smoke, drifts of paper,
dust. I can see Rainier from
here, but not
St. Helens. She's boiling, quaking. Who can

blame her? I boil too. Not from fear, but from
invasion of my brain by Bush's
Brain, the Goebbels
of our day, the sickness of our

age, black IS white. Don't doubt it. Freedom IS bombs
forever and, floating from the sky,
your child's limbs
exploded against the sun, your house's mortar



*"2. the range of vision, insight, or understanding." p.582, Random House Webster's Dictionary, Third Edition






(I COULD NEVER SEE THAT LINE**,

#106
10-07-04

powdered, trickling from the wind to veil your heart's blood
smeared by Americans on your earth.
This is my
story! Not yours. But the molecules cycle,

twist into unseparateable patterns of redemption: save one, save 'em
all or, vice versa, they all
disappear. My cat's
long teeth, like saber-toothed tiger teeth, clamp

sharply across his gums, poke into his fur, his paws
are softer than fleece. My bright
blood flows from
scarcely feel-able flicks of his scimitar claws.

Childhood, where are you now? In the mud and muck
of daffodil fields? Not even a
fleck upon earth.
Marysville -- where they want to build a





NOR THE BEASTS IN THE CONSTELLATIONS).

#107
10-07/08-04

NASCAR Track. Nothing of me seems to fit into the
universe of "the way things are."
(I see we
are playing Camille this morning.) The sun

pouring in the window, off on an unnecessary ride across
the beautiful waters. I went to
Bremerton and came
home. I hear the word chairs on

the radio and, suddenly, I remember the many kitchen chairs
I painted, both in the flesh
and on canvas
-- or not on
canvas, on paper. I painted dozens of

pictures of one kitchen chair at Shelby Street, acquired, no
doubt, from the Union Gospel Mission,
round wooden legs
and veneer seat. I painted it again





BUT THERE WAS AIR AND SUNLIGHT,

#108
10-08-04

and again and again, in bright golds and reds and
oranges, with blues and blacks, on
eleven by seventeen
sheets of paper, heavy paper with some

kind of pre-computer black and white configurations on the other
side, before my decision to never
use used paper
again for my paintings and poems. An
injunction strictly obeyed for dozens of years,

more or less, and now set aside, liking the paper
trail the used side leaves, like
bird tracks through
the plethora of the 10,000 things to

be recorded day after day after day. Poems lie on
my desk and my floor, in
notebooks and libraries,
3,000 scattered across the NET, more numerous





MOSS AND RAIN,

#109
10-08-04

than the uncountable leaves of autumn which fall and fall
and fall, one after the other
-- each year, crisp
and scattering, birds before my shoe tips.

It is only this year, this seventieth year, that I
have taken to walking the autumn
leaves bare-footed, cold,
wet with dew, across the campus green.

The leaves will decay into mulch, whether left or raked,
but a few will leave their
skeletons, lacey and
frilled, to be picked up, treasured, impressed

(CK -- A hr Sharon Kallis and my accu's)
for works of art, more fragile than the fall. Humankind,
more fragile than the Christian fall
would indicate, soon
turned to mulch, mass graves now on





THUNDERSTORMS WITH LIGHTENING FLASHES

#110
10-08-04

every continent. Why can I not live a day, even
an hour, without the thought of
death, dark or
light, humorous or horrendous dogging my mind-prints?

Every thought that sails from the harbors of my mind,
ends in a drowning, a crash
upon the rocks,
a beaching along the shoals. The most

beautiful of all sights yesterday, was the ferry coming into
harbor, engines reversed, white water churned
up between the
bow and the dock. You see, I

can no longer think of the past, of my childhood,
of my fame, glory and retribution
of quitting that
life, for now I have nothing, need





LIGHTING UP THE HOUSE AND BARN

#111
10-08-04

nothing, want nothing, and still I have so much more
than the people gazing at the
sky to see
bombs coming toward their eyes and mouths

in Afghanistan, Iraq and, this morning, bombs beside Egyptian swimming
pools, Hiltons. Israelis dead, now to
be laid rank
upon rank upon rank beside the Palestinian

dead with whom they have declined to talk peace. It's
just the beginning, another beginning of
the conflagration in
the Middle East, warns my already sinking,

drowned heart, which will end this crucifying civilization, spreading like
a virus more deadly than AIDS
from US to
every nation of the world, willing or





(WHERE THE CAR WAS KEPT).

#112
10-08-04

unwilling participant in the greedification of all humans. Is this
what I grew up for? Certainly, I
played my part,
but quite twenty-two years ago, and quit

again and again each day, each shopping day before Christmas
and after. I look out my
window at the,
pointed out by Jim, toy, Disneyland City.

It's hard to believe it is there, wasn't always there,
both illusions only exceeded in their
foolishness by the
idea: it will always be there, fired-up

by oil, sustained by the inhumane-ness seemingly inherent in the
human psyche. We can't imagine them
as brothers and
sisters, we can't imagine that they bleed





DRIPPING TREES

#113
10-08-04

as we do, that their child, exploded into constituent parts --
arms and legs here, head there,
small breast on
a tree's twig, two toes in the

muddy ditch, gathering each part tenderly into the mother's head
scarf -- hurts as much for her
as it would
for thee and me. Collateral damage. If

this is only collateral, which is the real damage? "Collateral,"
interesting word to be chosen by
the war-mongers, goes
back at least to 1374, Chaucer: "Lying

aside from the main subject. line of action. issue, purpose,
etc.* If the child's death is
collateral, what is
the child's life? "Do not ask for



*p. 617, OED, Vol. C






WITH PUDDLES OF FIRE

#114
10-08-04

whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." Your life,
your loves scattered among the molecules,
meaningless as the
puppet who is breaking down into his

constituent parts. Bush is wired like a robot so he can mimic
words fed to him through a
tiny ear piece
in the presidential debates. When this is

announced, mark my words, the defense will be: Since we
have the technology, wouldn't anyone prefer
to be coached?
No, we would like our president to

have his own brain, not to rent it from a
stooge. Then there will be a
debate about the
good and bad, the two views, of





AND A HEDGE FAR HIGHER

#115
10-08-04

being coached, which the GOP will see runs right up
to election day. Charlie W. McCarthy
with his Bergen
prevail. Holding the knobs of the old

radio to make the sound come in clear, we listened
to Edgar and Charlie, never dreaming
they were prototype
for our 2004 president. This is what

has happened since I arrived, became aware of the world.
When I was a child, the
world was different.
When I grew up change was barely

noticeable. As I have grown old, the coyote in the
chicken house is feeding on the
chickens of life --
there's no farmer to say him nay.






Copyright © 2004 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jhaag@u.washington.edu



A Remembrance Of Things Past

INDEX



This is what has happened

since I arrived,

became aware of the world:

I remember scruff

all around, vast scruffy fields

of golden straw and platinum weeds,

empty lots and unkept

(unkempt -- I always wondered:

Why the "m"?)

gardens,

piles of fallen leaves.

My first memories:

spaces, the sky,

the mountain view of the forest,

the timberline*

(I could never see that line**,

nor the beasts in the constellations).

But there was air and sunlight,

moss and rain,

thunderstorms with lightening flashes

lighting up the house and barn

(where the car was kept),

dripping trees

with puddles of fire

and a hedge*** far higher





A Remembrance Of Things Past


OTHER POEMS



BY JAN HAAG



ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS

INTRODUCTION + POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART



HAAG'S BIO

21st CENTURY ART, C.E. - B.C., A Context