The Desolation Poems

Poetic Forms Used in English



To be so desolate for poetry! --
Hear my lone call from seas beyond the sea!
Earth house me, heaven nurture me, come rains,

Decide my fate. O wind, destroy the pains
Endured, the careful plans for rectitude
Sought high, or crept upon as light and rude.
Once writ, twice sold for practice, it is not
Less easily, precisely crafted, wrought,
Addressed, sent out, purchased, remembered, told,
Told twice for lack or love of form. Each mold
Intrinsically, hermetically misfiled
Over or under complications mild,
Nonce-formed, perfected, more than anyone can

Peruse conveniently or keep in mind.
O do it, just do it! Try Zen, try pen
Embracing image and sense. Forget. Just ken
Most gently what you can. Life is not so short,
So circumscribed as poetry's last forte.



The red brick square gleams in the late light,
buildings, immensity, black as night
figures, tiny, stroll onto the site
conscious of extraordinary height
where the downing sun breaks through gold high clouds.
People less bold, step off to the right.


Post concert, my heart soars opiated,
hosts higher enchantment, conceives Lethe
dreams, calls up desire, drums danger. Outcries
team through my passages, temples, and go
coon hunting beneath dark thoughts of cruel
boons granted by guru, wise without Sa.
Rings round the small, great eyes gleaming, protect
king prowling interstices, nobled koi
fish, sturdy from all tense drama, echo
wishes -- fearful as all becomes music known.



"When have I asked you
for a sop for my soup? I don't want gifts
from you. I want you to be ready
for the gifts I give."
-- Rumi, Sheba's Gifts to Solomon

When have I asked you?
When did it seem too
difficult to restrain impulse? Need, not
unreliable, adored fear, fought
to await your due.
When have I asked you

for a sop for my soup? I don't want gifts
from a fearful devotee who fears rifts
in the fabric structured of love plus
heart felt bliss. Ecstasy? No such fuss
to be made, no such muss to be brought. Whiffs
for a sop for my soup? I don't want gifts

from you. I want you to be ready
for the rich royal red heart I'll steady
at home. Clear bell-toned,
gentle winging love moaned
at the great, gold, glory quite heady
from you. I want you to be ready

for the gifts I give.
Do not pass nor sieve
those very things I have
so much like heart-salve
to inspire to live
the gifts I give.



Of guilt and fear and foibles made
the heart that cries at night
alone in prayer, afraid, unveiled
will cry, and laugh and fight.



The utter quiet
of the morning with bird song...
The sea of commerce
roaring to drown solitude
sanity, sacred
or profane, noise and silence...



Why the vast black pool,
rectangular, with a square
of grass? -- One very gold fish.



The wild blue sky shelters the awful sun,
the grey mud flats consume the endless land,
the desolation rules nothingness, none
but terrifying creatures try to stand.

The grey mud flats consume the endless land,
no trees or grasses blow nor shift the wind
but terrifying creatures try to stand
against the storm, the sand. The death's head grinned.

No trees or grasses blow nor shift the wind
or dance nor fill eternity with light
against the storm, the sand. The death's head grinned,
its hollow eyes quite empty, like the night.

The desolation rules nothingness, none,
the wild blue sky shelters the awful sun.



The great oceans of ancient times
yawn wide their jaws, their mountains mist,
the landscape, flat, dry and sand, mimes
eternity's shores, death's great fist.

The sun born amid chaos shines
through the sunset pass, verdant, kissed
by unimagineable lines,
eternity's shores, death's great fist.

Reverberating like a gong
behind monumental rocks, hissed
great snakes, green and bright blue, along
eternity's shores, death's great fist.

Freedom! the soul cries gliding by
through the rocks looking for the gist
of life's charm that might justify
eternity's shores, death's great fist.

Tears fall as the boundless beauty
of nothingness sheers high, a twist,
a fine, spare elegance to see
eternity's shores, death's great fist.



Austerity rings noble Spain's
Islamic past, and opulence
crowns palaces, gardens immense,
quite paradisical as Jain's

fine filigree in stone with veins
of music caught in temples dense
with figures blithe as weather vanes
of marble's white impermanence.

Sun strikes the land, announces pains
in payment stark, ravished, which wanes
and cries its own inconsequence
asks its stone-heart for recompense.



The smell in the air,
pure, sensuous, radiant --
sun shine as bird song



The mountains, gray and quite transparent, drift
one over, under, through each other, high
above the desert salt and sandy cliff.

#13 ENGLISH SONNET (Shakespearean)


When memories begin to rise from my
sonambulant and sleepy brain, twilight
clears clouds that seem to gather to defy
the sun, the warmth, the life, the dance, the bright

blue beauty of a dying summer's lore.
When stars begin to wink new fears rise up
always new fears. Does God want terror more
or humans' pitiful love in a cup

with golden etchings commemorating
the memorable few times when God's kind smile
outweighed his wrath? Is God mean and blaming
small, frightened and as full of fear, nay vile

as creatures born of his loneliness, born
in his image, born cringing, forlorn.



I will never know when you declare you love me
why you do not show
me your face, nor abide in
my presence, nor touch my hand.

Love makes the heart grow.
Love answers all questions asked
of itself. Love smiles
in a heart free and alone.
Love is your thought of my love.



In time's history today is eight/ six/ nine seven.
In eighty-six I died, in

ninety-seven you,
too, left, leaving our daughter
an Earth orphaned, free, alone.



To die
today like this,
unleash to float among
the molecules, at last released . . .
Where to?



Alive today, alive tonight
I'll walk across the bridge
I'll see the dark, I'll see the light
I'll climb upon the ridge
and through my tears I'll know your plight
while round me ride the vig-
ilante winds, the rocking kite,
the storms upon the height.

O come again my love, my fear,
today, tonight I'll wait
upon the high wild ridge, the bier
of thought, of hope, of fate.
And when the Gods decide to hear
my plea, my hope, the dat -
um left by you, the wind will veer
the sky, the earth will wait.



"Hu"is the pronoun of divine Presence.

All humans make up sacred words for praise.
Yes, humans make up mighty words for praise,
then shock themselves with the constructed maze.

So men and women make up words to shock.
Yes, humans will construct wild words to shock
then make audacious, wiley use of stock

small bugaboos, mosquito-haunted finds.
Yes, bugaboos, mosquito-haunted finds --
buzzing, burring, exacting haunted minds

that dare not speak of allahiorhu.
Yes, dare not speak of allahiorhu,
the rich, creative, too exacting few

who decline to conceive of "one with God,"
be "deified" and burst, with hu,their pod.

Re: "Hu" see (Coleman Barks)



This morning, lying still --
at peace at last, no thought
lay waiting in my head, no fear
no claim, no ghastly "ought,"

and nothing cold or damp
to rob my heart of cheer --
I grew serene. As flowers bloom,
as lilacs coax a tear

of sheer mad joy, I lay
so still, so soft, so sweet,
as if the spring had come to be
with me in winter's sleet.



At dark of night
when the high flight
of birds is right
you see shadows

against the sun
as if a pun
on light and dun
were often foes

with the blue moon
rising too soon
above the dune
all luminous,

all grand and bright
a glowing kite
across the site
quite numinous.

Birds caw in fun
clouds above run
and blush to shun
the dying light.

And so it goes,
red as the rose
the last light flows
into the night.

#20 RHUPUNT (Long line)


At dark of night when the high flight of birds is right you see shadows
against the sun as if a pun on light and dun were often foes

with the blue moon rising too soon above the dune all luminous,
all grand and bright a glowing kite across the site quite numinous.

Birds caw in fun clouds above run and blush to shun the dying light.
And so it goes, red as the rose, the last light flows into the night.



To wake at night and see the light
surrounding me as if in flight
glittering bits of angel bright
bold wings soaring high to ignite

the wonder of an amazed kite
who thought the blue sky hers by right
and kept the angel's wings in sight
whether she flew to a great height

or skimmed the ground with her beauty's might
in daylight for sheer love, delight
where glittering, winking pyrite
near stars shown out hoping to smite

with cycle, ritual and rite
such rivals flying, daring quite
as if it were not a great slight
to vaunt their glorious new plight

above and directly in sight
of all the ladies and the knight
who stood below. He, full of fight,
thinking, as men do, but to smite

or at the least to charge, indict
the angel and the kite for blight,
the stars, the night for will to incite
too great a light high in the night.



The robin hopping,
the seagull flying,
the crow cawing --
these herald spring.
The new air comes hot,
the flowers are caught
and freshen or not
summer's singing.

The leaves grow brighter,
the blooms get lighter,
like a bright glider
they ride fall's chill.
While harsh winter's key
shoos away the bee,
we yet sing to see
the sunrise still.

#22 CYHYDEDD HIR (Long line)


The robin hopping, the seagull flying, the crow cawing -- these herald spring.
The new air comes hot, the flowers are caught and freshen or not summer's singing.

The leaves grow brighter, the blooms get lighter, like a bright glider they ride fall's chill.
While harsh winter's key shoos away the bee, we yet sing to see the sunrise still.



The desert stretches to the winds, to sands
beyond the hills, to cactus prickly green
and blue, the sky above as pale as lands
all washed by winter snow. But heat -- a sheen,
a sheet, a sword, a violent furor
of rays -- so strong no one can see the light
in sun's great circle shimmers, glints and glows,
and bids each creature to exult in war
against denied, curtailed, quite blinded sight,
to find some means to overcome its foes,

find shade, cool rest from deserts lying -- won
because it hides, it waits, it melts, it steals
all things: will, water, rights -- to feed the sun's
insatiable brightness. Its shine congeals
what is not there. It manifests mirages,
and vision, elusive insight, cold nights,
bright moons, inhospitable, reclusive
long views of solitude in dreams, barrages
of pains, hallucinations, small delights,
rage, sorrow, hatred, fury, fire. If

short life were lived on a desert plateau
with wind and sand and stars and scentless waste,
desireless stasis, Argus-eyed deep woe
to watch each Io move, each breath, each taste,
the sun would burn up envy, fever, too,
and leave the mountains bare and stark, a place
with widening space and air so clear and cliffs
of joy so sheer, one's desert love would woo
the beating heart to happiness like lace
quite fine, quite sheer, quite open, and bestow all gifts.

#24 LAI


Take belladonna
spin the rotunda
the mind media
increase the java
jib, gab
adopt Madonna
fight bacteria
and bomb!

Drive your Cadillac
ignore Apurimac
grant greed
its right to ransack
the total rickrack
world's fragile fabric
great need.

Sharpen jealousy
create rivalry
and rifts
have a jamboree
shout and laugh with glee
near cliffs
shoot to make them flee
mother and baby
moot shifts.



The lark rises to the roof,
dandelions send their poof
off into the springtime winds.
The horse falls and skins his hoof.

All flora and fauna dance
bursting with sunshine romance.
Buds wake upon leafing trees,
nod to the breeze with a glance

of full blown erotic bliss,
lean down to the blooms to kiss,
stretching, longing like a cat
on a mat -- for one good fish.



The Irish were happy, the Irish
were all free, to sing, dance and perish.
It is their fine stories they cherish.
Their laughing delight was too garish.

The dour, sober, hard-working British
circled the world to capture and dish
the Potlach, the potato, and each wish
of people for freedom, loving jiss.

Hard work was the watch word, so they could
live like great lords and thieve others' wood,
make death certain and life full of should.
Pursuit, not happiness is the good.

Once people had legitimate need,
now they simply work and die of greed.



The gaudy tulips bow showing stars
of yellow pollened stamen, black bars,
and violet petals,
green leaves, no sepals,
fragile hulls
from white jars.

Eager, stretching to kiss my hands
each stem with quartrefoil leaves stands
holding the flowers'
faces. It showers
its powers,
from spring lands.

Dark winter lives beyond the window,
overcast skies support the black crow,
on my white table
my friend is able
a fable
love to show.



Westerners find consolation
in Alexander having won

a foothold near the Hindu Kush,
planting soldiers, giving a push

to villages by the Indus.
Congratulating themselves thus,

failing to observe India,
old Sind, onomatopoeia

keeping them out without a shout
finding no need to hire one scout.

India is not such a dunce.
Indian history does not mention him once.



I woke into the morning's pure white light,
a desert sun, a moonbeam's silver glow.
It was as if the sun could show at night,
all with the moon's consent and stars to tow,
along a dancing, shimmering, strange sight
that night was day and day was night, a row
of infinite illuminated in-
crements of time to which my love was kin.

His blue-white bones sparkled in my embrace
as if the stars had seen and chased the moon,
the sun, and each descended, glowed, to race
outside time, outside life, beyond my dreams, soon
to see that even enlightenment was grace
that could be chased away by doves whose croon-
ing to the sun, the moon that they were two
not one convinced my love -- who who, who who.



Without tension and without stress
beneath the covers, warm, secure
lies woman ready to confess,
her thoughts mellow, her thoughts quiet pure
fingering eternity's egress.

I'll not use it, nor abuse it.
Kittens I'll have but no children.
I condone the longing to quit:
having slept in peace, practiced zen,
enjoyed the whirling of world wit.

Enough is enough in a world
of greed. What happened to pure need
of beauty like the spider's pearled
web in the fog? Planting blind seed
is not me. For this life I've furled

desire, practiced inquiry,
built up, restored, educated
my molecules, which, still fiery,
I perceive might yet be mated
with neutrino's in an eyrie,

breed dark matter and continue
to fill the unaccounted for
invisible space with no clue
of the empty bore, gathered lore
or the universe's rued glue.



What is a cobweb? I see no
spiders, only the gathering
of dust lines and veils clinging
and must manifesting to blow
in the lazy air set singing

by quietly whispered bird song,
by the meow of a cat or
caterpillar's dream, even more
by banging a gleaming brass gong,
calling the wind in at the door.

O what is a cobweb curtain?
Why am I veiled from all sight?
wake in the drift of the night,
see lace and motes in uncertain,
dim, and half invisible light.

Send me a kitten, send some cats,
help me unwind from nothingness,
from turning dust motes, spiderless
webs. Take shredded bright straw of mats;
knot them again to something-ness.

Weave something from nothingness like
the spider, the motes and the air.
Nothing can survive, nothing fair,
nothing but what feels like a spike
through hearts parting a human pair.



Rest in happiness, rest in peace, rest my
love in this long lease of high solitude.
Be like the birds, like the natural beast,
quiet, befurred, never ceasing in mood,
whether feasting or lying, to reply

to spring's new air with gamboling delight,
strolling across woodland, meadow or stream,
fauna on flora waking from the cold,
in shadow folding to accept the dream,
dancing in high grass, extolling the light.

Praise aloneness, pairs parted to pursue
the hopes of the body, hopes of each limb,
the head and the heart, the eyes and the skull.
Let the feet wander, let the mind renew
the primal laughter in empty space grown dim

with the coming from the east of the night.
Do the lions and geese -- like cats -- love cream?
If we loved them would they dehisce as bold,
increase their friendly regard, even beam,
rising like good yeast to proclaim our right

to adore them like gold, be their ally,
pet them and scold them and bring them good food?
As they grow old and we older, at least
there will be peace if we shoulder our lewd,
moldy passion to never, never die.



Simple and easy, really quite queasy
is how one feels after the news,
merry and glarey, really quite darey
as if one had a pair of new shoes

to dance and romance, without a glance
to future or past or civility.
Lewd is the news, crude, rude, and booed,
with lightweight anchors loaded with millions

to gossip and giggle and tell the dirt
to flirt with porn which has become the norm
to aid the world to attend to murder
while earth shattering slaughters go unheard of.


Copyright © 2002 Jan Haag

Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: or








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