The Desolation Poems

Poetic Forms Used in English



Outside there is a grey sky and a distant
lace of leaves used to transmit, from its fragile
fan, components of air and of light which can't
be seen, but can be inhaled, deep, without gile
by a creature's lungs or love or a dog's pant.
The tree, tall, with new buds, new blooms, guards the stile.
Ascend. Climb the high impenetrable wall.
Beyond is the grace and the sky, the bird's call.



O God, I love the desert and solitude stories,
the wind sucking the land and the bones of the humans dry,
the feel of salt and grit on the lips, and the crunch of the sand
under tires, the snow arriving in flurries,
the heat arriving in flames, the vultures, the dead white sky,
the wind sucking the land and the bones of the humans dry,

The mountains circle, the sage grows grey over the rocks,
the wind sucking the land and the bones of the humans dry,
The soft quiet of dusk, stark silence under the stars
reigns over a world without time locks or ticking clocks.
Thorns flourish, love lies buried. I came out alone to die --
the wind sucking the land and the bones of the humans dry,

Sing me songs, tell me gruesome stories, the lore about
the wind sucking the land and the bones of the humans dry.
Nourished by nothing, I'll grasp the gaps between galaxies.
Nothing of life, nothing of earth, nothing of love can rout
O God, your infinite despair! You will not deny
the wind sucking the land and the bones of the humans dry.

#136 CAROL


When diabolical winter saps,
Where snow conceals the world's great maps

Of individualities times,
Fire's bright hue successfully mimes
The brilliant leaves in their dancing primes
Where snow conceals the world's great maps

Under which the star moles tunnel,
Over which the squirrels tumble
To act as joy's amazed funnel
When diabolical winter saps

The rites of spring, the summer's show,
The fresh warmth and the awesome glow
Of the sun on earth before, below
Where snow conceals the world's great maps,

When diabolical winter saps,
Where snow conceals the world's great maps.



Possessed by the curt desire to possess, to be:
Sylvette XIII, the incandescent white
chrysanthemum, a symphony, Valery's "construction,"
the leaves in autumn, the twisted mulberry --
to suck their essence, to absorb their light --
how is it I still live this wild luxation

to eviscerate the spirit's ghost? Squandered,
caressed by the vikritic boom of the tabla's might,
seduced, ravished by Nada Brahma's libation
I dwell in mind's solitude writing heard



The morning begins at fair noon,
night with the set of the full moon.
Backward it seems to the high sky's pale blue --
fine kale-hued birds will cry.

Watch them dip and circle and shoot straight up,
their nuptials still quite moot.
Down they'll dive and ultimately
take to quiet trees quite kindly.



Intolerant, abide
the cherry blossom's rain,
In solitude's pale heart confide
and walk the dawn's vast plain

Stand up against the cant.
Opt for understanding.
Parse words carefully, confine the rant
to the whirlwind's red screaming.

I know they live on still
in corners round the heart's
clear pain, I know they come to fill
the broken, shattered parts.



The lilac blooms, intoxicant
in spring, beneath the sun's blue sky.
Narcissus stares, would drink, but can't,
and all about the birds do cry

with joy, felicity for leaves
returned, for buds renewed, for seeds
again began within the sheaths
of freshly blooming flowers needs.



Susceptibility greater than conscience knows
sits on his heart, waits as greed for beauty
irradiates his personal wild foes
which, with random, smiling ubiquity,

convince the others, energy and need,
to fight, to gain, to be a vessel full
of reasons to kill, to conquer, set new seed,
to breed and breed and breed, neglecting dull,

mild sense and gentle, sweet reason by blind
untempered arrogance which, claiming first
place, feels free to butcher all others, plant, kine
insect, weed in expanding, self-justifying thirst.



Way up high, high, in the vaulted, chambered air,
I gaze on vacancy. Filamentary me
touches the exalted illusion of to be.
We are molecules, married, a pair who share
brick tower and silence, emptiness and despair,
beauty and its caudal beast, love and its sea,
the smell of spring, of musk and must, the scree
spilling through passageways, remote, quite spare.

I will climb forever, view nothingness,
up the circular stairway's exultation
of breath, of pain, of life, of passion's loss
against walls, roof, membranes of the soul's distress,
pushing, pushing into ether's nation
for release, as if the wings of angels gloss

architecture's old moss,
as if faces in the stone -- mine -- could, soaring
through the air that is me, into water diving
-- my blood -- creatures meeting
-- my bones -- could generate, gestate, one last
burst of awareness, brilliant, freeing, vast.



Death will come. Come again. Death be still. Light candles. Death whisper. Death weep.
Speak loud. Cry shame. Test grief. Yield tears. Wail. Wail. Cut rock.

Sorrow be silent and fear. There is nothing to hear. No where safe. Sheer
great cliffs. Scale trees. Wave bright flags. Hurl high and then press low

hope's no-where ceasing, futile murmur, flow. There will be no past. Not now.
Not here. Wait. Wait. Sleep. Rest. Grave. Ground. Watch fire's fierce flame. Dance.



In rich spring's grey gloom
the sun has no room.
Don't let the clouds loom.
Rescue from the tomb
my bell.
Hold it by the flume.
Resist ringing doom
and tell

how the passions quell
when the high bells knell
the rite.
Snatch sun from the well.
Jiggle each prime cell
to write
of the merry dell.
Ding dong, ding dong, pell
mell, cite

great arcs toward the light,
turn, turn the wheelwright,
boom, boom,
pound from a great height,
let God show his might
zoom, zoom.
Let it rain at night
and dazzle the white
plumed womb.



Failed by the mail, go in June,
oh so soon, to Giddings Jail.
Pray pale Jonquil's maiden froth
will not fight when middens fail.



High on a mountain hurling
shouts swirling in the fog -- sing!
Flying the flurried, hoarse cry
unpurged, unhurried and high.

Moor unseen, music unheard
the mist blighted, insight blurred,
grounded, a panic goodbye,
gorse, music harvested high.



The largest things are larger than the sun,
the moon, the stars. The cosmos sings in fun

of nothing, void, of emptiness, of fear.
Be cautious, careful, sensitive like deer.

Run swift, run nimble, hide in clear blue air.
In space is vastness, darkness, no one there.

Re-think the little things like you and me.
Forget the clouds, the rain. Let sunshine be.

#148 ROUNDELAY (Dryden's form)


Sun and moon soon follow great night,
shine in an archaic dead well.
Shimmering, the ripples just might
galvanize and imitate hell.
Emptiness will show across light.
Nothingness will sound with time's bell.

Shimmering, the ripples just might
galvanize and imitate hell.
Harsh, dark anger knowing day's plight
wanders slyly not to quite tell:
Emptiness will show across light.
Nothingness will sound with time's bell.

Harsh, dark anger knowing day's plight
wanders slyly not to quite tell:
secrets, spells and cunning pure rite.
Hearts beat, heavens fall, the Gods sell.
Emptiness will show across light.
Nothingness will sound with time's bell.

Secrets, spells and cunning pure rite --
heart's beat, heaven's fall, the Gods sell
sooner than reclaim the dark right.
Rising, failing, human, they yell:
Emptiness will show across light.
Nothingness will sound with time's bell.



On the banks of red and rock Grand,
O so noble, Canyon, white wine
from a tall and fragile glass, hand-
made and sitting still in wind's wine

in the sun, like crystal air, stand
at the edge and pledge, for man, wine,
and, for woman, vastly stretched land
and the birds who sing like May wine.

Lover's gift, husband's love unmanned,
and the small birds singing like wine.


5-9 to 30-98


The Loss

Ah, you are gone. Ah you are gone singing,
leaving this deep void in my heart ringing.

Your happiness shines through dark, dispelling
the gloom, the quiet tomb of past dwelling.

I hide in its corners, worship, quelling
my sorrow, my loneliness, everything

in habits of mandatory sighing.
I cry for wind, I cry for the winging

night owl, pray for new wisdom from brooding,
pray I will wake in the dawn deserting

this hurt, despair, this ill favored longing.
In the sun, with the pale stars descending,

I'll search the lawn and the trees, the hanging
moss, the wild wind forever believing

there must be evidence of your loving
beyond measure. As I lay worshipping

in tender delight all the amazing
union of our destinies like blazing

coherent light, I saw lasers scanning
the moon, powerful telescopes peering

beyond galaxies through disappearing
space into certainty's heart, there clinging.

I know you'll return with kindness, bringing
fire to the hearth of my heart, restoring

my faith and my love, my trust, my warming.
The bond of your strong body inviting

my undiluted trust and my twining.
Love, can I live without your embracing,

Can I wander the world without facing
the solitude, the lack of cherishing?

In dreams each night, I'm lost to caressing
insubstantial wisps of remembering:

your lips, your eyes, your dear breath whispering
the eternity of love attesting.

I'll stay here where you were used to being,
breathe the air hoping to find glimmering

priceless antiquities and, devoting
my time cautiously with everlasting

patience, will restore without shattering
infinitesimal pieces which ring

to the sound of your gay, bouyant laughing
in the bliss of happiness enduring.

O, can I bear the loss without screaming,
without crying, without dying, beating

the ground where you were lately seen roaming?
Earth, how unfair to create by stealing

the panic of creatures you gave feeling.
Kind cats kill their mice. Spare me to dying.

For this day I would go without crying,
without trepidation -- not the fearing,

without the dread of beyond, not trembling
if I could be promised total blinding

to the knowledge of love, ever having
had what could be dissolved into losing.

The illusion of ever increasing
riches of spirit, of lushly growing

devotion, of tropical flourishing
exotic blooms, erotic nuturing

has tricked me, fooled my forlorn hope to cling
for the sake of another to piping

and singing and vaunted sacred welding
of separateness in one consuming

whole. You are gone. I am but half hearing
the lecture of my heart. Truths of living

proved false and slowly degrading. Fasting,
I shall turn to the East and go seeking.


The Journey

The sun on the vast plains high and reeking
escorts me moment by moment pleading

its heat and its wrath, movement exceeding
the sense of a donkey at noon plodding,

nodding when all with good sense are sleeping.
"Desist, resist," cries gold light glittering.

Yet, without will, my feet are proceeding
while my mind, mute, prays for shelter, shielding.

My heart prays for the death of my thinking.
God's and my body's will are both shrinking

before the monsterous lust unseeing
of drives that are embedded, fluttering

in the red blood cells within flesh pulsing,
pounding and quivering. I am shambling

as I walk on and on through the scorching
desert, the infinite length of scouring

years, perpetually weary, scorning.
Not yet fully prepared to be viewing

what the bleak future holds for reviewing,
yet ardently, passionately praying

to never return to jeopardizing
the world's wonder by need iterating

its mindless necessity, by warping
pleasant excursion into harsh warring,

whimpering, insistent, blind, strangling.
I flee the louring sky. Yet mastering

my magic carpet of complex gridding,
I glide over the whirling world flying

the intricate, high wind world's harrowing
upsweep, down draft, rocking and blunt reeling.

On the rug's pattern, conning its keying,
I steer in a bound round the earth keeping

my stillness, curiosity mapping
the plains of the desert. The canopying

forest's irridescent green acceding
to the sun's bright probe flashes, displaying

the endlessness of one color's healing
powers over human hearts emptying,

hoping to revive the naturalizing
of pure loving, blessing, careful listening.

I fly through the universe demanding
a difference from God's interrogating

gift of the great human mind yammering,
yodeling, yapping, yawning, non-yielding.

Out-of-sync, the useless, flawed-reasoning,
clay-built creature keeps interviewing

for possibilities, still pondering
alternatives, other coursing

for eternity's river while I sing.
Singing for the jubilee, rejoicing,

steering my time woven, red, ground-looming
shuttle mount through, beyond the transpiring,

remotest reaches of manifesting
light, seeking new questions, understanding

the tumbling, trampling, tossing and treading.
I will find rest, renewal. A stinging

quotidian needed awakening.
I will find thee, I will find revealing

assurance that the looked for unveiling
is written on sands of time, on blowing

ingots of feathers and down, on sinking
soft beds of future and past, succeeding

the day by day unpledged rich offering
of surpise, replenishment uniting

what would have been, what will be. Numbering
the journey's final stop, utilizing

destination's code, we are arriving
to muse keening, at the planned harvesting.


The Panegyric

Praise to the land, the spring and the lightning,
the lushness of bloom, the carob's calling

with its odor of musk and decaying
richness, of heavy unguents enfolding.

Praise for the yearning and validating,
for the rain and sun endlessly quarrelling,

the gamelan sound of leaves xylophoning,
to the late tears and the wind responding.

Praise the cyclone, the hurricane raging,
the tsunami wild and high and snatching

at mountains, man's frail effortful housing,
upheavals that end destiny's tossing.

Send encomia, daunt God's nattering.
Humans crawl upward in spite of oozing

subhuman diseases, suppurating
psyches, still hoping for madness' cleansing.

They shout from rooftops, vituperating
volcanoes of sheer violence spewing

uncontainable pain, terrorizing
their small bodies of bone and of bleeding.

Pray for them, Shiva. Pray for them killing
their own and their neighbor, blind fear stoking,

their rage and their tears. Pray for their sobbing,
sweet Buddha. Pray their inhumane training

by humans will rinse out before wringing
the last vestiges of compassioning

grace that hides somewhere in the recessing
soul. Praise Man! Who will praise man? Redeeming

only their own soul, for the scales tipping
may never be righted again. Jesting!

God jests with the creatures He wrought, ceding
to their mad power and perverse planning.

Omnipotently, He could by lording
have sent them grandly and kindly sailing

down rivers of a different course. Harping,
listening: neither are God's strong points. Hewing

to visions that don't work is describing
God made in man's image and man conning

God's original script. Pristine, hedging,
why should He change His plans when jaywalking

is no option in diurnal zoning?
"Rules are rules!" -- whoever, petitioning,

might see a different scenario ping
with the rightness of a snapped glass zinging.

Ignore the great wind's gentle zephyring
agreement to protect. Go yodelling

across blue-white, zincated roofs glaring,
clutching axioms too precious, urging

a standstill to change. Everything changing
everywhere newness, except obstructing

laws proven unworkable. God, ridding
the world of man is a thought promising

benefit to nature. Creatures zesting
for their life and respite from man's trampling

will appreciate Your listening, swanning
at last the irrefutable damning

evidence gathered against Your wailing,
rampaging, blind, deaf, befriended sibling.

Listen! Hear this encomium ending.
You and Your creation of clay kindling

symbiotic, nepotistic, mincing
dances to tunes meant for the expanding

"All" that can be loved, consider something
beyond Your own loneliness. Fragmenting --

consider it, chance changing, revealing
what we know is the heart of Your singing.



Memories briefly serve
to resurrect contact
with the hidden, capacious mind.
Rushing, forgoing tact,
large landscapes wind and curve,
passionately subtract
details from the heart's beat entwined
with longing, fable, fact.



Light mauve surrounds the evening sky,
a grand dame marking her time to die.
With wisps of silver clouds enclosed,
horizons momentarily posed,
she illuminates horizons high
above the westward turning eye.

Beyond the mountains she'll defy
the guards of approaching inky dye,
Indigo forests, obsidian cliffs.
In the harrowing, dull obsequious shifts,
she'll lose, of course, and bargain, buy
a purple morning with her lie.



Fresias from the moon, lilacs from
the sun in May, scented like some
long longed for dream of paradise,
run along, pace my soul, entice
me to leap high to the bright rainbow
where glittering gold and colors flow

from the seasons of sun and rain
on our spinning ball of blue. Deign
to notice the shimmer of distant stars,
consider the great rugs of far Fars,
note the seasons and skills that show
where glittering gold and colors flow.



The delicate arrangement of crystal bells
of rain on winter's fine twigged maples shimmer
by the moon's summer reflected light which tells
of distant warmth written as a guiding primer

of galaxies churning through heaven's ghostly light.
Stay with me while I meditate, with care recite
knowledge of the moving season's books of beauty
created by the sun's simple duty.



The gold and glory of morning lit the world,
spinning the blue-green ball on its axis.
From dark to light and back again it hurled
enjoying its sidereal practice.

Great love was vowed and love returned until
man appeared with knife, gun and need to breed
beyond all reason, all chastening pain, to kill
the nuturing earth whose needs he neglects to heed.

(Sicilian, Italian; Sicilian, Heroic; Italian, Heroic quatrains)


Mother died twelve years ago today. "I
came, I saw, I left," her mild epitaph.
In yesterday's architectural: "Why
this world, not another singular paph?"

the guru described the earth's history
in terms yet unknown in the Western wisdom
world. Europeans forced to find their crumb
of gold at the edge of the globe, beyond the sea

by Islam's conquest of Gaia's trade, Gaia's
heart. They came, they saw, they dismembered great
civilizations, awesome beyond the layas
of their paltry dreams, absorbed concepts of fate

and justified their barbarisms by
theft of grandeur, pristine, pure. Eye for eye,
they fought, with God given diseases their fee,
mass death, spiritual lucre dumped like scree.

Stolen gold to generate their power,
limit Judaic Cristianity's
mutation into Mohammed's divinities,
words sublime, swift sword and steady shower

outstripping Alexander's boastful, huge naff,
who conquered the world only by one small half.
O mother mine for your equilibrium! --
to come and go, sans blood to augment your sum.

Rispetto, Rispetto, Rispetto is based on Vikram Prakash's lecture of 5-14-98

Rispetto= Italian Poetic form, from "'respect', i.e. honor paid to the beloved woman." Preminger & Brogan, p. 1074
paph = pertaining to Paphos, a city of Cyprus sacred to Aphrodite, hence love; also an abbreviation for the Paphiopedilum orchid
guru = teacher
Gaia = Greek earth goddess, hence earth
laya = rhythmic structure, tempo in North Indian classical music
naffs = the desires, as referred to by Rumi
sans= without, in French."



A kitchen vast, is life's great claim,
the cooking of food upon the flame,
the succulent, sensuous game.
A kitchen vast

with flowered tile of whites and blues,
creating, concentrically, hues
with indigo shadowed views.
A kitchen vast,

filled with scents of garlic, legumes
rich with spice, sauce and fragrant fumes,
its high arches framing endless rooms.
A kitchen vast,

of huge pantries, small paradises,
adorable crisis, splendid vices,
sacred to humans and mices --
A kitchen vast!



Montezuma's pine sends candles
toward the sky and silver mantles,
sunlit, green, graceful, long needles
down to the ground where my sandals

walk upon the grass as lightly
as light upon the sky, gently
among the daisies, the cotton,
breathing brilliant air intently,

gazing toward the zenith where pine
mingles with the wind, lends the vine
monumental, noble structure,
where the cottonwood's tufts of fine

silk fly against the sky, snowflakes
of spring. Intimate the earth quakes,
as a damsel approached by vandals,
trembling lace on pines, hidden lakes.



The friend's departure fills me with a dread
of many things we might have left unsaid
both what we voiced, what we left in silence
on which the wild imagination fed.

In civilized, courteous compliance
each forgives the other's odd dalliance,
and fiddles with wood and dangerous fire,
incensed, longing for incense's fragrance.

For love is deep and love is strong as wire
binding each to each through the immense mire
of shattered, irreconcilable dreams
burning lifetimes of karma on the pyre.

Departure, even in love, often seems
as final as the unheard crash of beams
in ancient houses left on the homestead.
Yet, unseamed, cherishing each will write reams.

#160 RUBAI


One's had enough experience, she cries,
with rancorous temperament, but espys
the flaw in momentary reasoning
knowing that time's wing flies and flies and flies.



Pigmented dark, the chlorophyll rises
wayward in spring to tree tops and flower leaves,
veridian green, causing veridic crises.
The naked branches, used to winter's freeze,
must cloth themselves in blossoms though it grieves
them to hide their sturdy brown limbs, their high twigs.
They wait in shame for autumn's golden sheaves,
dancing beneath their gowns of green to gigs
created by their unwanted, leafy, musical wigs.



Entertainment for the world preserved
in poetry, philosophy stirred
with science, religion, math immured
technology, frequently reserved
information provides the spare ration
for belief sans proof, reason inured.



It spins from the house tops, it will formulate
sprials predicting the wind across the sea,
like smoke in the air, your love, your great love for me.

You claim it in the open street, adumbrate
it in my closed, warm, loving arms that free.
It spins from the house tops, it will formulate
sprials predicting the wind across the sea.

Alone, forlorn, like ash upon the grate
I contemplate, the fog bound, thin grey tree
sharing its amorphous, light veil like thee.
It spins from the house tops, it will formulate
sprials predicting the wind across the sea,
like smoke in the air, your love, your great love for me.



My bus, though slow, is quite strict,
International District:

Ethiopian, Khmer, Jew
jostled, silent, reimbue

the traveler's dream, deep and pure,
for exotic adventure.

On the city bus, I go
with Hindu, Muslim, condo

bound. My home, this global gift,
Chinese, African, Buddhist.

To enjoy and not to shun
all others is earth's function.



Intergalacticly pale adjectives resound to catch
the world in words of awesome size, to match, to measure, fetch

the cosmos' light to wondering human minds, to capture size,
to capture depth, Aurora's crystal colors as they rise.

No word touches the sight, the lack of sound, the glittering star,
the yawning puzzlement of the universe's open tar-

hued foreverness, nor that we will disappear one quiet day
down the path where the dinosaurs' footprints have shown the way.



There are times of despair in life, there are times of heart-felt pain,
there are times for the gnashing of teeth, times for screaming,
times for ranting and weeping, times for secluding one's self,
times to hide from the pain of life, and the pain of human beings,
times to return to the earth as a tree, as a flower that blooms and dies,
swiftly it blooms and swiftly it dies, for the time of beauty is short.
The persistence of anguish is long, the time of despair is forever.


Copyright © 2002 Jan Haag

Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: or








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