The Desolation Poems

Poetic Forms Used in English



shining light notorious
shine down upon me today.
Just one ray is glorious!



Morning light moves through the night,
across the sight of silence,
up thence in the sky the kite,
quite tense, bites at our patience,

reflects unseen lightning lost,
signaling dawn's tossed rising,
touching the heart of the loon
soon to be mourning for morning.



Purring came from the kitten
smitten, no whisker stirring,
sounding sleep on the cushion,
paws pushing for the purring.



Figures flying ice resemble
assembled blades bigger

when time's trigger trembles
for wind's icy figures.



Birds fly the sky swiftly cackling,
crying, "cuckoo," culling curds,
dropping turds, and tightly baffling
butterflies fearing laughing birds.



Butterflies, hosts of rare bounty,
beauty often under-buys
time's fluttering. The wing replies:
erase lies to butterflies.



The godly boy bore the laurel
on his elfin
head with his grinningly selfish,
sail-fin, tail-spin

shimmering, sensual, secret
smile. And oddly,
he much wanted to bodily
be the godly.



Bill drove down the isle of delight
not once disappearing with fright
at the thought or the breath
of scandal's quick death
nor Starr's obscene pounce from the Right.



Across the dawn's light,
"What a fool am I,
so black so lone,
not to be won,"
cried the strange magpie.

"Don't imitate others.
Don't steal their songs.
Stand alone,
fully shown,
grab life by the tongs!"

For the fool doth say:
"One's enough, enough
of each one's
immortal tongue
lest destiny and fate rebuff."



Is there anything, anything,
any in the world, in the world
that believes in something, something,
thing that can be uncurled, uncurled
be curled and be refurled, refurled?
O God, touch my bedroll at night,
my cooking fire by each day's light.
Lead me around the world in dreams,
sail my bright yearning, flame-red kite
by a string lighter than it seems.



Afloat and free
I wandered through the nights
quite glad to laugh at tea
and foolish little rites
invented from the sea,

afloat and free
I sat upon the shore
quite eager. Lend a plea
in court, repose, adore,
swim immediately

afloat and free
around the kingdom come
as if you were a bee
then sting, quite silent, hum,
then quickly run and flee.



First to arrive on the wings of Hades
was artificial inseminations,
next, the Petri dish and test tube babies,
then AIDS soon swept across God's creations,
the Lewinsky Disease ripped up nations
to blight the career of the greatest Rex
and introduced to male politicians
fear and a chilling effect upon sex.

Then came cloning: sheep, mice, loss of ladies.
Perjury bloomed, Elephant confections.
Crime! cried Starr, and McCarthy-like crazies.
Like AIDS he swept across God's creations.
Throughout Washington shriveled erections
made men's lives both public and private wrecks.
Whoever indulged in fornications
must suffer chilling effects upon sex.

The Witch-hunt escalated like scabies.
Luckily the people of most nations
ignored the Press Corps infectious rabies,
mourned AIDS sweeping across God's creations.
They allowed for pleasure's recreations,
for men and women's reflective, complex
deep'ing horror of manipulations,
refused to chill love of God-given sex.

The wine is gone and the songs are gone,
moral AIDS sweeps throughout God's creations.
The demagogue, led by a harlot's hex,
manufactures crimes and chills via sex.

Dear L: I'm hoping our Rhodes Scholar will escape the clutches of this sex-McCarthy who I am sure, God be my witness, never never never ever told a fib about his sex life. Though it certainly does open up a whole new field of Jurisprudence (making lawyer's ecstatic!) where you can keep scratching and scratching at a person's life until you do find the semblance of an itty bitty crime and then cut down the "frame" to fit the (perhaps) picture. The blue dress seems to me to prove, almost conclusively, if the DNA comes out a match, that at some time in the last year or so, our Monica (or perhaps Linda Tripp), very likely might have had access to Clinton's bidet. It's hard to believe American life at times.



Along the road of stones, across meridian
fields flew the birdsong. Shrillness followed the silence.
The fading of the green leaves, drew the obsidian
blue bats of night, compelling recompense
among the hued black shades. Twinkling, perfidian
bits of light sky, imitated the stars' presence.

Snakes hanging from the ceiling, dark red and glorious,
writhing links, God-like, created creatures living
beyond the reach of death. The eye's notorious
will to see over, edges repercussing
beneath the fine appearance, scratched at the furious
and banal sea, where the weight, dead and circling,
out-rests vision's eternity. Come to the end of
the ocean's depth. Wind round and round and shove.

#247 ALLEGORY (in Usnik)



"Mother is the whole conceit," said
the repository of seed,
Mary, who knew not man but f----- the Godly ghost.

"Father is the whole concept," said
Gabriel, the ghost messenger,
apparently using a turkey baster's skill.

"Next time I'll call for cloning," said
Mary, "use my own seed and my
own time to create the daughter of a God-ess."

"Fine," said man, "nurture is all there
is. Ten thousand year traditions
will endure. I have created human nature."

"But not the chromosomes," said she,
"XX equals me and XY
equals you. Perfect cloning and, 'poof', you are gone.

So much for the mistake of your
'human nature', your ten thousand
years of brawling. Enough is enough is enough."

"Enough is a concept whose time
will never come. When there's no 'Y'
you'll miss the drama, challenge, the competition."

"Everything is female before
it becomes a destructive sport.
Life and death become pleasure, bliss, without male-



Wilst pursue the man until you find the crime?
Wilst pursue forever.
Wilst pursue the man even if there was no crime?
Wilst pursue forever.
He says there was no crime.
Wilst pursue forever.
And the injured party says there was no crime.
Wilst pursue forever.
Even if the accusing party has committed worse crimes.
Wilst grant immunity to creature and Mom.
What happened to "innocent until proven guilty?"
Wilst not be bound by old fashioned trivia.
What happened to "judge not lest ye be judged.?"
I intend to run for President.
On what grounds?
That I never ever ever ever told a fib about my sex life.
And obstruction of justice?
Vengeance is mine saith the the Republican Party.
It used to be called McCarthyism.
A dedicated man!
Then Watergate.
What's a little break-in?
Then Irangate.
A trivial misjudgement.
Now it will be called To Starr-gate!
To Starr-water.
Sounds good to me.
Wilst though railroad the President?
If at all possible. Railroads built the Republican Party.

#249 BUCOLICS (Iambic Tetrameter Sestet)


Now that the sheep and the cattle are gone
from the countryside round about Seattle,
houses are built over the meadow and woods
where, when the moon goes down, the dawn
rises, not over land, but little
developments, riotous with coulds.



The heart wears out with time and meditation,
the tears dry up and leave the earth quite parched.
One turns with hope to find a second creation
beyond the blue and glorious vault that arched
high over man's initial love for time's
endless on-running ditties, inelegant rhymes.

#251 TROILUS STANZA (Rhyme Royal)


Remember Troilus, recall Cressida.
Who were they? What did they do to survive
to this day as a warning, a coda?
Faithless Cressida, a coin to contrive
a bargain, nothing more. Let her revive
at her own peril -- a bit of chattel,
one more justification for battle.

#252 COMPLAINT (in Fourteeners)


I was brought up to look outside for solace to my heart,
to peer at men's eyes and lips, and tip my head to assign
rare meanings to their fumbling words, intentions to their groping
thoughts so unused to awareness of another person's being.

I was taught to think it love, this confusion before foundering chaos,
until I grew to be a woman, found the joy, ecstasy
in freedom, in life alone, in work, in adventures round the world
as long as I was willing to keep my own heart splendidly furled.

I could lament the creation of the world by such shabby
standards, the tragedy of fate, destiny's course, were it
not so plain that man's challenge is himself, his tragedies
his love of silly rules, lamentable idiocies.



Appreciation for our script
Begins anew each time I write
Celestial musings of the Gods
Demarcate evolutions from
English back to Summerian.
From clay tokens to computers
Gyrating round logographics
High concept of sound equal graph.

Invented by who knows what tribe
Justly intent in absence to
Kindle the presence of their thought,
Lace horizons with their visions.
Mantras welled up from Sanskrit's sound.
Notations carved deep into stone
Open the sanctuary of
Past worlds and civilizations,

Quelling curiosity's quick
Rush on speculation's great need,
Sacred, secular and divine,
To explain sky, sun, star and earth.
Urumqui, furtherest from all
Views of every ocean, yet writes
With scripts quite as elegantly
Xeroxable as any of

Younger lineage since zero and
Zen reduced time to trivia.



Alphabetically we may daub
beautiful words Asiatic,
common words far from the ice cold
domains far to the north, run ode
East and West together, rebuff
foreign epithets, and gambling
great masses of high sounding truth,
hieratic declensions, pi
Iridescent, devotion's Hajj,
jocular meanings and quick lock
kinetics, replace parallel
languages fused tightly like gum,
monitored by no one, not Han
nor Hun nor Jain nor Latino --
orthographically a gap.
People even in new Iraq,
quinquangular plus, must refer
relatively frequently sans
summations qualified, latent,
turgid, to redolent Urdu.
Uighur is gone, but Turkish rev
virtually produced mellow
worlds, secret hieracosphinx,
Xerxes' alphabet's sorcery.
Yoga, they say, means union's buzz,
Zen's truth, aphonic-phobia.

#255 CANCION II (in Italianate Lines)


Time, and the distribution of love in this
world will eventually mend
even the most broken heart shattered by loss
of trust and desire. O love,

leave me now, depart with the quiet of deer
in the forest attentive
and quick. Leave me with time and my broken heart.
Leap into darkest shadow

elongated by the drifting years. Let go.
Go now into the past where
holographic reshuffling memory
visits time and the distribution of love.



Cristabel, O Cristabel, O
line up the lightning in my eyes
lever the laughter from my heart
encourage ruminations, foster
cats purr in my ears, and champagne
in my veins, light sleep for corpus
callosum, the left, right of time.

#257 SERRANILLA (Unrhymed)


So wild was dark Clowdia,
from lands open, vast, and,
from under the walking
blue space in her heart, amply
supplied with the sun warmth
enfolding her love all

for me, who, of earthly
employment, must dash pale
her innocent thoughts about
times marriage. Still I taste
my pleasure. Why else shall
my God tint my skin so fair?

#258 Pantun (Indonesian)


The air fires around me at night,
by day the sun cremates the world.
The little candle for light
burns until the leaves are curled.

#259 ODE II (Shelly)



Devayani opens Rumi -- again
to emptiness spilling across time's light.
Dimly aware of the deep and terrible yen

that lies like wind in the West, shutting the night,
inexorably cloudless, moonless, nothing's
horizon, dotted with stars, covers the site

of unforgotten dreams. What were those things
Devayani remembers, opening dalhias
of the mind, bongo-ing round resounding rings?

But pause, listen to the subtler hum of the bayas
conjuring the infinite layas, the lore,
the intricate pattering beat of the playful dayas

across time's and eternity's shore
just before the jhala, still in the jor.


What speaks, O Wind, what drifts from the sea? Where?
Why she? She listens. She learns. Her heart a quorum,
transparent, glass, needing its full share

of soft, elemental, poisonous thallium.
Highly charged, the East blows from the West. Nor
can one ignore the inevitable sum:

the distance of time, of land, the soaring poor,
the delicacy of plucked feelings, maya's
stress, genethliacum's celebration, and war

against nature's distress. Mankind's jayas
shatter Nirvana's peace with an awful roar,
of fruitfulness piled up to rot, like papayas

tenderized, devoured by buzzing flies that soar
in populations too rich within earth's store.


Listen to the music, the music, the music,
in the Wind, the Wind, West Wind blowing East,
East Wind blowing West, crescendoing, pyrrhic

confrontations between the mind and the eye,
and, crucially, the pain to underscore
the raping leap over half the sky

from where older, wiser Gods still pour
favors for libations once sprinkled by kings.
More than ever, music touches the core

of what can be loved, exchanged, restored. Singings
sough in the evening light, opening the door
to vines that shall reveal overt entwinings:

earnest, root and leaf, deep and low rapport,
searingly white as the frosty, colorless hoar.


Mankind's creation, made from nature, is the whore.
As the wind moves, silk among the silver stars,
live in the air and lyrically dance, pore

over chandas and ragas that heal the scars
of gouged wounds pliered by needs, wants, loves --
patterned boons like rugs from Isfahan, Fars.

O Wind across the desert, the sea doves
fly beyond reach of man's revisioning mind,
while to hawks he offers his hand-skinned leather gloves

unaware of the inter-meshing of kind,
of the galaxies spherical wholeness within the tears
of being. Will you run out of words, of tined

dreams of pain, Devayani, of enmeshed careers
fighting for triumph, igniting wily fears?


The winds blow across the desert, the sedge.
There's nothing to stop the sand, the dew. The solar
winds circulate. Call it sargam or solfege,

beneficent notes inhabit the world's jar
of clear sounds and rasas. Drink deep, hear well,
circumambulate, turn the hunter's radar

upon heaven and earth. Search. Listen. The bell,
the chrism await the wind, the wind awaits
recognition, the bronze gong's awful knell.

O Devayani, emptiness fills up fate's
space, space fills emptiness. The double helix
twists like Pele's hair, gossamer fine plaits,

and black. Blown in the wind, the flickering wicks
extinguish nothingness beyond the Styx.


baya -- left handed drum of the Indian tabla set
chandas -- the beat in Indian music
chrism -- both the unquent and the ceremony of anointing
daya -- right handed drum of the India tabla set, also called simply the tabla
double helix -- refers to human DNA
jaya -- joyous shout
jhala -- the part of a raga where the drum joins in
jor -- the part of a raga where a definite rhythm begins
laya -- the rhythm in Indian music
maya -- the illusion that is reality
Pele's hair -- Pele, Hawawiian Volcano Goddess, Pele's hair, fine spun lava
rasas -- the moods of Indian Raga's, the word means "juice"
sargam -- Indian music scale
solfege -- Western music scale
Styx -- sacred river, where even the Gods swore oaths, that one must cross into Hades
thallium -- a poison metal used in low melting glass, rat and ant poison.



When having lived this long into old age,
I miss my keys, I miss the lock, I wish
for nothing but the promise of bed and page,
and even page I can do without while I fish
for light, a glimmer of reason, while I stumble
over shoe and chair and spotted clothes
wondering why the objects of my life still bumble,
have never learned elementary repose,
and my thoughts, like the chaos all about,
turn more and more to grave good humor's role
where just not minding the bewilderment helps rout
the inroads of time that must take its toll
for things you thought you still could do decline,
and its quite witless to sit about and pine.

#261 ODE III (Keats)


Within the mountain's stoney quietness
you slowly beat out the regime of Time
and space and longing love. You who express
the laws of light and darkness, rhythmn, rhyme,
who decrees the quarks and prairie's gyving shape,
you who reign over space, through silence, both
in volcano's birth, fault's wait, Arcady
calm, you who are greatness and yet quite loath
to placate man, to let your heart escape
into tenderness, waylay ecstasy,

gyrating violence, clashings still unheard,
who, as Narcisuss, love your breath, the on
going drama, your coming death, endeared
by your reflection in the smell, the tone
of blossom and decay, of meet and poignant leave
taking across the specturm of time, of bare
and barren earth will kneel, perhaps, to kiss
at last, and nod your ravaged visage, grieve,
acknowledge the disolution of primal bliss
when you stand alone in offal, in fair

disgrace, unaccompanied, treading the shed
where you kept your chattel. O bid adieu,
O God, test, now test soon, Time's yet unwearied
waltz, sirening through eternal night and new
flickering moons, eon upon eon seeking love,
justification to live beyond, but enjoyed
alone in self worship. Change soon, be young
again, be lonely, longing and grasp above,
around, within, find Shakti, left cloyed,
abandoned, without speech without tongue.

Remark her passion, remark her sacrifice,
stand bold with the stars and become high priest,
as once you were, bright in the triumphing skies
humbled, forlorn with love. Be lightly drest
bridegroom to the roar and froth of the sea-shore
foam and phosphorescence. Build the citadel
to capture the sunshine of earth's early morn,
explore the possibilities evermore
radiantly revealed, dug from the tell,
preserved in amber, awaiting your return.

Loose your tight bound lengthy hair, undo your brede,
untwist, unravel your intricate, overwrought
master plan surfeit with flowers, abundant weed,
intertwining, untwining, fruitless thought,
with much too much to mock the pastoral
promise, the hopes eaten by bugs, the waste
the disease, the want, the round-robin, the woe,
the arrogant plan, to which thou say'st,
against given senses, the witless all:
"Ye know on earth all ye need to know."



The ordinary blankness of being transcends
mountains, horizons, creations, so they say.
Consciousness was lent us, enfolded in grey
convolutions, synapses, a mind that defends
against no challengers our premier place
to rearrange the universe: re-design,
re-nature, re-assemble the pieces, the fine-
tuned, spider-strong ecological lace.
Up the invisible spider-thread the inchworms climb.
Can they spin? Can they weave? Alone in air it sways,
pathless, fine, the filament of ascent,
the Tao divine, dubbed by man, sublime.
Attached to nothing, undisturbed by Coriolis waves,
blind, beyond being, the inchworms go, without dissent.



The extraordinary awareness of being finds
consolation in intermittent sight,
transcendence of what, in anguished hope, might
be thought evidence that completely binds
mankind to humankind, fraught with compassion
fouled by true love, entangled, begrudged, ensnarled
like birds' grass nests hidden in ancient gnarled
trees of which development makes fashion
statements about the beauty of ugly houses,
about the richness of barren little lives,
the necessites anxiety rouses
like angry, stinging bees swarming their hives
convinced that the red rose in the wind blouses,
thrives, jives because it drives, strives and contrives.

#264 CHAINED SONNET (Shakespearean)


Thee is an old fashioned word still used today.
Daylight refreshes the language our temperate,
Temperate Zone words, with which, in love, we may,
maybe display our loving heart to date,
dating our confidence that innocence shines,
shines pure radiance, elegantly undimmed
Dimmed only by horrid night-knowing that declines,
declines demurely, to be, by knowledge, untrimmed.
Untrimmed by experience, love will wander to fade,
fade as days accumulate what thou owest,
owest secrets you've kept in the deepening shade.
Shade hangs heavy over the garden where trust growest.
Growest thou not in wisdom only to see,
see now how my love can wander from thee.

#265 ALTERNATING SONNET (Blank verse)


As a child, heart-sick that blackberry juice
stained my peasant blouse, I stared in the mirror
and cried. And, though I never spoke of the stain

-- for, after all, it was my fault, wearing
it among the vines -- Mother knew my heart.
Monday, in my closet it hung again, ruffled,
ironed, and white as school-stopping snow.

Never again did I worry about
berry stains against my heart. But now
Mother is sprinkled among the peach azaleas,

and when I pick the blackberries of summer
-- carefully -- I realize, for I wash now,
how hard she worked to remove the purple juice,
but not once scolded me for my heart's stains.



There's a fine little horseman forty miles straight
to the right, beneath the slope, near the slight rise
where the land appears in tiers and one bird cries,
where the sun now spills enough gold to create
shadows to illuminate the bones of fate,
and the silence lies like feathers, and vies
with the wind to inhabit the land while wise
creatures scuttle from the bright light to vacate
the world for God! who made the sand and the salt,
who hoisted the mountains and flattened the plains
who watches with one jaundiced eye the assault
against the world's highest, white, sinistrous chains,
against the cold desert, the colorless vault,
who, from sincipital cups, drinks at my veins.


Copyright © 2002 Jan Haag
Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: or






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