BY JAN HAAG

ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS

INTRODUCTION + POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART + HAAG'S BIO




THE EARLY D POEMS

Following is a selection of early poems whose titles begin with "D" retrieved from my oldest computer.

Posted beginning: June 28, 2002






DAG HAMMARSKJÖLD'S BOOK

00-00-00/06-28-02



Looking out the green window I am obsessed with the darkness of Dag Hammarskjold's book.

Why did the woman, Freda, of the smooth skin, much smoother than mine, but as old;
Why did the woman, Freda, of the grey hair, darker grey, much longer than mine;
Why did the woman, Freda, with the gentle voice, much gentler, but more insistent than mine;
Why did the woman, Freda, give me "Markings" to read?

I was surprised.
I am always surprised if people, new people in my life, presume to know what I might like to read.
What gave her the idea that I might like to read Hammarskjold's book?
I am interested in Peace, she assumed, because I mentioned Peace Pilgrim's book.
I am interested in spiritual things, she assumed, because -- I remember -- I mentioned a monastery,
a Zen conversation, a spirit that troubles me from time to time.
That, no doubt, prompted her well-meant presumption.

But Dag H's book is so dark, one of the darkest I have read.
If this is spirituality to the West, if these are the musing of an "enlightened" man of the West,
in whom power was vested to help bring peace to the world, to unite nations,
pity the West, pity the West's tiny, nay infinitesimal capacity to think of peace, to bring peace to a world.

I am appalled by Dag's darkness.
It is as if his pages were written on dark blue, light-absorbing velvet.
Yet I remember thinking of him as a good man.
A good man. What does that mean?
Privately, Dag Hammarskjold lived the dark night of the soul.




DANIELA

WITNESS FOR THE BRIDE

Composed for the wedding of Daniela Birschel and Robert Manis on Mt. Tamalpais, September 25, 1994



To the music school she wore a cap of golden pearls
and played an instrument of gleaming wood,
a strange instrument played by a bow and oddly cut,
with a tone, in the North Indian Classical Tradition, of ineffable sweetness.

She was beautiful as a goddess,
Saraswati, perhaps, with golden hair. I hardly dared speak to her.
When I did it was to ask the name of her instrument.
"It's called an esraj," she said.
I knew no more.

By a circuitous route along paths of pain, we became friends.
We walked in the woods, we walked the Golden Gate,
we went to meetings, and the beach.
We were full of adventure
as we talked away her anguish and my own.

She wanted to manifest a mate.
For a woman who walks on the earth,
free as a goddess, it is hard to find a match,
but she managed it:
a man of gentleness, kindness and sweetness. In Robert,

noble of head and soft of manner,
one feels Daniela has met a man as
sweet and melodious as the music
she plays upon her esraj

When Daniela told Robert she felt
as if she had manifested him by her desire,
he laughed and said:
"But I remember existing before I met you."
Daniela Birschel + Robert Manis

In North Indian Classical Music only one raga
refers specifically to ni and ma:
Da ni ela Ma nis.
From Bhupali, ni and ma are missing.
No doubt they ran off to paradise to be married.

Or, another way of looking at it is, there are now two nis,
Da ni ela Ma nis,
where before there was only one.
Ni to ni, so to speak.
Are they komal or shuddh?

Are they in madra or madhya?
Only time will tell, as only time
will tell how much more of the sargam will be born
to Ma ni s
and in which raga.

As witness to the wedding,
I look forward to walking, sometimes,
with Daniela and Robert, in the years ahead,
across the Golden Gate, through the woods and along the beach,
in friendship,

witnessing as their love leads them—
after this ceremony upon Mt. Tamalpais
where a few friends
and all the beauty of Marin's landscape wish them well—
along paths of joy and through the saptaks of living.




THE DARK

00-00-00



of your night hides
wide plains of love
from the gazelle of
my heart.




THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW

1970s



All highway communities are the same
and they will be too
the day after tomorrow
the Sheriff's car parked at the park
the old hotel too old to be much used
the Airport Cafe where they hang out
at the airport
to watch the Cessnas fly in and out
with all the commotion of locusts
where grasshoppers hop
and cicadas buzz

*

Where the school house of concrete block
replaces the old one of sandstone and sand
where everyone knows every child by name
in the town square
and after dark

*

Where the sun comes blazing over the hollyhocks
ten feet tall and the
dogs bay at me
returning here today and
the day after tomorrow
squinting into the darkness
of the locked-up tavern
where the handsome local young men drink beer
until their bellies swell to bull frog size
burping and bellowing

*

Too much peace
too much contentment
too much work on the railroad
on road gangs
pumping gas
pretty well peripheral to the technological
society
welfare recipients
all depending on civilization
someplace else
represented by bars in San Diego
bars in the City of the Angels
bars across the border

*

Contentment and boredom
and the white hot sun
it's a good life
they have time to
"Set a spell"
under the cottonwood trees
hard muscled
gentle voiced
named Cary
like the movie star
wearing boots
like the other movie star

*

Life imitates art
and the day after tomorrow
will be the same
and the stars will
glitter overhead
the day after tomorrow
with the grocery stores full of canned goods
the diet full of starch
yards full of rusty cars
peace and contentment of the gods
Baptist Chruch
Methodist Church
Lutheran and a camp for the Catholics

*

Driving through America
one knows God came from a noble lineage of
poor white trash
upright and angry
singing Rock of Ages and having
Just a Closer Walk With Thee
God sings in the mines and the saw mills
he hums along the railroads
he whirls in dust down the dry river beds
nods in heavy headed giantism
along with the sunflowers
craning their necks to follow their maker
and the morning glories
opening on command

*

Oh yes
God was born poor white trash
and he lives in the dance hall on Saturday night
and rises on Sunday morning
pure as a virgin
purged of her boredom
and after church
appreicates more than anyone will ever know
the too large servings of shortcake
with strawberries and fried chicken with gravy
all highway communities will remain the same
the day after tomorrow

*

And those of us who want to
will dance around the rims
of the rusty wagon wheels
on resurrection day
among the hollyhocks




D
E
V
O
T
I
O
N

00-00-00



When Fray Francisco Dominguez came to Picuris
in 1776
Juan Arguello, at ninety-nine, or ninety-eight,
walked nine miles to
ask him for alms to help build his church
at Trampas.

Upon noting this in his report, Fray Dominguez
added
"And since I have nothing, I gave him that, with many
thanks,
for his devotion." From the whole realm Arguello gathered
alms,

amounting to nine pesos, six reales, and built -- it took him
twenty years --
his church of San Jose de Gracia, which stands still after more
than two
hundred years. He built it with sweat, he built it with the help of his
Penitente

brothers, and when it was done it stood, massive, towering. From 1760
to 1780
a peso could purchase one plain,
bronze
candleholder. Like Fray Dominguez,
most settlers
of The Traps had nothing.




Inspired by Tony Hillerman's "Las Trampas"




DIAMOND BONES

00-00-00





"...the cattle have diamond bones." Salman Rushdie, SHAME, p. 100


I sat on the floor of Canyon de Chelly
putting stitches into time's pattern, slowly
slowly, one stitch in each hole, watching the crows
wheel, graceful as eagles in their blue-black,iridescent
plumage against the sheer walls garnished to a metallic
sheen and weeping the red of blood dried time.

Thirty miles down a dirt road,
Chaco Canyon seems a long way from no where.
To the Anasazi it was the center of the world.
Spokes radiated to connect the world in a web
wide as the universe.
They touched the Nazca lines, duplicating the heavens on earth,

constellations, starry conglomerates, interperted as a monkey
on earth, a spider, an investment in time.
Watch the lines fall slantwise from where
they fell only last week, a month ago.
In a year they will come round again.
Now in the Southwest

zigarrats are abandoned to time as the mines close down
as awe inspiring as the pyramids,
as noble as the excavated gardens of Babylon.
Slag heaps on the sorrows of time.

Mesa Verde, the impossible rock, assails the sky.
The ten thousand things where the ten thousand people dwelt in the cliffs.
The magnificent view dwarfing Rome's seven hills, high wonders
where corn was grown, deer stalked, and no stranger about for a thousand miles.

Ah yes, there were people here, with rubies for blood and emeralds for teeth,
living in the high green desert next to the stony busom of God,
asking for a little water and a humble understandingof the blowing wind,
where the dark stars send messages straight through to the heart.

There was no such thing as a misstep,
one unsure foot and you stood on the vermillion steps of eternity,
laughing perhaps, for it was certainly easier, if you're looking for ease,
to fly then to till crops all year long in the face of the colossal sun.

to fly then to till crops all year long in the face of the colossal sun.




DIVORCE I

1986?



She lives at the Bluffs of Barton,
a complex overlooking Austin,

that complex, old, boomtown
of a city, rising high, too high

for the Colorado
River to support it, too widespread

for pure water to reach
it. Austin floats on nature's aquifers

made deadly by the wastes
of man -- and woman. Effluvia

floats where the redbuds used
to float, where blue mountain laurel blooms

too late, too high smelling
to keep her happy. She's turned, twisted,

she's worn bluebonnets, she's
smiled 'til her eyelids crinkle: cirrus

clouds on a winter day,
a cold front coming down, hurting. O

God, hurting! The pain's red
hot, the land's gone dry, there's drought. She fasts

--except her wine, her beer,
her chocolate pie -- she fasts, she fasts.

"Divide," he said. "Have it
all!" she cried. One more noxious body

in the aquifir can't
hurt anyone, least of all her.

She'll let you know what complex to name
after the Bluffs of Barton, after her.




DIVORCE II

1986?



I don't know when it happened.
I've had two, you know -- one my
father got for me, from a
boy I never lived with -- but
did love, the other husband
got his when I was out of
town, on grounds of desertion

-- I thought that a charming cause --
he, having driven me to
New York in our little red
car, dropped me in the Village,
gave me a peck on the cheek,
ending ten years of worthwhile
wedding, not one of them bliss.




DIVORCE III

1986?



It's a setting free, you know,
it's a turning round, a letting go,
it's a dance, done modern style.
It's a change, quite small, from day to day
for other loves, others gone.

It's a little training for death.
You'll be happy when you're eighty,
you know, having had a little
experience of letting go
from day to day, of others gone.

There will be others' love.
There will be others gone.
Divorce is two
a voice is won.




DIVORCE IV

1986?



After my divorce I spent
ten years being famous,
three years a poet,
two a nanny,
a sadhu,
and all

eternity being happily dead.
O, it's so peaceful in
a narrow, single
grave. The flowers
grow softly,
their roots

fingering down, acround my
nipples, all pale pink with
disuse, sacredly,
sassily mine.
Mom never
told me

about pure, celibate bliss.
What if she'd discoved
the truth, too? Only
had two: brother,
sister, and
not one
I.




DIVORCE V

1986?



I opened my hand, the bird flew off
I opened my heart, and all flew in
I opened my eyes, the world was mine

No bird did not sing for me
No heart did not beat for me
No eyes were closed againt me

This world was mine, could have been thine




DREAM OF THE MARBLE BRIDGE

00-00-00



Cold

Volga
flowed the dark,
purple, blue, black

night,
red sunrise
when it began.
The carved marble

bridge, rich as an emperor's
tomb, lifted,
oiled and smooth, the great
revolution. Horses fell
with their carriages, stars

through the embryo
of time in up-
side-down worlds,
flowered
white,

bright
cheeks, dolls
twirling
like tire irons: you
could hardly see their
sex or imagine their

consciousness. Yet a certain
gaiety emerged: outside
gravity, the river flowed
swift, thick in the dawn or
the dusk or the day.
Automobiles,
old, oblong,

jumped
time,
windscreens
fragmenting,
into frost, trailed
laughter and dusters,
Milky Ways among stars.
Large hats, lilacs a flower

showered the white horses, hobby
horses, substantial buildings,
squared energy. Gnarl legged,
over the bridge they
lept, nutcracker
figures and
sugar
plums
of

high hats
and high hue,
booted, furred, foxed
fairies. Apogee:
the bridge yawned down, marble
crumbling, alabaster, time
fluted, garlanded, heavier than
steel. The horse righted itself.

The carriage disappeared
into corrected
time, sucked back toward
the moon. There
was no
sight,
no

place for
forgiveness,
no where to swim,
for the oiled surface
reflected, mirrored, shown.
Afraid to jump or float, the

overcoated gentlemen knelt
up, down, stood for joy. It was
a surprise, a vague, dear,
surprise. The tree lined
streets held iron
benches. The
bridge closed.
cats
crept,

baby
fish wiggled
upstream. The sun

broke through, a balloon
went up, the weather's test

was fine up high; below, damp.




DUAL

00-00-00



The capillary mountains like a lizard's back,
the dragon's march as the Chinese saw The Wall,
like the plane of a liver on the butcher's block,
the orange tinted purple of a day's death

haunt the insides

as well as the soft pink tongue
and the blue-eyed life of the iris' pool
where swim the perceptions of the day
and the block and The Wall and the

saurian's horny back.




Copyright © 2002 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jhaag@u.washington.edu


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