BY JAN HAAG

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

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO





A FATHER'S DEATH

6-28-97

Papa no longer is.
I wake in the morning
with that thought.

No sorrow, no grief,
just the glimpse of a void
where that dear

old man sat
for quite a number of years
in his certainty

of enjoying the day
go by, watching the flowers bloom,
the tempting food

arrive on his plate.
He was very witty from time to time.
I'll miss that.

He saw the world with a slant,
an uncomplaining chuckle --
most of the time.

Well, so he's gone
leaving me an orphan at sixty-three
That's a fairly good

age to become an orphan.
I sort of know what it's all about.
One expects to be an orphan

sooner or later.
Papa hung around to ninety-one-plus
helping me, us, I think,

get used to the idea of his leaving
O, I'm familiar
with human aloneness --

almost since birth.
I'm used to that idea:
the isolation, the solitude

of the human condition.
But to do without he who
always knew how to spell every word;

who knew where the countries were;
and where to fix your car;
when to prune the trees,

and some of their Latin names;
who used to walk with me in the mornings
and point out the buildings,

the landmarks,
some of the history
he had lived through,

and some further back.
So there is a void,
even though he couldn't remember that for fifty

of my sixty-three years
I've been honing my craft as a writer,
for twenty-two of those years,

I've stitched extraordinary stuff.
When my needlepoints
finally hung on the Seattle Asian Art Museum wall

he was excessively proud,
but, by then, he'd reached an age
when any thought, if remembered over night,

constituted a miracle.
Nor could he refrain from making remarks,
when I was already well over fifty, such as:

"You're still a good looking woman,
you should get married."
Not once realizing

that my early life of angst and anguish
had been blissfully
resolved when I realized once and for all,

along about forty-nine,
that I, twice married and twice loved,
(I still don't know

what that means)
was a loner,
a happier-than-I-had-ever-been

celibate, hardworking loner,
in love with my craft and my art,
and perhaps an occasional kitten;

that I, like many of his family,
found peace and occupation
in thinking about

God -- the origin, the meaning of life.
But then I didn't really get his profile together
either

until I wrote his obit --
how much he had done, where he had been
how the luck and the love of the angels

followed him most of the days of his life.
So I wake up thinking:
Papa isn't anymore.

And I miss him.








Copyright © 2000 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jhaag@u.washington.edu



A FEMINIST DAUGHTER'S FATHER POEMS

Father

A Father's Death

Phillip Morton Smith

Pursuing Her Father

The Origins of the World



DEVAYANI POEMS

Feeding Frenzy

Gifts

India

Khajuraho

Lung-gom-pas

Nothing




BY JAN HAAG


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

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO



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