BY JAN HAAG

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

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO



GLADIOLUS

Latin, diminutive of gladius: sword

(AND PEABERRIES)


by the white house
behind the
First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church
incandescent
scarlet gladioli
display high upon their spikes
upright, fanciful
rhyta of blood
and on the stalks below
a dozen faded blooms
darkened, drooped and dried
in a larger world
they would be drops of blood

*

"Dad always raised the most beautiful glads,"
Aunt Weezie says

a poor man
who would have been one hundred
had he lived to '82
he worked hard
on a punch press
(lost three fingers)
as a gill-netter
(later outlawed
Mother says:
"He was the quietest rower in the world."
Father says: "He rowed backwards,"
and demonstrates)
he worked on road crews
raised the bridge at E B (spelt Ebey)
Slough
(his girls waved lanterns in the night
Mother laughs:
"There wasn't much traffic then.")
grew peaches
was a caretaker
worked in a sawmill
farmed
and died
before his wife
who worked hard
wrapped his hand
gutted fish
packed peaches
took in ironing
sewing
reared three daughters
one died
("We hurried Helen to the hospital
in a motorboat. I think
there was a flu epidemic
the doctors paid no attention
while she died.")
of blood poisoning from a burst appendix
she scrubbed, cleaned, canned, cooked
roast beef, gravy, potatoes, peas, parsnip
salad, strawberry shortcake, coffee
which her husband laced with schnapps
and refused to live any more
in the float house
alone
on the river
out Swan(z) Trail
far from help,
company,
town
and before she died
found
(in later years she worked for the hospital)
she hated him
his life
had been bored by his thought
his timidities
"He never wanted to go any place."
his poverty
"I wouldn't do it again
wouldn't work so hard
be so poor
marry
have kids."


"He raised the most beautiful glads,
And the biggest, sweetest strawberries."

("Mother always had sweet peas.")
and near death
found
she wished she had lived her own life
followed her own way
to her own iridaceous pot of gold


*

In a larger world
the darkened, faded, peaberry-colored glad
florets
are
drops of ancient blood



PEABERRY:
a coffee berry with
one of its two seeds aborted




Copyright © 2000 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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




OTHER POEMS ABOUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND LANDSCAPE

Arizona Desert

George Coluzzi

I Am Innuit

McDonald Observatory



TRAVEL STORIES ABOUT AMERICA

Mission Walk

Crossing the Country

Down Under




BY JAN HAAG


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

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO



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