BY JAN HAAG

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

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO




KHAJURAHO

6-11-97



O Devayani, you go on searching,
hoping to find somewhere, deep in a book,
no doubt, or a map, or ancient treatise,
the real story of Khajuraho's erotic figures.

Thinking, surely, O Devayani,
there was a time and a place
when the most sacred joining of woman
and man was honored, revered

as a mystical rite, as a blessing given
by God Shiva or Vishnu or Brahma,
that the conceiving of children,
the continuation of Shiva's

dance, was held in esteem, was held sacred,
that the divine pleasure to be had
in love and in joining
was the most honored of activities,

that the Khajuraho sculptures
represented the gift of an enlightened race.
But each book you find, each reference,
quickly, with scholarly sobriety,

or scorn, explains them away, claiming not to know
why it was mandatory to have an amorous
couple on the temple walls.
The scholars flutter about like Victorian

fathers, eager to deny the root of pleasure,
the dirty little secret that generates children.
Surely, O Devayani, some where, some time,
people had the courage and the delight

to defend the gift of God, Kama -- the knowing of love.
With unblushing mein the scholars tout all the people
the monarchs killed, the kingdoms they overran,
but for love, only a blushing, horror, a turning away,

assuring their readers thatthe statues could never
have represented what they say in full view:
people enjoying love, people deeming it a priority,
a sacred, blessed, blissful occupation

to enjoy the bliss of their bodies, to procreate,
to enjoy their God given anatomy.
O Devayani, you keep wondering
how did it ever come to this?

Men trying to control who fathered the children of women?
Men, savage in their tastes, must have slaves,
helpless beings subjugated on whom to sate their
lust and make their dinner?

How did it come about that the most sacred act
a person can commit has become more
repugnant to the pious public
than the slaughter of millions of beings

in thousands of wars, that it is sanctioned
to let out man's lust, and his killing urge,
and woman must pay for his inability
to master the very basis of being?

O Devayani, you search in vain through the scholarly tomes,
each eager to deny what their eyes
devour in solo visits to Khajuraho,
what their loins long for in their rare

and tender moments, to be lost to the world in bliss,
to be carressed tenderly into divine enlightenment.
Perhaps, Devayani, you have to write your own history of Khajuraho
where the beautiful citizens

spent their days in dalliance and in love,
forgot about war, forgot about lust,
forgot their hatred of the mothers of children,
the carriers of beauty,

of gentlesness, of love, of compassion,
where, enlightened by transcendent eroticism they built
temples of beauty, dedicated,
to the play of love, of peace.






Copyright © 2000 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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




THE DEVAYANI POEMS

Cyberspace

Entertainment

Etruscan Goddess

Father

Feeding Frenzy

Gifts

India

Interstellar Space, 7-5-97

Khajuraho

Lung-gom-pas

Micro Paleontology

Nothing

Point of View, 7-5-97

The Roaring Silence of God, 4-3-95

Roots

Ryoanji

Silence

Solstice, 12-21-97

Steady Drizzle

Two Tomatoes




BY JAN HAAG


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

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO



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