BY JAN HAAG

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

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO





MICRO PALEONTOLOGY

4-24-97



O Devayani, you haven't written a poem in a long time.
Too much computer, too many lectures, too much beauty of the spring,
too much stitching, too much joy,
too great the irony of the great question --
What do you do when you want to eat and you're not hungry?
or
What do you do when you're not hungry and you want to eat?

Ah yes, Devayani, the question of a lifetime.
How many years has it taken to phrase it?
How many more years to pay attention?
Where does it lead?
Is it the hunger of being human?
When fellow humans comment on the number of lectures you attend,
you remind them you are in training to become a Renaissance Woman --
that you want to know something about everything,
including micro-paleoentology.


O, Devayani, last night you went to the Burke Museum
Behind the Scenes
and looked on the gutting and stuffing of birds,
the obtaining and pinning of butterflies,
the digging and brushing of artifacts,
the saving and restoring of rocks
nicked by humans, cut into great stone bowls,
and wierd big eyes.


You saw the gems of a lifetime
and, through the microscope, grains of sand
turned into jeweled castles,
the homes of foraminifera
round as a thousand faceted diamond,
opalescent as a Seattle dawn,
strung with a line of pearls at each junction
of the new to the old
and topped with turrets of pearls
like the brooch of a maiden aunt.


O, Devayani, you kept looking through the two-eyed, long pieces,
and at the light below,
and sidewise at the slide with the dozen
or more specks on it,


unable to believe, O Devayani, that that mere speck
which you didn't dare touch or pick up,
for fear it would jump from your finger
and mix with the motes of the air
and they'd fine you for losing museum property --


unable to believe, that that was the castle,
the Maharaja's turban, you saw shining in the light,
glistening with pattern and splendor,
designed as carefully
as a needlepoint of
134,946 stitches.


O, Devayani, the Lord was as much in love with pattern
as you are!
Nothing is plain in this world,
nothing undecorated,
nothing without its proportion of beauty and balance.


Even if it's so tiny you can't see it,
it is designed with ornament and elegance,
down to the fractal,
down to the quark,
down to the emptiness of an electromagnetic field,
there is still design and elaboration.


We are nothing but dots multiplied
until our beauty is as breathtaking as God's.








Copyright © 2000 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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




OTHER POEMS ABOUT THE PEOPLE AND LANDSCAPE OF AMERICA

Arizona Desert

Father

George Coluzzi

I Am Innuit





BY JAN HAAG


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

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO



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