BY JAN HAAG

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

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO







THE ROARING SILENCE OF GOD

4-3-95/ 03-01-98

O Devayani, you have a sudden
longing for silence,
change.

Yet you know that if the insurance
the car, the problems
with your guru were solved,
the longing for change,
for silence
would change,
would become noisy
celebrations --

no matter how brief.
Then would come a time
of neutrality,
pleasure -- for a little while
in success, comfort, trust,
a feeling of harmony,
as if you were doing the right thing.
Then again would come the care,

the anxiety, the fear, the frustration,
the feeling of no where to go and nothing to do,
the re-goading yourself to enjoy
what you do,
the success,
the rejoicing at fame,
the happiness of even a little fortune,
and then the crumbling,

the dying down,
gathering in
once again of despair,
anxiety,
fear,
failure.
You've almost nothing left,
and yet it is too much.

O, Devayani, how you long to be
rid of it all!
Possessions are not a problem any more,
except insofar as, no matter how few,
you want less.
You long for less and less and less.
You want only what you can do with your mind,
your fingers, your inspiration.

You want only the joy of working,
being inspired enough to work each day
at what you love.
But even that joy
comes and goes.
Not every day are you
thrilled to write,
practice,

stitch.
Seldom does a day pass without
hours or minutes
in which you are as lost
hesitant,
dissatisfied
as you were forty years ago
with what you have done, can do.

Disinterested,
flumoxed,
discouraged --

you're just filling time
until you can
drop dead
and don't have to fill each day
with
something!
Almost everything
you ever wanted to do

you have done,
more or less
or you've forgotten

it.

Yet still,
each evening as you
turn towards home
or, at home, turn
towards bed
there's a feeling
of let-down,
of discouragement,

of wanting to lie down
to sleep in the grave.
Nothing satisfies,
nothing fulfills.
You've tried
about as much as you can stand
of meditation,
religion,

mysticism,
God,
of
trying to see God,
trying to hear God,
trying to guess what God
wants you to do,
and there is silence.

Silence.

O Devayani --
there is the silence
you long for!

What silence could be more complete
than the silence of God?
The roaring silence of God.
You don't know what you want to do,
yet God seems to be without suggestion.
If you hear a suggestion in your heart,
you think it is just your own self-will,
once more a longing to turn away,
try again,
flounder,
do it wrong, even do it right,

and it ends.
Then the emptiness again.
You used to think, O Devayani,
that after each success,
your life spun back to zero.
But today,
when one success does seem to build
upon another,

there is still the zero,
the anxiety, the sadness, the lack of confidence,
the lack of trust,
the longing to lie in the grave,
to do nothing at all,
to stop breathing,
to stop trying.
And yet the roaring silence of God

continues.
Loud.
Deafeningly loud.

"God's not interested,"
roars the silence,
"in your little human problems."
Yes, Devayani, you are being tested,
even found adequate,
but the testing goes on,
on and on and on.
There is no end to the testing.

What a bore!
The silence remains.
The roar of nothingness.

The shout of futility.
Assurance that it will always be this way.
Up and down,
up and down,
and on and on and on and on,
and never
any meaning.
O, glimmers of meaning from time to time!

Then the joke's on
you again, O Devayani,
for you to place meaning wherever you like.
O Devayani,
it doesn't mean much.
It means very little,
in the presence
of the roaring silence of God.
You long to be guided,
yet you follow no rules.
You long to be used,
yet you have so many opinions
of what
you can and cannot do,
what
you can or cannot be.

No more headstrong woman ever walked earth.
Yet you don't see it
that way.
You are stubborn
and sullen,
angry and controlling
if anyone dares to
tell you what to do.

Imagine God trying to tell you what to do!

If you were God and needed to deal with you,
you'd step back into a roaring silence, too.
O, Devayani, such a will as yours
must intimidate even God.
Yet it never seems that way
from inside, for Devayani,
you know the fear,
the frailty, the anxiety,

It's no fun, Devayani,
longing to be touched by God,
to be in touch with silence,
to tune into the mystical state of being --
and to find yourself
always obsessed by the little problems of the moment.
Yet, when respite from the problems of the moment come,
well -- O Devayani, often you don't feel like getting out of bed.

Sleep,
hide yourself from the emptiness
that is the roaring silence of God.

Go to bed right now,
lacking any contact with God
and read Music of the Whole Earth,

and fall asleep to one more day
and one more day
and one more day
seeming no closer to any kind of peace,
or wisdom,
or belief,
or trust,
or willingness

to listen
to the roaring silence
of God.





Copyright © 2000 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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





THE DEVAYANI POEMS


And

Feeding Frenzy

Gifts

India

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