BY JAN HAAG

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


ROOTS

6-27-97

I

You have a fascination with cities,
habitations, earthworks,
the buildings of men and of women,
monuments of stone,
menhirs,

preferably deserted and old,
unremembered,
smelling of dust and decay,
unused,
cities that were, temples to be,

civilizations crumbled,
cultures that are gone,
cremations grounds of the Hindu,
cemeteries of the dead.
You have the desire

to live and to work with antiquity,
sheltering bones and secrets
of those who have come
and those who have gone --
archeology.

Prehistory, history and story,
the tales of what was
and what might have been,
these are the things that fascinate you,
O Devayani.

These are the things that speak to your soul
and your wonder,
that beckon you out of your bed,
out of your life of comfort and ease,
that urge you to step on the road.

You'd rather not speak to the living,
the charming, the lying, those without conscience --
as Christ cried:
"Forgive them, Father, for they know
not what they do."

II

But when the record is clear and in stone,
in silent stones among grass,
or broken stones upon sand,
the hollow wind whispers its cries,
the pines sough in the dark.

They tell you all, O Devayani,
all that you can bear:
There was once a great flowering,
a creation of the human soul.
But that flowering

killed the artisans,
enslaved the peoples of earth
meant to eat and to laugh and to sing,
to love and to sleep and to be --
swimming in the river of time.

O Devayani, the silence of deserted
villages, sites for the silence
of soul --
go to it, O Devayani,
seek it out.

Sit under the arches,
sit under the corbelling of roofs,
stand in the great dome of Bijapur.
Hear only the echo of silence.
Breathe deep.

Breathe long. Flee from the sound
of returning voices,
the laughter of life,
and pop drinking tourists
who whisper their names along walls

where their names echo back.
O let there be peace!
O Devayani,
ask them to leave you in peace
in the sand shrouded

world
of yesterday
where the needle has ceased to fly,
the hammer has ceased its bang,
the stone has been raised

and abandoned,
where the jungle has re-grown
and the grass covers the nations of man --
where it brings blood from your fingers
to scrape beneath nature

to discover the shrouded
creations of humans,
who'd rather die than act upon
their own wisdom
written

over thousands of years,
who'd rather create, flourish
and kill
than live with the peace of the land,
grace their roots, their creations with tenderness, respect.






Copyright © 2000 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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




DEVAYANI POEMS

Feeding Frenzy

Gifts

India

Khajuraho

Lung-gom-pas

Nothing


OTHER POETRY ABOUT INDIA

Elura

Crossroads


TRAVEL STORIES ABOUT INDIA

Vijayanagar

The Wedding in Mahabaleshwar

Passing Through Bodh Gaya.


TEXTILE ART BASED ON INDIAN ICONOGRAPHY AND MUSIC

IXX Tintal Coin Purse

XX Kaida, Tabla Covers

XXI Tukra, Tabla Covers

XXII Mukhra-Tukra-Chakradar

XXIII The Ten Thats






BY JAN HAAG


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

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO