BY JAN HAAG

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

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO





SOLSTICE

12-21-97

The darkest day of the year
starts out with no more light than any other.
From now on it's all up hill.
Lighter and lighter,
going toward the sky.

People climb mountains because they're there.
Should they have better things to do?
You, Devayani, never realized before yesterday
that your mother spent her first
day on this old planet
on the darkest day of the year.

What does that mean?
A winter Goddess?
There's no where to go but up?
From darkness into light.
From death to resurrection
-- and back again?
Was darkness much different in 1906?

Perhaps it was -- with oil and kerosene.
I never asked her if she was electrified at birth.
But she made it through this world unspoiled
and uncritical.
The new year begins today, grabs for the sun,
drinks of the dawn, urges the buds
already sheathed, already green.
The buds, it seems, never go to sleep.

Do you ever sleep, Devayani?
Particularly now, when you seem to wake into
dreams, and think through the night.
Is that sleep? Is the night the day?
The dead come to sit with you at times,
quite friendly, on your low soft bed,
hard on old kneeling knees. They never
complain. Perhaps that's what makes them
shadows of the night

though they sit on into sunlight,
weak winter shafts of pale light
and tell you about the coming of the dawn.
"But it's here you cry!" O Devayani,
do not disturb, do not correct the dead.
Get up now, in the darkest night of this year,
bow to the dawn, bow to the light,
bow to the sun if she should come to visit,
welcome electricity and the running clock.
You painted your tables yesterday, now use them.

You're beginning to find it odd, now, the words
you've never spelled. Language you've used
for six decades and never put on paper.
Think of all the language lacking,
all the words not writ, in the darkness
before the light, and all the words after.
Can you bring me a handful of words right now --
and drink them? Or tell me what they mean?
They spelled things differently in the Civil War,
sounded out the words. Now each thing is digitalized,
perfection reigns, you can't compute without perfect accuracy.

Will evolution listen? Will dawn come earlier
with 010101010101010101010101?
A single dot becomes organic form.
Repetition.
The solstice has been doing it for five hundred million years?
Another fact you don't know.
Surely someone knows -- those people who calculate such things
have no doubt produced a number to tell you how many solstices
have come round year after year
shining on the heat and dust, the snow caps,
and the dinosaurs.
Will it ease your heart if the sun doesn't rise this morning?
If dark doesn't come tonight?






Copyright © 2000 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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




POEMS INSPIRED BY RUMI




OTHER POEMS


Bilbao

The Cattle Have Diamond Bones

Feeding Frenzy

From The Jocasta Poems #16, Death

George Coluzzi

India

I Am Innuit

Palimpsest I, Sphere

Ryoangi

Tibetan Chronicle

The Woman Who Had No Necklaces





BY JAN HAAG


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

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO



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