of exhortation based on an ancient Sufi form.

(in alphabetical order)

I began writing the Devayani Poems in about 1988, while living in a Korean Zen Center in Los Angeles.
Devayani is the spirtual name given to me by my Guru in 1980. It means: "Leads to God."

- D -


1228 San Anselmo, before 1996

Long ago I saved a snippet from your column:
"I have two friends and I hate both of them.
What should I do?"
I carried it in my wallet for years,
thinking it quite the most amusing thing.

Then it got lost, as Mirabeau would say,
"with all those things."
But it stayed around to haunt the mind.
It is one of those quick remembrances
always there for a giggle
when I begin to think about
human beings.

O Devayani, today feeling blah, a bit down,
but the sun glittered in the window
you walked out to get material for a poem.
You walked out,
out into the rain rinsed, sun bespeckled street
up the hill to visit your new friend, a sprite.

She didn't answer your ring or your knock,
you kept tapping on the glass of the door --
her car was there,
you had just spoken to her on the phone --
until she shrieked, "Who is it?"
"It's me," knowing she'd recognize my voice.
"Which me?" she shrieked.
O Devayani, I said, "Jan."
"I don't know any Jan," she hollered.
I kept tapping and nattering,
wondering what to do. "Are you okay?
Are you still alive?"

I had the feeling she was in there shooting up,
dipping her mercurial personality in depression,
flagellating her sprightliness.

For she had left a trampoline
braced against my garbage can
in the night,
and I had called to say I couldn't keep it.
I had meant to say
I'd keep it for awhile, until after her SSI inspection,
but the phones were full of static from storms that
started a week ago.
I think she took it amiss, thought that I had accused her of
dumping stuff on my doorstep.
But I didn't.

I suggested she sell the trampoline, for she, like my other new friend,
was drowning in possessions.
Drowning in the abundance the universe provides to
those who cannot part with pure gold
nor the trinkets of life.

You were laughing, for, O Devayani,
you had been, even this morning,
going through your files, packing them in boxes
to ship away, never to be seen again.
They'll be someplace.
But you will probably never see them again.
Even the things, that a few months ago, you thought
you would never be able to part with -- into the box they go.

There's an impatience, a knowing
you'll not look at this or this nor this again.
Almost everything goes.

Just to have the space, the light,
the light,
O Devayani,
how much you want the light,
the lightness, not to be weighted down by anything.
Neither Alain's gifts, nor possessions, nor her volatile presence
created by drugs, possibly, and paranoia.

She knows at times she is a burden to herself and others.
She hides.
Unwittingly I was asking the forbidden,
for her to come out of hiding.

At other times, most times, she is a sprite as attractive as
Athena herself -- charming, gay, radiant.
It makes my heart sink to my boots
to think she might be able to survive
only with drugs.

Leave her alone, O Devayani, let her be.
For your own peace of mind and for hers.
You are old enough and jaded enough
to recognize
meant-to-stir-guilt behavior.

And with your other friend,
the new friend who wants an ear,
is desperate for an ear in which to pour
two and five and ten hour analysis
of her new male friends.

O Devayani, how interesting
to see --
after all these years,
and having had all these addictions --
the faulty underpinnings of friendship.
It seems to be about being heard.

But only when and how you want to be heard.
My other friend, Claudette, was,
the first night we really chatted --
along with Alain,
at a tea shop --
filling us both in about the crack-up
of her relationship with an alcoholic,
his erratic, non-coherent behavior.
There I sat, thinking,
though it was almost too soon
to know it,
that here are

addictive delights, looking for an ear, and an
outlet for compulsive giving
not knowing that,
O Devayani,
you long only for the light
the lightness of nothing
the nothingness of light.

And some pleasant friendship,
and laughter
along the way.

Another thing I did this morning was
stop at 28 Scenic Drive
to inquire
if they had once had a
rhinoceros head,
with horn,
tacked to the
of their little grey house.

The woman, laughing and charmed, said,
"Yes, the people who lived here before -- for ten years --
had a rhinoceros head.
They took it with them."

"O, thank God," I said, "I thought I had
hallucinated it."

We laughed



After 5/10/96 from 5319, Seattle

O Devayani, you wrote to Ani:
"Save a space on your calendar for me."
Her tall form appears
in your mind's eye,

gracefully enclothed in the smooth
brown robes of a Tibetan nun.

Ani the lovely.
Ani the wise.
Ani who travels a world
of amazing spiritual adventures,

dedicated to truth and the wisdom of the world.
A Rumi, forging connections between
the mundane and the mystical
gently, day by day,

who made wooden crosses from the beach
until her Catchatoorian manifested

as a lion of infinite charm.
Gracefully settled in life,
Ani helps others come and go,
expanding the definition of peace,

the meaning of serenity,
the delight of stretching the body into yoga,
contracting the energy into Chi Gung.
O Devayani, you'll miss her

living a thousand miles to the north.
But, O Devayani, keep in mind

there will be another time and another place,
maybe even on this earth, where
we'll talk again, and laugh
and gently mind the business of transmuting

moments into eternity,
and eternity into time.
"Save a space on your calendar for me.
Devayani will be in San Anselmo between September 10 and 25.

Part of the time at 457-5903




1228 San Anselmo, before 5-10-96

O Devayani,
the possibility of nightmares so hideous
they live with me in the day...
The terror so deep
the sunshine shines through the jungle enhancing it...
The face of my God strewn across the wall,

in the glance of an eye, in the bough of a tree,
in the lace of the curtains, in the strange bird's song,
in the small golden pyramid,
in the immensity of a palm, cut, trimmed, robbed of its limbs
and now forty feet tall...

Only the Washingtonian is native to America they say --
it grows in the desert.

Why am I not there? -- in the searing heat of the sun,
in the sand, the dust, the small pebbles,
the wind blown grit --
where nature dries you out, wrings you
free of the moisture of fear.

O Devayani,
is there perfection?
Why does the question terrify you so?

And after you have witnessed perfection?
There are nightmares to return to every hour of the day:
his face with the laughing eyes,
the lines of his age and his worry and his distress
made young with laughter,

the compassionate laughter that knows
when the sun comes round again
the day-mares, the terror, the heart piercing pain
will pulse delight.

O Devayani,
shut your eyes to the sunshine,
to the glitter and the gold.
Terror belongs in the dark,
beneath your silent eyes,
within your shadowed heart.
Open your ear,
open your heart. (?????)
(Line probably missing CK)


155 San Anselmo, before 5-10-96

O Devayani, that the diversity of the world is one?
One is the diversity of the world.

Did you know that the way to wisdom is through diversity,
that the many equal the sum, and the sum is one,
and one is the diversity of the world?

O Devayani, did you know that to be right
is to serve the many, to serve the diversity of the world, to serve
the one which is the diversity of the world?

Shiva is one and he danced the world into existence.
Shiva is the diversity of the world.
Do your dance. Honor the one and the many

Be right, be righteous, honor
the one which is the diversity of the world,
honor all the diversity of the world for it is one.



Tomorrow, the new moon, invisible, will begin her waxing, O Devayani, look into
the darkest night of the year, know that the year begins again tomorrow, after the
night, when the sun rises tomorrow, sheds its new light, taken from the flickering
candles, a million lamps to illiuminate the dawning year, the coming of the moon-
light that will shimmering in your heart, in each heart opened to the young year, O
new year, the lights, the candles, the lamps, the glow of amber golden flame in the
the new years, O Devayani, night after night you will watch the moon, silver in her
of lights, rise from the darkest night, when even the stars dare not glitter, blackness
absence, announcing her presence, the eight hundredth time in your life. How many
O Devayani, how many lights of new moons waxing, olds moon waning, the lights of
numinous in your heart, O Devayani, celebrate Diwali, Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti-ee.



year on
the night the new moon, invisible, begins her waxing, O Devayani,
the darkest
night of the year, know that the year begins after the long, endless
when the sun rises, sheds its new light, takes on the flickerings
candles, the illiumination of a dawning year. The beginnings of
each year, the festival
of lights, shimmers deep in your heart, each heart opened to the
glow of golden amber from the flames, candles, lamps, the fire
of the lights, of Diwali!
O Devayani, night after night you will watch the moon, silvering with
her light, rising in the darkness, where even the stars dare not glitter.
Absence announces her presence: the eight-hundredth moon of your life
is celebrated.
O Devayani, how many lights of new moons waxing, olds moon waning, the lights of
creation, desolution, decay, how many new risen, newly born moons and rising suns
will shine upon earth, arcing across the blue-black cloudless sky, inciting luminosity
in your heart, O Devayani, how many? Celebrate Diwali! Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti-i


5319 Seattle, after 5-10-96

O Devayani,

the sugar rides high in the blood,
despair rides deep in the toes,
the world crashes around with
cataclysmic bliss.

The sun's gone out of the sky.
There's no one to talk to or cry.

O Devayani,

A jet roars overhead,
perhaps taking off for the moon.
You would go, too,
to the moon,

go off to the moon with the goony
decoctions from grey matter,

O Devayani,

dreams, hopes, soporifics,
that put you back to sleep.
Leave it alone, leave it alone,
leave it alone.

Dance in the moonlight, sleep in the sun.
All will return to the quark.


155 San Anselmo, before 5-10-96

O Devayani, for it is a concept as thin
as a negative, as blank as a void, for all is right
all the diversity of the world is right:

every moment of time and the sun and shade,
every moment of warmth and coolness, and mist,
every moment of the incandescence of desert heat
every moment of ice and the glacial snows,

every heart beats and is right, every rhythm taps to the beat
of the dance. O Devayani, do your dance
follow your heart, love the beat of all the dancers.
Whirl, Devayani, whirl to the wild rhythms of the dance,
and stop.

Sway, O Devayani,
melt to the left, melt to the right,
sway to the lilting slowness of the dance,
become one with the currents of air.
Do not seek to be right, Devayani,
for righteousness is a negative concept.

Let things be as they are, Devayani.
Describe them if you wish, O Devayani,
but do not judge them.
Describe them as they are.
Each described tree and each undescribed tree
belongs in the forest.
Do not be righteous toward the trees.



Introduction to The Devayani Poems

- B -

Beauty, before 1996
Burning, 05-06 before 1996

- C -

Cardamom, 01-01-98

to Cyberspace, 01-14-97


Dear Abby

Doris, 12-20-97

Dour, 12-12-97

Ecstasy, 11-16-97

Frost Mourning, 01-30-00

Empty, 12-22-97

The Empty Page, 12/18/97

Entertainment, 06-29-97

Etruscan Goddess, 1997

Every Human, 01-12-98

Father, 01-14-97

Fed Up, 11-02-97

Feeding Frenzy, 1995?

Gifts, 1989?

In A Judeo-Christian-Islamic World, 05-04-00

India, 1995?

Interstellar Space, 07-05-97

Khajuraho, 06-11-97

Lets Look At The Old Films Of India, 12-18-97

Little, 12-25-97

Lung-gom-pas, 1984?

Micro Paleontology, 04-24-97

The Nafs, 12-26-97

Next, 11-03-97

No Constraint, 1-14-98

Not, 12-23-97

Nothing, 1994?

No Words, 1-10-98

Of Spiritual, 1-11-98

Other, 12-21-97

Palimpsest (Ecstasy), 11-16-97

Palimpsest I (Sphere), 11-17-97

Palimpsest II (Diana), 11-22-97

The Place Between, 1-3-98

Point of View, 7-5-97

Ranked, 1-2-98

The Roaring Silence of God, 4-3-95

Roots, 06-27-97

Ryoanji, 1985?

Said, 01-04-98

Silence, 01-17-98

Solstice, 12-21-97

Steady Drizzle, 04-28-97

Two Tomatoes, 1995-96?

Sun, 00-00-97?

Then, 12-20-97

The Woman Who Had No Necklaces, 10-26-97

Work, 12-24-97

Yesterday, 2-10-98

Copyright © 2002 Jan Haag

Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: or





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