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."

- G -


1228 San Anselmo Avenue

Everything means something to you;
The dying flowers,
The newness of the year.
A red dress.
Nancy's laughter. Norma's chanting.
Water flowing, wide, swift,
Silent as silk, then breaking over
Stones, rushing toward shale and sea,
Places you've never been, but of which you also dream.

Today you slept. When you woke
remembrance lingered.
This too meant something. The dream which woke you
Left you satisfied
In desires you no longer have. You smiled,
Turned back into the down. But it had gone,
As villages flee beyond the train's window,
As the Queen of the Night closes to the day,
As a jet flies into the sun, as the kitten
pauses, sun-dappled before dandelions,
But runs on.

Moments held in the eye,
So that even you, Devayani, imagine
In this darkling landscape
Eros lovingly choosing his arrow,
The leaf's shadow passing over the kitten,
Fountains plashing in courtyards never seen.
The night-flower's brief scent.

The night-flower's brief scent.


1025 South Cloverdale
Los Angeles, California 90019

Everything means something to you; the dying flowers,
The different times of year.
The new clothes you wear at the end of Ramadan.
A prince's trust. The way that water flows,
Too impetuous to pause, breaking over
Stones, rushing towards distant objects,
Places you can't see but which you also flow
Outward to.

Today you slept long. When you woke your old blood stirred.
This too meant something. The girl who woke you
Touched your brow.
She called you Lord. You smiled,
Put up a trembling hand. But she had gone,
As seasons go, as a night-flower closes in the day,
As a hawk flies into the sun or as the cheetah runs; as
The deer pauses, sun-dappled in long grass,
But does not stay.

Fleeting moments: these are held a long time in the eye,
The blind eye of the ageing poet,
So that even you, Gaffur, can imagine
In this darkening landscape
The blowman lovingly choosing his arrow,
The hawk outpacing the cheetah,
(The fountain splashing lazily in the courtyward).
The girl running with the deer.

From the last page of the Raj Quartet by Paul Scott


1228 San Anselmo Avenue

O Devayani, I do not even know
the progression,
the steps,
from calling it God
to calling it Superstring.

God spelled backwards is Dog,
but Superstring spelled backwards
is Gnirtsrepus.

Gnirtsrepus is what
we named what we found
as we spiraled backward and backward,
down and down into eons of time,
into infinities of substance,
into space
into the process that ended up with us, dog,
Superstring and God --

O Devayani, with us,
and all else: the light
in the sky, the croaking of a frog --the croaking?
The frog surely, but the croaking of the frog?

(Does sound have mass, weight and spin?
Remember the neutrino?
No weight, no mass
and the spin of one half.)

Yes, achieved us, and the rose,
the vision of the rose.
Superstring? The seeing of the rose? Smell, Taste
and Touch -- are they Superstring, too?
The chanting,
the sound of the chanting,
the mantra,
and the hearing of the mantra.
Om mani padme hum.

Superstring. Gnirtsperus.
The one and the many.
The ten thousand things return to one.
The one returns to the ten thousand things.

Superstrings, Devayani, invisible particles so small
that even the new fifty-three mile,
superconducting super-collider will never smash
a single one. So small
Devayani, so small,
barely a conception of the mind.
Infinitely smaller than God and very far away.

The inside of the mind is grander than galactic spaces,
double the size of the imagined universe,
grander than God.

"Idam chadam cha," so the Shivites say,
"This and this and this," is God
"Idam eva shivam tvu idam eva shivam."

Also, they say,"Neti neti," "Not this, not this,"
"Neti neti," the physicist says,
until, infinitely regressed
we find Gnirtsrepus, Himself.

For a while we call
Him Superstring
instead of Atom, Molecule,
Electron, Quark, Shiva
God, Yahwe.

But how many more steps, Devayani,
how infinitely small,
how invisible, must "origin"
be before we agree it is only a concept
of the mind?

The universe is,
as any God will tell you,
a thought,
the Big Bang, an impulse,
Nataraja's dance.
Shiva/Shakti sway, energy manifests.

As you brush pass the muons,
the gluons, the hadrons,
the spidery webs of the nine
dimensions -- cobwebs of the mind --
as entrapping as Indra's net,
each pearl reflecting itself and one early universe
calculation, reflecting, infinitely reflecting,

O, Devayani,
remember the dance!
Superstring sways His,
two-cornered, hook-of-the-eye
form. His moebic, undulating form
moves with the slow, the stately
sway of a pendulum, the sway of the great ball
that shows the turning of the earth,
the tick-tock of time, the rocking of universes
connected by worm holes.

Gnirtsrepus vibrates
faster than the humming
bird's wings,
faster than the super-collider's
hoped for speed,
faster than the electron's
unimaginable orbiting.

O Devayani, Devayani, Gnirtsrepus is a concept
of the mind. Like the particle and the wave:

if you define it you can't find it,
if you find it
you can't define it. Where has it been?
Where is it going?
What is it?

Gnirtsrepus, a Dog of the mind
dogs the mind as a dog
worries a bone.

Bury it deep in the earth, be at peace.

O Devayani, earth, peace,
are concepts of the mind.
The mind is the dance.
Infinity stills
only when Nataraja, in his circle of flame,
whirls on the fragile stillness
of unblown ash,

when the Big Bang, like a black hole
pulls in its fire,
its explosion, its sound.

Rest, Devayani, rest in Gnirtsrepus' pulsing,
rest in God's swaying,
rest as you search,
rest as you sleep.

O rest as you sleep, Devayani,
rest on the busom of infinite sleep,
join the slight swaying, the Om of silence,
rest as a hadron, rest as a quark,
rest in Gnirtsrepus' arms,
(last line missing?)


1228 San Anselmo Avenue

All the romance, all the love, all the worship, all the magic
has gone from the music
from the musician
from my life here in Marin.

I find no love in my heart for anything or anyone.
I am discouraged, down at the mouth, down in the spirits.

I see no point, I have been kidding myself.
It hurts so deeply to be so disillusioned,
and why, O Devayani, why?

I am suffused with a trembly heart,
I feel I am on the verge of dying.
I would do nothing at all if I had
not got myself involved in this showing of my

I would escape. I would go. I would do nothing.
I would flounder out into despair.

Why O God, Why?
What have I done to myself?
What have you done to me?
What is being demanded of me?
What is being asked.
I do not understand.

I keep trying to go on.
But I am stymied beyond belief.
And then Craig calls.
Sweet, Craig.

If I knew how to jump outside this trembling
if I knew how to stop playing numbers on myself in my head
If I knew how to relax and let things be.


5319 9th Avenue N.E.

O Devayani, take time out to dwell
in the odd gray spaces of the mind,
take time out to live in the drift
of clouds, gray in the dawn. Bless

the day and the emptiness on the day
the sun doesn't shine. Bless the void
on the days there is nothing but mist

in the mind, the day without motive
or plan where emptiness opens
into nothingness. Let gentle light
seep in through open spaces.

Explore by silence, live by twilight
in a shut down spirit. Alive in the quiet,
O Devayani, is that so frightening?
To be at peace, to dwell in quiet,

to breathe solitude. Experience the breath,
the sighˇˇmoan a little. Do not flee.
Do not always be so eager to touch
the burning flame, to incandesce

like the sun, to smoke hot with
enthusiasim, to steam with bliss.
Lie quiet, research the odd grey spaces
of the mind, the dim light of the soul,

the faint music of the heart.
Lie quiet in the dawn.
Be of good cheer,
no one has stolen the sun.



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