Thursday, July 02, 2020

Skating

skating farther in is skating farther out
I don't know how I ever doubted it
skating farther out is skating farther in
since I can't skate anyway
but only in my mind I can pretend
where the light dazzles
the ice on the ponds
and I am caught in Currier and Ives
with a green tinted muff
because it's December
and crows etched in the near snow in the clouds
I know somehow
it is a familiar landscape
I read early in a novel about Hans Brinker.
his skates of silver.
I will have skates of gold in another chapter..
and pirouette at sunset on a frozen lake
so that the torches of the sun might burn
in deep rose and vermillion Amy Lowell.
your opal images.
it's winter and my favorite prisms glow.
the sweet old forgotten poems, their legends, true.
I have not forgotten you.
and they are in my heart forever
near the pines laden with snow
and this is for John Greenleaf Whittier too.
For snowboundedness and the brittle air the sense of
home I keep looking for, where is it? under the Tree?
under the festooned tree..imagine with me that
I am in love with poetry;with the immortals.
I want to skate out in my skittery poems on the lake of Time
and breathe and breathe the snow cold air
braiding rubies in my hair.
mary angela douglas 2 july 2020

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Question Of Mercy The Flinging of Statues;The Whims of Marx;The Lies Of Lenin

mercy is greater than justice
mercy is not spoken now; a dead language
as if the constellations had gone dark

above the earth, somehow.
as if they are building a new building
this building without windows

that cannot receive light
we will be made to live in.
they think

but we will take flight.

only a reckoning justice
only a loaded night

how will we live.
without mercy.
without God

on the pulse of our dreams
where will we go who will we be then
the objects of dubious schemes

like a desert with no wind.
their new world without end

and the well will run dry
for the whole earth.

you did not give us birth.

sticks upon stones.
you will not dance
on the rubble of my soul.

you faux pilgrims.

reckoning belongs to God.
and mercy too.

what cross have you bourne
that you should replace the Saviour

mary angela douglas 30 june 2020

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Break Like A Closed Wave

if your smile should break
break like a closed wave
Jesus won't forsake

the midnight of your days.
if the wave should close
rosebud not a rose

if your heart should ice
winter will suffice.
He who calmed the sea

will surely comfort thee.

mary angela douglas 28 june 2020

The Handing Off Of Former Feelings As You Leave

they will hand you your feelings in a plastic bag
the ones you came here with.
but you've forgotten to be sad to be glad

it will take a while to get used to it;
maybe we'll have a trial run.
some clouds in the sky, a winter sun.

but the reasons why are different now
when you look up
it's only to measure your shadow on the ground.

does it dwindle like some black candle found
or is it used up
or will it  torrentially rain

and so profane the wick
its drenched
as if it were your soul extinguished here:

why should I look straight at the light 
as if to tarnish it. or assume a reasonable blindness.

or, in the sudden dazzle of daylight
to one long in the city pent as Keats in his teardrop diamond
sonnet, lament once cried while he was still alive

or on a speeding train with few goodbyes and
the train well sped from the storms  with no bouquets

will God in his surprises with half the story said:
turn everything to gold and not to lead.

mary angela douglas 28 june 2020

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Children In Their Dreams

in between worlds and the half light fluttering, the quince light shuttering
they float and then are suspended as school is suspended chock full of delight
and found in the peach fleece skies
suddenly they could fly. and there's no milk spilled in space
where gravity knows its place and there is no disgrace.
for children in their dreams.
paint them a peppermint house shingled with gum drops and fine gold
and no witch there.and no witch stories tediously told;only wishes neon bold
or flower scented air where they may ever wander their arms full of
wild orchids and bluebells. I will never tell.
and let their kites the brilliant hued startling the birds mid winging.
exorbitantly singing rise over. the pink imbued hills.
let them eat their fill of cherry, blackberry pie. ; oh let all their whys be answered by God Himself pouring the orangeade
and let them read in the green lanced shade
every book on the shelf twice over till dawn.
that they may carry on in love with the once upons
putting to rights the patchwork earth.
left to them from birth.
stitching the strawberry seams:
children children in their dreams.
mary angela douglas 27 june 2020

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Blue Flowers Then, The Ballade

I was not thinking of the blue flowers then.
of the effect of moonlight through gauze clouds
of crystals of snow weaving through thin air

and dizzying like small tulle ballerinas.
of the curlicue frost I could make no translations
the moon in love with the white stones marking

the fairy tale way
I couldnt find the words to say for those who swept by
in particoloured dancing

you will think me vague though I wasn't.
perhaps you were the snow child you may have smiled.
the Princess who could not smile.

after a while I wont see through the haze
of how things were interpreted then.
I heard blue notes on a radiant piano;

I knew that it was Chopin.

mary angela douglas 25 june 2020

To The Bugler Falling To Earth

I dreamt I was warned in dreams
to depart another way
to stitch together the clouds

so that the sun could hide, repairing itself
out of the view of children who could cry
Look, Mama, the sun is bleeding gold

i dreamed in the violet twilights
music was no longer thwarted.
Lincoln on a ghost train

returned to fall again,
the copious weeping.
Whitman with lilac in his hands

and the lilac crumbling
oh shiloh shiloh
gettysburg again
the lilacs weeping.
the bugle falling to the ground

from the snow clad lips of the bugler
the nation not laid to rest
Lincoln returning on a ghost train

returning to fall again
the recurring nightmare...
song itself is wounded I cried

the staff of irretreivable music
the march of senseless pride
carries the day

far away from us all.
but God still hears the bugle call
falling to earth from snow clad lips

and sifts the voices.
and carries us through
when we can no longer stand.

mary angela douglas 25 june 2020

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

No More The Nightingale Regales

no more the nightingale regales in the space between words
fending off death in the Emperor's garden
singing in lilied music reprieving the Soul

weaving the moonlight through the clouds irrevocably.

now the poets take pride in being plainspoken
so we have banished wings content to plod.
to build the house of sod

to leave the prairie meadowlarks the skies
tinted with roses. but not our children.
stick upon stone to leave this alone.

what the Romantics were known for.
what they died for.
how can I help but sigh. 

how can I ever comply.
I was raised on Shelley

and on the 23rd Psalm
and I have qualms that truly
we have made

whole kingdoms disappear
becoming only integers.

mary angela douglas 23 june 2020


My Poems Leaf In The Air Their Emerald

my poems leaf in the air their emerald and then
ochre seek, perhaps or crimson leafing in the wind
to drift solitary whirling up in clouds of their leaving
strewing the pavement, longing to break into stars,
starrIness lifted up again into some jeweled orbit
braceleted and charmed or with jade cataracts armed
oh that it could be so not, otherwise, lost in snows
or glazing over, time out of mind with the snow melt
aeons away...
time out of mind beyond these earthly railings
let them sail please God on some bright opaline sea
illuminated by thee
and never failing or lift them into the gardens
where the skies are orchid overhead; my roses, a rosy maze
a pearl embroidery that cannot fade from the loom
and the speed of light resumed in or out of doors and healing
on the vast shores christened by You.
mary angela douglas 23 june 2020

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Not Only Because The Heralding Angels

after the parade grounds have made their photo finish fade
or Time has unmade them unmade the fringed flowers in the fields
is it then we will yield to you Oh God your golden right of way

under the confetti of our childhood snows the flowers that snow and
petal us profusely as though you were glad we were walking under those branches
on that afternoon

will we look up to recognize in the snowy residues all petaling belongs to you
all blooming all fading away the mystery of what remains
of how music lingers on.

it's coming from You. I know that it is.
and not only because the heralding angels
said so.

mary angela douglas 20 june 2020

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Transparent Green

can we come to a full stop here in the transparent green
of early April sometimes I wanted to say on life's most
intricate way

and because I felt I could walk no farrther on
and wanted to hear at last, only the songs of birds
and not a single more human word

because words were becoming too distant from the soul
so that my soul was choked with the verbiage of dust
as Shakespeare put it signifying nothing

clear sound where is the clear sound going in the april trees
it sounds so Heavenly let me sink and rest here for awhile
sink to my knees in the dear dear grass, and home at last

in a demi Paradise

but I am not April's child

i cannot stay.
and ask the angels for  a swatch of green to remember that day
later when the trial the trail  is rough

and there is no Bethel there.

mary angela douglas 13 june 2020

Almost Always Spring

(for Antoine St. Exupery)

draw my planet please
I said to St. Exupery one fine dream.
I think you can.

draw it from dot to dot and if you please
draw the trees with gold foil leaves
and flowers of peridot.

that's asking a lot of an artist who had
to draw a lamb in a box
a box without locks

I understand.
do the best you can.
my planet is my own

always only, Home.
where the lights filter down from the green
the very green stars

and it's always almost always-
Spring in the yard.

mary angela douglas 13 june 2020

Friday, June 12, 2020

The Colour Of The Rose

(to my sister, Sharon)


beautiful beyond recognition
maybe the soul could grow
beyond her historical rose gardens

drifting in Time's snows

beautiful then-

as beautiful when

now, you turn and go
caught on the restless sleeve of music

forgetting all else you know

beautifully freed from woe
remembering though:  the shade in the garden;

the colour of the rose


mary angela douglas 12 june 2020

Another Variation For The Tin Soldier


he only knows one way to stand:
the tin soldier way
since that's the way he came
in the box at Christmas
with all the others.
then one day
a fairy fussilade dispatched one leg
or part of it I guess
but still he stayed the most valient,
circumspect
propped up in play
forever at attention.
stalwart in the day
and when the moonlight shone
through the room
on the posture he assumed
would always be his.
how could it be otherwise.
till with the wind he scouted from the ledge
too near the edge
beyond his own will and sailed in a paper boat that drowned
till he floated all alone through drainpipes in the town
with roofs of scarlet sugar snowed
under it all and kept his visage fixed
though no one else could know it was his
till one day from the magic fish in the selfsame kitchen
the cook drew him out bye bye drain spouts
refurbished for a little space
to see the steadfast glow on her face
the ballerina too
who waited through and through
till her heart of tinsel and gauze
melted beyond all effect and cause
into a heart of lead
that's what the story said.

mary angela douglas 12 june 2020

Small Prayer In The Green Gold Wood


(to my mother, Mary Adalyn Young-Douglas who was also a poet)
for those who have stolen the gold dusting on my small half wing uprising despite of storms for Christ whom I adore
surely you know you should have known
there was more gold where that came from replenishing
and what good did it ever do you
to take the shine off anything disparaging
you devious apple pilfering polishers movers up the rungs
of a not so divine ladder of ascent
shoo flies shoo from off the jams my mother made
and gave to me all damson in a universe
of summer sighs what makes you think
I should report to you
you are not my officers
and I never learned the drill
and sang where I could under the cumulus clouds
and dyed to match
rose tinted chartreuse and azure true
as in antique postcards I sent to you, my mother
knowing you were very far
from as you said, "the land of births and christenings."
painting the nimbus round the saints
in your own radiance and beyond all blame
embedded in starlight and in your finest pearls
while they asked me underneath in the world
if I knew how to file or was that too hard for me:.
in several languages I said
knowing the alphabets were on my side
because I never used them
to self aggrandize to dole out wrong for wrong
o give me back the other half of the wing
you hired mourners at the funerals
Christ will mend it still
even if I will only fly to the smallest twig
in the green gold wood.
where the sparrows sang of Him, continually.
she said, as they always would.

mary angela douglas 12 june 2020

Saturday, June 06, 2020

The Magician At The Close of Day (Revised)

somewhere I have never traveled gladly beyond any experience

e.e. cummings, "Somewhere I Have Never Travelled"


should I walk on perennial stilts to join the circus

keep creaming the new moons into quarters that shine

draw scarves out of the cotton candied air while being the penny


Valentine at the Fair

in my dream that opens its paper cut gate so that the bluebirds


shine hoisting the pink ribbon over the sugared landascape ... or 

it shuts in time like Cinderela's chime,like

cummings'poem so elegantly

on the somewhere the rose has never been seen

that delicately, that imperiled as though it were made

of snows.



evanescence is a tough act to follow.

when it is we ourselves slipping in and out of clouds

not only the copper moon

will I sleep till noon. will I understand again the language of

birds

if I am careful never to say a bruising word or will my heart

suddenly burst into paper flowers or fly into the furnace

all tin soldier and ballerina

flung by unrepentant winds into the forevers 



how can I write the arc of the story when it's me

and I know the egg timer's set and there's isn't time to pay

respects to everything to everything that vanished


one feels when the branches are lacework against the sky

the crossstitch of the violets and of the Spring moon


late May has been suspended;

embroidered embroidered on an empty loom.

mary angela douglas 2 may 2020;revised 6 june 2020

Letter To My Former College

now when I write you
you answer in templates; that place I felt was full of saints
if you answer at all on your facebook wall
is it because I am no longer a prospective student
seeking a catalogue to catalogue all the reasons why
I should be in love with your granite architecture forever
the way the little tulip tree blossoms near the mezzanine
where I looked out as it was
laden with sudden snow a stinging glow on my face
because my window is raised
and that was Spring; the Spring when I learned everything
when every blossom fall was fragrant with the whole acute universe
and I wrote green verse in green ink
or in the winter halls I cherished
the way snows sweep past the lamplight in early December
seen from a dorm window at night and lit up as with angels.
those things make me weep when I recall them
or how I listened tenderly to Mendelssohn's violin concerto
as performed by a friend so that everything around me
suddenly rose up in a pale green and fervent whispering
or read Rilke till dawn in the translations of M. Herter Norton.
I lived there then. and every inch of ground and space
was blossoming with the possibilities of learning something
revitalized as if from a Golden Age
something rarefied even holy; implicit, imprint in amber
filtering Dante's several suns or
at any moment, coming around the corner to see
Quixote in genteel poverty or Picasso's poster on a wall
beside a professor's office posted with his hours;
me in my dress of flowers contemplating
Dulcinea near the tower bell in off hours
and all the Remembrances Of Things Past
there remain to tell but to whom.
What hell is this that now when I speak
or whatever I ask
there is no one who remembers who has empathy
for the past that was our Present then
or the poem about the falconer in mind.
as they breathe clockwork in the sweep of sweeping Time:
the Image, Brand up off the floor
where freaks like me have perhaps littered it
with overemotional reminiscence St. Louis at my crossroads:
that Silver Arch through which I had come thinking of
Tennyson's Ulysses, Memoriam before I had begun just as
Tennyson did
what does it matter to you now, sorting through forms
you think of me as a ghost if you think at all
someone to be sorted as the English say
so you can get on with your administrative day.
who are you; were you once an invading army
buildings are not enough to preserve what there was then
a something intangible sparkling in the air
an irrefutable threshold lustre of bronze bright autumn
anywhere my septembers
the curious turning of an intricate mind twining
the rubied thread through the labyrinth
"Everybody Is A Star: on the jukebox
Cherry Danish from the machine
on Saturdays...Who Knows Where The Time Goes
you with your new crops now.
your technological know how 
your alumni dollars. anyhow
crop this from the picture if you can.
in april or may remembering a poem I wrote one day
under a tree of great and white azalea brightening
my ghost will come to stay resolved in her ancient quest
fluttering the pages of all the books in the library.
and by infinite starlight. blessed.

mary angela douglas 4 may 2020;rev. 6 june 2020

Friday, June 05, 2020

REPOSTING: Particoloured Tears Are Falling Through The Evening, Blind

on the 8th anniversary of the death of the great American writer Ray Bradbury I am here reposting an elegiac poem I wrote for him a little over a week after he died on June 5 2020...

[small prelude on the pianoforte, for Ray Bradbury, gone:
August 22,1920 - June 5,2012]

oh all the rainbows have fallen into the earth, headfirst-
and "snow without Christmas" as he cried
has stunned his sometimed midnight's
sunned chorales.

but - even now-
when the first curled handbell of grief is chimed, at times, magnolia creamery of the long before,
you're still in business

on the ivory keys of snowconed pages turning
in the lock
or filtering round pure
apricot sparkles down
oh God knows how-
my shuttered April mind.
it's wondering I dream to find
no new poet laureate of the homesick, but
distraught cloud horses whinnying on their own in
folds of cerulean, coral, forestalled-
with storied apples offered: oh wrought of a banished gold-
(as they are now) -
to keep them home.

the day wears on…we won't know clearly now
when dark ferrised earth kept turning into...
blossom ladened trees renew their snow and
petal the sweetheart mourning: "morning
minstrelsy is dead" throughout the vacant orchards but is she
pale pink surprised into carmine-
by valentines received
in the afternoon mail
from one thought dead…?

while we as we behold through a looking glass pinhole in the constellations:
his ice-cream coloured trollies
hauling back and forth
new circuses of sighs and working prisms-
("dewdrop, listen"…he whispered so we wouldn't forget you ever-
or children would justlet go and all at the same time
their last balloons losing everything then
it felt that way, to them…)

It's got to be now on Opal Rails
somewhere else, going on…
couch this in bluebirds and hydrangeas…
and cool cups of lilied moonlight on the grass
of other planets looking just like home

held higher above our heads than these dreams
have ever been before: long
past the vast pinwheeled parades of the strolling musicians, musicless

on earth,

but not where motley is torn-
its falling its falling through the evening blind
and near
our particoloured tears, unending…
for the something unsurpassed
and all, all-in-all at last…
caught by a weeping God in a ruby red bottle-
the best firefly of the whole Summer…

mary angela douglas 14 june 2012 1: 49 p.m.

Some People

some people stand between you and the Sun
as if only they could mediate all that gold
and they are the smoked glass or the obscured one

protecting you from all eclipse
except that when they're in the room
you barely see your own shadow.

break = free.
learn to see what you see
with the kind mediation

of the Holy Ghost
even whose shadows are green
the green of trees new sprung

the roots go deep
deep in to the first green
the thundering whisper of God

over chaos.

mary angela douglas 5 june 2020

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Now I Shut The Door

there's always something going on outside the window.
we learned this in school and were quickly brought to attention
by the teacher: eyes FORWARD

in the classroom where distractions were not encouraged.
now any distraction a thousand distractions at once crowd the air
the corridors of power or of squalor

but it's still the same thing when it comes to study.
are you going to study or are you going to let every leaf fall
every Redwood fall break your concentration.

will you stay in your own lane and accomplish what you set out to do
even for an hour a quarter of an hour or will you listen to those who want
the world to end right now

because they are bored especially with study that you know you are called to.

learning something new about the world in its joyful its beautiful aspect.
the lore of what went before or what may come after
the tears and the laughter of predecessors the memories of home.

the precious thing worth living for life itself: the knowledge of God
tending the beautiful, difficult sod knowing the harvest will come
if you pay attention

whatever else is on the news. don't let them use you. don't let them confuse you.

keep to your starry way.

I have been tricked into this many times before today 
now I shut the door and pray

and read. listen to symphonies. pray that Christ will come again and say:
PEACE. BE STILL. love cannot die. under the wide wide sky.

Be True.

mary angela douglas 3 june 2020

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

To Say The Beautiful Thing

to say the beautiful thing within reason:
to say it for its own sake
so that Light may shine

into somber corners in the great cathedrals
of blessed memory;
in the unlit portion of the house

where the steeples came down
where we try to live beyond

the color of the soul that is cold in winter
where the snow doesn't melt until summer
and then we are parched and ask water,

living water to go on
to whisper the beautiful thing

days without number not for credit or fame
only to keep the blessed names alive.

mary angela douglas 2 june 2020

If An Angel Will Come

(for the installation artist Ilya Kabakov, on a corner of his sky)
(and to Emilia Kabakov, who I think, surely must BE his angel)

if he paints the moon in a corner of the sky
it is because he knows there cannot be a page large enough
to contain either moon or sky

and so this is a gesture
a gesture made to perhaps angels 
angels he has left traps for

appropriately painted in pale rose
with golden scrolls on them and harps variously
lightly scented with violets from another era

in order to pose to them the one question
he has saved up to ask
since childhood.

does the moon know if the angels will come
will the sky become overcast
so that he will not know if they have come

if they have remained on the threshold
because of the sticky angel art gum
he positioned there

to catch them unaware
or so that their gowns are caught on a golden nail
just sticking up from the floorboard

since they are prone only
to look at each ceiling sistine like;
as if it were filled with stars;

the memory of Whose we are
and Who is looking for us.

mary angela douglas 2 june 2020

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Wolfie And The Conundrum/The Good Wolf

(After Aesop)


Be careful when one wolf is warning you about another wolf
behind the bush in the picture book story
and the warning wolf has a halo in the picture book


so that it is a reformed wolf or not a wolf at all,


oh! you say to yourself
(having been taught well at school):
an evolved species!!


a tame one and now you're besties.
besties with the beastie.and can lead him around
on a leash of rose petals, yes you can.


while he offers his paw, shyly to strangers.
and you eat custard together in the wintertime
at some little cafe and strawberries (turn the page)


and are convinced by the splashing tears at the corners of his tear ducts
and the water stains they make on his refined suede and


blood red vest and he
is softly bleating, putting your fears to rest
and as soothing as your mother, at her best on the days


she made apple pies
and so concerned about you or I that you will be safe


from the bush wolf who is really, by comparison,
only a cartoon.
remember, although childish logic may tell you earnestly


that the warning wolf is your rescuer and that the proof
of that is how kind he is to warn you about the other one
malingering...


that:


it is possible for one wolf who is even more ravenous
to solicitously and with his fur combed quite down
and extensive dental work having been done on his fangs


to whisper sentimentally to you and with blue blue violets
with fresh honey from the hive
about the dastardly one who is so dangerous and then


eat you alive
before he swallows down and picking delicately at the bones
the bushie wolf too.


mary angela douglas 30 may 2020

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Like Endless Words In Flight

I love branching conversations

and when the birds in vast migrations

come to settle there

there is jeweled singing.

I sing there too in emerald enumerations

or float with clouds

over the brimming oceans and, as they recede

and in backward motion back in Time

elliptical and dreamed by God'

I still want

I want to be that kind of flowering

they will say you are off topic as if I were in a business

meeting.

I think it is strange to be that stationary

when we could be all rivers rushing down to the sea

if we chose to be or

holding on to the golden thread through the labyrinth

and that is poetry the way it feels to me

under the Pearl and watchful Eye of God

the way it always turned like an opal in my imagination

or the moon set like a jewel, glinting

on the rim of night; or like endless words in flight.

mary angela douglas 30 may 2020

Recurring Lifelong Dream

you're in that dream again.
the tsunami's coming
you're the only one who knows.

or at least a major flood
of historical proportions. you have mere seconds to warn
them, all the shell gatherers;the children in their school

clothes
you go down on the beach or downtown

to the glass buildings
to tell them all. that there's a squall

and all the bridges will wash out this time.
but just like in the sundial day
no one registers what you say

or pays you any mind
because you're not a major player
in anyone's flow chart,

come what may.
still you persist in a dreamlike way
it will be like this, you say:


laying the blueprint out in full detail.
but they are intractable
and doze deep in their own waves

and brush you away not even like a fly
certainly not like one of the emerald ones
or the blue bottles of etymological fame.

there you are. a ghost not a meteor
lighting up no sky.
swinging a lantern, bye and bye

by the grey and ominous coasts
while the wind gathers speed and the Holy Ghost
or on the pavements and trying not to bleed
when you've done all you can to plead;

is there another way to phrase it?.
so they will understand. you beat your head
against the stone of words all in a tone deaf land

and know you're not even barely heard
against the gusts and all the protocols and the musts.
it's happening again.

you can see the tip of the wave descend
and inevitability
is written in streaked sorrow across the clouds

and the lemon lighted window panes.
the doors flapping open...

you scramble to safety up the dunes
and wake up in your room a small Noah after the rainbows.
a wilted Cassandra bloom

and burst into tears that no one listened again
even when their lives hinged on it.

mary angela douglas 30 may 2020