Thursday, July 13, 2006

My Soul Is A Traceless Wound

my soul is a traceless wound
a bruising of stars

a trial with no witnesses

a tree of clouds where birds

are singing cloudless songs

a shade drawn against the sun

a fire stung by air

a rift within an

imaginary family

a sadness of inquisitions

no broken thread of remembrance floating

on the beautiful finger of God-

mary angela douglas 24 december 2003

copyright 2006

The Documents The Queen Must Never See

["Je te defendrai a la derniere carriere."*
-Mary, Queen of Scots]

the documents the queen must never see
are locked inside a cloud that
cannot weep

and it will take too long to
cast off the embroidery
that could have caused true

rescuers to come

not many ivory ships
will sail until:
you waken, foundered,
in a green wood

and witnesses are called
who have no voice-

a shimmering rush of wings:
the tongue-cut sparrows
lace the sky
lace the sky

with warnings bright as tromp l'oeil patterns

through the window of
the last cell

mary angela douglas 2 november 2005/10 november 2005
copyright 2006

*"I shall defend Thee while I still draw air."

I Dreamed I Saw the Libraries Of Heaven

"E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle."*


I dreamed I saw the libraries of Heaven
and many books were there
that never saw the light of day on


and there were no sentinels at the door:
and in the air, something like flowers
and when you turned the page,

fresh meadows, endless hues-

and in a corner resplendent with light
and no newspapers-
you were reading by heart
and could not die-

mary angela douglas 13 may 2005
copyright 2006

*"and we walked out once more beneath the stars."
from Dante's Inferno, Canto 34 (when the poets emerge from hell)

I Draw My Heart Into A Sieve

I draw my heart into a sieve
of words-
my soul blisters and is not


my love is a flood of birds
but the flight patterns

make no sense-

my love tears on the eggshell wind
but the wind is gone

unsequestered in anyone's fairytale

my words, my heart, my life
I would place at your

but you are standing on the sun-

m. angela douglas 18 november 2001
copyright 2006

I Am The Tree Of White

["Why then, will we not turn our eyes toward the stars? Why?"
-Mikhail Bulgakov The White Guard]

I am the tree of white
and the petals that float to earth
with music on every page


at the heart of the rose is
a white word: a drift of

and irrevocable solace
beyond flowering,

rimmed with light: at
times, overflowing-

living, living as this
branch of blossoming words

I am

commending the stars to earth
and hoping you will remember

mary angela douglas 20 march 2005
copyright 2006

I Am Sending This Flare Up, Oh

I am sending this flare up, oh
king of my distress
the messengers have no message

but their circuits are endless

not on any map can the nightingale be
found now
and the Emperor is dying

mary angela douglas 29 january 1999

copyright 2006

Here Is The Watermark

here is the watermark
I promised
will you hold it to

the light to know

it's real, will

hold the imprint

that can't be
reasoned out

or converted to

any other faith?

mary angela douglas 29 january 1999

Fra Angelico On The Green

Fra Angelico, on the green

and foaming waters I have
reverted to

such stillness-

enfolded in your rose

on a raft like a
Christmas postage stamp

in this glistening yet
starless hour;
in a harbor I can

never ascertain-

mary angela douglas 31 may 2005
copyright 2006

For The Light Of Your Palms

for the light of your palms
it seemed that I crossed mountains
sometimes in a dream;

sometimes awake

only visible to me: the incontrovertible

the wounded and the


(not the sun or the moon)

but a universe bordering,

my own

mary angela douglas 23 june 2001
copyright 2006

In A Dream Of White Lead

in a dream of white lead
I heard the word

you said that dream
should come to you, not me,
but can dreams be chosen?

later I dreamed that Joseph Brodsky
returned to his first
New York apartment
one week after his death,

stunned by the vacancy.

and in next year's ochre-lighted dream,
to a furnished one, complete
with friends and reviewers:

smiling, in a light apart
at their consternation,

as once he stood before
Soviet tribunals so
clearly, tenderly, ironically

"decided by God"

mary angela douglas 30 september 2000/31 may 2005

copyright 2006

If I Tremble Like Glass

if I tremble like glass
before the sky of dreams,
still, that is music.

and if the angel of snow

on my left or my right
no longer upholds me,

still, my heart will not

stop bearing light or

mary angela douglas 21 november 2000

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

For Russia

[in memorium, Mary Adalyn Young-Douglas]

your terrible snows cannot conceal it:

all you have lost.
though it should snow forever, piling
lace on lace and pearl on pearl
in the sheer dream of your
interminable ballet.
your official icons privately weep;
does your heart sleep under the snow, my princess?
the rainbow of your dissidence appears and disappears.
it isn't magic: your multinationals cut down
like grain, star after star in the fading darkness.
then.the pale famine of renewed terror.
You! my martyred fairytale! could I reach
you through the agitprop
can I find your smile, my dispossessed
I carry white flowers in the swirling snow
to match the exquisite blankness of your soul.
the frozen curve of your "mier".
to be free you must take your
heart and hurl it at the moon; to be free you must be
anywhere else in the world,
but Russia.
how I would like to forget everything I don't know about you.
but your samizdat is clouding my heart,
your uncensored dream...
your God won't stop anointing me
when I long for your spring and the
bells in Kiev.

mary angela douglas 17 january 1986

At The Foot Of Your Golden Mountain

at the foot of your golden mountain
never seen:

I cried

turning in this
crevasse of rose
I don't know how to be
and the mists roll down

so easily, enclosing me

how can a living heart
be hidden-
and all their snow redactions seem
so signed off on?

like a prayer flag in a blizzard
of misconstrued intentions-

someone else's version of events

my heart my heart my
helplessness before you-

mary angela dougloas 5-7 april 2002/31 may 2005/30 august 2003/31 august 2010

Angels Of Flame Were Bending

angels of flame were bending
over the child of desolation,
over the disgraced and


new chapters could now

be written:

the raven days precluded

all but your wanderers'

authorities ruled as if

the stars could be struck down

mary angela douglas 8 february 2001

All These Momentary Stays Of Execution

all these momentary stays of execution
under the flocks of
receding stars-

and the sun is
eclipsed indefinitely

and the pores of the soul

are magnified

but anyway, we have

already flown this
kingdom of petty


since everywhere there are

random incisions that can
always be justified

and the world stage is darkened when

the actors cannot


mary angela douglas 12 july 2004

All Their Flags Have Fallen

all their flags have fallen
still, in my heart,
another country rises

under a sky unknown

all their causes cannot

be espoused-

but I am enhanced by a

silence more true-
but I am a tree with

roots of gold-

mary angela douglas 25 june 2000

All the Hidden Names Of The Sky

I was counting over
all the hidden names of the sky:

I have no patronym.

icon makers are leaving me

their shreds of beaten gold;

they will not note the


of my living soul

mary angela douglas 20 june 2001

copyright 2006

My Castles Are Buried in Snow

my castles are buried in snow

and clouds of opal float over

no banner raised

and all this is just

chalk on white jade:

I cannot write my heart-

mary angela douglas 25 april 2005