Thursday, July 29, 2010

Can A Word Be Mapped

["can a word be mapped"
-Dr. Maureen O'Neill, from her website "map passion"]

testing the acoustics in my last cathedral

I folded up the petal of a song
into my best pocket

like a map only clouds configure-

not to scale
I wander and

I wonder why

the sun is leaking light and
I'm afraid-

already the wounded images are

in hiding and "nowhere" is written
large across the sky

though not in script of gold

can a word be mapped?

or will it fly like a color wheel
falling off a sunset sky

or like a ghost ship sailing

on no water

it's the marbled music I

can't find anymore
no matter how I try

since moving from an old neighborhood

though I
cast my Mercator net

so wide so wide

from the mark
that distance cannot measure

can a word be mapped

or must we live
blind and deaf to music

in the end

wondering where the poets went?
ceding their diamond letters
one by one-

mary angela douglas 29 july 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sight-reading The Rose

sight-reading the rose
I look for the garden
but it isn't there

sight-reading the star

I think I am shining
but it isn't here

sight-reading the wind

I turn to go
I turn to go

but I don't know where

mary angela douglas 28 july 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Swans Wheel Away

[after the manner of Hans Christian*]

my swans wheel away

in disbelief:
could I be theirs?

I mourn in the mirror of the

skies, perfecting my reflection
in dismay

quaking in the clear pearl shadows

of their going

my swans turn away

from my frank, happy question:
"is it you?"

incapable of reply

so lofty, made of snow,
but hard;

even in blue-bell decked

midsommer, never melting-

pleased with one another

preening the crystal feathers
out of reach like stars-

they shine and blur

or is it only water that's
so dazzling

and can't be called back.

it's only I-

am sobbing "clouds on clouds"

drifting further than could be expected -


and won't be comforted

by any tribes now-

mary angela douglas 22 july 2010

*poems references are of course to Hans Christian Anderson's The Ugly Duckling and represent a kind of alternative ending, or maybe it's a case of the false swans before the true (appearing).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

In The Palace Of Incredible Roses

in the palace of incredible roses
we were breathing only the rose-filled air
and music fell in fountains freshly tuned

to so much jasmine.

in other rooms

in castles of the sun
I wandered freely-
turning, as in a dream,

the Light-bound books

of neglected poets...
while an Alhambran stillness grew

into vast magnolias tended by the Lord;

the air flamed out in little pink sighs and sang
"oh my extraordinary

crystal cancion"...

"remember me,

remember - me."

I gathered rose dust everywhere
to build their house anew

but then

oh broken, broken
in a mistranslated instant:

the splendid clocks

in the bell-towers

of a thousand ill-timed regimes

faltered and fell
so that we kept counting

without numbers-

new fractures in the poetry

of an old endurance

mary angela douglas 17 july 2010

En El Palacio de Las Rosas Increibles

en el palacio de las rosas increibles
es que estaban respirando solo
el aire lleno de rosas
y cae la musica en
las fuentes frescas
a tanto jazmin.

en otros cuartos
en castillos del sol
pasano los libros encuadernados
con La Luz
de los poetas olvidados

mientras que crece un quietud
como la de La Alhamra
hasta magnolias inmensos
cuidado por El Senor
quemado el aire
en suspiros pequenos
de color rosa
y cantan:

ay mi cancion extraordinario
de cristal:
acuerdate de mi
acuerdate de mi
y se reunieron

el polvo de las rosas
para construir de nuevo
sus hogares
pero entonces-

en un instante
mal traducido
los relojes esplendidos
en los torres de
las campanas

de mil regimenes
y se caen
de manera que
nosotros quedaban
sin numeros
grietas nuevas
en un resistencia

mary angela douglas (spanish translation-variation) april 12, 2011
(poem in English, 17 july 2010)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Drowning Happy

I dreamed of colours
falling through my hands of
signs and symbols

beauteous beyond description

and fruit sailed to the ground in
clear profusion

in a wind of sparkles

puffed out by the angels
in four-cornered maps.

where are the gatherers gathering

I cried

outside the fate of the sports arena or
the charming cafe with its pale pastries,

light as angel's breath beyond frosted glass-

doing brisk business
I couldn't afford.
Beauty's trapped like the princess

in the tower

I remarked to no one caring-
in the tower of the

perishing imaginations

then who'll be there
to take the last stitch under

so the ruby strawberry

stands out against its
field of matchless snow

in Desdemona's handkerchief?

the painter deprived of light

the poet without music
carried on anyway-

in every camp in every secret cell

in every annex under the vari-coloured
stumping boots of history's trolls

and landlords-

or under the nose of nosy neighbors

taking notes
jabbing their heirloom pin-cushions full

with the sharp-pin question, "Why?"

and stirring their coffee klatch sugared coffee
a little harder

than was necessary.

but theirs was not my question -
mine was "how?"

and I died happy

on a lilliputian sword
run through with the rainbow riddle

of it all:

they built their ships of unearthly gold

for others to sail-
even while going down
for the third time-

mary angela douglas 12 july 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

In The Blankness Of Space A Blanker Star Shone Over

in the blankness of space a blanker star shone over
the red rose ruins of gardens uncomprehended
lilac and mint nasturtium tiger lily

shadows are plucked by fitful children

and the drone of State Words could
drown the sea but not

the sound of the sea-

remember the sound of the sea the silver
wash of non-propaganda on a diamond shore
this free

it's the sound of blue it's crystal

shed as from the beginning of
stars - taking a deep breath I say

American words will return

words will return fresh and daisy-chained unchained
to children no longer useful to

political machines

to the children in their own sweet clover
in the playhouses

with their speckled china

in the fields of Queen Anne's Lace
of Black-Eyed Susans

just being

or barefoot with their superpowered dogs

cavorting by summer-green rivers

sequined in the sun;
spelling the days in berry brambled

unstinted unsilent prayer like

quicksilver birdsong for just being
filtering through

the hackneyed stone-dead phrases

we won't ever grow used to or
ever call our own

disown disown

anything less than the pewter stars
still shining over the colonies

and the rapture of chosing as long as you live

the handcrafted words of honor the words as good as deeds
fight on from the rose red riotous arbors

the drones don't know to quell


mary angela douglas 10 july 2010

Friday, July 09, 2010

After Conrad Aiken

I saw your angels on the far horizon
weeping copious tears of peach blossom

the first drafts of clouds

I saw Senlin's morning days go by-

the cost of losing music-
the rainbowed dust compounded and contained

the slander of mere starlight in American poetry

shuddering, shadowing forth
the orchards razed-

and the long white silence after

mary angela douglas 9 july 2010

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Islands Off The Lost Coast Of Monet

[to my Grandmother, Lucy W. Young]

in the islands off the lost coast of Monet

I culled the water lily colors
in the water

cupping my hands in music curving back

while in the air of wandering mirrors
this residue of a gold-threaded azure

lifted and fell...

it's the long-expected radiance
you can't explain

emeshed in the fairytales

as they're told
like hidden angels in the picture

you don't see at first

that have to be pointed out to you
before they melt again:

sheer traceries richly borrowed

from all that fondant light.

in a painting by Monet

cream yellow floats
edged in a tanager red...

but I am shimmering and lost

as if in a prelude by Debussy and
somehow in the way.

I tripped the rose-tripped light

of a hidden evanescence
holding the white cathedral still

only with my gaze

and I wept with no sound at all
into these plum-ransacked streams

smudging slightly

their taffeta waters purling -
crooning - to each loved thing:
"don't disappear..."

I'm calling your endangered colors home

and willing the unmoored prisms not to break
let silver trumpets sound

your amethyst testaments

by far

the last of their kind-

mary angela douglas 3-5 july 2010

P.S. If you go to youtube and type in The Lost Coast of Monet it will bring up a video of Thomas Graves reciting the poem and composing a musical setting for it, quite lovely, and reminiscent of Debussy.

Thomas Graves is a fine poet and literary philosopher, as well as a composer of short atmospheric piano pieces, song fragments and the editor of the literary blog, Scarriet.

The youtube address for the video is: