Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Walking On The Jewels Of Your Silence

walking on the jewels of your silence
I saw the winter sky come down
enfolding a long-ago radiance.

a child turns the page

and traces the angels.

you scattered amethyst on the snow

turning my pockets overnight
into Christmas or mother-of-pearl.

brightness, you called it:

will it fly away?

once I was living on the fair isle

where I learned to say:
those must be angels coming down
with diamonds in their hands...

there are deeper ripples in the air

where music was before.
my dreams are banked so high
where could I turn to start again
the porcelain beginning of the measure?

the first rung in the sidewalk.

my dreams are banked so high.

my dream is leaving this way

just as the glaze begins to fall apart

on a pale green piano piece
not yet memorized-

mary angela douglas november 28-30 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Burton Bringing The House Down

[on the voice of Richard Burton (cerdd dafod)*]

He didn’t want them to tell him
how it was going to be
so he stood back a
little from the stage of
burnished expectations
still,  with a force of fire
and wonder shaping
while the gossip mills
stepped up business trespassing,
so I think, out of sheer envy
on a
something received beyond they couldn’t endure:
transcendence made immediate- an impossible thing-
cut crystal net overfilled with singing birds that little tamed out of wildness

so vivid who could believe it anything
but the voice heard by the saints in dreams made more astute;
or dream-music half-retained by kings

on waking to another day
forgetting for a moment where they were
or what they had to do

wading through poor Richard aftermaths
we’ve heard enough from the queasy forerunners
others at the scene
quashing the keylight
you didn’t even need
and asking themselves if it was really you
making the pieces fit
until the stained glass shone
as if it were almost Light itself-
then swallowing it?

oh who can kill God inside himself-
He’ll only rise to pity your
thinking you’ve brought the whole
thing to a close when you’re really
only tugging at the stage sets.

even if you burn it down He’s
smoldering half in ashes with you,
willing it to end well…cracking at the edges-

you think by flooding it to the very
brink the soul will drown
and then you’ll show them it was
Yours, not theirs-

but fare-thee-well-
whatever the heart sounds like
translated into Welsh was yours-
stand fast in a shaft of Heaven’s light
only you can see declaiming everything at last
without saying a word-
mary angela douglas 20-21 november 2011

Note: cerdd dafod is a Welsh expression denoting something like a kind of language that embodies the heart of the heart the heart of language, something untranslatable from what I understand (not directly, I don't know Welsh) but something which many Welshmen attributed both to Richard Burton and Dylan Thomas (among others).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Not Quite Drosselmeyer

[in memory of my father, Robert R. Douglas, newspaperman]

his shadows are slightly sugared, largely,

brushed cinammon, his eyebrows; he doesn't say a lot and
seems to be surprised at your surprise

at long pauses in the conversation.

all his waxen dolls
could live alone

happy for years with a good vocabulary

and no one left
to tie

a pink sash or mend

blueberry leotards.
his very name can never mean:
prisms shaken in chandeliered dreams; he

likes the railroad tracks, too much candy

rich desserts and understated jokes but
he prefers sliced sentences with

corned beef hash, boxes of saltines, no gift-wrap, please-

and a printing press, any kind at all.

in the corners of his eyes, a certain doggedness

and I dream, a dollhouse in a
tiny country space
where leaves are really falling

very small

perhaps, next year
a snow-globe bigger than you are:

when the snow flies

the king shifts out like clockwork
on the icy porch and strangely,

errandless, not believing his good luck

whistles that "Bye Bye Blackbird" tune
admiring the dreamsickle stars twinkling to Glen Miller

and a Very Old Newspaper* rubber-banded,

red or green,
in eternal Christmas snows...

mary angela douglas 18 november 2011

*The Arkansas Gazette, of blessed memory, the oldest newspaper West 
of the Mississippi...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Field Notes From A Fairy

[to Arthur Rackham, William Shakespeare, still…]
you can’t make yourself small enough
to suit them
said the good fairy new to retirement
mulling over her temporary life

of filing files and
answering multiple phones and selling flimsy merchandise that fell apart long before first washings under moonlight..

nothing will ever be enough

though you make them pictures of gold
or silver
even embossed with stars
no one’s even found yet…

they’ll call the Agency

right in front of you:
“next time, send me a real secretary”
“you’re lucky to get a real person,”

I  said.  And meant it, charmingly.

soothingly, even…*

still, one must get by
you’ll punch in when
what you wish instead
Is punching something else
or glittering all the way back far under the hills to the Dollhouse left
in the rain by the Metro train
where the merry kinfolk live in mulberry gossamer near the
Bookstore of All First Folios-
where it seemed like Christmas every day
(They never called it just “the holidays”)
instead, you twinkle harder, feather-light,
blowing the strangers bubbles
on their turf as you’ve been taught and exactly the way they spell it out for you in the secretarial science books-
even when they’re peering down
to see you’re hardly there
and booming like stage- craft thunder, the Drama Club kind-

where is she?

I’m  right here I chime on tip-toe,
in my best lilac, your best prop, and
typing thrice the speed of light even when you don’t say a.s.a.p.
balancing appointments on
my rose-crowned head

fresh back from fetching you the
Golden Fleece or gooseberry cold medicine or ruby-collated whatnots triple- sided-
not forgetting the corned beef brisket
piled on rye-and your potato salad with the skins left on!
I haven’t  eaten a thing, but can a Muppet be hungry?
so I’ll pack all the leftovers for you,
shall I, hmm?

they’ll hand you the silly Box that means you’re leaving

just as the Christmas Party twinkling lights come on and you’re busy collecting the oyster shells from the caterers-

but you’re in disgrace and off to collect your things, now you bad, bad fairy- trundling the  Giant-sized cat-litter carton behind you- following the tumbrels
in horrid wet mittens (that’s later)
trying not to cry and picking up your perfect
demitasse from the kitchenette
they’d never drink from fearing the fairyland cooties on them- eyeing you each  break-time whenever the ravioli explodes in the microwave…as if you cast a spell on it and didn’t even clean up after yourself (you hate ravioli: they know it’s not yours)

you’re ripping your tiny poems off the bulletin board as you fly by (the ones they didn’t get to yet in the Lobby near the elevators where the Guests can see)

and clutching your spare bright polka dot galoshes
while they  keep looking at their watches grimmer far than Grimm and standing guard oh my, how threatening

can you be at 3 inches high…

with irregular socks They’d never be seen in,  especially when

drop-kicking you out in the rain just before the last bus

splatters your best lilac and disintegrates the cardboard  as ice pellets quickly form in the clouds above the little gingerbread office park with the over-pruned trees…

you’ll hear, again, their monkey-money organ grinder tune on the drizzly breeze that

they need someone with a

Professional demeanor…someone, more flexible…”
(professional What? sardonically I think
go make a bouncing cartwheel on the moon-
that would be flexible- betcha yah can’t spell “insubordination”
want some help? I flitter –
but They don’t hear and that’s how I know, once more, that God is merciful.

we have to let you go they bray

year after numbing year having no other script to follow night shift or day even on the eighth day beyond the Creation when you’re still working and there is no rest  and they’re in the back room eating cordon bleu and ignoring your Last tri-lingual page about the SWAT teams out front…and the customers fainting in the aisles from the lack of air conditioning the whole summer the manager claims

can only be adjusted from the main office in another state where the penguins live. (try telling that to the next of kin).

God rest ye unmerry gentlemen and ladies…if we fairies have offended…but Puck is not “less productive” whatever  you made up for the exit interview- pond scummy scum scum
oops! forgot to pack them the tiramisu…may

Christ in His beauty shield you child
from petty tyrannies like these and the idiot lack of song-
and so, goodnight, goodnight-
and a tiramisu, "Yum"...

mary angela douglas 16 november 2011

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Dress Code

weaving the fabric made of clouds
and of the retreating armies-
I whisper to myself, again-
maybe it's not too late

for the new-spun colours in my head-

the cherry velvet ravels swept aside;
a silver tack of wondering again,
never setting sail-

who lost the Age of Rose?

I count the last gold

in the corners
and count again, sweet
polished cotton dresses with no seams:
the sprigged details
for the diffident day
on a simple field of honour.

not knowing the pearl of minutiae

as You do, oh God-

I'm turning this inside out to find You-

and twining the dreamy-treadled thread
that keeps on breaking yet still shines

in tiny roseate crystals stitched on snows.

piano music's sateen on the wind

and seems to disappear, pure lemon verbena.
but sparkles do not dwindle, lily-of-the-valley mine
though I'm so small and slide off of the bench
never reaching the pedals by the chiffoniere

where it's always almost spring;

you won't disturb
the shawl of dappled roses on the doll crib-

the childhood fortitude so pear wept

twig by twig, the same;

remember me, and, if not-

the pale green earrings-
my geranium gown...

I turn the diamond spackled key

of an antique conversation:
who lost the pockets of the
children filled, the little sashes made of
white violet, velvet

mary angela douglas 6-8 november 2011