Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blue Distances Don't Make Me Cry The Way They Used To

Anna Pavlova stepped onto another stage
at first, so imperceptibly,
in more than pave diamond Light.
it doesn’t take so much to know,
even in surroundings that new
she’d hardly feel the difference:  always dreaming
past you in her own distances, anyway;

waking up in this recurring dream
as it very driftingly came to her
that even when she was telling the
first dream to a dream-friend:
“I had this dream…”
she’s still in a
a subset of the
larger dream and
not awake yet…

will I catch fire?
she whispered to herself onstage-
upsetting the candles at the stage’s
rim (not knowing they were stars)
blue distances don’t make me cry
the way they used to;
will I forget how to breathe -  again-?

then, realizing  some mistake,
unfocused light,some trepitude, alarm,
a phantom fluttering of the heart already phantom

how will  I die here?
but that was earlier…and before-
fresh angels sewed
strange jewels on the
same costume

festooned her dress with unfamiliar flowers

and every step
and gesture she
remembered as if snow
could be conscious of snowing (itself)

my feet aren’t bleeding  -anymore-

she marveled out of sight and
fluttering softly, softer through
such hues of silkeness beyond distress.

angels watched her turn
into a pearl diminishment of light
and trying to speak, but failing-
she found, with joy,
she couldn’t end-

that it was
like a mirror reflection endlessly
ribboning  into another mirror…
but real
and vivid fine crystal etched as
she always knew
the sheen of ballet could be
if one stayed up White Nights
to wind the music-box…
always running down

Anna Pavlova, I am standing still

I said softly to her there- and
not in a lithograph of my own time-
here at a door I’m not permitted to enter
with one rosebud 

question left, -I’m quarter-turned -  and unresolved
not wishing to wound my God, my Christ,
my Full-Blown Rose
trespassing on your wilderness, winter's bloom
an opalescence irretrievable now:

some questions don’t  belong to me at all
even if blue distances can’t make me cry
as Mandelstam, for the draping of another Anna's shawl
the profile swan, the living cameo...

the way they used to
it’s only that it streams so hauntingly on and on… and  sometimes,
beautiful beyond bearing that
Anna Pavlova stepped out on another stage

surpassing all comparisons, and dying too many times
at last, perfected her crystal petit pointe
revealing  the flash-points of the Living Swan
and mignonette variations on the evening air…
though  it’s
perishable as any dream strophe can be:

let something heartfelt still seep through
like music from a far distant Court or undersea-

though it’s like baby star-shine
learning to be, “star”-not any star, but Yours, alone-
(my God)
Anna Pavlova stepped out on another stage:
when will Russia do the same...
through prayers barely spoken
it shall be wrought:
blue distances won’t make you cry anymore,
tenderly was whispered.

mary angela douglas 29-31  january 2012 rev. 8 january 2018

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gretel's Reminiscence

once there were clouds like flowers.
people held onto their hearts
with kite strings.

when they went floating up-

they held festivals for hours-
spooning out the thick cream

of afternoons

we walked among them,

breaking off sugar-candy;
above us,

continents of roses-

mary angela douglas 26 january 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Going North

[to George McDonald-
and to my mother, at the back of the North Wind-]

dreaming  lines from Your book of pearl

we carried the snow in our small hands
from the white-worked embroideries on the lawn.

you only feel the cold at first;

then you don’t.
a dish of frozen cherries for the King:  scooped out-
a Queen looks out from her diamond windowpane
and sighs,

“will these ships sail?”

cover my words in the green shade of your hands.

the sun can blister what should be said.
and you may find the back-hand of the wind
and every lost subaltern telling you what to do
with your fine soul

though  filmy valentines from God Himself
will  shadow you…

and may I scoop from the frozen honey
of your tears, white velvet on my slightest wings,
bright words to remain on earth with
after you’ve disappeared-

she cried.
while children standing on orange crates
declaim it’s best to be
eating oranges at Christmas-tide
and peppermint  ice-cream.

the Queen smiled out

rich stenciled window-panes
where they finger-wrote in frost
their last goodbyes.

carry fond words into the eternities,
she wrote them back -
carry blizzards on your back
for the sake of the truth

we saved from melting...

mary angela douglas 21 january 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Long Goodbye To The Horse Thieves

“the grass withers; the flower fades…the word of our God shall stand forever.”
-Isaiah, the Holy Bible

“And call no man on earth your Father.”


no more cattle drives, as I recount:
I was walking too close by the edge of the sea
that isn’t anymore;
weren’t you?

at least, that’s what they said
among other things, before they shot the
horses out from under us…
I was counting vermillion angels
floating on silos at sunset;shining,
apple- blossom clouded
and listening to “Appalachian Spring”.*
somehow, they said, not so
pointedly at first, making me feel at home-
you’re not enough-

how it is with all of us now,

I couldn’t say. too much
stolen time…the circuitry’s been changed.

who let these people in here?

do you know?

they think I don’t know.

I know enough:
when blankness descended,
they called it music.

they still do…

they don’t like what’s in your head.
they don’t like that you have a head.
perhaps they’re waiting for the headless horseman.*

who could explain the beads they

bartered or why they shone like jewels so long ago;
thinking ourselves among friends, soothed by their guitars we were led away:

no rodeos left for the horseless riders.

no lemonade poured for the thirsty, anymore.
but there’s a porch in Heaven wrapped thrice around the moon,

tree-house balconies on pine-needled air,
where Bradbury’s grandmother serves us coconut cake…*
(the kind with dark cherries on top).
where we say Grace and mean it.

you’re not that far from where you were before…

in this world, this is no small accomplishment-

let us leave the kitchen chair pushed back from the table
consulting the dish-cloth calendar towel-the gold edged Psalms with the purple ribbon-marker.
scarlet sparkles on the spiced apples
from your last summer studio day
when you left your Coke half-finished on the piano
thinking you’d drink it later…

and green- golden shadows guild the picture

you leaned against the wall at a king’s command,
not a king at all as some of us found out-

only a lifetime later-
come help us save the world, they sing
with periwinkle flowers in their eyes
but it’s the last you’ll see of your childhood home
and the people who raised you-
and blts made by hand, finished off in your very own Munsey toaster…

mimosa splendor
ermine tears
your thistledown sob
where are you, grandmother-

holding my string of pearls, my
necklace of the mustard-seed…
the gold signet ring of your favorite brother
who died at 12-
surely God will help me find
the dustless corner where I stashed
the Schirmer's  olive folios-
the ivory keys scented just like snow.

the color of my eyes.

beauty wavers, losing her pleats

looking for lost pinwheels;
scanning the wrinkled linen of the skies-

oh, but we’re still on the fairgrounds of the Free

where the Laughing Lady’s laughing just as long as
you’ve got a quarter and a lime snow-cone-

and Christmas marionettes in show windows

dressed in special plaid velveteen for this occasion
pour and pour their Victorian tea not spilling an amber drop
all gold beribboned,  glistening under -
my Deportment Store sky.

Listen…they’re moving their doll mouths:

“It’s still not too late-run away; we wish we could.”

Pink thunder sounds above the Orange plains…

the buffalo clouds turn restive
above old cattle-rustled friends who think en masse
and not like me;
the stars are broken ornaments above their
Christmas tree farms…

I’m leaving this- dear Christ and your Christmas, tree-top Star,  go with me!

I will rummage in fragrant dresser- drawers

for the pure precognitions
I know – were mine- before
the spiritual carnies came to town-
selling candles and sucking out
with borrowed straws
the ice-cream from my soul-

content to find in confetti tissue still

all my lost visions folded fresh
with gardenia sachets and
by such a kind hand….

I’d bring you the frosting rose unmelting

from my festive birthday slice, Grandmother, remember?

I’m almost very young again: with gifts done up in

 glossy pink and blue-

on 45 rpms, the music of the great composers-
In love with holy freedom with the raspberry finish of the sky
and the blackberry night shining down and down

the blessedly pathless woods

mary angela douglas 15-17 january 2012

Notes: Ray Bradbury, great American writer of real American dreams

*Appalachian Spring – incredibly lyrical suite by Aaron Copeland, expressive of the American Heartland and Appalachia

*The Headless Horseman, ghost story by Washngton Irving early Americn writer who lived and worked around present-day Tarrytown, NY

*blts - bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches on toast