Wednesday, March 28, 2012

To An Unknown Princess

she was strong-
though no one thought so-
with one kite string

hooked onto

the aurora borealis-
but sometimes,

tired of shimmering.

she could read the
ivory braille of


blindfolded at
the birthday party:

the one with raspberry

the one with

not enough candles.

in all the kingdom no
one noticed

a blackberry stillness

in her house one afternoon
grew beyond all proportions:
in the cottage fine as

newly minted mint

and twice as green.
no one wondered

why the lights went out of the sky


and the ice of words stopped

melting everywhere at once
in all the conversations-
although, it was Spring...

mary angela douglas 28 march 2012

And Every Night We Leave In Dreams

                         [to J.M. Barrie]

strange world we are always leaving
all the time every night we leave in
dreams not knowing how to get back;

some don’t.
some leave in the middle of the afternoon barely packed or
before daybreak or even the dew on the grass is settled;

and now, it is lock-out time for sure and who has the key or keys…

or knows if there was even a road
before it rained there
or a single feature, footstep  fastened with snow…

think how many times can it be

really not the same for you who are still here
and still the one charged with watching them disappear
and there’s no answer to that, brief angels…

though I may look clear through your april shadows
layered green-on-green
knowing less than ever now.

and the leaves are leaving the leaves and
the trees,
the flowers are leaving the fields and the
small bouquets, the clouds leave the sky

but the sky never leaves without
leaving  a thread of having once been:

some kind of gleaming over rooftops…
and a glittering, somewhat, in the curve of your small hands-
though you did not notice, at first…

children leave themselves the most, the longer they live
almost breaking in two sometimes to see
If something is still behind them, trying to catch up:
like a shadow, but not a shadow;

strange world, to be always leaving us
ever distant from ourselves:

beyond disarray.

I will try yes I will try
not to be the last one scolded:
and so slow on the job at sweeping up
(it’s what they always say)
all these lost coronations…
curled ribbons, collapsing suns
knowing that God is still writing
somewhere, Further On-
with a purple stylus on
His diamond clouds

and never flickering;
I believe.  even to the last
dram of all colours
fading fast and always…
mary angela douglas 25, 28 march 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dining On Cherry China With A Rose Overlay

for Raggedy Ann, best of dolls…and for my sister, Sharon wherever she may be…
best regards!

dining on cherry china                                     

under the trees                         
the children in the picture book remained at ease

while we made Storybook Plans…and over-mixed our Fizzies-
eight flavors at a time
and wondered why we had no customers…

for the inky drink no longer tasting of root beer black cherry lime…

or anything- anymore-  ever…

never mind, we’ll drink our Cherry Sparkle down
like Lizabet and Margaret Rose

and we'll be dressed in pink and blue

velveteen and sing for them…
something else that we made up…

I’ll wear my fern green velvet with the
peach cummerbund
said a Cinderella sister, changing her

or maybe the plum…with your best caramel slippers…
she said, almost meltingly

we’ll have cake with apple-blossom
on top in case we run out of icing-
and start collecting orange crates early tomorrow
for the house we’ll someday live in

when we’re grown, cobbled by
hidden elf-help while we dream
who’ll paint and repaint  it when it rains

pale pink and green
with the Prang watercolors -
or paint-by-number sets used sparingly after Christmas-

we’ll leave them out in the open
so they’ll know…

and we’ll survive near the Slip-and-Slide
eating how many day-old donuts
dipped in snow,
said Raggedy Ann, with
powdered sugar on her nose.

she’s gotten good at making up word problems
with no possible solution…
at appropriate moments in the conversation

how many chocolate eclairs
should you eat
while listening to Clair de Lune?

I asked to see what she would answer
and where do you see yourself
five years from noon:

face down in  clover, flung there by the Dog?
(it’s a trick question, when we’re playing School

or wondering if we’ll all get jobs in the ice-cream
shoppes later on,
taking home what can’t be sold -
on very strawberry evenings…)

she never told about the five year plan.
but Raggedy beamed her 
maraschino smile-

never making me feel I’d said The Wrong Thing-
she was strong, that way
though she almost wore her cloth-made doll hands out

the day she clapped and clapped for
Tinkerbell to get well on that old record
when the needle got stuck on…’if you believe in magic,

clap your hands…”

-poor thing!

and was taken to the doll hospital quite suddenly, for exhaustion
where she drank only nasturtium milk-shakes for a month
(the orange kind)
(creamsickles, really, melted down, so frothy

And so cooling.)

and read free comic books,
the lucky thing.

you should have seen the word problems once she
got back…!

tres intricate,
but then, she never grades…

and wears quite charmingly that same dress anywhere
even while helping you with that over-inflated book report on
Rosa Bonheur-

though she wouldn’t mind eating lemon drops in a frock
of pale yellow seersucker…or sunny batiste, just once

(but she can’t spell that yet)

she knows the importance of Matching…

she’d have to change those candy-cane socks,
though, not to clash…and wear a tan head-band.
possibly, Tweed perfume.

“Pure Cake Vanilla!” countered Raggedy Ann,
“And taffy apple accessories, if you please!”

while she can’t open a single jar
of maraschinos When Ice Cream Comes-
or a can of corned-beef hash
without breaking off the key-

delaying lunch by several hours-
while the Army’s called in
to bust the can wide open…
(so we won’t be stuck

eating jelly-beans all day-)
no one could see more flawlessly

that cloud of marshmallow fluff by the sticky steeple
through steadfast shoe-button Christmasy eyes:

she’s her own Christmas card:
which saves on postage...
“blue taffeta, with a rose overlay,” my sister 
filmily decides – this one’s for Cinderella-

if you tell me one more story from The

Twilight Zone, I’ll die:

Spooky Silence Sets In…

But we’re contented with cherry china
or going faster on our chores
pretending that Dorothy's cyclone
will get us if we don't
(this really worked)
and freed up our Saturdays!

while the trees are changing colors for Raggedy Ann,
who’s staring straight ahead
into the future:

waltzing in striped lemon-seersucker
teaching us how to manage in quick-sand
on the living room carpet
after reading that useful article in
Reader's Digest...

or lopsided in the grass – lost happily

among the apple-blossom drifts and reading paperbacks
four- at- a- time from scholastic book services

really fast
quite focused, really

or  onstage, in an emerald tutu
and garnet Capezios-

still candy-hearted, well-behaved-
but wobbly,
even with yarn red hair

who cares?
she dances everywhere-

even flopped down beside the Bumble Bees, one trillion ant hills-
and that green ball coated in dog-slobber…
so near and yet so far from the butter-rum Life Saver
on the Sidewalk…

either way you tell it, she can only love you and keep smiling.
and isn’t that what matters in a story?


I make my poem to honor her

in cross-stitched cotton constancy
pink-sprigged…with bluebirds by the lemonade springs-

(and a few flounces, neither here -  nor there –)
for all Dear Readers, Everywhere…
and for my sister, musically rare:

this cotton candy made of air…
held out to you in a star-shaped cone

mary angela douglas 18-20 march 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It Was There We Cherished The Memory of Stars

[“what a beautiful earth-turning”
-remark on a sunset by a character from a book I can’t remember the title of…(on my Grandmother’s shelf) ]

it was there we cherished the memory of stars
carnation crisp, delineated-
in the ice-box next to the lemon ice-box pie;
geranium pink of kindest skies
and all the cooling winds-
apple-pie divided
“a la mode”
for summer  days ahead…
in almost crepe- de-chine.

”Peach Melba is the best dessert,”
she said, for musicians.
flowers fade last on
the purple sides of hills and
neapolitan ice-cream*
still has everything
to recommend it…

I still know the time by the
crimson clock with snowy numerals…
the “Plan Ahead” sign with its
cramped last letter…making the point.
the Psalms in my grandparents voices-
golden cherubs chiming candle-lit
around the angel-abra…

I hear the ice-cream

bell in fudgesickle-rhymes, running out with my sister;
dark blueberry popsickle wish just granted
in blueberry dusk
by my Grandfather’s swift-hearted two dimes for us.

His bright amber pennies flung into

the wishing well of the world…

remember the chill chimes of pink and green
watermelon non-pareill
I’m dividing the scent of cut-grass,
cut-glass shining evenly, to be fair
for the future of Light-
split everywhere by those unkind-
and Christmas days jangled
link by link on  yellow-gold
charm bracelets-
that pink-cake, swirled;
orange pomanders with cloves and other things glistening-
leading up to the one Star’s unimpeachable finale,
oh far charm in the sky of
His Nativity-
these cannot wear out faithfulness.
the day wears gauze
embroidered in small rosebuds
tiny bells on the hem
doll mirrors stitched there…

I’m only naming
all Your past miracles of sweet design-
so may I ask oh what is time?
is it the kaleidoscope you keep
shaking that never breaks down
that it does not fail to launch into further
candy-apple or cathedral- spun;
the snowflake on your lost pearl mitten
still crystalized, incognito-
where it dropped from your hand
is it the small rubber ball that rolled
under the furniture when you weren’t looking
never found again
not even in the Dog’s mouth pried shut as if
by taffy-
or is it the shipwrecked histories of dolls, unchronicled…
the sudden fires and fevers
a few legalized captivities unprolonged
that took the antique
babies straight into God…at once
and unmistakably-
while the angel cousins looked on...
is it in pictures on the wall-
the remaining souvenirs:

a something eternal showing through;

the malt-frothy clouds in the painting
still may show ever deeper shades of
green-blue, peach,  pale yellow- 

when the Strawberry wick of afternoons  

dissolves like jams on the toast of a sky or
is pink- glassed -momentarily-  in the china cabinet…

reflected, reflecting-
etched, carefully:

the yearning rose faces
leaning in
of long-ago children

admiring the teacups endlessly;
beyond sorrow now
if not, Beauty-

mary angela douglas 14=15 march 2012

*neapolitan ice cream, striped in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, we smushed it all up in the bowl before it melted and stirred it all up until it was no color at all but tasted like everything delicious all at once (kind of like the toffee, etc. dessert tasting “drink me” bottle Alice drank from the crystal table.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Carry The Bread That's Made Of Stars

carry the bread that's made of stars
in your pockets a
long, long way

many may think you don't know
where you are.
you know.

carry your heart in a silver box
a long long way.
many may swear you

don't know who you are.
stay out of their way.
the fairytales are most real

in the middle of the story.
God has the whole book somewhere
do not worry.

we are all made of light and
and that's His Glory....

mary angela douglas 13 march 2012.

Note:  p.s., poetry is very filling.

Monday, March 12, 2012

In Her Favorite Dream

the princess and the Pea moved out
the day before the Wedding
not wanting to make a lifetime
out of proving it over and over.

she got a small apartment-
you know the kind-
and adopted the Pea.

they lived on nana pudding
and poached tater tots.
on Sundays  she made it
patty cakes marked with a “P”
and it was happy
in the walk-in closet it lived in
where it barely breathed-

but you should have seen the bookshelves
in her favorite dream of the
same apartment, only larger-
and the rooms of hidden
marvels opening up, well past the
acorn furniture -  second-hand-
acquired at Christmas when the dolls moved out
lugging trunks in primary colors
with four costumes apiece
-across the permafrost…
“I didn’t know this was here”
invariably, she’d murmur in  silken dreamspeak-
turning the knob to another door
into private lobbies inlaid-
filled with Steinways, gladiola-  lots
of counter space-
and fountain Cokes;

Persian rose gardens of note with harps
that played invisibly-
and unexpected candy dishes;
pastel-pretty parasols
(the Pea was fond of these)
one for each time of day;

magnolia petals in a silver bowl…
world poetry of high degree and centuries full of moon and silvered branches…carefully catalogued
forgotten green perfume wafting
from two thousand Springs…
and in the breeze,

apricot curtains inset with saffron pears-
above a sink full of dishes
rainbow-bubbling clean

where she looked out to see
oh, everywhere=
a world where no one has
to prove who they really are
they just take your word for it=

mary angela douglas 11-12 march 2012

Note on the poem:  of course, this poem is based on Hans Anderson’s tale “The Princess and the Pea” where the Princess has to prove she’s real by not being able to fall asleep on a pea hidden under 20 or so feather mattresses.
The apartment dream is real in essence, if not entirely in detail; I’ve had it off and on for the last 20 years.  There is always in this dream a feeling of great happiness at finding unexpected space and a feeling of great peace and freedom.  Perhaps they are rooms of the spirit like the “many mansions” Jesus spoke of.  (in John 14).       “In my Father’s house there are many mansions…”

p.s. nana pudding is short for banana pudding made with bananas, milk , pudding mix and vanilla flavored thin cookies. Tater tots, as “fast-food” style tiny fried bits of potato, very small and appropriate fare for the small dwelling and the down-turned acorn dining-room table).

Friday, March 09, 2012

Berceuse Or What-You-Will

when you’re tracking the trackless birds of sweetest Sound
all music falls away, not wanting to be found;                                 shaded by shade trees of an inner
“hush!” – you’ll be at rest, raindrop-sequined,
creamy preludes at an end, for now-

held fast in the boughs of the

guilding hymns or the heralding ones or the rocking chair-
(my Grandmother sings so low)
you’ll fall asleep not knowing which is which;

wake up in incredible brightness.

paper over the vintage wallpaper and the snows
where little stars can get in;
I’ll be mending my violet dress
with the silver underskirts all day-
while the Cobblers mend the Unseen.

the mirrored doors spin shut
on a pale green sarabande
I used to play
on a toy piano with multi-colored keys;
which attic dissolved it?

I really can’t say

who bit the head off the Chocolate Rabbit
my sash is caught in the turnstile oh… crumply satin-
I can’t let go, in fifteen crinolines,
stiff-starched- Sunday’s best,
when everyone else “moves on”, please, “Wait!”-

brimming with secrets they shouldn't own and yet, they do-
all set to mine
the gold -flecked keyholes of  my own true lore.  stand fast;
God keeps His secrets, too
who dyed this morning’s sky so Easter-egg blue and
marked it with a lilac crayon-This is Mine
in invisible handwriting…

have tea, minus lemon pound cake-
it’s only the shortage of the Blessed
who can still imagine the Feast…and the baby tangerines.
the fried fish and honeycomb breakfast He dispensed to
crumpled friends, still weeping, with the sleep still
in their eyes…and this is Easter Day and He’s come back-
though not to stay…not yet…

cray-pas robins in the picture start to sing in my plaid satchel-

above two hills chalked green on manila paper
rosy chalked-in sun rising in-between - three spears of cold, gold grass-

that’s me there off to the side with my bunch of lilies-
as if to say, remember these?  I think you loved them,
wash the canvas with egg- white and start over-
throw handfuls of icicles everywhere there’s
not a tree - you can’t aim yet-but everything's sparkling-

I’ll light the confetti candlestick
with Hans Anderson’s last match…
later there’ll be the onyx sky
with its one important Star.
remember to follow it

down the sidewalk Outside - and when you come back home-

nodding like white clover ruby apples in your hands.
keep the milk-money in your pocket till it’s Time; don’t
swallow it.

I’ll fill the teacups with shredded pink saran,

spiced gum-drops…little place cards –
the wedding mints left over,
in assorted pastels - the criss-cross buns…

there must be one in here, somewhere-
-excuse me, while I rummage-
studded with currants or icing’s consolations.
what a lovely Pink Party, the best of its kind-
if only the Very Good Fairy would pop by
with a few grilled cheese…(wax-papered sigh)-

the fairytales, themselves, have fallen asleep
with none to wake them…
mary angela douglas 7-9 march 2012

notes on the poem:
*berceuse, French for lullaby also musical piece I mean, by Chopin as played by Rubenstein.
*Sarabande, stately Spanish court dance.
*saran (I mean the (trademark)Saran Wrap –clear plastic wrap I could never manage, used to wrap food in.