Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cinderella. Cendrillon...

On the memory of seeing Mary Pickford’s “Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper” on a children’s toy projector one silent film childhood Christmas; the companion piece was a Mickey Mouse short feature; my father was driven to desperation every time he was asked to thread that impossibly small machine (and we asked him a lot).

to my mother and father for separate beautiful reasons -                             
feather-stitching these glass shadows       
silent frame by frame
how could you help but wonder                 
later on
what all the shattering was for?

then you were telling us stories
in the dark green garden chair…
let it not be said
that is where the story ends…
Cinderella.  Cendrillon.

though it may not be magic-
you can't be blamed for
storms on a distant sun
am I the only one who sees

those
sunspots seeping through
the mystical rustling in the orchards-
where did they come from?

where did you?

here are the crystals, sequined- still-
in my lost hand- you may find missing
from your gown, your head, your heart
soft lemon afternoons like the ones in Renoir.
somehow, it all gets scattered in the dark
and you wonder where to stand
in a flickering brilliant language seldom used
except in a few newsreel half-projections
on the wall-the year in semi-review-
whose year was that?
it wasn't mine-
though it might be said
and surely was, that
music was her last diadem,
even when she fled
leaving all Enchantment behind her-
so they said-
and her bright skirts swirling
like the dream of Light itself
in a receding universe

and tearing her pale
raspberry satin hem-
it must have been that colour…                
on every hazel twig in sight
barely above ground...

God lives in the remnants
so she smiles, opening her birthday gifts
of clocks that never chime;
putting in water the bunches of violets
that last and last...
you cannot fail to notice, even now,                      
that earliest sparkling is best and the
last to leave the party under the trees she says to
her crystal children on the breeze

the one with the paper lanterns
no longer living.

my darlings, don’t get lost
beyond the pink glass frosted
fawn on the walnut what-not…
so we promised not to-
and to live on where rose curtains swayed
Cinderella.  Cendrillon…
shine out of sight, yourself, alone-
you'll know more than angels in
the end for you are good-

the best clue in all the kingdom
after a lifetime spent 
rinsing out your pale peach
print again and again
hoping not to be found but just to be left
here dreaming…

and slipping the slipper carefully
into an apron of cloud…

mary angela douglas 9 april 2012


Note to Reader:  It has come to my embarrassed attention that I
have pronounced the word "Cendrillon" in an imaginary accent
but I am leaving it that way because I cannot hope to duplicate the
coincidental special effects in the video.  Does it help if I listen to Debussy and Ravel art songs continually? I hope so...