Friday, May 11, 2012
With Eyes Deeper Than That
(revising the story of the shallow princess (Grimm’s fairytale) who dropped her golden plaything down a well, pouted about it, and was rewarded when she flung a frog into a wall)
[to Elizabeth Orton-Jones, children’s author of the lovely book, “Twig”]
…with eyes deeper than that
there’s a princess at the edge
of cooling waters
in my backyard-
looking for just a hint
of something lost and golden.
is it golden only because it’s lost?
or maybe, just partly-clouded
I mean, like a tiny cloud suspended in a pale blue marble
no one can get at.
sky part, revealing a recollected sun
in purely sequined waters
cause diffuse false hope, momentarily…?
so that she dances in cerise dazzlement
on sea-green glass in the alee
and then, is hurt- suddenly…
and filled with common sense?
then this task is never done in daylight.
what will we do?
there’s the princess, stirring the water
with her see-through,jeweled hands, of course, and chiming to herself
“all is not lost”:
a song both lost and golden in the
flattening world I’ve glimpsed on sepia maps…
the ones indicating no treasure, no treasure
that’s me at the window very small
filled with polished apple measures-
and late porridge on a Saturday;
only half-dusting the what-not in my
Grandmother’s living room-
using too much Lemon Pledge in just one spot
I’m so entranced
by the princess kneeling in taffeta sunlight
right by the crabgrass-
in her pale green ermine;
her budding crown.
is it time past or something close at hand
moving fair and fast
that slipped from slender majesty sometime
as cream poured from an earlier pitcher
might affect this year’s strawberry tartness?
or, like silk spooling with no sound into
an orchid stillness never found
because she did not turn around
in one instant only-
to catch the Goldeness
and was deemed negligent ever after
among other things-
and by only passing strangers
filled with common sense.
marigold petals sifted by far angels are
drifting now adown this amber
I can’t understand-
but then, I’m caught in it, too;
which is the greater miracle
I will put something shimmering on
from a dance-class closet, thin as lawn.
I will learn the steps and not be banished
running to meet her in the sky’s closing jewels.
I’ll bring her cinnamon buns from breakfast
pineapple-upside-down cake from school
-if I may, and in a light pink paper napkin, folded-
and orange tea-
and then I’ll find that
she is me only slightly faded and
later in the day
in peach-bright slippers and a pomegranate gown…
collecting postcards in sunset sudden hues.
oh may I be found a little golden and not lost,
to peer at last into Infinite waters
with a jeweled periscope my very own and a key under the mat
grown up in a veiled hat like my Grandmother’s
with its single velvet rose
and negligent, negligent in the flattening world
I will stare into the deep and cooling waters, too
some of us call, “music”-
with eyes even deeper than that.
mary angela douglas 12 may 2012