Friday, September 28, 2012

For All the Saints Who From Their Labors Do Not Rest Yet

[“a bruised reed He will not break”

on a day when I was beaten with words
the sky was like a flower
small birds sang their fluted songs

on a day when I was thwarted by the inspector
inspecting whatever could be inspected and
setting things straight according to the codes

for this special occasion when the sky was a bouquet
my soul was straight though beaten with words
though beaten with words when the sky was

like a flower I was made to feel ashamed
but not for the small birds singing
while the inspectors

kept inspecting kept the tirade of words saved up

who is their God

He does not beat with words

He sings his songs of fluted stars

over the wide earth turning

so I have something else on which

to fix my rapt attention
every day I am beaten with words

or burning

mary angela douglas 28 september 2012

“Thy Kingdom Come,

Thy Will Be Done

On Earth as It Is in Heaven”

-The Lord’s Prayer, (Jesus)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Princess Wearing Peach In The Long-Ago

[to Robert Browning (and Elizabeth too, if she likes)]

the princess wearing peach in the long-ago
picture stood up too abruptly in the boat of my dream
and had to swim back on her own.

wringing the frock out later for a state occasion in the afternoon
she stepped through the charming pier glass over faceted yet
unable to pay the rent

and found herself again at the Magic Table
where spinach ladled itself onto Sèvres
(the cartoon-Popeye kind)

and twinkies for dessert yum yum appeared
with strawberries and not just a soupcon of cream
fresh whipped, and thick as anything.

won’t you stay - precociously,
dream babies tugged her hem of pale blue lawn;
when they blew bubbles on their own

unnuanced in the lemony sunshine
she only smiled-
as if for an ancient portrait to be loved by countless

later on, tromping through Private Galleries
on their raveled way home-
in a gold dust wind from the most discerning corner of her eye,

noting the landlady, off in the distance
(never getting nearer)

mary angela douglas 27 september 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Eating Red Velvet Cake With Premium Icing

eating red velvet cake with premium icing
my guardian angel smiled stickily-
scooping fresh lilies from the clouds…

It’s no use having that shimmer of expectant wings
I said, breaking the news as kindly as I could-
I’m not a painter;

and no one’s painting anymore the Madonna
standing tiptoe on Pink tissue clouds
while gazing straight up into unseen starlight
by a glittering residue in her oval face, surmised…

you could try, fluttered my angel
forgetting the Christmas clothes again
that gathered crumbs but  
trailing the late spring light, nostalgically-

start with crayons.

or a simple easel with a temporal sun.
(you mean, tempera, don’t you)

you know, the one in the corner of the page
you painted first, letting the colors run:
dressed in pure marigold by your Grandmother,

on your brightest day away from home

it seemed to you the house outlined in green

with a rose rose roof
could be played in, Infinitely…

I know how you feel I said-

but the angel cried into a cloud in the

late sun, losing light

don’t be afraid don’t be afraid
sad earth away from Christmastime;
what a waste of iris blue was set here in the

firmament the angel mourned not to be comforted,
it seemed-

perhaps, they’ll start again
softly I strummed the gathering twilight, overcome-
or the light mist falling suddenly-

they could remember (after school  

or the last job interview falls through-
or the last three red potatoes drop – unexpectedly-
one by rolling one on the subsidized linoleum)-

that once, there were harps…

mary angela douglas 25 september 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Dolls Have Preceded Us All

[to my Grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Milton B. Young
of blessed memory

and to Kenneth Grahame (for Dream Days and The Golden Age)]

the deep rose alabaster of the paper-weighted heart
is missing now; the wooden apple
streaked in gaudy yellow, green and red
that housed an apple tree tea-set for the minuscule,

brought back from the World’s Fair, happily…
in 1964; various dolls with
various dispositions, play explored
from an antique base camp

have stolen my dreaming away…
the one with the veil, the one pink-suited for a summer’s day
have wandered off into the Backyard grass never coming back.
the one with pearl drop earrings and a gown so rare;

the one that cried real tears - the flower sprigged tribe
I left one day, never whispering goodbye…
the ranks scattered, carelessly smocked-
pastel sashes untied and dragging
stitches, raveled in the Sun.

“How could she, with a broken candy heart?”
said Raggedy Ann, consoling the rest of them;
she sighed a Sweet Tart sigh (or luminous Luden’s cherry)-
smoothing the baby doll’s tears away

with both of her wide cloth hands…

“bid us adieu?” the French doll finished the sentence
with her curls askew, and that was that.

do they have regrets?
or do they wait in Heaven, trinketed-
with an expectation frosted night-light pink
where there is no night-

criss-crossing crepe paper on the vasty
Ceiling, Michaelangelo bluer than
blue (they’d have wings now; they could reach it)-
or actually consuming the candy corn

set before them by the angels,  
banging little silvery bells in the interim
that melt into air to make it shine and
chiming and chiming

the necklace with one sparkle only of the aurora borealis
I shall pluck from all the others to wear, when it’s untangled
far from the jewelry box of
 Eternal Summer teal- 

with the citrus constellations spilling over I first learned to feel
like a braille fairytale stamped out on the heart
in Arkansan dusk
just when my Grandfather, gazing up- said:

There’s the Big Dipper…can't you see it
(over the swaying pine trees, just...)

he'll welcome me, I know it’s true
with a brand-new Dutch Masters cigar-box
or the one with the Spanish lady on the lid in red, with a rose and a lace mantilla

emptied for my School Supplies

where no one ever leaves again-
with my Grandmother in her
pearly crown, or, I imagine:

a peach mantilla and a Chinese fan
pink-peony splashed on the ticketless
Holiday that’s not Pretend
that comes to each, in turn

at the last chirring of the music box, then-

the worlds without jeweled end…

mary angela douglas 14-16 september 2012
Note on the poem: in case you never knew or have forgotten, Sweet Tarts are a doll-sized candy, very chalky pastel, sweet and sour at the same time, and Luden cherry refers to Ludens cherry cough drops the only candy we were allowed to eat in grade school classrooms though the teachers surely knew we didn’t all have coughs every single day…

As I revised this poem the radio played Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony the lilting part, and afterwards the announcer said welcome to this very beautiful warm Late Summer Saturday, which was entirely the mood of my poem, transfigured.  Serendipitous.  Did the dolls arrange it?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Washed Farther Downstream

[“In my Father’s house there are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.”
leaving your home on the twenty-second eviction
you turn again to the house within:
the one with too many windows
twice as many wreaths at Christmas time
with the bayberry sun aslant
the roof of winter and all the lights on.
God lives upstairs in the duplex
where it’s always raining but He alone loves you

there’s no soap to wash your clothes

you mention shyly to the judge in
small claims courts all over the Land
when the creditors don’t show up
to hear your story.
only the court appointed lawyer

who says in the end, I see no reason not to sue.

and the Judge says kindly you should go
back to school

and I say I'd like to learn Russian which

startles him, though I meant it
for Beauty.

and forms to fill out for food require

your answer twice a year
have you committed a felony?
do you know someone who has?
or do you eat alone.
(No. God’s here, too I write in pencil and then don’t

mail it when I think how can they ask that.)
but you’re the curator of stars
though no one says so
assuming you lack the expertise

and thank God that they still shine so in your dreams

as if it were sweet Bethel; it is certain
you know how to forbear: keeping the secret still
that you’re the Princess in disguise though
like a sea-breathed myth you’re lost on land
or seem to be
as in the Hallmark film of The Seventh Stream
you took home for free from the Library
through tears that no one saw

later on, for that late lamented music box scene.

and then, it’s a wild violet spring where you may
find any moment the path lit brightly by the stones
so milky in the gloaming, mysteriously glazed-
you piled up after school so long ago
with a small Queen’s unaccountable forethought, prescient                                                                                                                                 in the berry-threaded woods beyond your years
for the Palace on green velvet moss you would
make here, after years,

washed farther -  downstream….

mary angela douglas 13, 8-9 september 2012

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Evermore Or Removing God From The Party Platform

[Antiphon, to Christ, the Lord in the name of poetry.]

to William Shakespeare
for not leaving God out of the equation…
and for hidden grandeur made visible

to Edgar Allen Poe
on the misplaced fountaining of the bells-

and to Boris Pasternak who never abandoned them.

and to Ray Bradbury, who reminded us of everything we were in danger of forgetting.

and to the Living God whom I will not remove from my poem no matter what they do at the Conventions.

“the poetry of Earth is never dead”
-John Keats

“the tintinnabulation of the bells”
-Edgar Allen Poe

And to Czeslaw Milosz on his book “The Captive Mind”-
on words ripped out of their native soil and forced to mean something else.

[to no more erasures of the individual;
to no more engineering of the human soul.
to no more fake Paradises minus God.]

here where sheer radiance

never comes to stay
we pack our bags with light
we can’t declare;

where only our lips are moving aren’t they
over the borders of night
on earth and
oh the sun came down so hard

on those who still hold dear
the Light inside themselves
knowing that
match is never struck
except by God alone

ask Hannah Senesch…

and anything else
always turns out to be
a battering of iridescence into
we have the wounds to prove it.

flowery are His deserts still
in the last tangerine lights.
we will not go out this way

dead poets cry as though you heard them, still-
when living poets
finally got up to say

in a minimal tone of voice
because they were afraid to be lavish-
and only adept now at stringing their few bright beads together

so embarrassed by the Crown Jewels of their language
when they couldn’t stop the sparkling

no longer de riguer:

“we’re tailored
to the Void who makes us happy
removing the name of God from the Party Platform

and revved up for the clouds that hold no rain:
let the clown cars down the ramp of the
seen-seen scene

roll oblivious
to the last real thunder pealing in the West
and the bells –

-adios, my darling tintinnabulations-

that the children
should live on, professionally speaking,
not even gaping at wonders anymore

perfect at spitting up the correct information at an early age; and there’s nothing
left to say but the one thing they learned to play
on the piano,
‘it’s - not – relevant’”

they played their favorite game
that summer, long past dinnertime:
ransacking the
treehouses and the far towers

for the last of the peach-tree shade
that they once loved.
so they were lost, at last, to

beauty’s birthright-
to the war required of everyone living
the forgotten war for holy things with the angels at our side.
and I don’t even know if you’ll admit that it’s still

‘Beauty’ riven in my heart or Goodness or Truth
and yet, it is,
whenever I’m sipping the nectar from your colorless

so poetry became anything at all
or nothing, finally, delirious over one apt syllable
and then nothing became "mandatory"…

"accessible" and a source of raging pride
as propaganda took centre-stage
as it had always dreamed of doing,

garnering all the awards,
no longer shy-
ripping the carols from the

Christmas children in the broad spectrum daylight of the
local school auditoriums…
and right before Christmas vacation was vacated
by Holiday snowmen on parade

luna moths gather
the last of pale green on Earth-
and float, away…

but who but who
can evict you from
your own language while you’re still
in it

etching the lost secrets of lost names

when I get out of this bad dream
I’ll learn without meaning anything else

the words for ‘Heaven’, ‘bread with pale yellow
butter’ ,’my soul’, prisoners of conscience’
my Abba, Father, and my abc’s

‘the house with the
rose-tiled roof, the violet drain pipes and the rain gushing through them’ evermore

my noble friends, ashamed of the wrong things-
you can’t evict God from His own gardens

when was it that He made dead poets
or dead poetry

mary angela douglas 13-14 april 2012, rev. 6 sepember 2012

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Nightingale Nightingale Nightingale

[to the forgotten, or the unacknowledged, lyric poets of Earth; forgive us…]

as many times as the spectrum shatters

and undeniable music is disbarred or
never brought to light in the first place

by those who stuff their ears with snow

or anything they find at hand-
only not to hear you

that many times and more,

a hidden star retracts;
your misread nebula hangs fire-

and the broken poem spins backwards-

off the shelf

you‘re left whispering

pure gemstone words
in the aftershock of so much withering.

very real nightingale, hold on

while hemorrhaging light…
it may be that the Emperor will live
though signs are few and an army of
miscreant words

is blocking the good road to the Palace…

[poem embroidered on the poem]:

running down the crystal staircase

with no crystal shoes
remembering the prince with a backward

everything was not translated,

she cried at a tree overlooking her mother's grave
and her tears caused everything
that came after; her heart, that
crystal most isolate

began to break apart

like floes of a dream on waking.

new translators carted,

never saying a word,

the golden coach and the sparkles away…

[under a Book of Hours by the Brothers Grimm

her embroidery is set aside, then taken up again as the wind draws thecurtains lightly over the gold edged figures in the distance and she sings-]

like hummingbird wings

minute pulsations floating over the flowers
that always disappeared
time and times, again transcend
the lines in antique
books with hand-coloured
pictures for the fairytales

beyond historical disregard

these near-glosses in the margins
of God oh cherished God
are like brushstrokes of snow-
like the braille of my heart in His

century after century

I will embroider swiftly
with thread of cherry silk,
while I remember
or violet, on grenadine-
the things the children said when they were small.

mary angela douglas august 2012

In Every Cell There Is A White Dove

[inspired in part, by the illustration The Ship Arrives, by Henry Justice Ford (from the Crimson Fairytale Book, Ed. Andrew Lang, Dover Publications Inc., NY) and by themes in English lyric poetry and Christmas carols.
and wholly by the One who said: “Let There Be Light”-]

in every cell there is a white dove
a white dove in a golden tree
a pale green window
looking out to sea
and every atom keeps, as well,
its particular dream of old:  of gold,
of copper, of selenium
of what it was made of, still-
in silica or star forever whispered once-
left, still to be
in every ransomed orbit, free.

in every cell there is a white rose

and a spiced wind embroidered for it.
a white rose and a red,

a little pleasing house, silk screened
where children sleep downstairs in summer
dreaming of a white rose or

a red

while in the garden of small words and broken wonders
forever keeping watch
I cry a town crier’s cry because I dare not drowse
to keep awake and living still

the far imprint I almost see and etched in cloud on clouds
I do not wish to banish by stepping
carelessly, there.

oh let my words be heard, and fair, as at the first,
when there was light because He only said so
for the child too far            

from the woodcutter’s cottage now-
from the parents grieving in a moonlit remorse.   

hold close the solace of long berried days before,

the pitchers of fresh cream in store
the blue cloth on the table spread, the honeycomb
glint of earlier Time when there was only Love:

through half-closed eyes, the lullaby, the sudden

gleams of the dove too
beautiful in the golden tree…

it’s you by the green window looking out to sea
It’s you in the white rose and the red,
the flowering wind that knows

the rainbowed ship and the singing will be turning home
though it was long ago He said that it would be…

mary angela douglas 2-3 september 2012