Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Music Box Refrain On The Day Doc Watson Died

maybe the moon will rise in full gold foil
behind a tissue paper page
and we will sigh
and it will be the wind not turning

maybe in dreams to green laments                                                                             
that can’t come home to stay and breaking off a sprig
I will awake with only mint for sweetest tea

and sweet gum things to say to the fire fly littered dark
proving again that I was there, still happy-
when the moon rose full in golden foil
behind the tissue paper page and

the small key dropped on a summer day
dripping strawberry coned cream into the grass
is found and fits the lock of

the golden moon foiled perfectly
behind the tissue paper page I’m holding down and
cannot bear to turn…sweet music, stay-
all mountain-bred and livelier as the day

wears on…now I hear everywhere and
all alone on some far stage
blue diamond notes cut sharp, distinct and

scattered everywhere like stars…

and the wild brooks berried by are rushing on
and cannot be contained on earth…but only in that music

till all my tired-out pinafores are
pegged and snapping on the breeze
and the whole picnic’s thrown overboard

tear dropped spilling suddenly  
into dusk blue grass and the perfumed wailing
of the gnats; oh, don't you mind

I guess though it’s
not rounded off at the corners yet,
or cherrystone riddle unraveléd:

here’s my sour green apple, candied, shining
fizzled goodbye…

at the tip of what's not
possible to say.

I’m not that rock candy hard but this is
…like the last wind licked and tucked away beyond too soon

because the page is still strumming light
when angels on fresh apricot mandolins join in

and the song’s refrain
that we can’t hum is intricate as Kingdom Come

it’s:
maybe the music will not end
maybe the music will not end…

mary angela douglas 30 may 2012

At the Academy of Golden Birds Or When You're Older You'll Learn The Alphabet

at first I heard them singing
in my dreams: the golden birds.

when you’re older Grandmother said
you'll know what it means;
you’ll go to school
to learn about the golden birds.
I went.
with my plaid satchel.
the walls were bare.
chalk letters over and over
on the black board almost fluttered
but the stories were always about

something else.

day after day I waited sorting apples from oranges
cuttng out paper leavestill waiting wasn’t a thing I could do
not even with waxed paper,
pressing the flowers.

when will we learn
about the golden birds I asked?
coming in one day from recess
from dust-clouded running like the
gold horse of the plains I reigned so slightly in.

the teacher grew red faced
though she hadn’t been running.
not explaining anything
that’s what we’re doing.
sit – down.

I never saw them there, my golden birds
not even kept in cages by the pencil sharpener
or  beside the aqua water fountains
where I would have gone to feed them gladly, pineapple cake.
upside-down at least on Wednesdays.

oh they should have arisen like their four and twenty
brethren from the King’s own pie…
but they couldn’t live at school.
in combination lockers.

maybe I should have stayed at home
where they came so easily
before I even learned to spell them
flock after flock to my Grandmother’s rose bush
without even being asked, nicely
mary angela douglas 29 may 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Recently, This Letter To Shalott...

I sought the courtly world but it had vanished.
behind the curtains of uncertain dawns
I stood, the unappointed lookout, looking on:

gone were the purple banners and the gold
banishing of the small fears
held aloft at the parades
and decked in flowers.
I stood amazed and soundless then for hours;
the battles I thought over, veering
back, shone illimitably:
 in the Pageant of everything unwon.

fresh rains have washed the back roads in the sun
while I scoop rainbows from the clouds...
they’re falling away like leaves in the last
horrific winds before the calm,
but not taking me with them:
the years that no mirage sustained.

and through no haze I contemplate again
the  debut in the perfect white dress
the embroidered handkerchief bestowed
the golden task importunate
only you would recognize at all.

I am seeking my lost King, the corner of a last word-
tranquil, folded down;
and reverence linked with song oh, long ago

left for dead.
knowing that I may find instead
ruined cornices dripping icicles before spring…
and these few winter roses for a crown;
more than enough to live.
my mute processions I have gathered tenderly
in the emerald shade of God.
oh let the lights shine down on Camelot renewed,
confessed in these late dreams without regret.
let knights be true.
and constancy my only jewel

though held aloft in the final verse
by fingers this absurdly frail still weeping snow
above the apparent waters of the town.
mary angela douglas 19, 21 may 2012


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.

will the
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
at all
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
or pavane?

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

Thursday, May 10, 2012

She Tore The Page With The Rose On It

tearing the page with the rose on it
on the way home
she cried, I didn’t mean to.

somewhere may we build
If we are kind and eat our cereal faster
-(before it colors the milk just like Roualt)-

the world’s most perfect playhouse, out of sight-
in  a circle of fond trees-
and not only Saturdays
outlined in milky quartz.

we’ll sweep the rooms all day
of pine needles-
and eat our honeysuckle off the vine
and sing duets not only at Christmas time;
grass staining our cathedral clothes
while the dog frolics conspirationaly, eating snow…

we will not tear the wind
from the trees no matter how high we go
swing sailing, hello clouds- we love you most of all
and God-

and my Grandfather soaking in
the arrowhead sunset just across the street…
so tall with his outdoors cigar-

hello, tree frogs he says and smiles.
Grandmother’s diamond weaving
music in the afternoons….
Or the big spoon’s Icing.

guard my fairytale now.
I’ll bring you gardenias from the side-yard
and almost make you come back…
blissfully overusing the lilac cologne
having no control over the nozzle, yet…

sparklers stir the dark
or is it gummed stars rainbow showered over
 piano pieces done?

my mother, far and nearer, than anyone-
I tore the page with the moon on it.
I don’t know how.
dimestore paste can’t mend it.
who will forgive me now


mary angela douglas 10 may 2012

At the Inauguration Of Snow

at the inauguration of snow
we turned away
dabbing our eyes on the
sleeve of the wind:                             
half-sleeve;
half-dream.

why can’t we live in the
clouds, a cloud-child
asked me-
I couldn’t say why not.

let the snow answer
as it sifts into the hollow
where the heart was
Once.

-when? said the child
-it’s too far back to tell;
keep dreaming…

here’s your embroidered sash…
in Old fairytales, close to the hearth-
don’t card their wool.

I turned away
not understanding anything at all
my arms so full of books
as if they were flowers

in the hollow where I
hid my heart
from the Inspectors.
-Why? said the child
-don’t ask me more;

I only know
how blank the sky becomes
the day after graduation-
even in the same cutwork dress
the one interwoven with seed pearls-

that snow crushes the last of June clover
and the door- sill of moonlight
and the antique piano we covered with lilies

is carted away
and the grown children
are carted away in plain sight.

Snegourka.  Snow child.
Once you dressed in the Northern Lights.
now you look like anyone else
in the crowd applauding
the coronation of snow-

your eyes don’t hold the light,
and I can’t find you…

mary angela douglas 7 may 2012

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

I Will Mention The Blind Dissident Forever

the great players on the world stage                    
must have been greatly inconvenienced
to clam up that suddenly concerning the blind dissident                    
who scaled a wall at midnight
in the name of everyone living.
the great players don’t wish to appear
indelicate in their discussions
to speak with their mouths full or
to chew gum while whistling-
or to indicate to us at all that they have even barely heard
of the blind man in total darkness, hoisting himself
on a mouthful of air over the wall;
crudely, with no stars to guide him.
treated now, at best, like a badly behaved child
shoved into a closet where the fine coats hang
of the distinguished guests, appalled-
while the Grownups  figure out what to do next.
the man with no protocols, I guess,
to follow -  must be excused for his
crassness for putting the great players
-on short notice- into hipwaders
through a predicament they thought they were well rid of-
imagine their horror, if you can…
what was he thinking?
at such a precious moment in the history
of hushed corridors-
to be drawing attention away from
the muffled  footsteps of Giants?
sitting glumly at thick tables
with their eyesight intact
their expensive water-
they’ll try to take back lost heights of
professionalism I guess it’s called now
but they’ll keep slipping
on the “situation”
falling a little flat…
Playground Bullies Are Mum,
the papers read next day (half-right, you figure out, which half):
Counting Out Their Confliscated Marbles
For the Really Important Work That Lies Ahead-
may I never learn to speak that way dear God
it’s such a critical lapse in judgment  
it’s such a delicate moment in the single butterfly life-span
neither here nor there to the estimable diplomats=
who know how to play the game-
and should just table it-
I want my language back. 
forget the marbles. the lost pocketbook of the world…
where’s the subject of the sentence here?
the Big People behind the hush-hush doors or
the barely acknowledged man who risked his life?
dear children, let’s take a holiday from all this.
can you imagine this, children?
can you imagine the rarest flower in the rarest garden.
now imagine the flower living and not plucked out…
now imagine this is not imaginary…
may I mention and mention even in my sleep
the blind man
who hoisted himself over the world at midnight
as if to see-  
and to feel the night air all around him-
breathing  all on his own the breath-taking gardens of the world.
may he be honored above nations-
who are silent when they should sing
and speaking when they should just
sit down and weep
for starry courage branching on
even in blind eyes at midnight.                               

something to shout about. don’t you think?

what’s the point of discretion here?
Thank God for him. Like Christ, before…
let’s be glad there’s at least one of us left
in the barricaded gardens of the world
who still remembers
how to leave at midnight-


mary angela douglas 12:30 a.m. 1 may 2012