Monday, November 19, 2012

A Song Of Ascents

[“Ah, Christ I love you rings to the wild sky”
-Allen Tate (from Sonnets to Christmas)]

climbing His laddered orchards to the sky,
Christ is the wound I live in till I die;
the one of pure gold, the one


why is the why I keep on asking still so
hard to find among all orphaned syllables in disguise;
the thing you did far better than

anyone has ever done on the tumbreled way:  leaning into
our eyes, you rose.
why do they want to drag you back each time of day

again and again to that same hill – skeptical of
Glory; eyeing your splintered heart with the old surmise
of the selfsame jackdaw disorders:  reprised

and preening.
and everything is
as though you had never finished what you started.

I’m climbing your gleaming orchards to the sky-
the ladders kicked out from under-
following the deep marks in the snow the

deep marks in the snow the
ghost of water beckoning in the sun-
the chivalrous pall-

the starry storied passage through the endless ruins-
to the only country I can recognize
at all

mary angela douglas november 18, 19 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012


[to Maurice Maeterlinck author of "The Bluebird"]

there is a soul in light you said

and blue birds nestled in the folds of night that you may find.
why then are we still weeping on the shores so near the floods

that took it all away

before we learned to carry it all inside

from kingdom to kingdom,
and always?

In the Land of Memory dear Shades of the long ago

fall away, beseeching, please turn aside down this
folkloric lane, won’t you?

we’ll have bread and cherries

under late summer's trees, or
toasted cheese on a fork

near the winter hearth and bowls

brimful of cream or is it dream in an Alpine spring
and then, dream more...

a history made of lead weighs down on the heart too

imperceptibly so that we do not know we do not hear you
rustling the raspberries.

now they will slam the door on you

as if you were a cheap peddler
if they even see you at all,

stamping with a modern library’s stamp:

but I can see the shine of something, still not dead

all made of fantastic speaking twined

from a rubied thread
children leaving home may still find, sometime,

tangling them in the woods again

in golden gazing up or
whenever they spill the sugar for the Tea

imagining they are grown-up now, irretrievably-

they may remember suddenly,
exactly why they came

and, like a flash of something brilliant

in the world they only think they see-
Who sent them

mary angela douglas 3, 10 november 2012

Aftermirage In The Violet Snow

I did not imagine the hush of the holly stars.
the crunch of the white alphabet
newly fallen from heaven

the enchanted glass surfaces crackling
after the ice storms or
the blue-gold icicled xylophone tears-

near the lavender eaves.

Oh Damozel…

it’s not that peripherally dreamed that
in an ivory wind my soul was gathered,
in hidden vespers written on a crystal slate

in firm handwriting with a Christmas fountain pen.

oh why did you not look back, forgetful child
so used to hearing the angels sing and making the
emerald no, the ruby partridges scatter just by moving your arms

as though they were wings.

or what made you later than late

when the golden pear
slipped shadowy from its branch

in your plain sight glittering
(it would have been if you hadn’t dawdled over your cereal
said your sister)

and before sifting under
the drifts of cream you found out were unsugared

you could have scooped up everything then
and brought it back into the house for Mama,
violet glaced-

where we would have been suddenly rich with Forever.

mary angela douglas 10 november 2012

Monday, November 05, 2012

Raven Snow

[prelude for the left-hand]

I lost one wing and one wing only
torn from the skies in a raven snow.
how could I go back to find it all alone

who could not find the space between the letters
though they were made of gold.

I lost more than this: the sun
the keening of a larger wind caught claw-like   
in a cramped style and then let go to fend or not at all.

how bright the berries from low lying shrubs appeared
on that dim holiday
inedible as tears.

begin to fall from the high angelic distances you loved
the ancient mockers call, harp stinging
as the white bees fly, finding the wounds they were meant to find and

live in for a season.

my words you have broken in two for no Godly reason
and sewn them into a frozen stone
so that they will not fly from here

mary angela douglas 3-4 november 2012

Note on the poem: this poem appears to be dark.  look again and you will find an escape clause in it so to speak.I always have light and hope in my poem built in.  the key in this poem among others is "for a season"

I also want to mention another inspiration for this poem was a pianist who started transcribing music for the left hand only when he lost the use of the right.  Incidentally I typed, composed and felt this poem with my left hand only (and right hand index finger) as my right hand has swollen up.  Not important just a foot note or a hand note.  And there is a famous poet perhaps in translation who once wrote of a blizzard as a swarming of white bees though I can't remember his name.  What an image straight from the Snow Queen's Palace.  In my poem the white bees are not necessarily bees as they are so ineffectual as to have to find previous wounds to lodge in rather than being able to sting on their own.  It is all about appearances.

It appears flight, music, life are no lomger possible.  And yet, they are. This is both my experience and my holy faith. (in God.  in Christ)