Saturday, November 30, 2013

Swallow-like The Eyebrows Of The Poem Flew Far

swallow-like the eyebrows of the poem flew far
beyond the countries of the tested
where there were clouds of fresh cream

and no essays.

silkenly the eyebrows of the poem arose
over the rose-roofed mountains of the pure
kingdoms where wisdom is not distilled

where there are no laboratories no

psychology no baited hooks.
no patterns of speech to be blue
penciled, no workshops

 and thusly,no publishers

and in the orchards frothed with moon

they settled, like meringue on a pie
in a show room window with the blinds down
never to be eaten again

they arrived-

at the children's parties
with the theme of sky-blue

the children who only sang to them

in their peach bright sashes
pale green velvetly
and merrily.

mary angela douglas 30 november 2013

She Praises The Kingdom Of Disney

[To Walt Disney]

from the first some children understood you

as a separate country
one which of course should be real though

not the one we went to school in

swinging our plaid metal lunch boxes
our nervous stomachs on the playground.

no.  this one was where the fairy tales

really happened.  and you were the tour guide,
if not the King

(you were too kind for that)

unrolling your blueprints right there on
the screen on Sunday night T.V. and
speaking to us as if we were real

about Tomorrowland your face
lit up like birthday candles.

my Grownups loved you too
and did not laugh
when I dreamed seriously

of going where the life-size tea cups swirled
and seeing it through
all the way to the Sleeping Beauty Castle

dressed in pink and blue assuming
a magisterial role of course of course
this was how it was done in the World

who cares how many orange groves were
ploughed under for this Kingdom.
we will see them again in little orange

stars irrepressibly arcing the capital
of our dreams.
wearing our plastic mouse ears

tuned into the Mickey Mouse Club
we were the inheritors of everything happy.
and knew it should always be this way.

Oh Walt what would you say
to see the rodent sorrows of your
Kingdom now how purity and grace

and all the colours blurred into
so many things you never wanted.
too fast on the carousels whirled snap shut

the archives on your make believe
by those who never wished on a star.
or never seemed to.

after you left the Party

how could it be the same
the cake grew stale; the rowdies

popped each vivid balloon
and yet, there's still a trace of stardust left
.isn't there?

while in Heaven for sure is the real

Disneyland, the Platonic version
in a Midwestern accent katy-cornered from Baum:

the one that cannot be undermined
or underrated by the vicious.
the one we were meant for

green as grass blue as the sky

coon-skinned in the frontier freshness of a dream
the chiming clockworks  of hand-painted schemes

and set to mine the gold of lost Delight
I won't ever be sorry to say
I loved and I was part of.

mary angela douglas 30 november 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Circumspect In Velvet In The Train Of Her Long Thoughts

circumspect in velvet in the train of her long thoughts
no one imagined perhaps a princess stood a
lady of the hours of the miniatures of flowers
she kept turning page by page in a honied

light, if not, forever.
it's hidden in the seams of no castle left on earth
her quiet dreams her astronomical conjectures.
really you may say, in all that quaintness?

but I say how can we know her thoughts
and who would consult the historians
who only remember the Wars.

mary angela douglas 27 november 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mary Stuart, Mary Stuart

the broken altar where she was crowned
cannot bide the mists
or little else that she had found in life

or reckoned on.
yet something regal lingers here and
fraught with yellow leaves that cannot
stay or little else besides, assay.

the air will change.
the seasons more so, given time.
ah Mary Stuart cry these shadows, chide
they us and little else besides
as if in weeping they would

be music somehow and survive;
where we thought to find
little else than semblance
and more now than regret

mary angela douglas 26 november 2013

Sleigh Bells From Mahler Drifted Near

sleigh bells from Mahler drifted near
in the way that I remembered it
oh how much farther I could have gone then
down the wishing wells of the world

to find my home again.
you leave the table and the strawberry jam
stepping out into molten sunshine
just for awhile

and it seems so rich as though it could not fade
but life is not this way despite the bells drifting
over a landscape of precious inner snow
each time the music plays;
the doorbell rings ,the little dog barks
as if in a fairytale, this never happened

you will say, not I

brighter than diamonds ever could be
of the ripple cast by the small stone
given me by my Grandfather
from star showers long ago
in our clover patched backyard.
and just before Christmas and the Star-
the angels keening in the Heavens

mary angela douglas 26 november 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's Only When The Parroting Colors Seem

it's only when the parroting colors seem
to dwarf Your Light I cannot breathe.
and I have lost my arctic dream and the

holy quiet You had laid aside to set the stars in.
my Crystal tuned to shimmering.
why have they reft all sound from sense?
the heart from everything.

why call it singing at that pitch
when it's attention that is garnered and
not Your laddered music fetching gold on

gold, forever modulated, reaching farther
than the soul believed from childhood
ever could be-how high is the sky you whispered
filling the cup of Beauty overfull.

then let us depart this scene
throwing ourselves away
if this must be-
beyond heart's need or recompense;
beyond the spoiled frame, reeling
it all in and the numbered games.

unearthly the
harps are wounded at my door
of all the poets sent before
and each with no other end than this:
through polar night or wilderness or slogging
through the witlessness-

learning, someday, to sing true

mary angela douglas 24 november 2013

Note on the Poem:  of course, it isn't only at my ridiculous would that be -but at anyone's door reader or writer, dear human being who feels this way.

We all have this marvelous, incredible heritage especially of lyric poetry in every nation, in every language, and also (if we choose) a world-wide inheritance of Beauty.  The sorrow is that in the drive to be new, and inventing it all again from the beginning (with each new generation) we will live ignorant to the riches that
others died to give us.  This is how I always feel now.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

In A Sugared Quiet Lit By Multicoloured Stars

[after the (imaginary) school auditions for the Nutcracker Ballet]

here is the snow-globe where the tiny fir cones

gleam in a sugared quiet lit
by multicoloured stars o in tiny spotlit rose,

or amethyst fire, of carillon sighs through

a winter self-contained,
if miniscule.

and it will never rain inside your heart here

if you're not in the ballet.
you will only be surprised each time

a tinny music chirps and clicks

whenever you are shaken,
and the universe is

flecked as if for a tiny party

all your own and the
self-same fairy confetti

drifts and sifts;

it sparkles, trembles, curved like a new moon

on a wire and you twirl, my glaced
sugurplum, you dream

you are the queen of cherry,

drizzled whipped cream;
tiarad sovereign of the ballerinas

who incarnate snows,

their lavender shadows
and the pink the blue-

in a Christmas buona sera

even if no one calls you, "Clara".

mary angela douglas 21 november 2013

Ruby Throated Christmas At The Last

[to William Butler Yeats]

the sands run down your ruby-throated glass
and up and down the scales of words that
can't sit still, you sing:

the dulcet chords still stringed;prolonged,

the glass bells chiming in the Christmas air
though for not much longer

will the angels gather, as they did long ago

above the children, anxious to go home
and break the silver envelope of pain

surrounding the outer atmospheres again

and smash the harps of stone
and pluck the silver from the moon.

bright poets the brightest in the room
how empty, empty is the loom
how we've forgotten all that sings,

that sang oh, that-

suddenly, in a tower's room
you'd start to hum a tune you

thought you never knew before

with the cabinet crystal shining.
conspirational. and more,

the violet figure at the door
of Radiance returned.

mary angela douglas 21 november 2013;13 january 2016

Note on the poem: "glass" in the first line refers to

hour glass, and ruby throated of course
to the ruby throated hummingbird a feeling
about time and memory intensifies.
(as in Yeats, like music)

What If She Wept Pearls

to my mother, Mary Adalyn Young-Douglas

what if she wept pearls

to no echoing air was said
for a princess in disguise
and losing light and language daily.

then latecomers could -

could understand
(and here a small grief stammered)
how once God placed an

opal in the sand

till wars and shifting winds
obscured the sight
and all the armies of the night
bereaved, returned:
not knowing where to
lay their flowers down.

it's not that the angel in

charge of the ledger
forgot to account for the


there's a balance in more
than nature always reckoned

in legendary legends-

write this down:
that once the daughter of a King

was found

stargazing on her own
and weeping with no soul around

for the moon 
behind the clouds.
for home.

mary angela douglas 21 november 2013

Note on the Poem: The Princess Who Cried Pearls - that fairytale- has one of the most beautiful titles for a story I've ever heard.  That image is so arresting to me that I often forget how the actual story itself goes.  So here I have made up a version of my own.

And maybe it is a song exile and maybe, it is not.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cash Given For Gold Even If It's Broken Shone

cash given for gold even if it's broken shone
the sign propped in the dusty window near the p.o.
where is gold not broken I thought I

mused in a world made to be golden; only
now I sense the absence of buttercups in
the children's stories and the dandelion

perfume is bitter though profuse,
still, happy to be here
spoked among the grasses.
so am I though

we take what is broken and we don't mind
the light that spills on us when we are
crying inside when we are broken

and no small shop will take us in
to mend us.
o who is always mending the sun
there must be someone

which one? cried the child
there are so many
alive in the universe of myriad spinning
aware that gold is orbiting by us
flashing from star to star
passing away in the corner of a smile

through a turnstile of trembling diamonds
that just keeps turning

mary angela douglas 20 november 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Poet Near Thanksgiving Praises The Pease Porridge

"pease porridge hot-
pease porridge cold-
pease porridge in the pot,
nine days old..."
-Old English Nursery Rhyme

pease porridge hot or cold
o thank you for being on sale.
thank you for always filling me up
when it's freezing

inside or out.
pease porridge please know
you are appreciated.

I remember what happened
in the Bible when the
wanderers complained about

all that manna.
oh pease porridge, you're so pretty.
if Goldlilocks came in and

you were on the table
she would have eaten
all three bowls, I'm not

because of you I can buy
more poetry poetry poetry

because of you I can look
misfortune in the eye
and not look a bit glassy.
it's good old stick to my ribs food
grandmother said.

pease porridge you're so
classy even better than the oatmeal
Rilke said being instant was very

good for poets.  This is true.
It's in his letters.

but you're better...

mary angela douglas 19 november 2013

Note on the poem:  I do not really know what pease porridge was.  I order huge boxes of dried 15-bean soup.  It lasts forever.  And is filling and nutritious.  so I am calling it my pease porridge.  And Rilke really did say that.  At some point during his life
quick cooking oats came into the picture and I think he wrote a letter to Clara enthusing about how wonderful it was and simple to make.  It is hard to imagine dear Rilke being a cook of anything, it is true.

A Short History Of The Poets Recited Over The Sleeping

[to A.E. Houseman and all the others…
“loveliest of trees, the cherry now…” (a.e. houseman)]

and forever to the poets Oscar Williams, Gene Derwood and
their dreaming son and to the anthologies of Oscar Williams
each one perfected like a dream...

I wrote on the walls of my heart
thinking no one would see.
I covered the thorns with singing.
oh how could I know then
what I know now: the thorns are all Yours.
and the singing.

to use the ink of sighs of those who went before
is risking all colours and they came too willingly
but how could I know then
what had been done to them-

to you
through negligent ages-
that they would seek refuge with such an anonymous descendant.
and that all the missing cobblers would doff their hats…

it was only their kindness, heart's ghostly affection

that someone's reading light was still on
and all, and all, for them who never
dreamed to be remembered;  
how could they know, then.

O, but I saw starlight still In the crook of the glistening winter
of their trees and of my own

however misspent have been and will be
the orchards whiter, still- 
intensifying efflorescence
of a Beauty unrealized except by moonlight
when no one is there

and yet, it's blossoming, blossoming
in the short history of light
that is ever seeping through

the prison doors (visible and invisible):
forever clanging shut on us, the wrong way,
the living, the wrong-headed who don't know
how could we?

when we'll be like them, transfigured into Poetry;

snowed under it happily,
wordlessly in the stunning light
on an ordinary day,
interrupted by angels
"Hush, dear..."

mary angela douglas 23 september 2012; revised 19 november 2013;28 december 2014

Note on the poem: and to anyone who would wonder or feel unclear about it, the capital "Y" in "Yours" refers to God and to Christ from whom and to whom all Beauty flows and all our orphaned words forever

A mysterious thing.  Earlier today when I went to check the mail I received several packages.  One contained an inexpensive 1917 copy of Maeterlinck's 
play "The Bluebird" but I only opened this, the last of the packages half way as it was difficult to open, very difficult even with scissors.  I laid it aside to do other
things and to work on the revisions of this poem.

After I finished the revisions, I finished opening the package with "The Bluebird" 
in it, pulled out a little green-grey volume with gilt letters and in perfect condition and it opened easily at p. 201 which ends Act Four this way:


Hush, dear...


which I then appropriated to close my poem

speaking of the short history of light, in a way you could say, this is Maeterlinck's play and like The Bluebird this is also happiness, isn't it, mystery and miracle to receive from unseen long ago hands the dream ending to your poem.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Van Gogh Mid-Afterlife In His Wild Rose Fields

I weep in gold dust fields over which his blackbirds fly
in the museum
and they cry: "ominous, ominous"
can't you see it in the skies?  truculent is the world

toward the artist who only loved the sun.

yet in his letters home
in three brilliantly lucid volumes.
closely read his colorist desire to
use all colours well and unforgettably
but, Dear Theo, colours cost money-
how much it cost him to go without
them making do with yellow and yellow

only he knew.

somewhere beyond

the marigold's sigh,
couldn't you weep anew
said the angel by my side
(sheer sunflower glow)
in the hope of his Heavenly
fields, post murder and not, suicide- 

when, burst like a light upon him,

all he did not understand;
where wild rose fields are climbing toward a sun
that cannot dim, vermillion.
and in the skies a freshly minted green

is ornate as the heart could wish that loved that much;

emphatic as a heartbeat are the brushstrokes' impact

viewed from this side only, clear amber crystalized in
the thick honey of days unbelievably
made of poverty, disdain, 
of painting in the rain
while the neighbors spied on him and
cawed against his sanity; were they sane?

it's slow tears I am crying now

crystalized in the poem- 
all amber gone by now
for the misplaced poet hardly anyone read
closely or otherwise while he was alive; allegro or penseroso
as the golden scores were played unfinished-
as they had to be and second-guessed,
long years without the  sun;
oh then- as now-

sub-lunar, distant are the puppeteers of

docentry everywhere but not 
the field flowers.

may it be said, though I am no painter,
it isn't for him I mourn 
nor for the rolling auctions 
of a heart that never could be dead ah,
how they must have said in the days that followed
(the gathering angels of his harvest)
but who will befriend now 
the orphaned haloes of his stars 

mary angela douglas 17 november 2013;revised, 6 december 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013

On Hearing On The Radio That The Brontosaurus Never Existed

dear brontosaurus on the planet Pluto
or somewhere with Ray Bradbury?
are you green plastic now or brown
or have they melted you down completely
now that you're no longer anything in natural science
and were only born in a cereal

box and didn't you go to show-and-tell

where the girl that sat behind me
got up in front of the class and

told us about the jeweled unicorn

she brought in to say (in its freshly coded powdery hoof language,
silvery as snow
you can't believe everything you know
now children)

invisibly of course, in Prang water-colours.
oh it was maypole beribboned.
it was shod in emeralds...

while the teacher snapped

you should know this by now, class;
we've been over this material
since before St. Nicholas Day

(who got, they say 

kicked out from the Canon on an uninspiring day
out of the clear-blue and

never lived or never was a saint though
relentlessly quaint in all  the Christmas books
he remained with a red and blue folkloric halo,
robes painted in five wounded crystaled shades of snow.
and a gold-leafed beatitude cinanmmon red-hot candy homemade

applesauce rare as really caring-
with tiny marshmallows and almost crunchy are
(the letter "R"? wondered my small sister) 
your borders, holly-berried-

where have they fled or have you fled beyond the

Where we will never know who disproved you

and can they produce for us here:
the five proofs for your non-existence and
why have they made for us these

wooden toys painted solely by elves-

with not enough wheels to get through one day
we'll be given art homework
fit for an automan*over the holidays

who lives in a house of

construction paper and pipe cleaners.
if at all, down beside the modeling clay:
or with me, in the corner again
and made to feel more small
for asking too much from it all:

"trace this leaf stencil on your

vanilla manilla tablets over and over"
while outside the day is inscribed

in genuine crimson, ochre, variegated

rose is the leaf that's veined with pumpkin
yellow I will believe in still
despite my limited crayons

and the fact that I'll always remain 
no matter who, what, when, where or how  I explain:
the shortest one 
in the class picture

mary angela douglas 16 november 2013 

P.S. Automan apparently I just found out is the brontosaurus word for cyborg.

Also, dear reader, I apologize for throwing the bit about the applesauce into themix .  It was very idiosyncratic of me.  But I was creating a kind of fugue (in both the musical and the psychological sense of that term) in which a few real aspects
of my school life appeared.

The applesauce in reality stemmed from a mildly traumatic incident in home economics class in middle school where in teams of four we were to prepare for breakfast store bought applesauce by throwing red hot candies into it (how elementary, dear Watson) and sprinkle cinnamon on store bought raisin bread toasted in the oven.

Clearly, it does not take four people to do this (hence my social trauma) so the group decided I would be the one to open the oven door and slide the bread in.  I believe I also was allowed to open the oven when it was done.  We may have also had orange juice.

In the poem, however, I have turned this real life village school idiot scene into a Christmas memory which it really never was, but shouldn't poetry turn straw into gold, the horrible into the beautiful or else, dear reader, really, what is the point of this fairy tale?

The Postcard From The Alhambra Never Sent

[to Wallace Stevens]

the postcard from the Alhambra never sent
is tinged with rose regrets, perhaps,
a settled aspect to the tinted aqua skies,

the candied rosebud sighs of the Infanta
in fantastic array who wants to play
in the courtyards with the
rose-red day and not
to have her portrait made.

she is just whatever we can say about her anyway:
a mere muting of the perfumed fountains
by whoever feels that way and owns the power

to decree: Segovia never loved his guitarra endlessly-
let the universe weep little stars for the lies
that are told dismantling every siglo de oro,
verilly chided the Princesa
who never could grow old
in that shade of violet.

in a dream I treasured the
distance between sun and sun
and found the yardstick wanting 

in an age of only gold

mary angela douglas 16 november 2013

The Brocades Spilling Out From Your Bazaars O Lord

[for the Irish-Belgian poet, Martin Burke

and to all the poets of Persia and Istanbul of fabled beauty remembered

to the poetry of Armenia as treasured by the poet Osip Mandelstam-

and to anyone's child peering into the rainwater puddle and thinking: there is another country there, made of the mirrored trees and clouds, of...

the brocades spilling out from your Bazaars o Lord

delight the heart
and we will drink coffee from golden thimbles

cried your children in disguise, like

the grown-ups, arguing the finer points 
of Andromeda or the price of bread;

or is the candy sweet enough as

little, native oranges?
and will the sesame-sprung door swing wide enough then

so that we may become

my Lord's own jewelry, forever
where we could in long content just be

mere sparkles, prismed, reveries:

of your spiraling rainbows, Lord.
or are the children made of

rosewater and halvah

and everything that was said
between starlight and starlight.

well, it must be poetry

spilling out from your Bazaar
as turquoise, ribboning, shimmering as

patterns of birdsong

can ever be
or exotic roses, spun

on a single rubied thread

said the weavers dreaming
secretly of whole countries, coteries,

languages missing the words for tears;

the phrase for,
forever leaving home

mary angela douglas 16  november 2013

Note on the Poem: Andromeda in the poem is a reference to the galaxy Andromeda and its contradictions and mysteries from the point of view of astronomy and from its high visibility on moonless nights emotionally representing to me at least: one view of Poetry- it is not being used at all as an allusion to the Greek myth of Andromeda etc. which I find, at best, distressing.