Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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.