Thursday, January 30, 2014

Losing The Rain On The Roof

losing the rain on the roof we dream in cinder-blocks
of a roof made of stars and infinity
green trees willowy in a large meadow
large ballrooms where the soul can dance
and not be found out

losing the rain on the roof I cried
I tried to find the way back.
I miss the sound of it more than music
more than music
without the words

mary angela douglas 30 january 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


It seems like he was always there in the background somehow, one of those American fixtures that seem
so familiar, so comfortable like a worn out shoe, but in his case like a worn out shoe that mystically, never wears out. Like a fairytale, folktale kind of person but- a person that is really like that, not by design, but just by breathing in and out, like water flowing is just water.  A stone rolling down a hill is a stone rolling.  A tree in the wind is a tree in the wind. No subterfuge.  No posing.

And when you heard him, and I did, throughout my childhood here and there on tv, and later, in

documentaries and finally, in Washington D.C. in 1983 at a human rights rally on the Mall, you had a feeling just like that.  Like you were in a story he was singing, you were part of the story he was singing and you were happy to be and comforted like a child hearing the story, being the story and always, at his invitation, singing along.

In a country half-mad with rebranding itself every other minute it is refreshing to remember how he was

with his banjo just walking up and commencing to play.  No fanfare.  No preliminaries.  Just like the
clouds drift and you watch them and you feel better.

Pete Seeger didn't have to rebrand himself.  What he was was good enough.  An American in his 
own way, a singer in his own rhythms.  Steadfast.  A lovely tune you couldn't get out of your head, but then, why would you want to.  The news article I read online said he didn't like
the term folk singer.  Call me a river singer he said.  He flowed like a river indeed, unobtrusively, but needed in the landscape.

How we will miss him.

mary angela douglas 28 january 2014

P.S. The article that referenced Pete Seeger's preference for being called a river singer is by

Bob Minzesheimer of USA Today.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Broken Chinaware Of The Exceeding Dream

[after seeing the mosaics, and mixed-media of Priscilla Williams, January 27, 2014, Forsyth  County Central Library, Winston-Salem, North Carolina]

the broken chinaware of the exceeding dream
sets face up in the mire of gold unseen but felt.
it's raining permanent tulips
roses down the sky

on the lady in green beneath delft Blue 
I wonder why we didn't see her before
where the clouds don't move nor does the 

sun; it's almost heaven rose-tipped in a frame
that cannot break again and newlywed
when ladies with amethyst wings just sprouting

half-dance against the blue and white tile
to qualify as shy, happy angels in training
Here springtime does not lie
because it cannot change what it is.

chipped sapphire,
it's all coming back to you when
she holds time in her careful hands:
making something beautiful
out of the shattered, piecemeal,
musical as Sundays

mary angela douglas 27 january 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rose Pink Flamingo Flurries Over Africa

[on Nikolai Gumilev, a brief cadenza-]

Rose pink flamingo flurries over Africa
he might have seen, if he had lived
a son grown taller, deeper, not displaced-
still not following Anna anyway perhaps
at times repeating what he said before
oh, you should take up the ballet

returning later to find fresh fairytale scraps
bound up in no ribbons, scattered on the floor
and changeling, the tawny glints in cloisonne
jeweled combs that weren't there before o

trist bisque doll with the books all sold
and very little left; in a ragged shawl she might
have been, still adorned with red roses fading into
old silk but

she's no longer home, the one he left in worn down
slippers floated  a queen slightly foreign to him
a girl who wept flowers and stars
at the least provocation.

Africa, he sighed and was off again.
how would her verse have altered-
if he had lived- with so much absence,
so much more, filling up with snows
and Mandelstam, the same-

still haunted, haunting the pavements where
they used to roam watching the Neva in the cold
fill up with raspberry lights, little clouds and poems
commemorating in advance
the later lamentations

unaccountable joy

mary angela douglas 26 January 2014

My Faberge Egg Is Hatching Little Stars

my faberge egg is hatching little stars,
cut crystal-
whole cherry orchards unrazed

of a creamy pink that's inscribed

with thoughts on raspberry wings
in fine detail


somnolent summer, grain gold
lime-leafed avenues and in the distance

ruby trains tunneling through the

mountains to the village where it's
always snowing but everyone's used to it

a fine diamond  snow.

so no one starves and is always singing
my little village, pearl encrusted;

pale green emerald of my birches-


mary angela douglas 26 January 2014

When You Are Finished With The Colouring Books

[to Eugene Field for his lovely, long-ago poem "The Sugar Plum Tree" and a world-wide plea for a return to former inclusiveness (where the culture of mankind is concerned)]

when you are finished with the colouring books

it will be time to inherit everything of beauty,
worth. even calico hand-me-downs
and every nightingale perched in the

pale green anthology in my Grandmother's

living room bookcase in pale gilt letters
spelled out on the spine: "World Poetry" I never
learned to keep it separate all those colours

bleeding into each other in the margins of

my mind sitting in my Grandfather's chair
turning the myriad pages of what  was called
in school, then, the universal canon of

why are we going backwards colouring in

the lines of our designated tribes alone-
even if, in bright colours and
with the thickest crayons...

when will you find again in quietness

tracing the rainbow's declensions:  all jeweled
iterance tolls for  thee for thee
and crystal clear.

in every epoch peach bright speech streams a

destined loveliness my friends in the mystical orchard
and more besides, look up and see
beyond the dusted off refurbished opalescence strung

in your particular evening sky and neighborhood
the candied stripings of infinitude rustle in leaves in
your own mind these
letters from the long ago in diamond spidery handwriting

laden and windfall falling from the sugarplum trees
for thee, for thee and thine;
you live in that realm
if you want to...

mary angela douglas 26 January 2014

Why Should You Say Simply What You Can Spell Out In Stars

why should you say simply
what you can spell out in stars
in time lapsed roses in a
magic garden surprise oh

surprise at the birthday
wishes, wishes for (don't say it) realized
but through an unforeseen door

a window left ajar
and there are Peter Pan and
the others trailing their
sparkles behind them for

us to garner still
for garnet on garnet's
scattered in the skies
if you can find the right
word for it otherwise

it's just plain purple
not even purpereal
good enough for some
and never damson, plum
or white violets sighed the
princess finding them first
in the April woods before
her companions

everyone knows who knows this
that the birds keep flinging roseate roseate roseate
into the aurora, not the sunrise.
oh burst upon us silverly, lost demanding music
rose on vivid rose new crown-ed damask:
we are half-sick of prose

mary angela douglas 26 January 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014


is this the map made out of mist
the one the children lost
on their way to the blue mountains?

here is the spot where they ate their
last peppermints, butterscotch, lemon drop
and the bright foil wrappers glinting in the sun

an SOS
to someone small
to anyone at all

there's the place they found fresh water
and washed their faces in dim
starlight hardly lighting the path

to the Other side
and here's the arbor where
they told each other stories

waiting for help to come-
there, the shadow of famine, war
of small things left undone

of the illumination of sudden fevers
of ribbons untied on presents
imagined by their mothers

silver wishes foundered golden ones
spiced gumdrops
here's the cache of rubies they left behind

and in the phantom snow, bird tracks of
sparrows bringing them bright berries bright berries
in their beaks and songs

and here the trail disappears

where the guardian angels loom with peach bright wings
tinged with violet leaning over the children

in the rickety  rowboat...
the still waters
where the angels bore them away

as in fine prints that hung on
the rose paper walls papered over with sighs
of the Great Houses
long, o long ago

mary angela douglas 24 January 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Returning To The Tower We Sought To Win

[to Matthew Arnold, Robert Browning, and Alfred Lord Tennyson-
and all the others before and every country and language]

"The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full..."
-Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach

returning to the tower we sought to win
gaily your pennants floating on the wind;
the mind renewed
where vintage valentines were stored
since no one needed anymore
the hearts of those who thought before
long golden thoughts
in an ivory scene derailed-
for what?

returning to the tower we sought to breathe
above the innocence of trees, beyond the snowed in Park  still
newly green as we were when we first loved

whatever stole them and our time
we will forget and learn to rhyme again
under the inconstant moon
or in blank verse lose this wilderness
and swear new constancy to Him:
Christ of all poetry; they knew-
without flinching at the name.
returning to the tower
let there be balm in picture books again
and evensong and starlight unadulterated.
the poets now in shadow once wrote in this sun
and they were true.
we will remember you, your light
the sudden sorrow of your flights
the useless defamation down the years.
the colours of your songs will paint
this modern quest
for Beauty wronged

and we will sing;
unashamed and free, though ridiculed
and jewel on jewel the peerless cantos learn, prolong
so meant for earth as Heaven indeed down to the last breath
and margins of the sea of song 
of faith of hearts

no longer empty

mary angela douglas 23 january 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It's The Raspberry Ripple Through The Ice-Creamed Stories

it's the raspberry ripple through the ice-creamed stories
tower on pasteled tower (and with whipped cream)
that half keeps me alive 
it's the picture book surprise
of a world still unfolding;
of imagination in living colours

inside, still spreading its fans, gold sequined
rainbow sunrise sherbeted.
spumoni triple play oops! Neapolitan I
meant to say while
rabbiting through the Easter grass
in the dead of winter
slipping past the deadlines.

my taffeta pockets cramfull of salted nuts
and wedding mints after the receptions
to supplement my larder.
God knows I need to.
but I'm at work and not supposed to do this 
while I'm keying things in.
how would they write me up?

let's think about this some more.
maybe they'll say:
your daydreams are off the [flow] chart
[and it's starting to flow like lava now
toward my tiny happy hut in the path of it,
too retro to be believed or annotated

ever in the thirty-ringed employee handbook
you should have memorized by now
or in the Moses brought them down from the mountain
unwritten rules we'll never tell you unless it's too late
and anyway, we just made them up on the spot for you
you you, you anamolie (of course, they can't spell it
that's what they hired me for)
because anyone with a professional demeanor
and half a spitsworth of leadership skill-sets
and diva-tasking
has got to know better than this.
you're letting us all down.

(clomp. clomp. here they come; this is it)

Miss Douglas, you're on probation for wishing again


mary angela douglas 22 january 2014

Under A Pink And Blue Sky

under a pink and blue sky
babies in their cribs awake and cry
longing to be dressed in pink and blue
immediately; the

older children on their way to school
miles from the Fair grow wistful
for cotton candy, wax-paper packed in a lunchbox

by the gherkins and the fruit salad, crammed in
near the meatloaf sandwich on an onion roll:
pure tasty pink and blue spun out of nothing

although they know
it isn't summer anymore.

the baker in the town square
halts amid the jonquil icing batches
unprepared for the flood of calls
for pink and blue frosted cakes
stacked end to end and will they
reach the moon or 

the Princess counting her gowns in a half-baked dream
who throws the whole lot out starting over
in pink and blue chintz that's satinly ordered up
on the pink princess phone this

very sheer pink and blue minute: veiled illusion, tulle-
bring swatches of pasteled chalks as seen from space;
the astronauts gaze befuddled from the capsule at

an earth redecorated pink and blue and ask themselves
will the sea rise soon in 50 metre waves or more
dousing the aurora

in ribbons of pink and blue moire?

not daring to ask Houston.
and will you remember suddenly struck
by candy coloured lightning through and through
everything you thought you knew
for the final examination
oh! but you'd forgotten

pink and blue
you realized later
thinking things through
making do with an A-

mary angela douglas 22 january 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Letter Arrives In The Kingdom Of Nasturtiums

Dear Mama,
I wish I could have written this before:

let's go to the Kingdom of Nasturtiums

where it's always pure orange, pure violet.
and a pink so tinged with blue it makes you
want to cry it is so beautiful

exactly as it appears on the Burpee seed packets in the kitchen drawer,
dear Mama.

we will have no rent.
and feast on strawberries and cream just
like English nursery rhymes.
and I'll have lemon curd for tea or lime

which do you prefer?

there will be no institutions there
no watchdogs of your fragile mind
masquerading as friends

who complain that they're too footsore now
from being out all day to fetch the less than glitzy Christmas decorations for the steel grey decor they keep you in.

your soul like an orchid shone..
in Heaven I expect it to be different.
no spindle pricks at all
no kingdom of sleep brave, brave princess

awake, awake in the Kingdom of Nasturtiums
God is the flower gardener and
there are no walls

mary angela douglas 20 january 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Over The Velvet Rooftops Of The Night

over the velvet rooftops of the night
I sailed my cloudy ship
into hidden moonlight
where are you I cried
at the window of my soul
frosted, as if for Christmas
candelight is down
the withered wreaths are gathered by the proud
while the tree in the attic tells stories
to the mice that forget their cheese for the moment...
little fir tree, I still love you
Hans Christian Anderson
over the velvet rooftops of the night
did we paper airplane sail your stories
over the griefs, over the griefs
of the sullen earth,

mary angela douglas 19 january 2014

Newswires Slowly Gathered/ Not Everyone Loved The Sixties And Their Aftermath Part 1

in a world of causes why should the soul
be caught in the brambles
like a superfluous guest trapped at the party?

what do you want with the soul?
I asked the malefactors trespassing
once again in the moonlight: 

can the soul protest?
is there a pennant gold enough to wave
for injuries against the Soul?

these things take their toll.
oh, miss the parades that waste your time.
believe in what you are and study harder while

clinging to the tower going under; it only seems to be.
let those who seem and cannot be take charge of the ripples 
widening in the Pond;and pitch their tents in the pitch black 

nothingness of world wide fame, applause.
and celebrate celebrity.
God and the Soul are one without them,

mary angela douglas 19 january 2014;20 nov. 2014

Child Near The Half Glazed Pond In Early April

anchor your stained-glass shadows in the grass
it's irised still, your Easter;
your heart is full of flowers.

the chill of the pale greens gathers fast
in the woods and on the playgrounds
at recess;

recessed in the stone,
the Madonna hints at birthdays
white tissued, tied in blue bows even in

snows that interrupt your aprils.

hold fast the page that they would turn for you
and anchor your stained glass shadows in the grass-
the grass that blows when the

winds of His presence, pass.
you are the spring's cathedral
beautiful, wavering, there

in His best looking glass-

mary angela douglas 19 january 2014

Drinking Our Milk Up Under The Milky Way

drinking our milk up under the Milky Way
(that's above a violet rooftop)
we know the cartoons wait for us;
it's Saturday (after chores done hastily)

and the curly black dog waits under
the table for the coffee cake crumbs to fall.
sometimes it's buttermilk sipped slowly
marigold or

are the stars then butter coloured
we could think while munching our wonder bread
sweet butter spread
looking back we wonder why

they called it bread
but twinkies twinkled after school
inside there's a world of creme
frosting though it's not your

why can't the moonlight stay
the way that it was then
so dairy fresh so silver lined
inside the blue lines of

our writing tablets
after school just one week
before Christmas

mary angela douglas 19 january 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Red Velveteen Wouldn't The Rosebuds Wish To Be

red velveteen wouldn't the rosebuds wish to be
thought the little girl colouring endlessly
in the afternoon while her mama

listened from the kitchen.

red velveteen.
it feels the same

indoor as out

she sang brightly of bright petals
all afternoon

red velveteen

why wouldn't Cinderella
choose that very shade

I would if I were her she sang

and wouldn't you sing
on a rainy, rainy afternoon

red velveteen

red velveteen
with a scattering of tiny pearls

if you were her?

mary angela douglas 19 january 2014

It Snowed In My Dream The Princess Said

it snowed in my dream the princess said
to no one at breakfast
in a boysenberry light
and buttered her bread.

the courtyard filled with crystal on crystal

a pause in music, you know and
not a rest

dressed in pure silver

fleece downwind of certain stars
and I in a blue spring shawl
a rose trimmed skirt

in a landscape of parfait colours
began to say
to no one at all it's winter here

but it isn't cold at all

sing it from the high sweet towers

mary angela douglas 19 january 2014

Nocturne Again In The Small Sleep Of The World

talking in the sleep of the world the small leaves sigh
sigh down corridors of moonlight
year on year

all things fade into their beginning
the painting's on the wind
it chimes

down corridors of moonlight
in the sleep of the world
the artist wakes all colours fade

into their beginning
the small leaves sigh
do the stars listen

glistening every time 

a small child sighs

how many weeks till

the Christmas of the world,

and will You find me

the small leaves sigh
down corridors of dream
dream, in the fading of the world

mary angela douglas 19 january 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

They Would Not Send The Angels To Help Us

they would not send the angels to help us
through a sea of tears and the door is locked 
on alice into the garden floats the little key
lost, lost without her

they would not send the angels to help us

or stay the executions even one more day.
one more day on your bright earth the
one you intended the one you gift-wrapped for us with

starlight brighter than tinsel tenderly

with your little leaves just coming out on
the vines of our houses 
they burned it all down who would not send the

angels to help us

tho chained the angels each to each

and mocked their brilliance.
but you put the rainbow in their wings
in their wings that flew over the seas of ink

the poets died for

dying to say we loved your light Jehovah
they would not send the angels to help us

so You came yourself

mary angela douglas 14 january 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

God Grant To The Countries In The Fine Mists Of Your Eden

God grant to the countries in the fine mists of your  Eden
a returning way through the fairytale woods
even as music is barely heard at first
when the children open their eyes
in an unfamiliar room.

and if the skies above my page are snowless still-
missing Christmas and the evergreen-
let flowers be gathered by imaginary springs
where the waters flow over the bruised soul.
it's deep in our winter caves that I keep sweeping up
the broken nebulae around your hallowed head

or pressed against the windows of Your far kingdoms
I'm just keeping still.

awaiting starlight and the rose corolla
as it was in our beginning

mary angela douglas 14 january 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fantasie Impromptu On Her Last Letter To Lytton

[for Virginia Woolf]

I am no longer I she cried

in the pier glass of waters far from home
closer in time is farther back much earlier she sighed
to the larkspur shadows in the room
that held her like a necessary angel
in his gaze or repartee
glancing up from his reading perhaps
a little quizzical thinking

why is it every time she enters the room

like a particular shade of blue the rarest
flower shade so hard to find
but there it is, the tuning, turning of her mind
a larkspur presence in a room less vivid

did he find her thus

almost the colour of skies
and chained to earth
diffident, larklike closer in time to him than others
she strayed on earth
despite the broken engagement

language is faltering she cried

and spoke to him from ancient tapestries

I am no longer I she said

to the larkspur purling waters
when I arise from dreams of thee
from dreams of thee
no longer among the living

mary angela douglas 12 january 2014