Thursday, July 31, 2014

Quixote By Cloudlight Pitied Only

[to Miguel Cervantes, forever]

crying out on the slow blade's curve

could no one hear him but the jeweled clouds?
the lowland sorrows gathered here

in after years, and bowing down to the ground.

imperial scorn and local gossip did not die here
wept the angels yet-

he was hoisted on the stars; it must have been.

and are the Giants vanquished yet?
nursery rhymed the children, bringing flowers

to the gaunt one, laid to rest

in an evil hour

mary angela douglas 31 july 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Let's Have A Party!

let's have a party! the cardboard invitation read,
so highly coloured, with its five balloons
in primary colours, and two secondary.

we'll have fun and party favors too and

little hats with maypole streamers, streaming.
come as princesses, or dukes or kings

prepared to eat pink ice cream!

to fight just paper dragons red as strawberies.
and when we're done, there's a centerpiece

like pirate's treasure  you can rummage in,

everyone! they'll be no more bills hereafter:
shout if from the crepe paper rafters.

we're free to build our playhouses 

by the streams and use our Monopoly money
as we please at the candy stores.

heck.  we'll buy them (the stores)
 and give them to the poor

in striped sacks full of the delights
especially toffee crowned in chocolate, bits

of caramel in bright raspberry foil.

no more of toil, hard lessons learned or algebra.
it's the world's birthday! everyone gets presents;

a generous slice of cake with the buttercream rose.

and free piano lessons!

mary angela douglas 30 july 2014;29 january 2015

Who's Running These Carnival Shows

[to Robert Frost
and to my Grandfather-]

who's running these carnival shows a

someone wanted to know
who walked through a door marked Poetry

in golden typescript, transom pretty. freshly painted, too.

Oh will it make me smaller? queried Alice
her eyes brand new.

No. only everything you were before you came here.

and what was there before? said another.
some old hardware store that sold odd

carriages, nuts and bolts for the universe

and the farm communities.
Do your duty! said the country.
write it all.

we did on paper airplanes floating through school

halls or in the snow, in angel format
Christmas wild. o child.

don't go there.  anyone can take a name
and put a shingle out though

behind the door are polka dots and clowns.

sad scavengers.
Poetry's in the grasslands running free

where no one needs to know if it's famous;

only God.
who singing's for, and liberty-

when it comes to it.

mary angela douglas 30 july 2014;29 january 2015

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


aloft in a tea rose balloon or of teal striped silk
I am the friend of clouds, aren't you?
of winds and I want to shower down

(instead of memorizing imports and exports)

little sweets with caraway seeds
on every country on the pink and green maps

the lavender too we watched unscrolled in school:

a little listless or were we dreaming- even then,
these endless valentines, violet squalls from the Indies...

the ones edged in lace, of intricate design.

with clasped hands. with lilies.
with little doors opening onto doors

forget me not!

and inside, it's silver

or it's ruby.
it's ruby like a heart unopened

even on Christmas.

it's ruby like the soul of her still
turned away and twisted in the cords of

others' flights, never her own;

who must make do with the rainbow shreds so ragbag
on the storybook floor that

drifted far, down a fairy tale snow

from a peerless, prismed gown
that's not for her at the dressmaker's

while in her head, still

carrying the remainder-

leaving home

with not even the pink glow glimpsed by astronauts from space;
just chandeliers of the ultraviolet shade,

one hummingbird's surreptitious sip

of the wavering dewdrop on the
shadow-trellised rose.

oh from our hands, cried penny valentine glad little children,
denizens of some candy hearted land all the pink and the blue

paper doves we'll scatter 
in envelopes of unmarred marigold of the sun never

finished entirely

with shining, here on earth
for the heart, with its fervent wishing
it were otherwise.

mary angela douglas 29 july 2014;29 january 2015

Does Anyone Want Beautiful Poems Cried The Peddler

does anyone want beautiful poems cried the peddler
from his cart, a litte broken down.
just hold them up to the Light, he said in a winsome tone

you'll see.

I stepped out between the hyacinths
somewhat shyly.

oh sir.  I'll have some

their colours flying that do not set
with the moon or sun.

and when the purple evening flung 

almost over me, her last shadow entirely-
I was not sorry

for having done so.

mary angela douglas 29 july 2014

Who Will They Put In Charge Of Vanishing She Said Aloud

Who Will They Put In Charge Of Vanishing

who will they put in charge of vanishing?
she said aloud looking out through grandmother's
mother of pearl opera glasses
on a strange landscape

and in a thin sleeved dress,
said her grandmother, ghostly, chiding
in this weather.

how do they garner the entries?

finding which to screen-
which to leave on the floor-
which to ignore permanently.

outside, the larks sing.

bluebonnets blow ungathered.
children may look at the moon
almost in the same way,

where they can;

seeking freedom from old schoolwork
when they can.

oh, who will they choose?

who who who

twit the owls of the Far North
and the mockingbird mockingbird mockingbird

sounds go forth through the apples trees as before
and the pink cakes fall in the ovens when the screen doors


and jam gets made.
and things to put it on.

but we don't hear from the contest owners.

we don't hear from the juried, from the important
ones sizing up auroras through a pinhole
and disguised as the lovers of beauty;
in love with designer poetry, their own parties

the brand of their zine, actually...
don't press the pleats out, grandmother said
and I cried not from the music, Grandmother, ever!
not a word not a word chirped the mockingbirds

from the ones who couldn't decipher
anything written on snow

mary angela douglas 29 july 2014;rev. 30 july 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014


it's just the nebulae sifting through your dreams
because you left the window open.
you left the window open and the moon came in,

and ivoried rains, glistening

dampening the books on the window sill
you put there because you have no more

room for books, but buy them anyway

to read the words of your friends.
to read the words of your friends and

to talk to God is all you want to do.

and listen where
no soldiers are coming.

no armies.

only a pale green stillness
rustles like leaves above you:

that's your dream

and the nebulae, too. 

the leaves you loved before you

learned the soft word: "leaves"
are there, and you're so happy

to see them again

even though it's just a dream
and time is leaving you everyday

a little closer to the beginning

and isn't this a reason for happiness?

mary angela douglas 27 july 2014

Candy Cane

[to Henry Van Dyke, on my grandparents bookshelf
(by the Christmas tree and the living room picture window)]

red and white should always taste this sweet

and painted just that way you are
crunched in English perfectly:
candy, candy cane.

a quintessential name, we crowned you queen of the

Christmas candies; such a delight to see you gaily striped
and peeking out from the stocking Christmas a.m.
when our a.m. was very a.m. then.

you kept that secret well.

or caught in smaller crooks between the icicles on the tree
as proud as any of the other ornaments, even the glass ones
in jewel tones from the 1940s,

I'm sure you twinkled

bright alongside them, beckoning us
to the Great Feast.

Candy cane, cane, cane appearing in ice cream as if the

angels folded you in, oh, how can I explain and turning the ice cream pink as palest roses on the rose tree
in our picture book.

how you should spill from the clouds whenever it snows

as from the angel choruses;
when you were porous, we sipped oranges through you
wondering, oh orange and peppermint together

even the dolls had no better wedding;

even the ones in peau de soie and
crystal embedded veiling with mysterious smiles.
and carrying their little paper

bouquets of white violets seriously-

gross grain silver ribbons streaming.
who dreamed you up?

all the ships of childhood sailing on

a golden pond, in a diamond wood
should have sails like these.

wrapped in chocolate and golden foil

I would put you in the offering plate on Sunday:
the brass one with the purple lining=
a treat for God and for the baby Jesus.

maybe the fourth wiseman brought you

wrapped in scarlet silk, a long, long way
even a little late for His birthday
bearing the tang of fir trees

and coated with starriness.

mary angela douglas 27 july 2014

Note on the poem: Henry Van Dyke wrote a little mysterious book, The Other Wiseman and another book I love as well, The Blue Flower.

Also, credit where credit is due, I read a Russian folk tale recently in an English version for children by Virginia Haviland (in the 1950s or 60s) in which the following images appear as belonging to the king: a silver wood, a diamond pond, a golden castle, which I have altered a little bit here, transposing the images...

But what have you done with the remainder? inquired the teacher while I was at the blackboard already knowing my math was wrong but trying to believe by Divine Intervention my answer would slip through this interrogation-

Oh, I said lightly (my heart at the bottom of my stomach)-

You mean the silver castle.  Down the hall, in the Lost and Found.

God Hoards Us: We Are His Gold

[to Edward Taylor, Anne Bradstreet, John Donne]

God hoards us: we are His gold
or could be, if we wished it so
on earth oh let such wishing grow

from cockle shell earliest and row by row;
so stood the angels snowing in a vast array
above the head of Jacob where he lay

pillowed on stone
and caught up in the mysteries
that glided on the ladders made of light.

God hoards us: we are troth
pledged, bartered, bought so holy John Donne
came to know, and not so late

we are His best bell rung if only
Christ's best bride we stand:
just, pearled, appareled in a field lily faith
before the last gate closing.

and in unnumbered songs our earliest poets wrote
in gilded script I long for still
though hordes deride.

mary angela douglas 27 july 2014

The Day Your Mother Kept For You

that day your mother kept for you
like a present tucked away
in starred tissue paper...

a dress of rainbow sherbet.
a dress fit for queens on ascension
to the throne.

the dress of Poetry.
the little tin typewriter that really worked!

what Christmas could compare with that one
when the Star lingered over your house for certain
and Christmas tree lights in every colour

splashed over all the books, the
chocolate covered cherries,
the flowered robes,
the rose scarves.

let's learn Endymion all over again, the first part-
where we dream of quiet breathing
and of beauty that will not pass away.

go back to the beginning, my Grandmother said
when we were practicing and made mistakes
both hands together on a piece for the first time.

dear God. can I start over where the music still chimes
like freshly fallen snow for us, with ribbons in our hair-
white gold bracelets blinding the sun-

and time is an ocean set before us like a star
without a metronome

mary angela douglas 27 july 2014

In Bubble Gum Pink Reading Old Comics

[to my grandparents]

in bubble-gum pink, reading old comics

we sipped our summers slowly while
the zinnias fried in the gardens.

after you are over the school nightmares

when you're being tested on the things you never read
because they weren't in the book-
the months are yours.

in seersucker dresses, white sandals everywhere

reading paperbacks by the score all the way from
Englewood Cliffs in brown paper, string, unwrapped

with a crackling like the crackling of words you

picked yourself from the garden of language.
or the SBS catalogue

and this is more delicious than ice cream:

Neapolitan striped chocolate, vanilla, strawberry
we eat quietly at the retro kitchen table
mushing it all together in a frothy heaven

while our little dog mysteriously does tricks

no one taught her yet hoping for just a slurp
perhaps, a sudden accident where the bowls slip
deliciously down and she wins the cracker jack prize,
you bet!

fresh peaches from Arkansas, like eating the sunrise,

who could describe it?
who wouldn't want a dress in watermelon colours,

cherry vanilla- it's decided.

chiffon maybe, with a beaded top
that shines like suns unnumbered.

it's just sequins, get over it a voice from somewhere said.

we squashed it like a bug.

eating Divinity candy, peaked like snow drifts,

we carry on.
and now we're on the back porch with sparklers

and it's always the fourth of july.

and we wear sundresses
while learning the scales,
on the piano we dust on Saturdays
zealously, with lemon pledge.

and reading the Reader's Digest we'll learn what to

do in emergencies, like, if you're unexpectedly
caught in quicksand

or at summer camps

where we are horrible at canoeing
and so glad to be back home

where the real summer is.

even if, we no longer drink
orange sodas every day from a vending machine
so homesick near the humid cabins.

and there's so much of it, still left!

all golden vanilla, the moon floats over it.
or maybe you muse, it's butter pecan
and it's not melted yet.

mary angela douglas 27 july 2014

Ferny Roses On Old China Appeared In My Dreams

[to my sister]

ferny roses on old china appeared in my dreams.
the saucers held light; we sipped it carefully
so that the children would not cry.

(we meant, our dolls).

so that the children would not cry
I fastened soft words like a brooch upon the sun.
but the sun melts everything,
even Chopin.

will I pour from the Milky Way
from a pitcher of milky quartz
the tea party punch we loved back then?
when roseate was our favorite word of all.

or will invisible weddings sigh through the trees
and the ballerinas we were going  to be
dance green: as if it were
the only child of all the colours?

in tulle, of course!
with a sugar cube sparkle!

lean back in the swing;
this time, you'll fly through clouds.
you'll barely notice grief.

and on the seesaw
rickety with our laughter-
cold as Christmas air-

one of us may reach
the moon in her mother of pearl
lighting up your firefly piano scales;

the dark green garden chair.

mary angela douglas 27 july 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Like Candied Fruit In The Nougat

like candied fruit in the nougat,
words on holiday shine;
shifting their coloured sands

in the sandbox, hourglass,

just-in-time. no longer punching out.
under the alder trees,

near the playground.

or coasting down the hill
on raspberry bikes
tailgating the ice cream trucks

we dream each time we ring the bell-

mere babies in sunsuits

out for a ride
just hoping for treats.

nose-pressed against the early

Christmas windows of a candy box
language (from the inside).

Here.  Have some.

mary angela douglas 26 july 2014

Beribboned, Stand-Alone Petticoats

beribboned, stand-alone petticoats
in the winter sunshine,
seamless snows, half-stitched in hope

on a day less forlorn-

peek from her garret wardrobe

though she knows, she thinks
she'll never wear them.

even the dress is so far off.

but she imagines it:
a rose confection, done in tulle

or skylark's blue with a faint glimmering

of gold, or handsewn sapphires, reticent pearls?
emerald, set as the stone of the days that follow;
the early springs

are the thoughts of her, embroidered.

and stashed so far that no one finds it yet
her primrose heart, the earliest sign

in the fairytale book of a little girl's first reading

that here on earth, beyond the birthday candle shine-
sheer peerless beauty has been known to sigh,
but not surrender-

in such untwinkling times.

mary angela douglas 26 july 2014

Canary Diamonds From The Antiques Roadshow

canary diamonds from the Antiques Roadshow.
I think I may have one of those mused someone's grandmother in her fuzzy bathrobe,
matching bunny slippers.
peacock feathers from the quills of Rilke?

a cherry silk barouche
(and matching horses)
in the attic? under the hatboxes?
the candy coloured palette of Chagall.
under the sink?

in your Grandfather's tool shed with the lawnmower.
they must be somewhere somewhere somewhere
the mariners maps behind the paintings bought from a 5 and 
10 store way back when in the aisle near the Tangee lipsticks
or the ruled tablets, the zinnia Burpee seeds.

pink china from Marie Antoinette,
handpainted by herself.
a basque shawl, red  rose poetry aflame.
and glittering, still,

the stars above Van Gogh's cafe,
the originals, crowed the apprasiers.
we've looked everywhere.
the names of famous ancestors unearthed

and all their diaries glow in faded handwriting
in the tv aftermath, switched off.
we didn't find a thing. it's not so bad.

it's fun to dream of things we almost had.

mary angela douglas 26 july 2014

We Guard Our Words So Carefully

[to the poets lost in World War I-
and in all the wars]

we guard our words so carefully

like the king's sons in the pear orchards.
the pears are truly golden and therefore someone is stealing them night after dew drenched night.

someone we cannot see with the footfall of violets,

starred, but clouded over. leaving no scars.
oh will we fall asleep again? our wandering asks us.
finding the firebird feathers gone from the yard-

plucked out of the dark?

oh guard my sight from the beautiful plundered I prayed to God when I was younger with the footfall of snow angels girded for the flight over the debris field

where the winds had scattered the cherry teakettles

and the pauses in old conversations-

sparing the shattered heart more shattering

scratching their yellow diamond on yellow diamond-

on the crystal meridians left to them

our poets of the younger series

did not survive

mary angela douglas 26 july 2014

Choosing The China Pattern For The Wedding Of Words

[to William Allingham (1824-1889)

and to Camino Bakery where I hope to go when I've found all my books]

it's the moss green circumference of charming words

chimed the fairies, heigh ho! (from
another lifetime.)

or the scarlet of leaf-words, chill in their own sunset:

striped with a golden meaning.

painted words, echoing over canyons.

did they return to you,
lost doves from the ark?

eclair eclair eclair*

spun the fairies round my ring,
in love with the sound of it...

in peppermint time, on Jesu's birthday frosted

snow bright words began to float, to heap up in
the corridors where language falls asleep

like the princess beyond

the hedge of mere thorn, beleaguered


well you may ask is it the moon over lavender waters;

the opal wing that fell from where?
the child behind you wanted to know

can we have opera cake in the morning and

are you skimming the foam from the cream of
how things used to be or, are you only-

waiting for the poem to breathe

mary angela douglas 26 july 2014

*No matter what never utter the word "spumoni" in front of a fairy ring or you will never hear the end of it.

P.S. There's a bakery near where I live that serves something

delectable called opera cake that somehow made it's way into this poem dedicated to Mr. Allingham who wrote delectable fairyland poems.  Don't ask me what it tastes like; I spent my pirate money on books.  Come to think of it, it was probably the fairies wanting to know about that cake.  Here's the description from their menu in fairy handwriting
  • Layers of a light hazelnut cake, coffee buttercream, and chocolate ganache.
  • They could fling some raspberries over the top layer, ventured the shortest fairy. (That's the part from me, ahem...I mean, the fairies)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

And Could We Ever Be Dressed In The Sunset Foils

and could we ever be dressed in the sunset foils
of islands, crinkled with shining?
where it rains colours

everywhere there is a poet

under the shifting fronds of something magical;
forever whispering on the foam, o my pink island.

and is it a whisper of mimosa green, the feathery pink

that will never be this distinct again-
the mango hour?
the froth in the cup of warm apricot

brimming over at the airports of welcome? or

splashed and splashing in secret inks like Easter dyes remembered or a bon-bon sufficiency-
we will write, how strange, dimmed islanders

may remember

our starfish music

rising early in

communion dresses of the unexpected pink,
Mary, mother of all Pearl.

we will adore the God of many colours:

orchid, hisbiscus, looming lemony starry
arcing over the pink and turquoise
tiny homes inset

in the sidewalk chalked , the

hopscotched cliffs of the soul.  

mary angela douglas 24 july 2014

Note on the poem: I wanted to use the word "pink" like a glass handbell rung just at the point in the music where you had forgotten about it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Silver Poets Census In The Firefly Galaxy Aftermirage

[" the secret place of the Most High.
-Psalm 91]

the directory of unpublished poets

drifted under no one's sun
yet did not set with the moon;

mysteriously undervalued,

God takes the silver census of the poets
and the snows

far from the kingdom of newspapers,

closets brimmed with crystal slipper knock offs.
green is the faded hour in His hand

the manuscript purple with tears

where the blue ink smeared and,

for a little while I have hidden you

under my hand, perhaps, He said
like a firefly glow in the galaxy.

here is the place they buried the sun

said Mandelstam, softly.
said Mandelstam.

mary angela douglas 23 july 2014