Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Christmas Card From Me To You (A Little Early)

[to the children when they're well again, forever]

"we shall meet on that beautiful shore."

-Old American hymn, In The Sweet Bye and Bye
(sung by Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and generations...lbut most beautiful when sung by Dolly...)*

In Heaven's toyshop we may see
some things we missed
on Christmas Eve:

or Christmas morning it may be
whenever you woke up to see
a something bright but something missed
I made a list and this is it:

the rosy doll in pink, not blue
the bracelet bright as morning dew
the little chair and table set
the playhouse, tree house, I forget

what was it that I wanted then,
only to play oh, let's pretend
and there's no price at all for that
not even now and I think that

if we imagine we can see
the whole world with a Christmas Tree
then there'll be stars in every sky
and no one left that has to cry

or has to wonder wonder why.

and wishes will come thick you know
as candy coated sugar snows
and bowls of fudge and icing too
we'll lick the spoon and when we're through 

play King and Queen of gum drop lands
dispensing gifts on every hand
and breathe in balsam, fir and pine

and feast on snow cream so refined

and find there's freshness in each day
and cherry bright, find things to praise
with angels ringed with holly, glad

and no one will be tired or sad
we'll light the candles evermore
and drift in boats to golden shores
we sang about when we were young

and Christmases had just begun!

mary angela douglas 30 august 2014;rev. 2 september 2014

Note On The Poem:
*You can find this beautiful hymn (In the Sweet Bye and Bye) sung by Cash, Parton, Nelson (individually) on You Tube, if you wish, in slightly different versions..It's on the Cash album "My Mother's Hymn Book".  I also thought of the song "The Mother and Child Reunion" by Paul Simon..and of all the parents who lose their children too early from cancer and for other reasons- there is a reunion in the Forever and a Heaven where all disappointments will be transformed into eternal joy.  I believe this with all my heart.

The Sweet Bye and Bye (also spelled, The Sweet By and By, bye and bye, in any case meaning, in a short while (as in after our relatively short sojourn on earth...) is not a cathedral song (though I love those too, especially all the carols).

It is a song sung from time immemorial in the out of the way tiny American country churches under the shade trees when people gathered to comfort themselves after country hardships with the vision of the hereafter when the "circle [would] be unbroken".

This is a deep theme in American old hymns and gospel tunes and when people make fun of Christianity I just feel oh you don't know how heartfelt these feelings are and how they get passed down from generation to generation and how I feel when I remember hearing my great grandfather (Mr. W. R. White of Prescott, Arkansas) whom I never met wanted Nearer My God To Thee played at his funeral, his favorite hymn.

If you find on dvd or VHS the beautiful film The Trip to Bountiful (taken from Horton Foote's play) and starring Geraldine Page ,check the opening scene with the girl running through the Texas fields of bluebells while the hymn Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling is sung in the most heartfelt ethereal and homesick for Heaven way I have ever heard.  It will make you weep no matter what you think of Christians.

Or even if you don't think of them at all.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ex Nihilo

expelling world, evicting world, convicting world o
shackling world, tackling world, battling world,
nitpicking world, dog sicing world, restricting world,

shape shifting world, tock ticking world, shoplifting world and

grifting world, back stabbing world, kidnapping world and
hacking world, child smacking world, crime ridden world,

nickel diming world,  back room gossiping world,

target practicing world, snip-snaping world oh sassing world, dream crushing world, soul pinching world, heart clenching

analyzing world, paralyzing world,

rule making world for heart breaking, world
and ticketed, picketed, bigoted, get a gig,

spiteful world, and flight filled world

and look out for your own alone, brickbat

the hoarders world, the loner's world,

eye-rolling world, sad, scorning world,
shyster world and meister world, 

skimming world, wild grinning world, complaining world,

inflaming world, oh spiteful world, and frightful world,
fight spoiling world, fake toiling world,
pocket lining world, maligning world, kick a friend in the

gut, while lying world- declining world, silly, hiring world,

who's the next one we can be firing world, expiring, world, 
accusing and recusing world-
who called you out from

nothing with the pure word:


mary angela douglas 29 august 2014

The Best Book Ever

[in honor of anyone who ever felt they needed just one more book(may this imaginary book you won't find in any bookstore or library meet all the requirements and give you peace)  or- maybe you should write the perfect book yourself!] 

in the beginning, golden scriptures, a bird's-eye view of Heaven with crystal ceilings- obscure fairytales
you haven't read yet,  inscribed on pond lilies; fleeting 

passages like window snows at Christmas; hand stenciled-
stained glass window pane dreamed up  by shopkeepers
and so that the soul
says o! 

angel choir illuminations lidded with tissue papers
not to scar the heart, the heart fluttering the pages for something- something -a whiff of new cut grass, perhaps, deep legends, rose-leaved, carved out of ivories

made for a queen in secret, 
with pale green ribbon markers.

antique as rains, the leather; new fielded lavender with matching illustrations like a Spring outfit; recipes for huckleberry pies with the corresponding 'picture-perfect' and then it's a pop-up pie, oh my! 

and it's all coming true
and here's a slice for you! 
(with ice cold strawberries....) 

mary angela douglas 24 june 2014;rev. 29 august 2014

To The Moonbyrd Wandering

we will leave amethyst candies by the night porch
and farther, crowned with may, beyond the moon-splashed grasses stray for the moonbyrd who has flown high now

and lo! above the rose gardens, 

gated against our sleep-walking...
mystic mystic moonbyrd

pecking the peridot leaves off the trees

why have you flown
dressed up in chalks against the

purple impenetrable

backdrop, masquerade of our old summer night.
didn't you like your flutter nutter sandwich? 

you will be lured by our candies anyhow, back to

your cage of light to stay
silly moonbyrd, cousin of firebirds, trailing

pure rubied escapades, feathering the dream skies

or emerald sonorities, someone
else would have said.

I don't know them.

don't eat all the candy candy

sang someone's little brother
it's the bait but I said

it will be snowing candies, soon, 

for the moonbyrd, can't you think?
we scanned the Christmas skies.

and it is nightfall: tennis shoes soaked

up dew and we miss the measured moonbyrd,
moonbyrd's blink of ancient rainbows 

slowly revealed, resolved? and we sing

old railroad songs to coax you
learned in school and listen faintly: 

is it angel choirs, who must know where you are? 

and echoing you back oh listen hard for
the parti-coloured shrieking of the gleaming moonbyrd

we stayed up late for, as if you were,Christmas.

all by yourself oh won't you cry? 
we want you to

come home and live in our room.

cease foraging for meteors
by the coloured chalks scattered on

the floor and we will sing to you

(if we can), the sweet night through
and feed you the candies of pure goodness

truth and beauty.

drift in and out of sleep, my wonder.
were you coloured by hand? 

hopscotched- out of sight-

not once demystified.
we'll tread the angely hallways

back to sleep not tracking the mud

from the rose beds, ever.
dreaming, my wonder, 

only you are free

mary angela douglas 6-7 april 2014; rev.29 august 2014;

rev. 9 october 2014

Note on the Poem: I wrote this poem just minutes after seeing a lovely Academy Award (1959)  cartoon entitled 'The Moonbird' by John Hubley (and then altered it nine times as if it were a costume for a Christmas pageant, you stubborn moonbyrd poem!) The soundtrack to the cartoon is comprised of his two children in the backyard talking of this and that.

And I am spelling it this way, the wrong way you maybe said but that I think is how the moonbyrd would spell it or the children, at least, in my poem who looked for it.  

Call it a variation if you want to, (variant?)  spelling.  who knows. haha.  only the moonbyrd knows...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Music Box, Have They Killed You?

my music box, have they killed you?
-I'm alright. I just can't finish the tune
the way I used to...

and I heard a broken bird chirp.

somewhere, a ceramic flower bloomed;
half, hidden, would panoramas in small

easter eggs spill lavish tears?

well, they did the best they could.
in the china painted grass.

revolving in-place, the castles,

carousels stood
just as pink and blue,

a little less crenellated.

maybe, has it really been years?
a year is an orbiting tune

she almost chimed,

played through.
my stars are few.

I cried.

oh bandaged music

split clear through
how will I hear you now

from a chirring wilderness

bleeding a fractured song
on the hand hooked rug

and its gardens

mary angela douglas 28 august 2014


[[f all the seas were ink...
Mother Goose rhyme]

ink has spilled,

flowed into a sudden darkness.
the ink has spilled

there's nothing left to write

except to you
on a  very thin thread of what remains
but the thread

is gold, I said
though there was no record
I said anything at all

oh who will look into this for us
when feeling's all eclipsed, when
ink has spilled all over the world

the ink has spilled the poets go
into shock

who will patch the moon
the little stars
the bruise on the Sun...

when all the shadows run together,
viewed as one
then how can the answers flee

when every border shows
no margin for our errors-

the ink has spilled
coating the seas
coating the far distances

come, Oh Lord
oh write to us In Light.

and still the rivers of our spilled ink
our indigo weeping

mary angela douglas 28 august 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dream, She Sighed And Dipped Her Wand In Starlight

dream, she sighed and dipped her wand in starlight
over the castle, the drawbridge, moat and all.
dream, she cried, a long, long time

and cast the scuttling days aside

all chandeliers must dim
and Time itself.

above the seeming waste of years

they slept.
beyond the reach of gossip, now and

untold calumny. a Kingdom preserved

beyond the stir of battle. a message
sealed in wax and waxen leaves that grew

and roses thorned to keep intruders out.

one day they will waken.
one day, to take their kingdom back

renew their crowns and joy itself will reign.

but now, sleep on through the winds and rains.
cloud breath suspended in the cold , cold air

promising only, snows

mary angela douglas 26 august 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

I Saw The Lights Go Down On Vivid Lines Written For Heart's Ease

I saw the lights go down on vivid lines written for heart's ease
and not to please the kings, the courts I saw the curtain close
and my soul on oblivious waters: ships without sails, clouds

without moons, music leaving the rooms forever.

caw like this like this the crows told the children of Eden
seizing the stage, darkening the skies, removing the

shine from apples, stars, blossoms...

He decreed in love, for love's sake, alone
we're losing time, mourned the tappers on their keys

revising everything

productively, and minimizing, mimicing laconically
filling the moat with tears and no one could cross over;

filling the coffers of their circuses. what is gold said the Soul you shifted out of sight in your modernity to please

the new kings and their courts, you thieves-

to burnish your spot in the spotlight

how you've kept up with trends.
but some remember:

there's one more spinning wheel in the kingdom;

words were cherished once, we will defend defend
the lovely prayers you say,unsay

but Keats said " as if a rose should shut and

be a bud again", our flowering language cannot
be unsaid though you have stripped the 

elaborate Tree and poets left for dead who

died for Truth or Beauty, it's the same said
Emily whom you have shamed

and opened the dungeons for those

you banned from your magazines, your wilting coteries-
who loved these banished snows, the bright veil lifted

over the Unseen, the mysteries, the lavish dreamed.

now forward thinking teachers scold when we quote them,
critics mock, you're not accessible

but they were lent by saints who went before.

what have you done with them?
who let you through the door and

where have you thrown them overboard

I cried, alone, bereft-

oh what is your disease they said

because I mourned diminished Beauty
nobility trod down. regardless, I raved on

they're murderers ringing the curtain down

and locking up the Muse, key in their pocket,

and winning awards for this?

-and those of us who know what you have done:
decry decry- until we die

your buying up of the bruised wings

and selling, selling everything
making a splash and not in Icarian seas...

mary angela douglas 26 august 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blackberries Drenched In The Cream Of Good Consciences

[to Beatrix Potter]

blackberries drenched in the cream of good consciences

set before the good little rabbits...
poor Peter, I thought uneasily,

almost baked in a pie.

sent to bed with no supper while his
bunny sisters tittered

filled to the brim with berries,

almost growing wings.

I wanted to bring him blackberries myself

or at least some lemon ice cream with
a thin cookie, maybe, from the Howard J.'s

we visited in summer or

a candy bar, an ice cream sandwich or two.

later I loved dear Beatrix for the Christmas tale

of Gloucester
and it's twist of cherry silk

and wanted to write innumerable poems

or stitch them bit by bit with a twist of her
cherry silk, but how could I nibble

in her story patch

fearing I'd be baked in a pie, too?

mary angela douglas 24 august 2014

Oh Happy Anniversary Dear Free Ukraine And Blessings Rain Too On The Heart Of Russia, I Pray
Peace...August 24, 2014

from Mary Angela Douglas

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Infractions Rained Down Tears

[to e.e. cummings-
and with love and sorrow for all those punished unjustly]

infractions rained down tears

and flooded the unimportant streets
the ones that never got ploughed

when it snowed-

stayed up all night

with knotted stomachs, little sleep

on the eve of evaluations
already misconstrued;

they slept, if they did,

under bridges, trees, light poles,
were blamed for warehouse fires;

moonstruck in the Tower

pacing the executed hours;

unnerved in the roundhouse,

alive for the switch;

tackled by the bait
and waiting in thin jackets

in the cold for salty soup and

sharpened glances above thin smiles
bestowed bestowed.

of fairytales bereft and

still, kept after school, years later
to be underserved days old peach or apple pie

in the sugary customs of the country

after a blistering lecture for being poor,
not up to par, too easily satisfied, and late

and late again for

the punishing games everywhere in force they-
were taken out with the trash;

married, had children in the rubble

of no one's- ever -song, who were sent to
school to learn from early, on-

all they hadn't done wrong

they must stand in the corners for
and dream about in their dreams

especially on Christmas vacations.

"infractions infractions infractions..."
they wept into small hands and said

oh, I am sorry sorry sorry it's my 

birthday again
though who could tell them why

and who would tell it well,

in apple bright blighting-
the reason for the spell they were under

for the orchards they never felled

mary angela douglas 23 august 2014

Note on the poem:  we seem to be growing a penalty laden, condemnation before-the-fact language.  I have personified the word "infractions" here to show that a person subjected to this kind of language can be totally taken over by the constant feeling that they have, are or will be doing something constantly wrong so that the only occupying army left within them is called "Infraction" and even their very identity becomes this "infraction". The one name they call themselves by in their daily, quiet agonies.

The poem reflects the situation when people are needled to death by small flaws faults pointed out by others endlessly on official pieces of paper disguised as policies disguised as simple guidelines, day-glo glowing on eviction notices, this property is condemned bylaws, used to hammer and hammer the points home, the finer points of the way human beings professionally or otherwise are legitimately browbeating each other almost constantly.

It is the language of leases, of training manuals, of hidden directives, of hr handbooks, of  signs on the walls of public  and private institutions.

It grows to the point that it takes up space in the human soul and eats it away, the spare, chill language of hell that unaccountably never melts, once heard, remembered forever, clanging like dissonant bells or sirens in the memory:

the universal language that wants the world to be composed only of wardens and prisoners.

Thank God for the language of kindness, of beauty, of mercies wherever it exists. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Oh God If We Must

oh God if we must
crawl on our hands and knees to
nothing that was ever a shrine

will we still be the ones

you made the stars for?
almost asked a child asleep

prescient and dreamy eyed.

not all your ragged roads can
end like this, smiled the Scarecrow

deep inside; though conscious

the taste of sawdust still abides
while sampling the royal ice cream.

and it's not the way we planned it,

the guards insist while kicking up
more than the powdered snow

in this : your final winter.

I won't collate these sorrows,
I won't was my clerical litany-

tuned to the tune of the copy machines

while the lions come and go

leaseless as the sun, unticketed
unwarned unwarranted with only a minor thorn

now and then, in a swiping paw

mary angela douglas 22 august 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Harp I Have Laid At Thy Feet

[to the living God, all I have]

my harp I have laid at Thy feet.
the strings are all broken now.
the sound remains.

can it be music I wondered no more.
how far the trumpets of the ones before
still resound and then fade away.

my harp I have laid at Thy feet.
though it was pearl inlaid.
though it was woven with gold

and dropped like a star out of
the night sky into my hand.
into my weeping.

dreams cannot come again.
nor clouds. nor trees.
nor centuries.

my harp I have laid at Thy feet.
can this be song?

mary angela douglas 21 august 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

In The Theatre Of Roses I Took My Seat

in the theatre of roses I took my seat.
of course the cushions were rose velvet.
now we begin.

each petal whispers from the floodlights of

a moon overhead, in wisps of tissue pink
resembling clouds, resembling dreams that

barely speak aloud, the hidden streams.

I hid you in my pockets thinking to keep you
alive and when you curled at the edges

I cried. we remember sighed the roses.

we remember you near the rosebushes
in a corner of the yard and how you

tried. and now we're here so you can see

that wishes are never wasted on anyone.
and their rose laughter was so sweet

in waves and waves it rose.

I curtsyed like Alice learning my lessons curiously.
then, outside in the blinding afternoon

on the uneven sidewalks of the world,

I stood awhile- remembering life
as a little girl-

outside the matinee of roses.

I have finished now.
this was their song.

mary angela douglas 20 august 2014

Dear Poems We Will Dress You Up Like Paper Dolls

dear poems, we will dress you up like paper dolls:
an outfit for every occasion! here's the poem
having tea with the Queen in a hat with red roses

on it, a pale pink afternoon dress (insert tea tray here).
and then, a day at the beach! and the poem's in flippers
with a golden beach ball (it is a poem, after all, something

has to be golden.)
sleepwear.  well, a kimono embroidered on fine silk:
every colour from a distant spring...

you'll know it's here
when every word you say
starts turning into flowers

mary angela douglas 20 august 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Confetti Islands Dot The Map

[to Robert Louis Stevenson]

confetti islands dot the map...

I must have left it somewhere
mulled the pirate

sipping his eggnog thiner than the

clouds above red morning's warning sun.
ah, here's the one, in piratese he murmured

to no one:

green was the parrot sun when we sailed out;

flamingo bright our hopes to be mired in diamonds
by month's end big as peacock's eggs

but then, mired we were, though not in mermaids,
coffers of the queens;
floating near the ghastly shoals

when the scavengers came out

pretending to rescue us.
too late cried the ghosts and drifted on.

one spyglass floating on the soured, spilled jewels remained

for the one child scavenging for stars, not braided bread nor meats, wild cherry brandy...

he plucked it from my hands and learned to see

mary angela douglas 19 august 2014

The Ghostly Poets Gather Their Writing Supplies

[to Kate Greenaway]
Lucy Locket lost her pocket,
Kitty Fisher found it;
Not a penny was there in it,
Only ribbon round it.
-Old English Nursery Rhyme

when we run out of paper we will write

on violet scraps of clouds, on autumn leaves,
the red and gold, the earliest cherished,

last to wave good bye when the winds blew through;

on steppingstones in brooks we lept when we were
lily pad new or on the backs of

old eviction notices, torn off by the storm;

in-between the cake walk music, tisket tasket,
drop the handkerchief games we played; in the margins of

the grocery flyers advertising this week's specials:

cubed steak, gold streaked mangoes;
on old report cards, brought up in the fishermen's nets

by boatloads, along with the tuna

and on the foolscap of  barely inhabited libraries
careful of their Gutenberg

illuminations with their gloved hands

and no parties we're invited to;
no worries, they won't hear us

clambering amidst odd land-filled sighs,

your old Tinkertoys; inscribed
are the unused space of medical charts; the manifests:

and the cargoed dark where fairytales were stored

and the raveling of the hem of the favorite dress
of the Princess-in-exile trailing the earth in her worn-down 

shoes, her silk parasol

with the hummingbird sewing notions
of a ruby throated day that has gone

on drifting bells of evensong;

in invisible sea foam crayon on purpling hatboxes
stacked in the
 afternoon's warehoused suns

the skies kept trying on while we just worked.

and in the pockets of the lucy lockets and on the florists'

cards when the yellow roses have faded
have faded have faded away

mary angela douglas 19 august 2014