Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Grocery List, Lost, Found, Used, Whose?

some kumquats.
pickles by the barrel.
stale coffeecake on sale
fresh icing for it
furniture polish (for the piano)
a piano
tv dinners
a tv
pink damask napkins
a drop leaf table for the napkins
a broom
a floor to sweep
rose trellis
rose bush?
dust rags
world without war

mary angela douglas  30 september 2014 

A Thing About Presents

to whom should things be sent
tied in bright ribbons, packeted
carried by doves from a celestial

dock? to the one with clocks

more clocks arrive, painted in more
tulips, to the philosophers,

new surmises.  apple cutlets

to the orchard keepers.
more snow where it snows.

this is how it goes only sometimes

to the unsuspecting something glows
under bare branches also


mary angela douglas 30 september 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

On The Widespread Practice Of Paying Poets In Copies, If At All

was it better in the days we traded poems for cows?
(the ones with crumpled horns); for crumpled gift wrap
ironed at home; for bric-a-brac?

I tend to think so.  here's a poem for chocolate cake, o.k.?
a lake of marigold butter.
a sonnet for the answer to the riddle posed

by the King's only daughter;
the earth's last rose
for a green gold blotter.

a few rhymes for the merry bells that rang Olde
Christmas in; the game that never ends of
let's pretend, complete with game pieces.

how about a sheaf of this and that (well illustrated)
for tearing up the lease? a gold ink well brimmed with
sapphire ink merits a bologna sandwich,

 don't you think? with
heirloom tomatoes and a pinch of salt.
or else,a well stocked bank vault.

boysenberry malts
for valentine mottos drawn on a Candy Heart.
and just for this: a firefly road, to see in the dark.

a triolet for violets tied with a silver ribbon.
a little moonlight I can trade yields
orange frosting for a cake

the journeyman must bake, if he eats at all.

a galway shawl (rose-red) for a villanelle.
a deeper spring than can be dug:
the wishing kind oh I would barter and

take no shilling less than infinite starlight for
an apple blossom mind that cannot dull;
the scullery people freed from spells.

the King's own seal.
the princess healed.
and the whole kingdom with her.

mary angela douglas 29 september 2014

Thank You Note On Floral Stationery For The Christmas Tea Set, Grandmother

[for Lucy W. Young Many Years Later]

it is packed in straw

like the creche the china teacups
small with the matching saucers

rose sprayed, doll sized teapot.

the soul of a granddaughter, Christmas Day
is full of roses too.

delight has been surpassed.

oh may this feeling last
her grandmother wished in carmine.

before God.

and this has come to pass.

mary angela douglas 29 september 2014

Beauty In The Room Marked "All Her Own"

[for Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve and
Jean-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in gratitude
for a deeply beautiful fairy tale,  much misunderstood-except by Cocteau!]

her rubied candlewicks can't burn down
or cause alarms to sound.
rose perfect are the flowers on her dresser

with the matching dresser set done
all in pearl. she lives in opalescence.

her books in sunrise colours
sing of Eden, childhood confections
happily recalled and when she

turns, the wall, revolving, shows
the paintings from the Louvre
in their primordial state:

bright hued as future Daylight
may anoint her cherishing

sleep is pillowed by the dream of home
more real than when she was there
and here's a winding stair

that leads to God, sheer banisters of light;
small birds in the music of pure
flight; unending consolations...

mary angela douglas 29 september 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Transcribing These Doll Languages

[Thumbelina's Song]

transcribing these doll languages

I found a little freedom:
one I could fit inside a thimble;

one I could easily thread

through a sliver of moonlight
leaving a few scraps for the dog.

oh when you are weary how good it is

to be small, having no cramped
handwriting.at all.

and no one wants to know where you are:

since you are insignificant as atoms, atomies,
star fluff. how would they hold you?

how little you will need

in life: a violet's shade in summer;
a winter ant's igloo.

sleep as a pebble on their shore.

it's grand to be ignored
where waves are living.

and there's a scarlet thread of meaning

meant for you, you know it
each break of day

when the wind puffs 

one rose petal 
just your way.

mary angela douglas 28 september 2014

Office Painting After Hours

the flowers in the lobby paintings do not bend
to the standing orders through they seem to
breathe fixed colors in the light of day.

by night the blue moths come, the incremental breezes.
here in the ease of the long ago gardens
we could rest if we chose.

but the late shift has such things to do
the flowers are eclipsed and pale and pensively
the moonlight weeps

in slow tears barred
from expensive corridors

mary angela douglas 28 september 2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014


"the poetry of earth is never dead.'
-John Keats

[for my mother Mary Adalyn Young-Douglas]

you were the jewel set in the roseate ballet perhaps
the princess at christening under the pink veils
the tiara's flash glimpsed from the balconies: 

what snow could dream if

snow dreamed now that everything's
en pointe and vanishing: (to be

pineapple sherbet scooped from the moon

by children surprised at the
lemon layered birthdays)  

have april snows answered a pale green summons? 

why, where is the gleam of earth disappearing to
said the teachers plainly mocking our surmise and far

from the blush rose words they have sifted out of everywhere before distracted minds could sense-

that captive beauty in the closet with the mops, 

the confiscated lollipops, smuggled fruit chews-

was being punished through the classroom day
and only for shining.

is light reduced then. is time, is dreaming gone

with the apple pie fractions filed away
fled is song the way it was known

flown without icarus bright without

the suns ah, canceled flights: 
o rose coronas crated, shipped

out of here by the laconic half-hired herds-

they see us as, but we do not-
though it feels, almost, overnight

the banded rainbows break apart

for words in the weeping spectrum: 
say goodbye to your sisters, 

indigo, cream yellow, shimmering

cherry and lime while violet sighs while orange
commiserates with tangerine

ah not for long in party dress

it seems, and never again? 
it's back to work 

where the hourglass tips on its side

bleeding soft ochre sands of the sunsets
on our shifts; the ones we've missed

when the flowers girls in mauve

scattered the last of the petaled weddings,
are we madrigal-silenced by the coteries?

or is this where the princess kneels

slipping the golden ring down
the orchid ripples of the ancient spring

no one knows the way to anymore.

o lore lock stocked and barreled away
His tropical isotopes

His sequined kaleidoscopes

by the inescapably-in-command-
how long will lost worlds waken to poetry where

men who were scarcely poets mark 'discard'

on every apricot delectable word He spoke us into: 
coining His opal skies, His illimitable

freedom the sweet great magic trick of a World? 

ah but who will diagnose, and hurl
forever from our sight to any prison dark consign

His watershed crystals done by nightfall

coded in currant inks and torn with the soul from
the spiraling notebooks 

vast collations of His heart abandoned

just-in-time my radiance, 
buried in deep space through filmy sleep we fine no

blueprints of the apple orchard years

and dare to breathe: 
is this His lilac wishing frozen in reserve? 

spare parts of birdsong, the pastel chalked repose, 

love tunes ruby caged, old mechanical
valentines with clasped posies in

no disappearing whir, beyond disapprobation: 

the extra geranium crayon in the Art box
stashed with all our raspberry velocipedes, 

missing maple leaves and drenching pearls from

the water-falling screens, the iridescence once
we lived in, didn't we? embroidered greens and golds

flowed from our shoulders, hints of a robined sky, as yet 

unrolled new seed beds of His exceeding floweriness
for just such emergencies as these! 

all the Easter dyes! cupboards of coconut from the 

candied citadels of infinite Stories- 
my child, my own and queen of the cordial cherries

all milk weed spoked and spoken now: 

keep, oh keep! their delicate parachutes into Summer.
coated in grey ash, we have retrieved

our sparkling King.

though we were whittled down.
all winter long

the little cakes managed with the

last of the raisins-
better than a score of frosted

sugar eggs holding the pale pink rose garden

(one tiny rose)  
of the world's wordiest princess.

under a brand new moon-

lick the Spoon! 

mary angela douglas 27 september 2014 rev. 3 nov. 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Whose Lacework Once Again

whose lacework once again is gathered forming
in the pewter skies erasing time making of trees
a freezing of light and the child heard "chimes"

but it was the ice storm "chimes" and not the toy

piano with the green and pink keys the orange the yellow
and she thought music was painted violet when it was the skies

and all the lacework coming down and the chimes of

angels and are they all golden? or only the pageant ones
and is it the thread of so much silver I must draw through

my indrawn breath believing fervently, yes this is

the kingdom of Christmas it is our Christmas I am
living through and even at school they give us

tiny presents, sticks of the candy cane and we sang

carols then and how soft is the haze around the coloured lights and the earth is fair;

the china baby on a warm mat of straw

the animals standing still for this, for this hushed loveliness

and the lacework, falling down
is all around my heart

and is it forever now, asked a child asleep

and in her grandmother's arms

mary angela douglas 24 september 2014

In The Kingdom Of Sweets Gone By

the cream of words that frothed the rim of
poetry gone by poured into the sleeping village overnight,
the one semi-circling the Christmas boughs,

the lowest ones with the last of the icicles flung and shining

unheard in the household the emerald lantern flashed and
clicked the train on its tracks, the ruby eyed

and the blue doves on the trees fluttering arise, arise

and the dolls woke up in their wrappings fluttering their
dolly lashes, the Florida oranges bursting into orangeade

in the kitchen, the steaming coffee made poured into the china cupswith the little  rosebuds and the large rolls

decked with cinnamon kingdoms iced themselves.

real blueberries in the muffins, this time just as the blueberries in the summer rhymes when you are counting clouds or stars or islands and fingering your necklaces of 

coral of the improvident jade

and have huckleberry pie for dinner followed by cold chicken
and a sudden picnic of pink cake under a pinker sky

raspberry lemonade at the party with the candycorn theme.

all Holidays are one sighed my sister and I telling our favorite story again, and should the Princess sprinkle the sugar

herself on the strawberries? 

rolled into a huge Snowball of fun

and flattening the dough with a  rainbow gemmed rolling
pin and the little dog laughed behind the rose divan

since that's where the Danish wedding cookies crumbled...

mary angela douglas 24 september 2014

Note on poem: I know it's eccentric but I wrote cupswith as one word to commemorate the fact that when learning to print letters and words I often smushed the words together because that's how the sentence sounded and because I didn't physically understand the space between the letters which were all made out of the same music until I asked a second grade friend how she did it and she said: I just put my thumb between one word and the next and that's the space I leave...


The Moment It All Turned To Sparkles

it's threading the point too finely
chided the godmother
tapping a lilac toe shoe on the pavement

where the silvered flowers blew.

and all this under early moonlight.
never mind the lateness of the hour-

the moonflower in blossom after

an early frost, lost...
you are not lost from wishing, are you?

Cinderella stared and rubbed her eyes.

you'll make them red if you keep doing that
if they're not already rose red from your crying.

apron starred, and twice around and singing

she commanded and the pinafore changed

into pale light threaded with roses,
fuschia sapphires, crystals and the effect is:

late snowfall in mid spring

lengthened into a gown.
oh branch out a little! complained the fairy

to her wand, o sing arias airily

she said to the astonishing bluebirds scattering

blue jade sparkles over their heads in
a vortex of music

flinging the neighbors back into

their gossipy hovels, in honied twilight-
evening crust of bread.

mary angela douglas 24 september 2014

You Were In Love With The Opal Branching Skies

[to John Keats]

you were in love with the opal-branching skies,

the flowering hedge.
your opulence was real; your fancy bred

a farther season than the one at hand

and one, more lasting
so vivid were the words at your command
and unashamed of dreaming.

now the winds shift otherwise for some time, now

and to our detriment, we sail a compromised
sea and count ourselves lucky, some of us

such a compromise was made but why

and where and who, the first
to say
and claim a dubious prize.

what have we lost I cry

even asleep
and what will we do

with all these flowers

heaped at our feet
and the mellowed fruit
on the starry branches

so beyond our reach

and compassing...

mary angela douglas 24 september 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

For the Romantic Poets In The Dissatisfied Light Of Post Modern Poetry

dry sticks in the wind,
how have they made this from your music?
I can't pretend to like them for it.

once the skies were ours

the rainbow gleaming dome
and the multifaceted shone

even in a single dewdrop

and the blown rose.
but they have bundled you off

to the ragmen of the soul

for pennies on the dollar
I never owned.

what's owning for

if you lose this?

what will you tell your children's children

when they come to find
the trees stripped bare in summers

in a world of care,

I would ask them if I thought
they could listen and, if, I dared.

let the sere winds blow the betrayals away.

God speaks still in the solitary ear

unquenchable gold and always,


mary angela douglas 22 september 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014


[again, to Van Cliburn - on Debussy's sunken cathedral-]

searching for songs between the keys

I dreamed you were alive
rifling the music in the piano bench.

a something's missing in the world since you left

the metronome's set to zero; snowfall lost
in the interlude can't find its way home

not even by Christmas

and all things mourn uncharmed
in the lock box of Beauty

stashed- forgotten?

oh polish the early etudes like the sun again;

the scales like mother of pearl
and every phrase you knew

in the midnight's practice room, again though

it is true

the cherry concertos ripen over time

recording to recording,

still is the april of music since you were here;

snow drifting are the sounds,  and we must
build the cathedrals anew from note to note

within our quiet hearing

until in rainbow pools they sink again, out of sight
into the lake depth of our hearts

mary angela douglas 21 september 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Will They Never Know The Looking Glass World

[to Eleanor Farjeon]

will they never know the Looking Glass world-

the one that fell apart in your hands all crystal snow,
then you cried! Spring and the butterscotch sunlight 

across the floor reprimanded your Mother, softly,

rainbow enterprised.
why are they doomed to study only science

as if there were no wonder left to them.

math, and the equations cut and dried
but not as flowers were when we preserved

the memory of meadowsweet, lark and fern

by every means possible or impossible.
no more the pumpkin rattling coach

on the same highway makes us curious:

what was there before when
everything was transfigured and the night

stood still inside your heart

hearing the wistful summons from the music.
ah, the castle was lit bright,

music, our only language, when

asked the child unknowing,

bereft of the dreams that spilled to us then
so easily, even from the corners of no birthdays

from cobwebby rafters, old recipes in books

heavy with cream and brandied fruit, trifles, jams
of the sun spoked streams run through and

sugar spun

cherry cobblered to the heart's content.

even our ruled paper paper airplanes

built for flights over the varied turreted worlds unseen
still flew, however imperfectly

we were lords of all colours then

ladies of the May
kings of the applesauced day.

and honey buttered.

now the Christmas mantles slip away
though adorned with balsam, fir and the rest.

they don't even know what dressing up is for

or costumes with gauze wings, the vintage beads
the iffy jewels, the pirated schemes

throw the tinfoil clutter out they sniff

and they don't have colds
but I keep vigil and God will not delay

where the prayers rise importuning: almost

singing again:
let the magical days return

for Lord, we are lost without them

in the unconvincing worlds

mary angela douglas 20 september 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Reentry Period: Kansas Postcard, Received At The Emerald P.O.

coming from the emerald land
we packed no suitcase, took no train.
wait. and the clocks will tick it all away;

the fever recedes.
old bandages are removed:

the halcyon, the beautiful oft repeated,
but never the same.
you rub your eyes but it still looks green to you

even the corn stubble skies,
cyclones- in-residence, now.
only in dreams is there solidity.

the palace walls. the long corridor down
to the emerald answers-still purely
echoing with your

 small, brave footsteps.

mary angela douglas 19 september 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Will We Have Horses Shod In Gold

[prolonged reverie after filling out the forms for social services]

will we have horses shod in gold
no longer asked the child
under an apple white moon

for a little while,
and then- not.
or lugging a lunch pail

brimmed with berries
with hunks of marigold buttered bread
there she stands in the sunlight

in a ray from Heaven
as in old lithographs
with peach skies.

why did we throw their worlds away
I wondered to myself where wondering
was not allowed

but no one said I'll show you where
there's cherries under the snow
and we won't starve

eating the brown bread we baked
in our immemorial summers
dripping with the honeycomb.

yet- I was fed

mary angela douglas 18 september 2014

Whatever Happened To The Children Of Light

whatever happened to the children of light
I asked my evasive shadow
when the mail failed to come.

the mail failed to come

but not the snows that banked the night
and crystalline was uttered and the dreams

said : "slow"

slow is the river turned to ice
the heart to return.

whatever happened to the children of light

I have yet to learn
while it's all out-of-doors.

did they find a boat?

did they find the flowery shores?

mary angela douglas 18 september 2014

Poe Sleepwalking By Winter Moonlight

the mood that passes from the opal skies
was left to him as the drear day dies-
in the sheen of his sleepwalking,

walking through the crusted leaves


alive! in the cresting moonlight but
not to the world- but to his dead letters,

Christmas books, the haunted chimes;

sure of his journalism and his critics
giving them this winter's eye the blade

of a smile and then no more a smile.

and is it for a little while or ages long
that there is someone on December's hills

under the reckoning purple and the Advent's sigh

gathering the vintage of odd valentines

that couldn't be sent, not right away
into those other lands where the Beloved

bides from where this
 all blows away

mary angela douglas 18 september 2014;31 december 2014

Why Are You Writing This To Me

why are you writing this to me
I asked the form letter since
there was no one else to ask

and, anyway, it was already

using my first name.
lining up the penalties you are

whoever you are

in case I answer this form on purpose

but if not, there's a number I can call for help.

for help.  have we been introduced?
if not, why are you so free

to tell me in bold face type,

all caps:
what will happen to me
if I deceive you

with my answers here.

are you a conscience?
are you a prison guard?

have you lost all sense,

form person behind this-
that you suspect everyone

of a crime they can't commit

having, perhaps, no car, no food-
even armies travel on their stomachs

it's been said, though not, by you

I guess.
how crisp you are. how neatly pressed

into the envelope I wish I never had to open.

how would you feel

if this were the only voice
you "heard" all day:

screaming behind the punctuation;

not even on violet stationery,
perfected penmanship...

mary angela douglas 18 september 2014