Saturday, February 28, 2015

I Pray For The Angels At The Ruined Gate

I pray for the angels at the ruined gate.
the silent angels. the ones with sheathed swords.
the ones who have turned aside from weeping

it says in the music when you turn the page.
can you turn the page for the ruined angels
at the silent gate that cannot open now.

it cannot open because it is ruined.

we sing in the rubble.

mary angela douglas 28 february 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Architects, Amaze Me! Commanded Ray Bradbury, Heart Full Of Wonders

imagine a museum of rollercoasting tales
of wild eyed carousels, the rain stippled horses
of far legend

a museum of winds. of rains:
the pattering, the misunderstood and now redeemed jeweled beadings on old windowpanes, on roofs the color of fire

a museum of green rivers and greener trees
and summer dioramas and children brimming over

with field flowers.
even then, is it enough?
in a corner of stained glass radiance

rosier than Chartres
with isinglass rose petals opening
on the day:

a yellow house
is not torn down is not torn down is not

torn down.

is here.
to stay.

mary angela douglas 26 february 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

On Ray Bradbury's Yellow House Demolished In Los Angeles, Strange January 2015

The Props assist the House
Until the House is built
And then the Props withdraw
And adequate, erect,
The House support itself
And cease to recollect
The Augur and the Carpenter –
Just such a retrospect
Hath the perfected Life –
A Past of Plank and Nail
And slowness – then the scaffolds drop
Affirming it a Soul –

Emily Dickinson

"the stone that the builders rejected
has become the Cornerstone"
Psalm 118:22

for Sam Weller with gratitude hopefully
from us all...and to Ray Bradbury with sorrow
for beauty for possibility lost
(the children's vivid field trips to the old magician's haunts)

can houses go to Heaven?
I wondered, stunned at the news:
Ray Bradbury's yellow house demolished...

by an architect.
an architect who won prizes.
prizes for what?

demolishing the immortal?
at least, where they lived.
I won't be bitter I sang to the lemon sun.
houses can go to Heaven, well

this one could.
a house where stories spun
the color of midnight and the honied noonday
hived and the violet rains swept through;

a carnival whine of train whistles.
where will their ghosts go now?
they'll linger somehow

near the new swimming pool.
where the new lodgers view
(the ones with second sight, it they're lucky)

pearl dredged, the vast
and Christmas migrations of his words;

no more the house where the fantastic figured.
a man padding in bare feet to the midnight fridge
devoured cheese sandwiches, picked pickled books off a

shelf or two

luxuriating in his own stores...
and dreamed his readers knew him.
 but history shifts when the wrecking crews show up.

on any dazzling day in 1962,
on Blake, the Norton Anthology read
(it reads no longer, trending beyond the old neighborhoods):

When a child, William Blake saw God peering through the window.
Did William Blake change what he saw? Did God cease peering?
so that editors revised in later editions?

 the constructors deconstructed?
can you alter a vision once it's envisioned?

even without the window,
God still sees
do we do we-
some things, you can't excise

the stucco fading to tangerine in the sunrise,
who comes now to displace, being wiser than

music, past the clock of hearing.
we're not buying it!

someone removes a phrase, a shelf, perhaps a roof
when no one's looking but the clouds
and then it's gone. at least, the shell of it.

it rained the day they took the roof off
the newspaper read.
as if the skies were weeping...

small goldenrod things crept near
keening in the debris:
and readers throughout the world.

these dreams can come and go no matter what
the planners plan.and they don't really understand 
that censored visions, buildings reappear to children
 in the after years

beyond all earthly zoning.
and in the neighborhoods with curbed appeals

old monuments resurface in the magma..or
start bobbing up
in a summer lake with the wounded dinosaurs.

oh it's so searing this has come to pass. alas
the house cried out in vain, while everyone was at work
at the book store, ice cream parlour

and then, whirled off (and All Souls with it)
 like the house in Oz...remaining in a far kingdom

the grass could grow as tall as it wanted there or

you can't kill a yellow house the colour of myriad suns
all marigold and gold finch bright
disconsolate the green trees sigh all the way from Waukeegan, ah

amber preserves but not Los Angeles 
I can't stop crying  to any passersby on the sidewalk

where eggs could have been fried...
July rockets launched:

uproot the century plant and plant it somewhere else!
or gather the movie moguls here to stop this!
but once dismantled there's no going back.
alack alack unless

invisibly the house transformed itself
well out of view enacting its own Bradbury tale of

little by little and much by much
all shadows tucked in to the very touch of the curtains
 at the windows
dreaming itself apart from Time, letting go into

a better berried clime and

plank by plank chimney brick by brick
little garden in the back with wildflowers strewn
and birds that flew and chirped around the eaves

missing the writer scratching in his den
clickety clack on the typewritten track
his golden lore no more no more

oh no was not torn down but like an old shoe
that missed the wearer, mystically removed from here
(its inner self)

and by Whose hand? lifted gently from the land.
and only babies knew;though
children hoped, as they wondered, cherry bright again.

oh do not fear sighed sunflower angels mending 
this scarred landscape 
despite the worst laid plans and blueprints

made of sand should be denied but
whenever it looks like, on this side
where you need stories to get by
as if the undertakers had won! wheeling their barrows

of the stripped down walls
carted off to charities...
where's charity in this? I sorrowed
in a nightmare land:

they've stolen
our pilgrammage forever.

or it had wings to fly, that buttercream house
reading over his shoulder, (all butter pecan and dreamy)
for 50 odd years as the notion slowly formed though it

grew paler than pumpkins toward the end
at what it had to do...and railed at
losing its butterscotch perch or porch?

it dimly reasoned,
"out of all Seasons now!"

through tears I see
what it saw
right down to the sawdust floor

of the Circus really leaving town
this time

on a day perhaps of cotton candy clouds...

to the coffee grounds of a well made story
you won't perk again (it thought,
more than a little overwrought);

it huddled closer to the Sun.
but what's done is done
the story book house is overcome by the

bulldozers no longer dozing by the raspberry shrubs.

 then it arose
like a wondrous yellow cake
about to be crowned with frosting oh my friends

while it chimed it chimed like a carillon:
there is- there is- no End! 

a buttercup house in new-fangled Glory shines
where Ray eternally presides, 
near gold foiled volumes, rainbowed ice-box pies

and he'll look up with a glad surmise
(a booming I told you so)

when we'll drop by someday to see the house spiffed up.
the haloed cream drenched apple fritters fried
and pour with him the dandelion wine-

fine toasts to the yellow house!
when it's our Time, when it's our Time

mary angela douglas 23-25 february 2015

P.S. I am not making this up. an incredible synchronicity... On feb 25 at 8:58 a.m. as I was revising this poem again and lingering on the phrase "I told you so" wondering what I meant by it exactly
the local radio station (wsjs) announcer said just before the newsbreak: "You might get a chance to go to Mars...forever. more in a minute..."

so that's how I knew the poem was finally done, fork-tested.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cinderella Dressed In Green

it's gooseberry green chiffon perhaps we thought
kicking the legs of the small table
eating up our fruit cocktail.

(the stepsisters would have worn maraschino...
or diced peach; they hadn't any table manners.)

Cinderella's dress of the jump rope rhymes...
I wanted to hear the whole spectrum of her wardrobe
but got caught in the lines too early missing the beat

with my jumping feet on the school playground.
then again,
it was more verite that way, I guess...

she probablhy had just the one dress.

mary angela douglas 22 february 2015

Reading The Poem All On Her Own In Her Grandfather's Chair

the cream cannot slosh in the strawberries
when you spoon them out.
the almonds on the trout are cut so fine

the rainbowed scales gleam through.
you take small bites. your dress is new
with a pale sash

a paler sheen.
all this is in a dream that you had yesterday
that you're still in

geographies are useless here.
contexts forbidden. pure meaning's hidden
or trellised like a rich vine

like light itself like the wind that blows
the next page forward
and the page after that is Christmas.

tissue guards in sunrise colours
and over the snows
the first intimations of

the Rose.

mary angela dougas 22 february 2015

The Nocturne Played As A Child

the cut velvet draping of the evening
the sequined sky
the elegance of God the sprigged trees

is it always april in her mind
on a terrace as quiet
as one jeweled cloud?

she plays the nocturnes simply
on the piano of green breezes
and wears a nosegay of pale pink

and only dresses in rose.
all this was at the beginning of music
the nocturne played as a child

the spinning out of the frosted ballets
in wide skirts like flowers

and this is ours
until the last note fades into the green green
darkness that He made

and where we want to live

mary angela douglas 21 february 2015 

As A Painter Would Paint The Winds

bluebonnets blow in the buffalo lands
and flowers whose names I never learned
I know their colours

as a painter would paint the winds through
the bluebonnets a paler shade of blue
and this is how the prairies roll on

without me
with me only imagining the skies
in spring must be the shade of prairie roses

and I gather them in my sleep
and I imagine their fragrance is better somehow
than the cultivated roses

I imagine this because I do not know
the names of the wildflowers and cannot
call the buffalo by name and I imagine the

blizzards and the buffalo turned to sugar cube sparkling
amazed in the drifts and the skies thoroughly filled
like a canvas I do not know I do not know I

do not know

mary angela douglas 21 february 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Party Favors In The Offering Plate Seem Out Of Place

the party favors in the offering plate seem out of place
I am out of place I hear God sigh and the stained glass
shines in a different way

I'll meet you outside I say to Him as I go in
and then I do and Sunday begins.
the bacon and eggs afterwards the

grape jelly like a jewel on the plate
broken up into smaller jewels
spread on the buttered toast

garnets I thought after I learned that word.
and now in the tiny rose garden Outside
no petals fall and it is afternoon and

now there is no school my favorite dream,
only the roses

mary angela douglas 19 february 2015

Carnation Lily Lily Rose

[on the beautiful painting by John Singer Sargent]
we hold the lanterns in our gaze and they shall not go out
the lily, the rose, the lily rose shadows their carnation
stillnesses the children will not ravel

the edge of this twilight ever softly they blossom
in the borders near the clumps of the flowers familiar to them

and the lanterns sway in the painting as if it were a real garden
and only slightly it is, the wind of the carnation, the lily,
the rosed lilies

the light the light
we hold within our hearts within within
the coloured lanterns swaying in the

purple instant this cannot fade
the lights go out or
the lanterns stir in the evening breeze

the carnation breeze, the beautiful the beautiful
weaving of the lily and the rose all before and afters
shining, the self-same lanterns in our gaze

the night that will never come
the distant song forever distant
time and the flowers at a standstill
the children, murmuring

mary angela douglas 19 february 2015 rev. 11 june 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Now It's Your Problem

[a childhood memory a little embroidered, but by whom..
and in not so fond memory of all the horrid word problems in my grade school math books....]

I want a gown of maraschino velvet cried the doll
stamping her spooky foot at night (sideways)
where she had fallen

behind our dresser and we scared ourselves silly

thinking of her there having watched way too
many twilight zone episodes and reciting them
back outloud and then making up our own

versions until we were goggle eyed.
let's think our way out of this then. could she be bribed
with marshmallow creme?

with Mardi Gras beads our teachers brought back for us?
with Grandmother's peony fan?
we said a little too loudly.

and you can guess
since I'm still here writing this
it must have worked out o.k.

unless of course
the spooky doll took over
and is now writing this poem

still in the same bad and highly unpredictable mood!

mary angela douglas 18 february 2015

Cloisonne Rose On Your Field of Blue

[to a lost brooch]

cloisonne rose on your field of blue
I lost once in the grasslands of summer
and then the trees wept crimson suddenly and

they wept gold
when I looked for you among the drifts;
how chill was the air

and no witnesses.

oh cloisonne rose
you cannot lose your petals there
whatever crack in the universe

has swallowed you up.
the little pink stars, the blue ones
shine for you, thinking they are sapphires;

twinkling at your mystical swirls of
fuschia on blue blue blue
with a tinge of cream from the moon?

thinking you are some other sky in miniature:
your vintage freshness lost in time, oh
who will speak your language there

in the nests of the small squirrels;
in the snow barrows far from here

mary angela douglas 18 february 2015

Still Life, Come To Life! (With Blue Birds)

they are that shade of blue that made you happy as a child
like turquoise mixed with the milk of pearls and they
could fly and you could follow them then to

no bitter kingdoms but now they stay in groves
of pink clouded trees the winds won't stir but
if they did you would stand under the delicate branches

delicate as you were

holding your breath and showered in pink flowers
of course you could be but now the branches

into a light that cannot rise or set and you feel restless
and you are here wishing with all your might
the birds in the iridescent hedges of the night

would come to life and the kingdom the kingdom
painted in fine colours on the flowing air
you would suddenly just

be there

mary angela douglas 18 february 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Vanishing Of Notebooks

[to Osip and Nadezhda Mandelstam]

the vanishing of notebooks did he muse
upon the Muse; the muse is banished she
sang, dark cherry tinged songs, Nadezhda, let us write our names on

snow perhaps he whispered 
whispered then he was gone.
as the crow flies say all the proverbs

so the saints die he said or the poets
so near the Hagia Sophia
and the crows reign sadly 
but we, did we write our names on snow

I carried you she cried how could they really
quench the lamp we could not see 
was burning down and

I awoke from dreams of even more trouble
and to 
the vanishing of notebooks

but Time could not eat your face in my dreams where

it was May
it was beautiful May
all the trees were snowing our names

mary angela douglas 15 february 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I Want A Hat With Maypole Ribbons Round It Streaming

I want a hat with maypole ribbons round it, streaming!
she explained or tried to in the little hat shoppe
in the forgotten lane

with the graceful sign that read: "hats, custom made"

a few pink roses dripping over the sides
if possible as if for a bride
a little veiling would you like that

diamond dusted? queried the shop girl
(people queried back then)
the lady looked askance 

(they looked askance back then as well)

oh, who can tell in this light.
(it was a trifle dim, some would say,

some bluebirds might be nice,
perched in the lilacs, on the brim
a choir of angels and

a golden spire.
will that be all?
the clerk inquired

(praying it would be so)
oh yes, sighed the lady
in the cherry bright dress

with the ivory ruching...

little silver-buttoned boots...

mary angela douglas 12 february 2015

The Made-Up Story About The Candy Box

her paper folded ships in fiesta colours dropped off the 
candy box map
and now who will tell her where to find

the chocolates with the raspberry centers?

she's terrible at guessing when they pass

the candy box round and shuts her eyes before
choosing as if that could cast a spell

and turn them all to raspberry.

we fear the buttercream equator's melting

the sweet meridians turning to taffy
don't eat them all before supper said

the Grandmother in the dream and smiled

and we walked on down the candy lanes awhile
this was one of the better dreams we all agreed

and not at all like real life when you forgot you

put your candy bar in a sundress pocket when
you went out to play and it melted and then

you were scolded and ate plain bread and butter

with sugar sprinkled on it since under no circumstances
in our home was there ever no dessert.

mary angela douglas 12 february 2015

What If It Isn't Exactly The Dreamland You Wanted

what if it isn't exactly the dreamland you wanted in your dream
will you still make do behind your cheerful
 curtains with the ruffles?

and you ordered the cherry sprigged dress and not the one
with the yellow pockets well, it's a dream, what can be done is done
by someone shifting the scenery.

or the hills or pink or they are blue
and the painters are all painting it that way in the dream studio
but you there in the doorway whose dream it is are

standing in the doorway and can't move a shoe inside
well what do you want? A bus to dreamland?
I dreamed of buses too. the drivers forgot where they were going

and just disapeared and you got off in a town
that wasn't there before
or after

mary angela douglas 12 february 2015

Little Candles

[for Ray Bradbury]

one should always keep little candles
frosting pink, pale yellow in the drawer
with the brown paper lunch sacks and twine

with the Burpee seeds of purple futuristic Springs-
for the unexpected birthdays,
the cakes with their sudden roses.

you wouldn't walk off a cliff without your
wings, would you? icarus's old mama scolded
thinking he was still her child in love with

the golden, the golden days, "not that drawer, honey..."
one should be always be floating near
the little candles, in the drawer my dear

with the rusty railroad hammer, the greeting
cards you meant to send for the unexpected birthdays
of the ghostly friends, for icarus as a child

in the broad meadows flying in the
sun that can't go out you know
on just anyone's wish or say-so
no matter how hard it blows

mary angela douglas 12 february 2015

My Grandfather, King Of The Drugstore Sundaes

[to Milton B. Young (forever)]

vanilla ice cream crowned with chocolate syrup
(and this was in a sunflower kitchen)
my Grandfather served us as if we were

Queens. small queens in high chairs.
we had our own methods.
with the royal spoons you mash and stir until

the vanilla becomes pale chocolate soup
still cold and grainy like thick snow
and Grandfather beams as though

this were his masterpiece of a
Saturday afternoon...

mary angela douglas 12 february 2015

Green Dress With A Sprinkling Of Roses, Hydrangeas

in Spring or just before she sighed
the soul longs for a floral dress
one of polished cotton with

a generous skirt tnat swirls
and you want to whirl
without dizziness as if

you were a child when the
green grass seemed everything
to you then the green grass

seemed like Heaven could be
and the Soul with its foreground
of polished green, its generous

sprinkling of roses, spiced 
carnations, blue
hydrangeas of pale lilies, intensified moonlight
is dancing even without the tune

mary angela douglas 12 february 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Elsewhere, Again

[to Walter De La Mare (again)]

may be... under the pale green
budding of a word
we will find you biding

as you bode on earth

in the house not made
except of clouds, of mists
of the falling of one dewdrop down

an antique stillness
will we be different then
I want to ask

offering you an acorn full of rain
it is not the same as it ever was on earth
I heard you say

and felt 
a shifting of the pale green wind
lifting you from the Here
an alteration of the stars

or merely, afternoon

and then your moon let slip
one violet tear

mary angela douglas 10 february 2015

Sunday, February 08, 2015

The Clouds Fall Down They Call It Snow

did she spill rose light on the floor she thought perhaps
or pull the curtains and then it was night and if you
pull them again will it be day

the clouds fall down
they call it snow
music comes out of my Grandmother's grand piano

whenever she sails the ivory keys she dispenses
the chocolate squares wrapped in silver foil
the dog wants in when it rains and joins in

all our games did
we spill happiness on the rugs, on the pale sofa with
the bright pillows?

i drew the curtains back and it was summer
glorious summer said Hans Andersen
giving the flowers their names

and I thought, cornflower blue
are the mermaid's eyes she must be crying
how are rainbows made through prisms

what are willows? what is on tv
Walt Disney lives in his own kingdom.
so do we

mary angela douglas 8 february 2015