Monday, August 31, 2015

To Hans Christian Andersen's Little Fir Tree

(and to other trees the birds and I have known)

ittle tree / little silent Christmas tree / you are so little / you are more like a flower....
e.e. cummings

Vague dream-head lifted out of the ground, And thing next most diffuse to cloud,
Tree at My Window, Robert Frost

perhaps at times a coded music sobs

rustling the branches now invisible to the eye
and birds flock springlike as before

and dance and dance

perchlessly chirping
where you were. little tree,

who dreamed of the silver and golden

apples decking you out, of the children's
shouts: let festivities begin you trembled;

ropes of cranberries, too...

your rubied coronations through

you sighed and knew of a sudden,
it was not the wind.

beginning the game of let's pretend
entertaining the attic mice with your two stories,
little stories, overheard.

not knowing yet;
what happens now?

if I were a bird I would fly to your Forever
I would sing you visible again, my tree
with your cloud headed, wrong headed snowlike

longing for..who could name it?

now they've left no trace of you
beneath my tiny window looking out.

already beautiful you were.
under peerless starlight.

disconsolate little tree.

I loved you.

mary angela douglas 31 august 2015

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Icarus' Daughters Dream Of Moonlight

(in memory of the space shuttle Challenger disaster, January 1986)

[to my Grandfather, Milton B. Young-
and to my father, Robert R. Douglas-]

if only he had fallen in love with the moon.
I sometimes dream of him that way,
in the winters since.

that cherishing starlight
kept him alive.
but he was a summer dreamer

all in all. a daylit king
bringing us gilded toys back
from the Fairs

or gold wrapped candies
in the atriums where we watched for him
or on the field flowered hills.

oh that we had sprinkled his waxwork wings
with guardian frosts in the long midnights,
the horrid things

but when?
he never slept.

it's so hard looking back.
we'll wear green ribands,
sheens of mint-

paler than oceans' crests, diminishing.
over the wreckage
or pale blue ripples out toward

playing swing-a-statue on
the attic lawns 

if only to dream till dawn
among ourselves in a code that won't redress:
far far from the choric voices of the sun:

to wish. and wish.
there have been another quest-

another flight than this one

mary angela douglas 30 august 2015

To Percy Bysshe Shelley

your cloudy parables,
have we driven away?
so that we can no longer

really look at the skies?
and our angels, regretfully

decline to dip their wings

in the pearl maelstroms
in the flood tide radiance
of old dreams.

stay, awhile! at least when we
reread your fire tinged music's drawing up
of the leaves that held in the

moment before letting go of
their particular trees (it may be)
a far off music from the long ago

a gust of sighs that sent them
into the whirlwinds eddying,
precursors of the storms, the slipstreams

we no longer
have names for.

mary angela douglas 30 august 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

There Is No Death But The One That We Imagine

[again, to Jesus, my kind Saviour]

green grace around no final shining hour
you gave to us. there is no death
but the one that we imagine

and we stand tremulous above the floods, impossibly
on a vanished bridge and try so hard
not to look down.

some day in the lost and found of
the moments we can't understand
may we take hold of your invisible hand

wounded, no more.
before the door you stand and wait
until our hearts anticipate and comprehend

that you are who we loved
since infancy in the lights above the crib.
in sunlight on the floor,

oh child of Christmas blooming for our sakes

and destitute what riches could you need
who brought to us even without our asking
the worlds without end; the soul

without pretenses.

mary angela douglas 29 august 2015

For Harold Bloom

the maps to the Poems have been lost!
cried the king in his sleep
till his sleep was worn quite through

and cried in unison his
royal shadows from the errant castle
no longer that distinct- but doomed

to a strange obsolescence.
never cried the Knight
to his last breath countering

the murky stream
while dark angels proclaimed:

now you will weep no longer knowing why
and the blizzards lock you out
of the laceworks.

but I stood still in the clouded
woods waiting for the vagaries to arrive,
shaking their pearled manes-

did he exclaim? 

or put another way, as all things will be, someday:
I have come to this courtyard
mused the merchant

to this particular courtyard and no other
to the wild rose hedge
glow in the snows;

cultivated roses, soothed the Invisible
(editor of all fairy tales then).
anyway, he came. but then forgot to

pluck the rose and Beauty regardless of
this at home may go on to lead
her ordinary ordinary life though

somewhere the silver bells peal out
in ordinary time with a difference,
tone, that some are

called out of the world to
enjewel God

or at least, the ornate calendars-
supping on cabbage soup, dark bread.
oh but he is a jewel on his own

I said (knowing that I remember
the silver names of God
and stand unshod on an

uncomprehending plain
as if to say, I remember light
when all is night and

we had lost our way;
tearful, not even hand in hand
laid rail to rail in a fractured land

that they may go over us
in the kingdoms of our sleep

mary angela douglas 29 august 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Rhinestone Covered Castle In The Evening Snows

a rhinestone covered castle in the evening snow
is the epitome of sparkliness thought the little girl
in her velvet Christmas snood, with her

big vocabulary. she was skating on the estuary
later that day when the snow fairy dropped in
just to say what is it you are wishing;

I know you're not here fishing
when it's this glazed.
I want a rhinestone covered castle;

it would be sublime, the little girl rhymed
or I am rhyming for her being that kind
and besides, it is Christmas at least in

this poem. 'Tis a harsh thing, said the
Irish fairy masquerading as the snow one
and more than a little wary (weary)-

to be asked to replicate something, dearie, (actually
the fairy didn't say replicate but now the little girl
is resuming the thread of the narrative)-

and it's a little late
to replicate something that effete just as it's
beginning to sleet...

so the little girl took pity on the fairy
with her working the two jobs and all
and just said, skip over the mall then, Poll. I just want

a rhinestone encrusted
oxford english dictionary
but not the abridgement

and miraculously indeed
the Irish snow fairy knew just what she meant
and here we pause with an elision because

this poem is indubitably done-
(she meant, an ellipsis and that is what this is...)
so don't be aghast and

Merry Christmas!

mary angela douglas 28 august 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

In The Textile Museum Or The Sonatina That Breaks Like Crystal Could

this is the curtain they made for the one
window missing a pane of glass perhaps
and it is beautiful to you

coming after the fact with its unmistakeable rickrack.
or perhaps, it is not.
you should know under what conditions

anyway, this came to be, whatever the work of art;
the glaze on the pond of their winter
without food or candle in the dark. the rainless ridicule

of the long days before the ark
was finished...

the shimmer of it all, pre-rainbow.
and the lost feelings.
the cost of this...

going up and down the mirroring scales,
you too may shine in a different place
a more Elysian field

and time but keep in mind:

where they piled twigs in the out of doors
and tried to light them-
to keep you warm coming so much later, down the years..

will  you came back to visit them
conquering your fears
with Telstar,

a jar of cherry preserves?
a shelf or two spray painted blue

or pretend you've done things
all by yourself.
and never really knew them.

mary  angela douglas 27 august 2015;8 march 2016

Friday, August 21, 2015

He Only Smiled

there was: in the yellow shadows on the lawn
a looking back, as if at the back of the beyond:
over an angel's shoulder

something stopped - as by a rest, at the end

of the bar- a music of yellow splashed on green
in patches of why did you use that colour
they asked the artist later

at the soiree where they served up pineapple punch
from a cut glass bowl on a bright green tablecloth
and noting this, he only smiled.

mary angela douglas 21 august 2015


rainshine you said or would have
if you could have and what a lovely
day it's turned out to be.

you were still small when asked to tea
and balanced yourself
with Grandmother's huge

pink silk umbrella.
and wouldn't go to sleep
without it.

my parasol you insisted.
an elegant word for sure,

for one so young.
but you knew what was yours
in the new found lands of

the living room, dining room,
baby atelier 
even then.

mary angela douglas 21 august 2015

Four Summers Gone Now

(birthday eve poem for a Mr. Ray Bradbury)

ripping the bandaid off of the end of summer
did you wince then at the sudden snows
or just drift out your own windows

as if you were the which of an October wind?
and it should just be snowing stories
but it's not I thought

when they said on the news that you
had gone and, later on, that the lemon house
stood less than empty

now that they had razed it-
as if they could, raze moonlight
or the golden groves not

come up again;
give us a spade, a small blue pail
we will find your China

just as you painted it
on the other side of Time
and mermaids too

and this Ray Bradbury is

my fishtale poem for you
if you cherry fizz please;
on your third invisible birthday party shore or

birthday eve...where it must be snowing ice cream
at least, where you are,by now
and cakes galore!

mary angela douglas 21 august 2015

The Transfiguration Of The Crayons

[to the child Dylan Thomas refused to mourn and others received into Heaven too soon]]

I saw the red orange orange red suns the blue violets
and the violet blues the green turquoise
and the turquoise greens

and the waxy seas, the sea so singular
and it was a dream that they had all melted
like birthday candles left on the cake too long or

molten butterflies on a skyward spree soft blue or
just bend down and you'll scrape your knee
and call it a strawberry

burned down too quickly anyhow
there's wax on the buttercream the buttercream cake rosettes
and it seems a mistake but it's not and it comes out right

the infinite sum where you tore a hole through the paper
because you erased it so many times and thought
you would get marked down for being so messy

but the crayons arise and they form an arc and you
pass through though to the other side,
then through an arc of flowers,

the next grade up!
though no one's singing London Bridge, the snowy choirs

or ring of roses or tisket and the tasket of the yellow green
the green yellow and we drink limeade stirred in an April shade
so happy we're irradiated in the sudden glow of the crayon

suns all melting together and in the afterglow

we know this is Heaven spelled out in golds and ivories
and you can't muss your dress all made of silk here
or spill your milk and now,

three's nothing left to cry over is it, on the slate?
however far you look it smells like clover
under a backyard honeysukled summer simmer shimmer sun

fling glitter out the window backward
while we're riding away
there's so much I have to tell you

in a someday language

mary angela douglas 21 august 2015;rev. 2 june 2017

little, little ones...

Clockwork, The Princess Shedding Crystalline Tears Is Still Required To Fill Out Forms

am I clockwork then, she wondered,
to shed on the hour the selfsame tears
that turn to crystal and then

I start all over again.
it's the new year and suddenly
there's snow only I'm

in a globe and the snow is
the same snow the same snow drifting down
and swirling up again

and I am shaken but

my crown stays on
at least the children say so
but only on Saturdays

when we watch cartoons
and there in the afterglow of the tv's
blue white fade or is it stars I too

declare myself
the princess of

fading out

and cry the selfsame tears
and say to you whoever you are
that I am clockwork shedding

the selfsame tears
that turn to crystal and
this goes on for years that

I don't answer to you

and I don't have
any other information

to give you.

mary angela douglas 21 august 2015

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Thumbelina On A Bad Day

one day you may wake up small
and you will wonder why
she may have fumed

on days when being tolerated as
rose fluff, violet leaf grew stale;
when floating from fern to fern edge

she thought really deep thoughts.
why should it matter that her
shadow fit into a thimble

and the ants down ant hill lane
thought of her as one of their own?
my poems cast tall shadows

in the rain

she sobbed into the
handkerchief of God.

mary angela douglas 18 august 2015

How Can I Think They Gazed At The Sky

how can I think they gazed at the sky
thinking of poetics? a leaf, a cloud,
in a natural way;

a sigh seemed nothing more than a

dream to them, God's dream Hopkins
may have said in later may times springing.
even then, I am not sure that any

definition could define them.
don't look in the back of the book for them,
the Immortals. they have become a part

of all that we survey, that is, if we do,
with a feeling heart, a striving after something
not in words yet.

cloudy, green, beyond the classroom drone
and the windows with the wandering breeze beckoning...

mary angela douglas 18 august 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Her Favorite Way To Say Goodbye

cherry vanilla should be the day
you are going Home I mean,
home to stay:

sweet cherry vanilla.
and there on the side
a slice of cake, almost bridal

with silver beading
and you'll be reading
all your favorites poems at once

dressed in rose red and
when the light dims
and there's no turning back

or mistaking the signs
you'll be dreaming again of the
Rose, Rose Red

upon the Rood of Time...

mary angela douglas 16 august 2015

Note: of course idea for the poem other than the ice cream and cake is the loveliest of poems in the English language by the Irishman Wiliam Butler Yeats: To The Rose Upon the Rood of Time

Dark Green Blackboard

you are the sum
did they write on the dark green blackboard
at the front of the class,

the living poem of all your days and ways.
or was that what you saw in the looking glass:
the sum of what will be, or what has passed? minus

nothing and you win the prize of
bluebirds sung and cracker jacks cracked all
cherry pie pasted down

in your very own scrap book, notebook

spiraled like the sun is
when you dream you are astronomy itself.

did they warn us? on lined paper?
keep your margins and your seams  straight.
or was that how we spelled it all out

to ourselves when we were late,and
made to wait in corners
when they thought that we weren't listening

in the glistening of the year...

I want to start again, I think, in tears,
and try to blink them back
down the block to the phantom yellow bus

to the starched beginnings;
in eyelet petticoats fresh as clouds
and gingham-sashed:

to big block letters in all the right colours
yet to learn! and I won't be found when
they call me out of the twilight saying,

it's already been your turn;
we can see where you are and it's time
for supper anyway.

the rust coloured leaves won't allow it,
will they? just- another- chance to play
in a Keats like gust of wind or is

it Shelley?  I'll remember;
gingerbread, surely,
and the pure sugar snow on the cakes

of Christmas freshly
baked, once more!
and the marble spun and spinning azure

of it when you're out of doors! and raspberry sherbet
at all the parties I have learned by heart

if yon won't tell them
where I am all firefly lit and glittering where
it's growing dark...

mary angela douglas 16 august 2015

Sublime Rhyme With Three Scoops of Dream Cream, PLEASE!

cherry fizzing, ice cream-drizzling-
chocolate drop? oh, thanks a lot!
fudgesicle fudgesicle barely a

nickel; bread and butter pickle,
have another? asked my Grandmother
marshmallow fluff fluff fluff

spread with honey on a
crust crust crust of
bakery bread.tres flakery...

that's what I said (and, it's
past your bedtime

oh how could  you show-off
this Christmas close
when we're supposed to be

good, better, best)

yum. beef stroganof dressed
with baby pearl onions...

have you had enough?
cordially, she asked, while
passing the cherries

for supper.(we had a light lunch)

of shoestring potatoes o
crunch of crunch.
with little vienna sausages...

shall we get her
candy in the big red box
or milk luscious bubble bath in the

real milk bottle with the lavender ribbon...
you got to be kiddin'!!!
oh orange peel lolly and jam glad dollies

why would you dawdle? when candy's so bella
well what would you do oh Cinderella
how would you choose if it were you out

picking presents for your Grand who's
sure to ask if we want some too
at the Great Unwrapping.

mary angela douglas 16 august 2015 rev. 3 june 2017


all Your strawberry languages, your berry plumped
vines and bushes and the elderberry melt of the sun
through the pines green guardians of my angels

playing in the sandbox, dreamed my mother;
all Your delicate enflowered languages, your camellia phrasing
on the piano, sighed my Grandmother to my little

sister ah the magnolia in the silver bowl and the
gardenia insistence of your snow bright isn't it
almost Christmas sheen of chiffon before the

parties I asked my sister but she was heart-sweet on
her cherry bright scales sailing on Chopin oh
the elegance of the medium-small

dog with the pom pom tail wagging, smiling from

curly ear to ear crumbling fried chicken
under the modern table
hush my dear (my dears they all said)

to me in my sleep from out of the depths of God
who carries His jewels home
as if they were stars
as if they were pearls

oh they are...

mary angela douglas 16 august 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015

With Almost No Rustling Sound

with almost no rustling sound
oh golden my paper bird
folded its paper wings

I cannot fly it whispered shyly
only to me. I said:
I will inscribe you!

it began to rain.
oh why am I weeping
wondered my paper bird

almost aloud.
I said, half-proud,
you have become a poem.

mary angela douglas 14 august 2015

Case Studies (Her Sentences Of Glass Broke On The Evening Air)

[for Dr. Oliver Sacks]

her sentences of glass broke on the evening air
and this is finally why she stopped speaking
but you said only, the only one in the room to hear:

but this is music!
or colours swam up to him in the dolphined daylight
and he drove farther into the waves half way mythical


so how could he come back to ask you
maybe you told his mother
what it was you wanted from the corner market?

she pealed like bells and was merry, mercy and
then broke out into uncontrollable weeping
and so she was in a folder marked: abberations: waterfalls"

and locked and locked away.

but you went over the edge
and stretched out your one arm
the one with perhaps, no feeling in it anymore

and she was saved.

mary angela douglas 14 august 2015

Meditation On Leaving No. 1 In E Minor

maybe the fear of being left here
is enough punishment to bear
here on earth

after the others have flown
the cherishing, the ones who christened
who taught you day by day

maybe the real history of the world
is just the history of leaving of
being left here day after day

and in the evenings, too

after the others have gone
perhaps to return in dreams
or tried to, or what was left of them

or as someone, almost new
in brighter rooms.

and you come unglued or think you do
or you don't know what to do anymore
or even what words are for and shopping lists

and what is necessary, really?

maybe it will be enough
that we too have been left
that God will forgive our leaving Him

in Paradise alone:

and all our sin is only this:
that we left Home.
for what is worse than leaving after all

or being left here
after bright angels have gone
and it's no longer Christmas.

mary angela douglas 14 august 2015;8 march 2016

Beneath The Dripping Trees, Midsummer Or May's

beneath the dripping trees, midsummer or May's
rain having swept the gardens, the scent of this
or of October woods along the fire leafed days

is all I would like to say or wish for
even in Heaven.

mary angela douglas 14 august 2015

All His Infinite Labouring At Bright Coincidence

[for William Butler Yeats, with reverence]

[and to Martin Burke, Irish-Belgian poet and playwright]

all his infinite labouring at bright coincidence
has long ago spun into the gold
of finer worlds than this one.

do you still read him
as the rose tinged glass,
the harp glossed marvel gone?

I wonder and then wonder endlessly
that poets after him
dared to keep on writing.

who will burn the sun into legend now;
the moon, this starlit haunted maze, into a jewelry
closer at hand too dear to us

or scan the snows of
ancient mourning
or note-
oh sons and daughters,

the floating counterpoint of the swans
on Ireland's stilled, strange waters.

I have bound these letters with a shaking hand
couching my lament in flowers from the antique gardens,
the rose ridden hours;

learning in this, my latter age and stirred beyond praise,
all minstrel lays and sheared minstrelsy itself-
tremulous, and grave to the very grave

to say to you, only:that poems like his-
we have not earned.

 mary angela douglas 14 august 2015