Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Penny Wishes On Mercury Dimes

one day our penny wishes will return
so copper bright.
the ones we tossed; wishing fiercely

by random fountains.
wishing wells.
even the stage set kind

made of cardboard
at the school fairs.

I used to wish for the world
a something...
every time-and me, in it.

now I forget...
but nothing's wasted
if you pay attention;

not one dime my

Grandfather gave
me then to spend
on what could be

that wasn't then.
and isn't now.

one day, somehow-
someday on an ordinary day,
and far from Christmas still

some radiance unannounced

will come and ring the doorbell
after all these years
and I'll remember through my tears

his kindness then
in teaching me to spend
and from the heart you bet

on penny wishes
every chance you get.

mary angela douglas 30 september 2015

Writing Your Name In The Upper Right Hand Corner

writing your name in the upper right hand corner
of a page that is gone,
the notebook too.countless workbooks.

did winters cover them? so many winters.
where has all the old homework gone, then?
bonfires? out to sea?

did children overseas make paper airplanes
from it? origami animals?
or the younger ones cut snowflake silhouettes?

old tests, mimeographed.
marked with a red pen.what happened to them?
for that matter, where did they put all

the red pens? report cards!!!
A minuses.nervous making math problems.
construction paper fiascos.

maple leaf stencils.
tissue thin and cherished,number two pencils.
whole kingdoms of tracing paper.

attendance rolls.
your soul back then.
so apple bright reading:

great expectations.
the frost on the lawn
when you took the bus


so early into the school year;
learning to disappear.

mary angela douglas 30 september 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bride Doll, Her Poem

I remember the way we imagined her wedding
veils like clouds, holding paper flowers.
and this would be everyday.

she would be the everyday bride
always in satin.
pearl drop earrings.

she would float down the
aisles of cathedrals
and never do shopping.

what would she eat?
wedding mints?
lime sherbet punch

to drink?
rising every morn
to Mendelssohn's one

song for her
and the organ starting up.
pearlescent the skies would greet her

at the door.
her lily dressed bridesmaids listen
for that glistening instep.

later on the porch
with more cake, stuffed
my sister and I

would crown her again:
queen of all the brides.

mary angela douglas 29 september 2015

Teakettle Song For Anna Akhmatova

evening percolates.
and then, the cream of small stars.
I'm in my

imaginary cafe
with one sweet roll left.
savoring the poem

of yet to be
in my kitchenette
where the teakettle frets

and whines
when I get a line wrong;
cherry conspirator,

you need polishing!
but I drift off in dreams, enshrined-
not owned by anyone,

imagining your steam
as reverent clouds
at Easter.

the purples i can't banish.
this holy Time.

mary angela douglas 29 september 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

To The Blue Knight, Wandering

the knight on the blue road wandering...
and does he keep sheer distance to himself,
who can tell?

will anyone tell anything to him
between war and war
or break the spell of the

blue knight on his neverland verandas;
in his lavish confusions,
his scalded musings, costumed?

when it's coming down with the
scenery on a childhood stage;
and crystal apples

in a corner room
he never redeemed
roll under a

scuffed bureau.

some tinted postcards,
partly cloudy days
from a Princess stranded

on the Glass Hill.

these artifacts you
know so well,
or think you do

halfway through the door
with the warped screen
with your fresh questionaires:

can't you see can you see
his lance askance
a not so glimmering Age

totally at odds?
oddments in his pockets with the keys;
with the rusted bread and cheese,

the twilight breviaries.
at a loss to know what people generally feel

in these circumstances
as they deal him out
of their rose tiled villages

and simple merriment
of a Saturday.

and how they don't
know how it feels to be
the knight at dusk

almost blending into the skies;
the one with shorn summers.

and does he hide
his sometime sapphire tears
until cool winds carry them away

and are they his sweethearts
far away, twinkling, the

small blue stars?

far away far away.
and this is his song

I plucked out of a dream crease
on a pink paper napkin day
as if it were one wing.

and for
the shimmering things

so near him, close at hand
if only he could understand.

mary angela douglas 28 september 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

My Alphabet Grows Pale

my alphabet grows pale,
sensing the ebbing of light.
the ebbing of light elsewhere,

there where I cannot reach.
there where I cannot reach,
instead, I feel:

someone is almost heard;
the rippling of strange birds
made stranger by encroaching

will the snow bent with the trees
cover my alphabet, cloud on cloud

until there's little said aloud?

will moonlight withdraw
so that looking back,
there may finally be

no tracks in the landscape
left to see
of a language made so small?

no tracks. at all.

mary angela douglas 26 september 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

I Dreamed Of Ancient Music

[for Gerard Manley Hopkins]

I dreamed of ancient music
fresh as cream; all honied
dulcet, a bright stream

visionary, winding through
the wanded wounded
worlds: trellised, trellised lily,

and rose and star you are
and deep embellishing.

strummed on a lute in
private chamber; recollected
for the tarnished days impending;

on the execution eves;
failing towers long past Illium crumbling
not yet not yet

the sound of linnets lilting,
don't forget!
princess, queen, or shepherdess.

he sang the unknown;
of the bright- through vanishing vanishing.
though kings are poisoned and

kingdoms withold through the
terrible nights their gates, their gleams
she sings, she sings at her work

and it's a fine embroidery;
porcelain, quaint, of the
highest order,

o that
the earth could be: just this.
earth trembles and then quakes,

not long in bliss;
evoking everything made.
in praise in direst straits sweet

music remains in the sifted ruins.
trembling in the leaves again
on the mystical air, darning darling

floating towards you, after a while
a festive festooned tune in bloom

forever its own Spring, sprung
imagination's queen recoronated:
beyond death beyond dooms

beyond all this so out of tune;

stirring the withered blossoms in the courtyards
the begonias of the poor who only hear begone
in the semi golden world so rickety raggedy

they may build their castles

flame tipped on the tip of
what could be said, even out-of-doors
though it's said no more,

say again! cried the Lord
dream again your dream driven out
and cleaved though it may be.

poured you out in my secret heart
that you would adore 

even Beauty's shadow and not
not rend it, not buy or sell it
or quelled, never may it be

by any catastrophe.
oh minstrelsy of the honey buttered
livelong, livelong mornings.

mary angela douglas 25 september 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Rainbow Picture For God's Refrigerator (On Manila Paper)

apricot, roseate, pale green as the sheen
of Your luna moth, or all berry stained,
or gleamed:

prepared for the parties in silver or gold lame...

May's flower girl shades; pristine! blue violets.
nectarines! oh pomegranate red with stars inside.
or white as in crystals,sugared or iced. or cream,

beloved clouds;
the seams of the bridal
oh please stay

or lollipop wiled, away!
all sweetness gone.
or like a sea then just be

indigo washed or pineapple lights
my rainbow, swirled:
over the flood of childhood tears

like a festival chord at the piano played
finally, with both hands

in pink linen recitals.

on pearl taffeta
days espied through mists or rain
(the colour of Where?)

the arc of inordinate beauty over the strand.
or the one with all the maypole ribbons
on Command:the last scarf of a departed Princess

I sighed with my crayon wands depicting a lost
continent's colours, semi-formal

streaming, dreaming, spectrum so
spectral becoming ever more vivid, there
some day may we be on the other side

of the hinting maze

where we no longer gaze momentarily
as through this too beautiful gauze

where You come and go
or melt from us as
pale as snow.

mary angela douglas 23 september 2015

Lilting, With The Lemon Stars In Love

[for the murdered poet Osip Mandelstam
in the imagined voice of his widow, Nadezhda]

lilting, with the lemon stars in love
how is it your gaze fell out of the earth
even when you were here

so that almost no one recognized you
in the last the hounding years.
little you cared,

poet made of clouds
maker of all my feasts and merriment

that where you tread
the down at heel districts,
the earth glistened.

did no one listen?
who pocketed the gold of your lines, your name?
scarce tokens in exchange, you with your secrets

and little else,
only God really could have,
maker of the lemony stars

of every place oh still
you are and are not.
I braid my forget-me-nots

deep blue into the nights
imagining you in the weirs of a world
invisible to me

on an afternoon like those we shared,
my presentiments

my turning wind too suddenly cold
I met you: early or late
and I will wait what decades are required

to see you yet, eternally
and hesitate here near the
wheeling leaves thinking

you might have left somehow
the bright gate open:
so I might pass

the grief is so fresh.

this trace, transcribed
I feel but cannot say
of the poems you wrote


despite rank scorn;
clouding the mirror with your breath
even while it broke like a heart

and I drift like a torn out page
from a notebook
you've bestowed

in all your fars and nears inscribed
no longer your dear, my dear
where the weather will not clear:

but receiving this:

marvelous, snipped, oh sweet tailor
from your cloak of invisibility-
this, this largesse of beauty

in our wilderness 
from some o too brief
fairytale foretold...

where I'll grow old
where the mosses drip
all on my own

not turning to stone;
lamenting your eclipse.

mary angela douglas 23 september 2015

Ancient Maps Defined

once there was water
here it's said;
there's the spot

here's where you may fall off
should you ever get this far.

there is cold rain

no roof.
golden leaves spent on the ground.
the scent of earth,

your former orchards
under far moonlight.

mary angela douglas 23 september 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

If You Had Let Them

a voice within woods greenly cried
that tears of amber once flowed here;
then they solidified...

I knew this year after year
keeping it in mind over and above
best practices whatever, whoever

is meant by this. what is meant by this?
who's there, or what, behind scenes
shifting it all, decoding 'the best'

in offices, institutes
that very soon no longer needed your

reminded the fairy lights
breaking into speech
over the Holidays...

they said you couldn't teach because

you see the world through a pink blur
and do not reason according to their reasoning.
depart the land of revisions because

you are not in tune they said, so not a good fit,
(so what?)
or would have said in the workshops, wreckage

of former mirrors held in place by darkening cherabim
in this, the land of the dim and dimming of the lights;
where it is perpetual night

in the ensuing classrooms
of those who remain to be seen.
you cantered away.

now you're collecting water clocks,
[even if not the things to eat,
all out of Time and teacups-

in an Alician field, smiled Mr. Caroll]

and ticks and tocks of the stained glass demesnes
that they disdained-
for your mysterious something

that couldn't be entertained in their contracts.
never the missing sky cloud jigsaw piece
no lily kiss of fawning peace

contest: in other definitions, something holy
depending on the context, contest: I do not beg to differ
but demand, not approbation but an alternative nation

one for whom dreaming words suffice.sighed oh sighed
the White Knight in the white nights?
be nice said the newly stern aggressively

and why did their voice always carry
even to the Space stations?
carry the One said Lewis

then divide the wave from the wave
the Sea from the sea in looking up
Infinity in the book with blank pages...

contest: what the knights were sent for
(in alternate ages)
if not this/ isn't this their trial?

the trail's confused, cried the bards mistaking the
civil court for the criminal one and we're
wandering wandering out again (step quick!)

God's nomad(s):through the corridors of music
untrainable they would have said,

if you had let them.

mary angela douglas 18, 21 september 2015;2 march 2016

Monday, September 14, 2015

Oh World Where It Often Happens

oh world where it often happens
the fairytale's bitten off at the stem
so that it can

no longer flourish or
the rainbow bales are pitched
too far from here

so that the horses cannot feed
and run away
and we must run after them

coaxing them back with impossible apples
all made of gold enwrought of former
happiness ah

tilted moons over the village
and lilacs all afternoon
we watched you blown in

a silver wind and all this
even without pretending!
will it not come to pass

then sighed the older child
the older man, alas,
the lady with one rubied shoe

at last at the last
sunset hour
where it still might all happen anyway...

I can't say otherwise

mary angela douglas `15 september 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Oh Life Of The Deep Dish Cherry Pies Of The Sudden Discrepancies

oh lifetime of cherry pies, of the sudden discrepancies.
you, with your quicksilver yearning to fly but
stay cried the child through tears for the years of

the mama departing to get groceries; imagining
she would not return.
and she sat down on a sunny step overcome

on this thin porch; too young yet to tell the difference
between one goodbye and another;
feeling that to disappear round the corner

was not to be ever coming back.
and so, that was you: in your small blue dress, disconsolate.
prescient, perhaps considering what

happened later.

what cannot be learned is second sight though you
fling the leaves of shadows down
the dream trees growing out of time

she said she said to the wind
outside the school choruses;
the December madrigals

I'll wait for you here and

standing still in a circle of small stones
that mark these rooms in the dust.

sweep with pine twigs all of this, you must
she sighed to herself
not only on Saturdays that the

marigold light will filter through the afternoons
and laugh and play that it may
always be this way was her final

word on the subject where we said 'no backs, no backs'
even while playing jacks;even then,
the sorbet sun would be already melting

where only the small birds heard and chirped
in a fond, green answering music:
"forever. always...

mary angela douglas 12 september 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

In A Silver Province

[in the Dorian mode, in the Russian minor]

in a silver province
trackless we walked through snows
matchless though none could see us

in a silver province
someone brought chilled fruit
chilled fruit for no reason at all

we were the endless looping of God
in a silver province

and shone is the word I favored
through and through and shine
and shining in a silver province

stepped through a heretofore frozen door unlatched, unlatched
my soul in a dress of pure silver with shivery sleeves
shivery as diamonds hemmed

in a silver province

mary angela douglas 11 september 2015

Apology With Rosers To Ogden Nash

this is the song about pfiffel
for when you are in a bad pickle
or this is the poem about waffles

for when things are patently awful
because you put in too much thyme
in the dish that was squozen with lime

and posers stopped bringing you rosers,
and now I have cheated I know it
by thinking I just could compose it

my poem I mean with a word never seen.
but who cares when it isn't a contest
that makes me like writing the best.

it's just that none told me to do it
and that's why I never can rue it
but cheerfully always pursue it:

the habit of words upon words
even when they come off as absurd
but who asked you? I ask you and you!

and now I am perfectly through.

mary angela douglas 11 september 2015

And Yet, I Salute The Flag Of The Golden

And yet, I salute the flag of the golden
who live in Light.
who have no other country., really.

holding their breath
till the storm passes
or the one note

in the bravest song.
who smile anyway
whenever the shingles fly

strange birds
or the earth shifts.
who think of something better

even on the brink
on the verge
who watch the flight of birds

till the silver flickers out of the clouds.
and who do not need to speak of this:
out loud.

mary angela douglas 11 september 2015

Being Warehoused

being warehoused,
you hang bright curtains;
the brightest you can find.

but they have to come down;
the lining's not correct
when viewed from the street.

you stand in lines correctly

hoping they will smile when its your turn.
is it possible there are smiles
that are wounding? you have this to learn.

it is possible.
don't decorate your cell
someone said once.

slowly, you learn why.
and earn the right each day
to live inside-

as richly as you choose,


mary angela douglas 11 september 2015

Sunday, September 06, 2015

All This Singing In The Color Red

all this singing in the color red
exorbitant with the flare of trumpets
loud and then louder


I fled from rooms the color red.
seeking the solace of the pastel breeze.
the unfeigned marble richly veined

and testing Time ,the white gold

rose of the moon unfolding
the dove of quiet only
restlessly silken, not needing to please

perceived as mist is not; not

to be counted among the numbered
making their splash among the splashers
or the lightning fed. eschewing instead,

the fools gold ratatata of the rococo.
at home in the kitchen drinking cocoa
watching the snowy sweep of the tick and the tock

past the apartment window
through complimentary interstices of venetian blinds
settle the evergreens and the pines
in the winters deep.

mary angela douglas 6 september 2015

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Here On Apple Island

here on apple island
winesap sunsets come and go,
stray cats,

the whirring of fans slowly
on the skyscapes
of our favorite landings.

call it home.
and in an unexpcted breeze
confettied light

we'll have apple tarts complete with
tea sets carved of wood and deep
within they harbor

teacups, saucers
everything pretend
you could wish for

being new to housekeeping.

children play in the pinkening doorways
apple cheeked and are so neat
and housewives sweep

when the needles fall
all golden delicious when
it's Christmas always

toffee foiled and laden
and apple buttered up and down the yards
for all the visiting bards

whose poems are labeled in the little store
near the feedsacks and the jams, the canned
goods and the rose geraniums:the oversalted hams,

"made on Apple Island".

mary angela douglas 5 september 2015