Saturday, October 31, 2015

Play in One Act

oh spindle bright or the
ballet looms of snow
shone in the lamplight not my own 

for who owns the moon she said

or the sun
that we may embroider it on our petticoats.
and it's a school play

and the audience comes
and the lines are given but
all the wrong ones

and the play is spoiled
and the costumes ruined
and the stage sets serve

for the homes of fools
who wear the crown and
the lopsided sun

and the moon sobs down
the dawns among
the annointed

on the sidelines

mary angela douglas 31 october 2015

What You Need Is A Kind Of Fort

what you need is a kind of fort
no one in the silver woods will find.
that clouds passing over will surprise;

the flower snows.

and you've laid by spiced apple rings
and amber butters piled up to the skies
in mason jars;

fresh school supplies-

through the hard frosts making valentines
and humming to the Trinity so cordially,
dark cherry chorales...

but they, they've grown so wise

carting your playthings off to strangers.
and they occupy their time
being the beggar in disguise

no longer Kings


mary angela douglas 31 october 2015

Pooh, It's A Day For Typos

pooh it's a day for typos piped Piglet bravely
but Pooh was busy unspelling:
that's spelling or trying to

while walking backwards
in no shoes
and thinking it's best now

to stop for Honey.
yes, on a day perfect for typos
oh so sunny

our friends tripped on in
the Hallowed Woods
not trying to be funny

while writing tragedy
(they thought they were-)
locked out of the writer's conferences

for making up new words
but happy in their traipsing
trespassing ways

their forays into the language
paws and all
so happy they could burst:

headfirst, into all the mistakes...

mary angela douglas 31 october 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

All Souls Stood In The Wicklight

all souls stood in the wicklight of no candles burning down
and you just wanted to be the
Princess with the sun on her sleeve

oh now I only feel the sheer sleeve's shadow
its refingered gold on old sheet music
blowing along the ground

in the Whirlwind standing still as Whitsun's Eve...

not yet= I will- and could have been the wind
through ancient trees and should have been the
Princess with the moon on her sleeve;

the small stars in your sleep
and yet, was not.
was not nor will be

cried my angels in the dark
without prophesying.
you will carry your heart 

like an ivory charm
and bruise your hands.
look out of the window when

the diamond stars come down
and gather them in,
the songs you have found

and the half sleeves of the swan

mary angela douglas 30 october 2015

Cartwheel

I wonder where old cartwheeled shadows go
when children leave home
no longer standing on the picnic table

to reach their favorite tree
or scraping their knees on smooth linoleum.
strawberries we called them

knowing they weren't dessert
and as for that wouldn't you
give almost a king's ransom

to relish strawberry ice cream
the way that we did then
when the sun winked like

crushed raspberries through
the picture window near
the piano;

where you learned all that music
by heart.
and the pine trees loomed like

guardian angels
in the firefly dark

mary angela douglas 30 october 2015

The Golden Ball Slips Down the Well And...

a smattering of paint on a plain piece of paper
ballooning out like a jellyfish classroom mural
on butcher paper;

roses huge  as skyscrapers on green mint posterboard

and circuses with the sun in the right hand corner,
these are the things we made
in the goldfish days before show and tell

where we were observed at our spelling
in the wishing well intermissions
of the play.

and you are the good fairy in red keds
on the auditorium stage
and so realistically she said,

don't cry Princesss, or she is gone
we don't know where
a lavender cloud on the dusky stair

and when will we where will we
ever find her

mary angela douglas 30 october 2015

Sidestepping The Classroom Slide Shows

side stepping the classroom slide shows
of the new New World's Fair.
the bouquets made from kleenex and

green pipe cleaners.
I read the fairest of the fair

again
shattering the mirrors,
old records

tracking us
like birds in
all our future migrations,

they warned.
we played fruit basket turn over,
musical chairs; happy with the

pineapple upside down cake.

and where can you hide from questions
you don't recognize?
in the closet with the school supplies?

I'll improvise with crayons
another way out:slipping from the monkey bars
after the third rung;

making something tacky
out of construction paper
to take home.

where I'll be glad on Christmas vacations
ever after.
though no tunes swell from the crimson

crepe paper bells

hung from the rafters
for the hurricane parties.

and I'm not the class hall monitor
and I'm not anything at all;
too small in the yearbook pictures

not to be in the front row
ringing the glass bells

dreaming of snowfalls
deflecting paperwads
and smirks

and whatever it is that lurks
distracting you from finishing
the Classics.

but
read on, my friend.
despite the caterwauling

from the cafeteria
coteries of the cotillioned
you hear still;

take the game of Let's Pretend
out in the world with you
in your pale cutwork dress,

in love with the Spring air
and half remembered madrigals.
you're going to need it out there.

mary angela douglas 30 october 2015

Jewelry Box Tune For Dorothy

one emerald falls and then another;
brilliants from the recurring sky,
a little worn out from a repeating dream

and are you looking back in Time?

is that allowed here?
better go back to prairie chores;
the thinned out clouds

to scraping the last bit of butter
on your toast.
but heavy on the plum preserves.

oh but you can't you said
expect that from me
with all those emeralds in my head

and you want a jewelry box for Christmas
lined in cream satin instead of overshoes...
one with the wisp of a dancer

turning in miniscule circles
to a fancy dime sized tune.
a box of the moon and stars

from the eporium
whenever you look inside;
and postcards from old friends.

the one where you hide

whenever the wind starts up
when you're out of school and
half way home

with your little pup
when the dust kicks up...
and so alone

mary angela douglas 30 october 2015

Transparencies Of The Pear Tree

[for exiles, past and present]

transparencies of the pear trees against the early skies
I have kept for you whispered the Lord in my april ear

on the page where the tear would not be translated.
what is an Age? an Epoch? a Year when your heart is breaking;
all the shining realms laid waste.

I will not lose this transparent day, this hour;
this reprieve I said to the clouds through scattered moonlight.
they say You vanished they say many things

on holidays repeating the rules of the road
like automatons

but I have seen transparencies of the pear trees
against a sky inordinately blue
and heard the crystal ring against old Christmases

foreign wings, angelic disasters
oh Lord, make haste
we are far from the continents of music

and the threading of your stars.

mary angela douglas 30 october 2015


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I Believe In The Mythical South

I believe in the mythical South
the one dripping with magnolias,
honey suckle vined but

interspersed with the tick tock
of my grandfather's window shield wipers
on rainy days

when he drove us to St. Mary's
my sister and I
in his pale blue Ford Galaxy

I never learned to drive but sporadically
I believe in the South like I
believe I dreamed I was in a world

without sadness dripping Poetry's
golden lines, the gingerbread times the
nursery rhymes and Liszt as

played by my Grandmother in
her rose red dress.
please, do not think of me as

remiss that I don't count up the crimes
I know are there, the lack of air for some
their stolen lives long.

we have to live  somewhere, all of us.
it's clear to me we can't live in history,
not one of us;

even God wouldn't want to live there

and so I say again as if it were a prayer
that bears repeating the South is a dream

of corn bread dipped in the honeycomb of
what you all dreamed was home when home
was no longer there.

mary angela douglas 27 october 2015

Sunday, October 25, 2015

And The Christmas Emmy Goes To...

the imaginary toy company
spitting out Christmas toys
secretively

behind the high hedge
behind our school
behind the back of

the Christmas beyond
we sneak outside in between
classes, just missing the bells

if only we had more time...
one Christmas when Grandmother
was sick the packages were labeled

on the back to separate the toys from
those of a neighbor doing double duty
shopping, her angels and us.

look my sister said in awe
they're labeled.
and unwrapped them while I watched

beneath the Tree-in marveling glee

then wrapped them up again
meticulously.
we thought we'd beat the game of

waiting. but Christmas morning
there were no surprise.
just our rather too wide eyes.

mary angela douglas 25 october 2015

Beauty Of The Seven Dresses

[an original fairy tale]

beauty of the seven dresses
a tale that proved my theory
that some tales are hand-me-downs

for their titles only,
some poems.
for the one thread throughout

the iridescent one
the one of pure viridian
and if you pull on it

the moon will unravel
the stars will pucker
in the night skies

and it will be all your fault

and then you will have a real story to tell
all over the kingdom if you live that long
only, this time, can you please describe

the seven dresses in one?
and don't forget to say that of course
if you had a dress like this

you're only going to wear your best
opals with it!

oh all right, I'll do it for you.
first of all, of course they were sumptuous:
each one in itself a paragon

such silks, such stuffs, such inset beadwork
colours of the Renaissance
deeper deeper by far than the Princess sighing

in the gardens; all the velvets you suppose
of rose of azure of provencal purples yes
and the veils over them misting so that

the other fabrics shimmer through like a seven note scale or
a perfume blended of the seven flowers

giving a hint of layered dimensions, superimposed
dream on dream unto the seventh scene

so that this is indeed a story of the seven joys
and cannot be embroidered too finely
no matter who translates it,,,

mary angela douglas 25 october 2015



How Can They Speak At All

how can they speak at all?
distancing themselves from music
as they do?

my quarter notes spill all on the ground
in front of the before-school witnesses
like rubies from the wounded as they

are carried off-stage.
whole notes never found
the milk white maids betrayed

in the ancient songs.
"spoken in jeweled tones"
said they of cold renown

putting their two cents in

as if there were any language
left to them at all,
or should have been.

cheering their cheers to win.

the skies floated out
like a pale blue shawl.
I will count to ten and hide

as if I were a cloud at home
in the silken spooling distance
away from all this hurt;

my sapphires
summer rinsed.
hung out to dry and with

no recompense.
the song the Queen sang to herself;
the one you lent to her

before you thought better of it.

mary angela douglas 25 october 2015


So Shy In Our White Straw Bonnets

so shy in our white straw bonnets
with the realistic cherries bunched on the side.
this is Easter we felt

in the mild sunshine.
in our pastel dresses as if
going to the party of the Lord.

and Grandfather polished our shoes on Saturday
and gave us the collection dimes.
then we sang the hymns we thought of

as robins egg blue you know
"When Morning Guilds the Skies".
later at home, finding the Paas eggs

cradled in the irises
we got cold
and went inside filling up on gumdrops

jelly beans, the chocolate rabbit stuffed
with marshmallow cream.

and this was Easter.this was like a dream
and makes me cry now.

mary angela douglas 25 october 2015

They Will Want You To Tell The Story

they will want you to tell the story
as though it had cherries embroidered
in every corner

as if it were spun sugar
rosebud pink, nightlighted home.
and you in your scarab braclet,

your gipsy skirts for
the school assembly.
fifteen petticoats.

they will wait for the chime
of every xylophone colour
and you will oblige them.

you, with your apple blossom
tendencies. your perfect spelling.
but I remember distinctly

your throat full of crystal tears
sparkling as the children say
like diamonds; your snow bright

necklaces under Orion signifying...

we got lost
just going to the corner store
around the block

or if it's all the same to us-
and it was, the weather
turned into

rhinestones we loved as much.
selections of cordial cherries in the drug stores.
everything was gemmy then

the week before Christmas
so that we keep going back
in the Holiday time machine

only to leave again.

mary angela douglas 25 october 2015

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Paperwork

in my dreams I'm finishing up old paperwork
not my own; someone else's.
someone who didn't do the work themselves

and judges me continually.
in my dreams I can't stop working
for other people

without getting paid
though wondering why
at odd moments

am I
still there in
dusty warehouses

with one violet windowpane

adding up the results
and falling short

of expectations
I never had.
and if I find the key

I'll let myself out.
I'll let myself out
on a side street

and hurry away
and I'll never go back

and they can file old invoices
up in the Sky
for all I care.

I'm anywhere else.
until I die.
and on my knees

asking God
for no carbon copies.
please.

mary angela douglas 24 october 2015

Someday God Seeding The Clouds With Rainbows

someday God, seeding the clouds with rainbows
will be only overjoyed and then we'll see
his riotous roses overtaking the gardens

and the sea ruffled seashore dotted
with perfect sandcastles.
who made them you will ask

and then you will laugh
having answered your own question.
and the butter yellow butterflies

through the roadside grass
will swarm in the honeycombed day
that doesn't have to end except when

we say

and the bluebird summons come to our door
and the doves grow iridescent
well into the evening's eaves.

mary angela douglas 24 october 2015

Heart Under Construction

happy with classroom construction paper hearts
we welcomed February, her mulberry skies.
the paper doilies' lavishness; more than enough

glitter for an icestorm.
we were warm inside, tracing the heart again
and again with perfect pencil lines

edging it with lace.
with snow in our yard
and the moon just

one exquisite scallop
of vanilla scooped.
how simple to think that there

could be
a box on a calendar day in the classroom
covered with butcher paper

and cut out hearts
that could contain
all the love we could send in one day.

and so I rain down all my paper hearts
for you oh cherry riddling world
from now till then

inscribing your name
on all the candies.

mary angela douglas 24 october 2015


They Have Drowned Your Maytime

they have drowned your maytime
and oh how in vain the sprigs of syringa
from this Spring I carried then

for you
I broke from the twig
and the green woods echoing

echoing my breaking there.

and echoing I also said
they have drenched your snow
blossoming name.

days I watched to no purpose
the quick overnighted, lightning budding of the leaves,
of tiny flowers suddenly sparkling

of the children gathering there
the little children.
dread like a sea has drowned it all

until the last toll of God.
maytime, village, stones and all
our folkloric stores, the filtering

stained glassed suns.
the whitened bells in the undertow
(the open door no more no more

onto the little gardens.)
dragging all music
from the irised shores.

mary angela douglas 24 october 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

Some Days I Think Of Swans

some days I think of swans
the way Hans Andersen did
on the glass lake in front of

the castle and the tin soldier
helpless without water
gazing without water

in the thirst of his soul
and the dancer there
with her bit of tinsel

he mistook for a heart.
some days I think of
swans, the wilder version

living out their spell
and from the height of vast cloud
countries he can tell you

how it looks down below them
and it makes you dizzy.
how did he get this from books

the way of telling
so that you could feel
it was you there in the clouds

you yourself there circling and circling
looking for the place to land.
or still, on the glass waters

with the other actors
playing the scene
or like the mermaid

only a gleam
upon the waters.
this gleam is your love-

you are gone, then.

mary angela douglas 23 october 2015

Your Face Is A Flower

your face is a flower too often lost
in the ribald world.
blossoming where

in the darkening air
and clouds pass over it,
and streams of light

shadows of leaves, unseen
angels.
your face a flower between

scene and scene
played upon by fools.
your face with its music

not for their amusement made.
your face a coolness
in the shade

varies like star from star
sways slightly on its stem.
does not bow down

to them.

mary angela douglas 23 october 2015

Somewhere An April Star

[for Sara Teasdale, poetess]


Let it be forgotten, as a flower is forgotten,
   Forgotten as a fire that once was singing gold,
Let it be forgotten for ever and ever,
   Time is a kind friend, he will make us old.

If anyone asks, say it was forgotten
   Long and long ago,
As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall
   In a long forgotten snow.
-Sara Teasdale

somewhere an April star could chime

the name of Sara Teasdale.
name of quiet.

name of flame.

made of shadows in the rain
weeping over the beautiful.

your poems were sung

then grew from fashion.
you wrote cloudier poems

and turned from girlhood's fancies

charmed to stone.
sara, the winds sang all alone

when you weren't there.

sara, your poems would call you back
from everywhere

till the next star chimes in Time

with ever the green of earth imbued.
such poets now are few,

Sara.


mary angela douglas 23 october 2015