Monday, November 30, 2015

What Is The Use Of Colours Perhaps They Sighed Into Their Flasks

what is the use of colours perhaps
they sighed into their flasks;
some of them, anyway,

while the poets cried
and children at their tasks:
it is just loveliness;

you may as well ask
the use of the wind, the grass
the skies when they are blue

or other hues and I know I know
it can all be explained numerically
biologically magnetically 

but oh, colours, since I knew you by name
in my own language, I have never been the same
and I have never wanted

to quantify you

mary angela douglas 30 november 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

I Remember The Pear Tree

[a variation on the traditional Christmas carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas"]

This poem was simultaneously inspired by the incomparably beautiful poem of Yevgeny Yevtushenko 'Colours' which I believe, translated from the Russian into English stands as one of the most beautiful poems in the English language (and surely the Russian, if I only knew it there) I am quoting it here in full because if this poem were a musical composition I would want the carol and the 'Colours' to bear an equal part...

When your face
appeared over my crumpled life
only the poverty of what I have.
cular light
on woods, on rivers, on the sea
became my beginning in the coloured world
in which I had not yet had my beginning.
I am so frightened, I am so frightened,
of the unexpected sunrise finishing,
of revelations
and tears and the excitement finishing.
I don't fight it, my love is this fear,
I nourish it who can nourish nothing,
love's shipshod watchman.
Fear hems me in.
I am conscious that these minutes are short
and the colours in my eyes will vanish
when your face sets.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

I remember the pear tree
though you would not call it a golden thing now-
or even possible;

the partridge with its ruddy wing;
the swans upon their pond:
that they were spun of fine glass

like my escalating heart into
which God could pour in snow bright radio waves
deep colours

when I thought, it was only you, my late remembered
picture book of days.

oh that you had given me unnumbered ways,
His mirrors, the flocks of the stars.
many dancers danced to my door;

the wreathed singers under the windows
that I flung wide that day
in my amazement stunned,

though the pipers drove me mad at daybreak
till I sent them away.
how glad was I for the singing colours,

the rainbow ribands, floating tides

of some Divine clear victory decreed;
the inner scars branching into cherry healing;
the vivid air you christened with crystal.

and merriment, in waves.

now the castle is dun.
the dulcimer dimmed with dusk and
the way is shut to me,

littered with your fantastical presents.

so once upon!...
how will you answer me when I call,
dressed all in silver, caroling to the last;

unclasping the sunset colours.
no gold upon the tree.
with only the mourning doves for company.

mary angela douglas 29-30 november 2015 rev, 3 december 2016

In Heaven

thinking on the things you lose
the shoe trees in the closet; your old overshoes.
the little things in the Christmas stockings

you would like to see again-
more than any metropolitan museum.
brazil nuts, candy canes, a rubber ball,

the odd unexpected

toy, the something more tucked out of sight;
the first refrains of the angels...
the roseate glow over all those scenes so tinsel bright

when Christmas was green and you were.

I want to go where the tick tock is new
and we look forward to leaving school
for two whole weeks and live at home

and not even in the summer. is there: such richness.
what a miracle it seems that
these things ever were

and I believe each one
no matter how far it's tucked under 
the Tree of Memory with it's

aluminum foil wrapped Star-

we will recognize again,
in Heaven.

mary angela douglas 29 november 2015

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Angels When They Are Good Are Transparent

angels if they are good are transparent
so that their message shines; not them.
they step aside for the Word made clear

and disappear themselves not even
into themselves but further away.
they make no friends but God

yet they can weep to watch our sleep
and stir the waters that were still before
where the wounded come:

endless streaming over darkened hills.
do angels dream I wondered; maybe
you wondered, too.

or are we their wondering?
we who still can't find our way without a nightlight;
no longer in our infancy.

and in distress,
even while laughing,
are they our looking glass?

are they the passing breeze?

mary angela douglas 28 november 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Did You Say Something

did you say something?
perhaps they ask.
or maybe, they won't.

but you did.
you do.
and it's you that is always feeling your

words drift back
like lines of snow
when the wind shifts.

and there are they gathering,
the plains of snow;
such an accumulation.

and soundless.
do birds hear your
snowspeech reaching

into their flights in dreams
the small ones in storms

their wings also beaten back
and still they soar.
and when the light comes streaming,

they sing.
you, too.
I know.

mary angela douglas 26 november 2015

To The Person Of Large Heart Reading The Small Poem

[to you at the open mic, proceeding]

you had to work yourself up to get here
standing before strangers;
your heart in your hands.

barely able to control the shaking.
at home you were so sure the
poem you wrote would endure

and you dreamed so joyously, if I read it
surely people will know finally
what shines in me

and maybe they will love me for it.
maybe they will.
I know they will

but now before the faces
you've never seen before in your life
and in the vastness

you wish you hadn't come.
still you go on
and your voice is shaking

and you know there's nothing
you can do about it now;
you, with your small poem

before the impassive crowd.

oh why you think did I ever come
to read my poem out loud.
but oh I wish and oh I think

you should take heart
you with sorrow trembling on the brink
and ready to fall

and critics should just stand apart
from judging you because
aren't we all just children

in the dark, stuttering-
waiting for the Angel to come?

mary angela douglas 26 november 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Minimalism Explained

this is your life without parades.
at least not the parades you were thinking of;
with only one kind of ice cream.

a firework or two. let's say. two:

of the two one kind of explodes

above the flower bed.

the other one fizzles,
half way dead

and for dessert you get:

half a cherry from the
black forest cake

they're carting away-

under its snowflake of powdered sugar.
or aspertame.

you deal out one card only

at the card games
on the green baize placemat

all the rage. fringed on one side.

it's a little difficult to play it

that way but
you survive.

you, with your one earmuff,

when winter arrives.

mary angela douglas 25 november 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

If I Catch The Hem Of My Dress On Your Clouds

[Cinderella's hymn]

if I catch the hem of my dress on your clouds
will you defend me?
mockers flood the ground and rivers

how can I stand still
monogrammed with the winds
if I catch the hem of my dress

on your clouds.
sing aloud the sing song sing
but I lacked wings

or anything
too far afield
at the bus stop every a.m.

amen they say
and fold their hands
and look askance

because they can
when I catch the hem
of my dress on your clouds.

and I don't have a valentine
not even a sweetheart neckline
for the party

all in pink. I will step out
in the mists again I think
with you, with You

my only friend
if you'll defend me when
I catch the hem of my dress

on your clouds.

mary angela douglas 24 november 2015

All Lives Are Unfinished She Said

all lives are unfinished she said
finishing the seam and seamlessly
on some cotillion dress

it's the brocaded life you'll always miss
if you chose the one accented with only crystal
the slippers to match

the little little veil
and you are not held in place as you imagine
sewing your toeshoe ribbons down but

slipping away on any windy day
without your barrettes

and wondering
where am I next, never indexed
on the colorfull index cards

in the little box
and is this passible

she said holding it up to the light
a dress of sheer fire shining
not made to impress but astonish

how could I answer her
while I was weeping merely pearls, emeralds, rubies
and could express, nothing.

mary angela douglas 24 november 2015

Screenplay For The Walrus (O.K., The Carpenter, Too)

let them scuttle away with their pincers
into the pink sands those who want you to
wash their dishes forever etc.

I've heard of the oysters demise

and how they thought they were going to be happy.
we were not born for someone else's feast
I wished the fated (feted?) oysters cried

who thought they were going to dinner
but were eaten alive;
some picnic!

there by the sea, seaside where they did not
could not,suspect a thing
being spread with premium butter.their little eyes shut

dreaming it was a summer Christmas
and there was going to be a surprise.

Mr. Carroll was miffed perhaps the day he wrote
this being maybe sick of mathematics, faculty politics
or the Mathematics Department,(sigh)

I know the feeling. whatever the cause (pause)
only Alice got out alive.

mary angela douglas 24 november 2015

Coming Out Of The Spell, Gladly

have I mislaid the fairy tale tasks?
well, not the ones set for me by others
who wanted their castles finished by sunset

and then larger ones by next evening. instantly.
did I come here for real estate I wondered;
was this why my mother pricked her finger

on a rosebush so that she never saw me again
and why I was selling roses on street corners
and little else dreamed because I was too tired?

I will learn to see
the moon as the moon only; also the sun
floating through flushed clouds

as I did once when happiness
fell easily to me from out of any vivid sky.
than I had nothing to do with

who dwell only under toadstools
always coniving,

in vain in vain
seeing us all the same
if indeed, they saw us at all;

devising new afflictions wall by wall
to keep us in
when the old ones passed away impossible

impossible to please

on every given day.

mary angela douglas 24 november 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

I Saw Clouds Like Words And They Were Filled With Light

I saw words like clouds and they were filled with light
with rains with jeweled wings but oh they are floating
away and who will retrieve them.

so it is with a lost language when its continent goes under.
under the beaded waves with the mermaid countenances-
all that seaweed hair

and the pearled combs.
and if my eyes are detached from seeing
and if my heart is misaligned

it is because it is the cause the cause my soul:
these symbols have drowned in the tides;
the rose reign's images reined in.

mary angela douglas 23 november 2015

Who Could Be Anything Then

treated like the one who breaks the glassware,
who will notice you leaving the room in tears.
you could be gone for years.

you were;
stepping off the cliff on the lower level,
the one made of slate by the sliding doors.

how many I love yous did you write
on slates back then
in a game of let's pretend

while in a dress of true love blue
you wandered every recess
on your own.

you didn't mind it then or now
when God sent clouds and flowers to you.
who could be anything then

but happy?

mary angela douglas 23 november 2015

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cloak Of Invisibility Arrives; Populace Doesn't Notice

they will fold your tears into the smallest cloud
on the horizon. I mean the cherabim
in the old paintings; oh that there

could be such kindness you let yourself
think at lunchtime let out for
a moment's reprieve.

and oh, there is a breeze.
mild sunshine.

oh that you would not wander blind
missing the thing you were born for
your angels try to say

and you almost hear them.

then you'll go back to work where
on good afternoons you'll be seen
as invisible.

or else,  a thing to command.

wasn't that what you wanted when you were little?
just think! now you get paid for it.

mary angela douglas 22 november 2015;rev. 29 february 2016

Christmas Card to Mary And Zdeny 2015

Radio Free in the crystal air
on the crystal set, are you still there;
are the frequencies of sorrow begone!

in the good part of the fairy tale
where no one's crouching
under the radar

where there's snow on an old tv
a crummy couch and cabbage
roses on the wallpaper...

can you hear me dear Mary from the picture frame
on Zdeny's desk so beautiful in the sunset,
sunhat, summer dress with the tiny flowers-

with such flair
outspoken, spoken everywhere

are you still there she said he said
for hours and hours is

radio silence dead?
dead air? do you do something else instead
whatever you dream up; what's for supper?

are you still living, brightly? spritely? somewhere?
in God's care and radio free
or otherwise or otherwhere in other words,

are you still there; can you hear me?
is it allowed 
to say the things you've disavowed;

you love you love
out loud out loud

to be tuning out the countries of unease
to please only God who would like you
to play some jazz now please

for the good soldier
good good soldier indeed, translated now
for Eternity

and pleased as punch dear svejk must be;
can you tell me

how ever you are?
decorating the Tree with the Holy Star
and talking to God so Free so Radio Beautiful

outloud and saying and saying

mary angela douglas 22 november 2015

Glasstown But Not The Brontes

the glass soldiers broke while I looked on;
standing in pieces on the ground
and overhead a droning sound

and in my heart, a blankness.
you talk around me in the frozen air
while my breath clouds the windowpane

and all your talk of guilt and blame
rolls down the glass in streaming rains
and winter dreariness.

you will say that I broke them on purpose
when you find me.
I will lose my chance

at blackberries for supper;
an extra scoop of dream.
do I seem to you that ragged?

I am a glass soldier too;
the shards all driven inward.
what war did I ever start.

mary angela douglas 22 november 2015

Winter Accolade (To God)

[and for Rita A, Yadamec, my friend,in memorium- who loved winter best {because it required faith and was less obvious than Spring)]

you brought clouds and doves.
the grey silk linings.
and in a ray of sun

it all turns silver.
I cherished the winters
you gave us.

the guardian pines are in my heart at all times
flocked with snows and starlight,
perpetually Christmas.

quietly you have given us
the snows from the moons.
the planets for children.

let me gather them here.

the clouds weeping oh sweeping
the immeasurable Plains.
immensities of violet light,

my midwest distances now.
they charge my iridescences
with crimes thinking I have

served clowns and wearing blinders
when they read my lines so that
my heart, is bent and almost banished.

but I am sent to love your distances.
your chilled iridescences.
the colour green wistfully

dreamed through the mists.
and should not relinquish this.

mary angela douglas 22 november 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Somebody's Got To Say This

my mind. my thinking is,
most people say we say it all the time
I think, my mind's my own. I think for myself.

I'm telling you, there's bad elves in there somewhere.
some real bad boogers.

if your mind is yours
why does it always obsess

about the one fly in the ointment
the one gaffe at the party
or at every birthday, say

for decades
remind you of that time
two people

gave you the exact same thing. 
is the mind a friend? really?

why does it bring up in vast array
at odd moments: every single
horrible thing that ever happened to you.

would a friend do that?
does it ever bring up at odd moments
the vast array of good things that happened?

the compliments?
it throws those in a dungeon
surrounded by crocodiles.

good luck getting in there.

to get it to remind you of the good stuff on its own
without conscious effort on your part is well nigh

somebody's got to say it out loud with a lot of
pauses between the words so that it sinks in finally
cause the mind just doesn't want you to know this.

your mind is NOT yours. it's occupied by foreign forces
marshalling, to the default always set
like some nightmare librarian,historian,contrarian

data clerk all the records on:
things you wish you'd never said;
the grade school days the

whole class laughed their heads off at you.
everytime you spilled something on your tie, your dress
or prounounced something the wrong way

in broad daylight.
all the people that ever looked at you weird,
the cast of thousands. and it's always,

going forward, scribbling it all down faster and
faster like a haywire steongrapher, court reporter.
did you get that? screams one bad elf to the other

but not so you can hear. Here's a new Fear, they chortle.

why doesn't the mind ever spontaneously
bring up things: like dark cherry ice cream, rainbows,
extra puddings in your lunchbox.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT???????????????????????

mary angela douglas 21 november 2015

P.S. Hey, now I know who's making all the typos. It's the steongrapher. (stenographer).

Diversionary Angels Out At Night; The Moon Behind Clouds

my diversionary tactical diversions do not work
I sobbed to the map of ice cream colours
handed out at school

and to the weathervane malting too

is everything melting then I cried
but something said don't cry
they won't understand you're ruled

paper without the lines

they'll think you're making it all up;
that your feelings are out of all proportion
to the event, whatever it was

that shrank the flowers in the flower pots
on a sunny day
and I'm amazed I can do it

if I try if I pretend my
life depended on it:

all evidence of tears
and learn to wear
a face within my face

that still believes in roses
though not in outright poses
and this, for years and years.

how soon the moon disappears
through diversionary clouds
when you're out at night walking

and in the upper atmosphere
some angel may appear from
time to time and chime

when you're on the scene the
answers to the sweetest letters
you almost wrote to God

mary angela douglas 21 november 2015

They Say Even Molecules Change Their Behavior

they say even molecules change their behavior
when they are watched.
perhaps they don't want to be

butterfly board pinned down
by those collecting data however altruistically.
likewise, "the poor"

sleeping out of doors
pinpointed by the possibly
warm hearted census takers

will hide out on the day it's
an all out effort being made
at giving back to that

population; at least,
in terms of counting them.
who is free from speculation?


from being marked as part of
some particular herd
by the overweening.

and not at all seen

for the snowflake unique
someone they feel
themselves to be or used to feel
or never feel at all like a perpetual

numbness in everlating snows or

crying themselves to sleep or Death
amidst the golden keening of the angels.

are birds? free?

at least the untagged ones
with no migrations tracked.
and do they sing more beautifully then?

knowing they've escaped
that kind of fate

mary angela douglas 21 november 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Sometime, I'd Like To

sometime I'd like to
live under a snowbank
until Spring and

little birds would bring me
things, shiny objects
berries on a string

an ice pink cake or so. and then
I'd dream I fell into a farther cave
below all rainbow glow,

but softly,so as to stir no sound;

with unusual staircases
and no one yelling in the halls
so that it echoes endlessly

and no one slamming doors on purpose.
no one at all.
and I'd translate from phrases delicately made

snow patterns or the traces of the stars
dead, long ago come back to life
and find green rivers farther, deeper down

and waterfalls so clear, bedight with angels.

and solve bright mysteries in the lost
and founds and swear to you
that life spent underground, this way,

is closer to Heaven
than you might think.

mary angela douglas 20 november 2015