Saturday, January 31, 2015

WITH GREAT GRIEF AND PRAYERS TO THE PEOPLE OF RUSSIA

With Great Grief and Prayers for the Loss of the Archives in the Library in Moscow-
Please Know and Be Comforted There are Libraries in Heaven Where Everything Is Intact and All That Was Previously Destroyed on Earth and All that Never Even Saw the Light of Day Is Eternally Preserved by God and by Christ: In Heaven. You will see your loved words again as well as your loved ones.

NOTHING GOOD PERISHES IN GOD.

Mary Angela Douglas

January 31, 2015


I DREAMED I SAW THE LIBRARIES OF HEAVEN

"E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle."*

-Dante

I dreamed I saw the libraries of Heaven
and many books were there
that never saw the light of day on

earth-

and there were no sentinels at the door:
and in the air, something like flowers
and when you turned the page,

fresh meadows, endless hues-

and in a corner resplendent with light
and no newspapers-
you were reading by heart
and could not die-

mary angela douglas 13 may 2005

[reposted January 31, 2015]

*"and we walked out once more beneath the stars."

from Dante's Inferno, Canto 34 (when the poets emerge from hell)

Learning To Deal With Us As Though We Were Machines

learning to deal with us as though we were machines
takes many years of study, so it seems.
it helps to have a background in the sciences.

learning to throw us over the cliffs
while simulating friendship, home and hearth
whatever we could imagine as the safest place to be

takes much finesse. don't bring a clipboard, smile.
ask personal questions.
whole schools exist and just for this
though they cry: under funded.

we are the underserved at best,
the students who think for ourselves
a little distressed. but they'll fix that, won't they?

they mimic kindness
calling us this.
we, who used to have our own names

before we came here.

mary angela douglas 31 january 2015

I Held Fast To The Cherry Branching Skies

I held fast to the cherry branching skies
even when the earth slipped, the angels
vaulted over the unseen banisters.

they lay on earth dissembled, and starlight
was chipped and I heard the broken glass
of far away sighs that some called music.

all this has passed except for the museums
where long ago springs remain you can see any Sunday
settling down with your coffee and biscotti

they are painted in
sweet greens and blues in a sunlight that

cannot fade in the gardens to which
we can never return, you know,
in the same way.

I have made much of  the cherry branching skies.
staying afloat in this way.

painting over the livid lightening of the storms.
the steaming fissures in the sidewalks.

mary angela douglas 31 january 2015

The Rosy Tea Of The Hibiscus Flower

the rosy tea of the hibiscus flower
was poured out in a dream.
wasn't every Spring a dream then

we were in when radiance streamed
through the dusty windows?
and we found violets as if

for the first time.
I will pour hibscus tea from a rosy teapot
till the day I die

it's poetry, isn't it?
sighed the child.
and I smiled, yes...

mary angela douglas 31 january 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Please Accept This Crust Of Bread

"I am the Bread of life..."
Christ

please accept this crust of bread.
may it be buttered with the sun.
with wildflower jam.

washed down with amber tea.

with forgotten happiness.
may it crunch when you bite into it
with the crunch of no more dreamlessness.

when you're hungry.
suddenly in prison
or merely alone in the day-to-day

with the moon behind the clouds

remember this piece of bread.
and be full.

mary angela douglas 30 january 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What Would The Pincushion Dream, Hans Andersen?

what would the pincushion dream, Hans Andersen?
to be stabbed with golden pins?
to fall in love with a thimble.

my lady's thimble, made of garnet,
the only one in the kingdom?
or maybe the whole display of thread:

the Coats and Clark spectrum
jewel like in array, the rainbow-spooled.
dizzy with colours would the pincushion lose

its balance? would it long to be threaded with light-
to become: oh impossible of all impossibilities
the embroidery of the moon and stars instead?

or mantled like a king with ah!

the flowers?

mary angela douglas 28 january 2015

Did I Arrive Too Early In My Apple Green

maybe I should have regretted
almost treading on your shadow;
removing one charm from the bracelet of the sun:

the one shaped like a treble clef?
the tiny piano with the hinged lid?
these were my crimes

the winds never whispered through the lilies.
the fir trees.
there was a meeting somewhere.

did I arrive too early in my apple green
confounding the centuries
and steeples with their glitter snow.

it comes down when you shake it.
I should know.

mary angela douglas 28 january 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

To Lieutenant Columbo,Immortal Detective Of The Nagging Clue

[to the lingering memory of the actor, Peter Falk...]

he never finished one bowl of chili.
ate hot dogs, almost, in the park.
boiled eggs for breakfast pulled out of a raincoat pocket
too early on the scene;

canapes when he was desperate by handfuls
with a rumpled face,sleep=deprived at the galas

couldn't hit a target. start a car.
grew dizzy in the heights, just about fainted in
the OR, couldn't find the exits.

grew seasick on the piers...
couldn't stand the sound of guns.

mostly he swallowed clues and so
sustained life.
a little hunched in a raincoat too small

for him. he made his wrinkled way
in all the neighborhoods so affably confused
(his ruse of all ruses) got
told to have some cake at the back door.

that was on a good day.
they all looked down on him
but he clicked away

ticking his everything off the list
sneezing behind the drawing room curtains or

in his grey horror of a rattletrap car
wending his way where the parking valets

looked askance. but the clue is somewhere,
that's the waltz of the off the subject banter
the one that doesn't fit with the others

like the Detective himself. the one that stands out.
and just when they think it's over and they're off the hook
there he is again, snooping in the shrubbery,

no matter how hard they wished he'd just disappear
but oh dear he's come back
and still on the same tack

having slept again in the same clothes, colloquial of speech,
confidential to a fault, wide eyed,
wafting his drugstore cigars, pacing it out while learning painfully
not to drop the ash absent mindedly in the grand

foyers or in the priceless ashtrays hey but. it's somewhere on the staircase, on the rug
where the dear departed lay slain, in the spring mud
nobody tracked in. who can say?
"Boy, this is some place!" he'd gush in Bel Air
putting them at ease and then:

did it rain on Tuesday?
reenacting it all, absorbed beyond the scene.
wherever it is they don't want you to be
you keep turning up, your head in the hothouse
popping up like an orchid or

with your dog who can't stop barking
(perhaps he's giving you clues in dog language...)
your unpaid bills wadded in one pocket
crammed in with an impossibly small notebook

while we wait to see just

what will trigger the latch and the grand detective spring
at them like a mad jack in the box with

the clue that rankles. the next to the last last question, sir,
one more thing, sir, if you don't mind. the golden ring grasped in the end by the unforgettable detective-
 the actor's inimitable performance

an immortal performance guaranteed to irritate the perps
and astonish us
so that we had infinite fun watching their faces unravel
and the schoolboy, wrap the sum, the flush of victory

sustained far beyond this week's episode...
or anything else on tv everafter.

how we wish in this evening sun that he'd come back from
mystery Heaven for a day with that
"just one more thing" the grand sweep of his hands

frankly, consoling the superior minds who thought
they'd easily outwit him and
then, the play's played out so consummately
and we can't even grasp what we've seen.
he's like the ants at the picnic who carry it all away.

without anyone seeing how it's done.
or that it's even gone.

mary angela douglas 26 january 2015


Note on the poem: I had a "just one more thing, sir" experience with this poem that I could not solve. There was another mysterious quality that Peter Falk embodied in his character Lieutenant Columbo from time to time, a really almost mystical, magical quality of seeming to want to befriend the criminal because he saw in  him something else than the crime . On those occasions I sometimes felt he was (as the character)prolonging the questioning sequences somewhat beyond the point in time when he actually had all the evidence in order to delay dealing the final death blow of the arrest. Or maybe the truth is Columbo had no friends being so single -mindedly obsessed with clues that didn't fit except in the moments leading up to the arrests!

This intensified the way the actors played off of each other in an often very touching way.

The most supreme example of this (as it was reflected in the response of the actor portraying the criminal)was in the episode with the very fine actor Ricardo Montalban as a Spanish matador who presented in the final scene his cape and his sword to Columbo in such a profound way it was incredible, as if acknowledging Columbo himself as a kind of matador pf the truth, but there are many other examples where a lot more is going on than a simple plot line.

As fine as the scripts were this kind of thing could not be written into the script. It all lay in the interpretation and the interpretive power of the actor and the exquisitely humanly vivid interpretations of Peter Falk seemed to draw out unseen dimensions of the well known actors playing the scenes with him.

This goes beyond acting I think into some immortal arena or pantheon that ultimately is indescribable, and that is the just one more thing, sir I cannot get into my poem and so I mention it here. And this is also why I was not surprised that Wim Wenders chose Peter Falk to briefly portray an angel come down to earth in one of his films. An angel with a twinkle in his eye who appreciates good coffee and has divine and human secrets he keeps well.

It is said that Peter Falk worked hard at investing his character with even many of his own personal qualities and quirks, even background. I think it would be hard if not impossible to find another character created by an actor with so much attention to detail, that is, in the parlance of artists, with love.

For anyone interested he wrote an autobiography "Just One More Thing" still available at abebooks.com or possibly Amazon. (or in your library perhaps) It came out in 2006 just 5 years before he passed away.

Oh Ghosts Of My Music, When Will We Depart

oh ghosts of my music
when will we depart
I will not leave without you.

here on the old rolls the census of your notes
has been taken. they will not hold you.
the composers in plaster of paris mold

the days into a kind of snow in my Grandmother's studio.
and everything is made vast.
oh may bright feelings last

perhaps you prayed
over the etudes your contemporaries
cast aside.

weeping into these transcriptions
as if they were your griefs, made .manifest.
and I have heard your violins, your pianos

the flowering glissandos and the harp's
descrescendo in order to outlast these deserts
under your invisible palms.

mirage-like you are not.
more solid than their schemes
who live to banish you.

as if they could
who breathed Heaven into our exile
as if you were a Heart

and chartered the countries where we
joy, apart.

mary angela douglas 26 january 2015

The Playhouse Dreamed: The One With Tuliped Curtains

the tulips on cream curtains glow
in brilliant red, in purple, orange
convincing you you're in Holland

and perhaps you know Van Gogh
and are kind to him
and he paints in your backyard

which somehow is enormous.
and this is where the clouds stand still
in fantastic swirls of blue

the air vibrates around the poplars
longing for the entire spectrum

and the stars grow so huge
that Yellow drips from the moon.
you fix coffee for him and bread

with cheese, a little toasted.
he paints the pear trees as if
it were the last Spring

for the Universe.
as if the earth were his bride.

mary angela douglas 26 january 2015

Sonatina In Rose

to live in a house with rose patterned wall papers
overlooking a rose garden
and when it snows, the roses merely sparkle

not forgetting to bloom.
to drift from rose room to room
as if you were fine perfume.

the venetian blinds are pink.
the tablecloths pale green.
you play the piano and then it seems

that music blooms and remembers your name.
how when the rose gold of familiar clouds shifts
over the trees

will you explain to the neighbors
to the angels at their ease

the tint of your windows.
or how will you even care
who live, a rose, among roses

anywhere you dream this.

mary angela douglas 26 january 2015

A Far Away Feeling At The Birthday Party

[a true story...]

a far away feeling at the birthday party
and you remember something from the long ago
yet, how can you? you're only ten years old.

the cake seems meant for someone else.
the raspberry ice from some other season.
you feel beyond all rhymes and cannot reason it out

you only feel:

surveying the table as if from soft distances:
are these presents
wrapped in pink and blue with their contrasting

curled ribbons really meant for you?
and there's a strangeness like an invisible guest
who says to you suddenly but in your own language:

but who are you? you wonder, suddenly apart.
and the sun leaves rings on all the furniture.
the children's voices

still like larks but
in a garden someone before you knew
are just beside you in their party dress and festive too but

you're in a larger room...

mary angela douglas 26 january 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I Saw The Amazing Skies With Their Very Own Watercolours

I saw the amazing skies with their very own water colours
shine and I felt the shine inside of them the pearl decked clouds
the feeling of music in me

drift, do not drift away I yearned but could not say.
and this was childhood.
they do not teach us this and think we are little because we are

amazed at the
skies and pearled within; they think of us as shells
and require of us school.
and yet without being taught we loved beauty, the high winds;

the little breezes in the rose garden.
and felt we could say things to the stars.

mary angela douglas 25 january 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Snatching The Tufts Of Starlight From My Lambs

[to George Herbert]
and to my poetry "flocks"

snatching the tufts of starlight from my lambs
a thief of mere peach sunsets came to call:
Hold Sir! I cried for I have more than technicoloured flocks

from the One who made all colours shine
than you can carry off in broad daylight:
under God's unblinking Eye,

thieving the type from the printer's, bold as May

in her several ribbons but it's obscene and will not
last the hour that fades that fades from grass
 green (and gold to straw spun backwards).

though gem cracked are the stars before you've finished
gleam to gleam and the very winds will cry away! away! to no avail
from the golden apples in the hold of childhood fantasies=

bereft, all all  the silver strays-
the violet-ridden and the Praise-
,. 
and tissue thin your arguments hold sway
above the indiscriminate mobs
you cannot  emulate my soul.

mary angela douglas 20 january 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Best Poem Of All Is To Wake In The Sunlight

[to the poet, Shelby Stephenson in honor of another day]

the best poem of all is to wake in the Sunlight
purple shadows like an arbor on the walls;
cross hatchings of the little stars now

behind clouds.
behind clouds that pass as another day will
burning out again in gold beyond the

trees across the street.
sometimes half waking from a dream they may
sway cloudy like the trees of childhood;

for a moment maybe you're back there
with the kitchen coffee meant for the grownups.
you, you're still a high chair child yet.

drinking the sunlight in.

mary angela douglas 19 january 2015

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Museum Of Sadness

and do you have a museum of sadness?
your very own? scattering the flowers before
you as you walk the trees may be while you

walk alone or on pavements of snow
hand in hand so tenderly with the Holy Ghost
the klieg lights of the moon on the lustre of the

very same marble and you know you know

the exhibits you'll want to see. the cafe across the street
as you remember the twilight's blue.
the angel guards with their grave faces.

you recognize the saturday sweaters, various letters.
the dried arrangements of who knows the best
bouquets you could have been sent at the time.

and in a frame of pearl the day you believed in
that came and went. the little stove that cooked cheap noodles.
the cinnamon shades are drawn.

and now, is it enshrined?
are the shadows mauve as if they were flowers too
in hiding from the brilliance of your sighs?

the pale green rectitudes in the scrapbooks on brown paper
where the tape is peeling the Christmas lights unwind
and in the corner, the things you wore
 amid fresh tuliped dreams:
the scarves with the glittering thread

the pale dance shoes.
the things you thought you said
inscribed in gold
and in your heart with the arrow drawn straight through:

a sob.

mary angela douglas 17 january 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Let Us Review The Hidden Things In The Picture

oh let us review the things hidden in the picture:
can you find them? the things that don't fit.
the oranges on the pear trees

the blue rains slanting upside down
upturning the parasols as if they were flowers.
moreover.

little houses with no doors in the foreground
the gnomes standing out there in the rain
with no raincoats. missing the jampots.

foam on the underside of the sea and so much
farther down than on the ink stained maps.
your Grandmother's old jewelry in the hold

of the ships beyond recall:

oh lost and milky jade oh the soft rose golds..the tiny clasp on the
necklace of the mustard seed.
 the pale trees snows;

the faith that you knew then with

its bridal white of the green grass verses underscored:
gold edged on India ink paper delicate as Heaven
must be:

the sad moon's steps all sloed in the middle of the day  and 
the hour when I don't have to say

the reasons I believe.

mary angela douglas 13 january 2015

Winged Music Starts Awake In A Clouded Chamber

winged music starts awake in a clouded chamber
at the turning of the rose stair in a dream
we came to life or wished we could and

soared over woods like the clouds we were
when we were small
and all the skies seemed chalk pink

scrawled on His translucent blues
and you wore your new patent shoes
and it wasn't even Sunday!

winged music stayed at home and hid
beneath the polished piano lid
you polished yourself on Saturdays

and then went out to play.
and whether the leaves were falling down
like London bridge without a sound

and whether the sheen of snowfall on the way
caught at your heart 100 x a day
it could never be enough

the music played.

mary angela douglas 13 january 2015

My Cherry Coloured Clouds My Drifted Snows

my cherry coloured clouds my drifted snows
so merrily she summed up all her sums
while we traced leaves on coloured paper

unwrapped chocolates wrapped in gold
in season and out of the orange cream suns
the very ones the berried ones we wove we were

in the loom-ed shade and lemonade bright as brimming 
ever made was ours to quaff where  creeks behind
mysterious houses diamonded we played

or cooked on the cookless stove the pink desserts
for anyone who'd come.
and it's so lavish sighed the Princess with her

orchid shoes to match...and gracious
at the wedding of the dolls.
how can they say what we had dreamed

and thought, was lost!

marveled the poets while cloudy in the blue marbles
 the sidewalk singing grew and this is only
one of all

the jack-starred songs we knew
when braiding the clovered summers of
our favorite afternoons

while the crumbed honey crystallized
in the icebox...

mary angela douglas 13 january 2015

When The Swans Turned Home

it isn't fair could she have said
to the chill in the corners:
these impossible fairytale deadlines...

here is the room of straw.
the task of gold.
and not much time at all

for learning now what you should have learned,
then. so tears begin and the question of the hour:

will winter ever set?
and then a bargain's made
with trolls in a bad temper.

is there any other way?
and coach worthy pumpkins are sorted from the patch;
rag bags fetched into gowns.

or in a room of forest green
mute as an ancient spell
the princess weaves seven shirts

and one with an unfinished sleeve
that will forever be a wing
when the swans turn home.

mary angela douglas 13 january 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Where Are The Poems Embroidered With The Moon

where are the poems embroidered with the moon
you asked your shadows in a silver room
when there were no replies.

and children wondered not you wondered why
and who was then the guardian of sighs
the story of old kingdoms locked and barred.

these schoolrooms cannot carry light much less the one
into columns out of sight and the blackboards parry
but they cannot spell in colours upon colours

the way that we did once on butterscotched sidealks.

these kingdoms steal away the christmas snows;
the tinfoil crowns in the kindergarten plays and where
are the poems embroidered with Your suns and

all the hidden amber stored for another day
in the nectared histories of what could happen.

where are the words that could have been spun
like honey on bread. the curtains at the window;
the violets in her shawl where the winds blew

all the Springs away:
when music in you fled: small  rosebuds cried
without the colour "Red"

and penny valentine cardboards sifted
the hurricanes

mary angela douglas 13 january 2015;7 february 2015

Friday, January 09, 2015

The Sun On The Waters, The Heavenly Chime

"must the water rhyme with the sun," I wandered by
the streams that run humming to myself, "at the
end of every line?" because a friend had scorned

a slighted music in my mind. from heavenly harmony
a poet wrote so long ago yet green is the branch
when it comes to mind how can I help it if

my words chime like a hidden shining ladder strung
rung to rung within the lines like the water rhyming

with the sun? the rose that blossoms
into the colour: red each time
and still, astonishes


mary angela douglas 9 january 2015

For Poetry

everything she held in her hands turned to snows;
the starlight above diminishing where she had departed
no longer sacrosanct in the little villages of the world.

and the evergreens shed needles under the moonlight's
vast expanse and this was of her going; the trees weeping
what they could; the little clouds leaving, with her,
shod in her threadbare slippers of gold.

so diffident she had become, inured to Cold
and begging for crumbs from the new.
and in this vultured darkness some,

a lovely few-
wept for what was lost.

in the accounting systems of the world
who will account for this.
Beauty spurned from door to door

the citadels closed.
they will marshal
their armies of words

(the ones that they have left.)
and make new words, impossible to sing.
and numbness will spread and get all the prizes.

and curl the lip and the modern mien
as those of antiquity, the same, before us did:
scorning true music and the Soul.

it is still the same she wept into hands of snow
still.
not vanishing...

mary angela douglas 9 january 2015