To the Russian poets and all poets;the shimmering, undefeated "cloud of witnesses" who conveyed at great cost in their own way: the connecting idea between Heaven and earth. And most of all, to the poet from the former Soviet Union who, dying, in prison, wrote his final poem in his own blood on the wall: the single word, "Hope". Whole-hearted To the Triune God in memory of Mary Adalyn Douglas.
Copyright 2006-2016, U.S. and International Copyright all rights reserved by Mary Angela Douglas
all wrapped up with a silver bow a green or a gold they think they have it so all the philosophers, theosophers. a baby plays with bubbles and is happy in the sun and knows more than anyone of them what the world is for. mary angela douglas 31 december 2015
[for John and Dorothea Gaither] loving Quixote better than bread I bought the book of what he said 400 years ago and then the knight fought in my head against the things I saw instead against the writing on the wall the travesties both great and small the tilting at the underfed, the underserved the underbred the underneath of everything the sorrow springing in the Spring the festivals at all the malls the name of Art dragged through the halls of politics, not learning of earning not discerning loving Quixote better than bread I bought the book of what he said. mary angela douglas 31 december 2015
wear normal shoes pin stripes claim the seal ate your homework talk in mime class wear matching socks crash the unicycle and blame the seal dress for success eschew polka dots abstain from going in circles burn down the baggy pants factory make powerpoint slides out of the circus flyers make people cry mary angela douglas 31 december 2015
I'm lost in the woods I cried softly knowing none could hear knowing the wild beasts near
at least I was told so when telling was still a possible thing and I have lost the golden ring
of words to stay me the crumbs from the last little loaf from home
my copper coins that shone and have only the dunce cap
simpleton's pie wool gathered in all the dream colours to warm me.
foot not shod still I will walk in the thought of God
heart not eased and near no stream I can cup my hands in
splashing the sorrow off. here I will live among the leaves under a huckleberry sky until I do not.
mary angela douglas 31 december 2015
the saddest year beckoned but you did not know that yet confetti in your hair or snow or the leaves drifting, the last leaves the crystal moon dipping further down the sky another year they cried on tv hugging each other insane with surprise that they'd survived another one. from coast to coast or all around the world under their various sunrises wishing it would be- what was to be- dripping with tawny happiness straight from the honeycomb itself. oh we would be drenched in light Eternal like the flowers in the impressionists gardens somewhere, outside the museums. it's in the air, isn't it in the cold razzle dazzle happy as in it's your birthday every day and here it comes the year long birthday cake with every candle lit well, doesn't it? seem that way to you? only not, this time, a something chimes from out the deep. maybe, next time. mary angela douglas 31 december 2015
[to the Russian poet, Osip Mandelstam] even a stone chirping in the road they would praise as great poetry in a dim age. there have been many so praised and the glass raised high with few to wonder why do they worship the eclipse and let the sun go ragged. who knows? maybe God or Christ who saw it long before the Ark set sail or the evening mail was lost for a thousand years; the starry telegrams from jail by those indicted for Beauty. mary angela douglas 30 december 2015
this procession of angels by candlelight flickering and the tinseled, haloed; the golden cardboardy wings of little children may seem simple; and even countrified. but angels depicted in the Florentine manner perhaps look on, a little wistful at the scene so holly bright and well meant, all around and they- bow down. mary angela douglas 30 december 2015
she loved the word crimson as if it were Christmas flowering, the colour of carols; lavishly bells from crepe paper rafters ringing in honeycombed laughter with rustling as ringing; crimson, she was singing let it be made of taffeta, a favorite dress and beaded with little stars; crimson, a rose garden gown; a lost thing found; the sound a sparkle makes on a country way to town with town full of unceasing presents like a Saturday in December; the home that you remember and pomegranates and cherries and the resounding: cerisely cherishing- all other evidence to the contrary- a language of sheer Joy mary angela douglas 30 decenber 2015
painting the turncoats some new fashion forward colour we'll still get paid every two weeks, maybe. it's a job. isn't it? never mind the raking over of everybody's everything who isn't king or queen. those sparks won't smoulder long: the fire of who you used to be. they count on it, don't they. but is it true? mary angela douglas 29 december 2015
living outside stale customs of the world we painted our foreheads with sunset colours
over the cobbled fringes we would glide riderless the horses at our side in the milk white light of dreams and everything as it seems in the fairy tales not on tv not on the rungs of enterprise painting the gold in the swallows eyes dark violet on the appian way inhaling the bakery pastries scents for free; my apricot jam and sipping the air from the gold rimmed china cup will you remember me oh clouds when I like you pass away and the sweet rains rain without us then mary angela douglas 29 december 2015 P.S. I don't mean to offend anyone, but I want to make it clear that I believe wholeheartedly in The Ten Commandments and the Two Commandments given by Jesus Christ (Love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself) and when I say "stale customs" of the world I am NOT referring to the Commandments given by God out of loving concern for His children to spare them from unnecessary grief. What I mean by stale customs is, you know, like when you are happy in the day and someone looks you up and down and then down again in your shoes with a discouraging, disparaging look because THEY think your shoes don't match the outfit you are wearing. ALL THAT STUFF. STALE.
stay still. do not move. your shadow's looming. the moon is breathing near you. stay still. gold will fill the spaces where you wait. white gold. falling onto the floors. take the small key in your mind to unlock the cabinets inlaid with mother of pearl. mary angela douglas 29 december 2015
when walking to in dreams I never recognize where it is I am walking from only that the bus is late or not at all or I just missed it, oh no or it grows dark and where am I living now and since I can't remember how will I ask anyone for help in getting home? and then somewhere in the grip of panic I recall just wake yourself up and you'll be home instantly. and isn't it funny, that it's exactly like the ending in The Wizard of Oz. and it works every time. mary angela douglas 28 december 2015
there is a knight on the edge of my butterknife I can scarcely see all crystal having been banished from sparkling in the castle and he is charging at something. he is in golden armor naturally catching the late sun surreptitiously so that the gold fish swim more frantically in the bowl wanting to be the only gold accents in the room. how will the story end? will he charge the marmalade? will he play the fool and turn to dusky grim? will this upset the children? or will he retreat into the blue sugar bowl knowing tomorrow is another anthill to climb. mary angela douglas 28 december 2015
I will stay but I will not stay she thought to herself in the fairy tale bower, in the dreaded tower little by little I will withdraw my soul like the waves on waters. and the waves go out the picnickers feel no qualm that there is anything wrong and the sun is shining all about like the nursery song said and on the waves but do the same waves return? or it something else, instead? no I said spinning the moon into deeper gold. no and no. they stay but they do not stay, the waves; so it is with my soul and winter, when it comes. I will sing and sing the sun into shadow the shadow into gloom. I will stay but I will not stay and they will not know the difference. mary angela douglas 28 december 2015
into a far greenness they have vanished with their little leaves, their fronds their wayward ferns the thistles that caught on my dress as I walked through the high fields. midsummer does not last we sighed in our pastel skirls turning to take our honey and toast by the waysides. time has turned into something else again the way it will. the way your mother said it would when she was braiding your hair. but she has vanished too into the greenwoods the greenwoods she used to sing of when songs were already, so old. mary angela douglas 28 december 2015
the steps you take in a mist are very small like fine stitching she told me dressed in her rose red cape and I was waiting for the bus on a Sunday forgetting it was Sunday and that the bus would never come and so I started taking fine steps silken ones really on the side walks I had faith were there and began to sing in a kind of snow speech under the heavy skies I am taking small steps in the mist with no one beside and the ditch of extremity eludes me who am elusive too they used to say when I was not mist and they still spoke to me anyway; I am here and in my bridal slippers as it should be in a mist carrying silvered lilies away into the vanishing of afternoons and I want too much to say if you could catch up the snow words on the way with the moon as if they were your bouquet- that I do not miss being There at all. mary angela douglas 28 december 2015
[to Jesus, again on his Birthday] they say you descended from Kings. even from God. all I know is that when I speak to you, you don't turn away. they say princes brought you gold frankincense and myrhh. all I know, when my heart hurts I can tell you why and you don't tell me: grow up, get over it. you don't say, airily, oh, just let it all go by. and smile, smile, smile. try to make a success of it. you do not quibble. you have real feeling whenever I am dealing with all I can't understand. and when o my soul has arrived at the last terminal on a very shaky bus ride past neighborhoods of straw becoming gold and I, still all in straw so that I don't know, anywhere, where I am or if I can... then I speak only no matter to whom I speak, to empty air. to indecipherable stares though I speak in plain English meaning what I say. and I bereft from all sense of knowing how to proceed doubting even if they call the morning "day" the night, "evening" or what is the correct thing to say so as to stop being corrected or even regarding the trip, what should I have brought to the picnic so as not to be made smaller than small until it is long past unbearable because, what I bring is dismissed out of hand and even, sight unseen no matter what it had been; still, still will I dream of arriving at the destination and cry through all the walls I know; I know, You are there. mary angela douglas 28 december 2015
we can start over said my soul and I conversing in the bleak, the mystifying hour when it is Christmas in name only and the cold rains drip from the eaves of the house that could disappear, at any moment. oh, do not grieve, she whispered silverly do not though some deceive and others rant and others mock us to the bone until perhaps we have no home of recourse. and I said softly there will be red and green and shining snowlights on another day. the Star will wait. on another day, not this, we'll call it "Christmas", mary angela douglas 28 december 2015
I watched the river of Time not knowing it was mine and flowing day by day to where I could not stay though I felt solid in my shoes and though I read the news I watched the river of Time not knowing it was mine when it filled up with snow I watched my pulses go a little slower moon by moon and those to whom I'd come a very little one passed on and I felt smaller too just looking at the view without the very few who loved me. I watched the river of Time not knowing it was mine and thinking I was still on shore not knowing in an instant, in a Cinderella chime I'd be through the door marked mine to whole geographies of another kind. those long ago forgot where Time is really not. I watched the river of Time. not knowing it was mine.,, mary angela douglas 27 december 2015
we will build strange towers glimmering after great ice storms; rainbow haloes shimmering above unearthly seas, startling the angelic, the brigades of Light; from a Christmas soldiers' set beginning, our forays on any present brought from far away on market days; foment our playroom skirmishes! Wellington! Napoleon! in tiny handwriting we will encode while the sleeted winds blow, a doll like history and the myth will overflow like bread with too much yeast in it; overflow the pan of who are you children and where do you demand too much of life, of art and how can you parsonage ladies understand they howl from the vanities; did someone else write this? did you have help? but for now... the sniffiness of harridans in town never offering us honey on our bread in any wilderness ahead, early griefs will not elude us; the wind on the moor will splinter us..the unbearable shift of the story until it.. will take away, one by one, our dears...to take their degrees in haunting the Far Country or rearranging the Sameness until it becomes unalterably the Different, the Diffident,. beyond recognition. oh, not in context our renascence now. [this was later when letters were opened and senders sent to a Far Country for now the summer sparkles on their lea...]
greatness comes in small batches says Emily with her kitchen apron on. Charlotte stares in wonder walking away from so many tombs; prescient in the morning gloom broke open into geodes of fantastical fire
mary angela douglas 26 december, 2015; revised 26 february 2016
sweeping the floor at evening Time stands still; the grass grows starry and the whippoorwills my Grandfather used to call in the yard waiting for meteors. if Time were a loaf I would slice it still the way he did smeared gloriously with the butter and the jam we thought so enchanted then. now all saturdays run together watercoloured, down the drains of what remains and I practice my Invisible piano. mary angela douglas 27 december 2015
the lifespan of a poem who can hold in their hands the hummingbird width the petal's curve on the wind. my friend my vanished friend one fragment calls to the other over a gulf of centuries millenia a child stoops down to small flowers in the grass thinking they are jewels mary angela douglas 27 december 2015
how can I praise beautiful poems on treating people badly? on running off with the prize while others on shore remain having no boat to cross resigned to the weeping rains.
what seems beautiful can perhaps be theft. what seems innocently sleeping, piteously dreaming can perhaps be, scheming. jeweled snake coiled at the breast. what seems lyrical can perhaps be Death in a beguiling disguise. but it is beautiful even if poorly worded to defend honor. it is beautiful even if you strain at metaphors to regard love as holy; to understand: the beautiful flows from God to whom is due reverence even if you can't spell. mary angela douglas 27 december 2015
was she surprised to find on deck near the harbours suddenly, the rose petaled winds? am I crowned with flowers then being this near, Land? she wondered; still in the hours she hoped to win his heart, poor mermaid, drifting on different currents now. soon would they rise, to overwhelm. this instant, she remains in bliss embroiderering roses on all the mists... and her invisible singing took on an overlay of bells, heard far away. why are they ringing then she was heard to say when no one has died? in dreams, in underwater speech since everything else was out of reach- is happiness on its way- mary angela douglas 27 december 2015
let's make a layer cake of happiness. why not? frosted pink, a lot of icing a little kid's dream cake. or a trifle, alternating layers of strawberry, lemon curd, hazelnut, chocolaty choclate blueberries, blackberries cream o cream let us not be hesitant in eating it yet, observe table manners in case the good fairy is whirring by and her good mood depends on how elegant we are at table. with our peach linen napkins. our irresistible smiles. mary angela douglas 26 december 2015
I have been partial to Your mother of pearl skies I will miss them then the day I go; the way the winds blow suddenly never letting you know they were coming sighed the half blown rose the way all flowers surprise when they bud and you thought, oh you thought but it's still winter, isn't it? not believing your eyes. the same way, one day, I hope that earth will waken from her sad disguise, all conflicts passed; and unseen woundings. then it will be Spring forever, won't it? asked the child wrinkling her mother's dress. and she said, Yes... mary angela douglas 26 december 2015
some day I will find the dollhouse I have forgotten, in old catalgues; of several stories, surely with an elaborately carved staircase. a stained glass window at the top. an attic whose little door pulled down from the ceiling, easily leads to realms of Christmas decorations from another time, and still pristine go inside. there's the dollhouse dust smelling mustily, fustily just like real dust, you exclaim! and not a penny extra smiles the toy store clerk who offers you immediately, (for your discernment): a strawberry cone swirled perfectly soft serve chocolate and vanilla through mists of something, far away- I almost see the paved drive leading up to it... the flagstoned terrace where doll infants played. the trees of gold that will not, cannot shed their leaves. the light left on perpetually for me, for me who eventually - someone has faith in this: will waken suddenly, remembering where I am. mary angela douglas 26 december 2015