Thursday, December 31, 2015

Baby In The Sun

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

Loving Quixote Better Than Bread

[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

How To Flunk Out Of Clown School

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

Last Year

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

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Even A Stone Chirping In The Road

[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 Pageant Procession Of Angels

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

As If It Were Christmas Flowering

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

But Is It True?

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

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.

Directive Under Moonlight

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

Monday, December 28, 2015

Dreaming Lucidly Explained

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

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

Stay But Don't Stay

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 The Greenwoods

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

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

All I Know At Christmas

[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

Monologue On Another Day

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

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The River

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

Scenes From The Brontes' Childhood Not In Any Particular Order

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 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

Invisible Piano

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

Thinking They Are Jewels

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

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

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

Small Mermaid, Showered With Roses

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
embroidering 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

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Let's Make A Layer Cake Of Happiness

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

A Prayer In Winter

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: A Doll's Ghost Story

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