Sunday, January 31, 2016

Cantata of the Fireflies Jeweled, The Stars, And The Taskmasters Denied Entrance

[to [Jesus] Christ, the Lord]

your jeweled fireflies, stars, your radiant inconsistencies
your flecks of gold on an inky sea
and the ship roiling out of sight

your rose whorled sorrows caught in my bouquet
and the doorways vanishing into snows and
the lilies caught up in the light skirts netted

blue on paler satins and this is the beginning of
nothing new they scoff and I say how would you know
who cannot pass a branch without snatching

off the sequined fruit and passing it off as your own
and the firebird scatters in the orchard
all her rarities her rarities

and the poor with richness, rue in their souls

despair of ever coming home
but it all comes whirling back like Oz
stunning the evening air

with emeralds with

velvet nuances of the Springs
you have flung across our remembering
in their green in their greenesses

fountaining oh fountaining.
Christ of the vivid valentine fold on fold
we stand outside these gates

outside the pealing of odd bells untuned mere
saints of the wishing wells of
your reflecting ardor

imperishable in the crescendo, cascade of images
the crippled rainbows made whole
the soul banished here and scorned

made to bear an unconscionable load
there welcomed as at the fairy tale's end
where the shower of gold

just keeps descending and descending
and children stretch out
their dream hands willingly

no more to be
bought and sold

mary angela douglas 31 january 2016

When We Ran

the orange stained glass of the Monarch's wings
their fluttering over milkweed
we studied through the summers

the positions of stars
the light that wavered above our yard
our skirts stained with grass

from our play that we were the great Dancers
who could leap from stone to stone
who read in our sleep the

stories of green and gold.
whose were you mornings made of mist
and maple red

our souls like the crunch of apples
the appled sun setting or rising
and we were the wind

when we ran.

mary angela douglas 31 january 2016


[for Ravi Zacharias, his ministry]

siroi lilies on the hillside.
Christ the only Star in the night sky;
how shall I go from this beatitude

night being night and the Star the only one;
the Lily rare.
and the hill the only hill;

they say the siroi lily can thrive on
no other hill.
no other Lily could Calvary abide;

the Bride in mourning
hiding her face.
and then in the morning,

and all hills are His.

mary angela douglas 31 january 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016

From My Own Rose Trees Petals Sifted

from my own rose trees petals sifted
downwind of the unpetaling moon
all that's silver's cast up again too soon

on the farther shores of darkness
I cried or someone else
harkening to the larking green.

the unseen children wept
while we told ghost stories
in a modern age.

you have hidden your rage
in old rooms I said to them;
the ones patterned with rose trees

on the sliding walls
with a thin stripe of green.

mary angela douglas 30 january 2016

Friday, January 29, 2016

On Pale Blue Paper

on pale blue paper
with a scalloped edge
on the underside of clouds

inscripted on the lily pad
barely said outloud
or silver belled on a cream invitation

or in the violet rains refrained
where the silver ink has spilled;
quietly let it fill

the crevices where flowers failed.

is it written on water
is it far from land
impossible to understand

in scrapbooks bursting with
tinted postcards, gingery recipes
schoolroom commendations

happy families

cut from old magazines
in garish array;
the boxed candied days...

whatever it was

or that it may be:
the disputed colours of an undiscovered sea
wildly streaked with snows

the final starry blow

or an arbor that's closed
the list of those who know
or those who have no clue

the last thing you do

let it be written
let it be written
let it be written

mary angela douglas 29 january 2016

I Met A Minor Thief Of Words

I met a minor thief of words
stuffing the darkness with red hearts
little angel cut outs from

old magazines
or, what have you.
what have you not

he will not take
in broad daylight even
from the stationery drawer

the King's own seal
a few foreign stamps
thinking that rifling through

the files is allowed.keeping
the end in site well it's all right.
no it is not I said to the court of Heaven:

is not, have not, want not

the thief of words
on these premises
or any other.

mary angela douglas 29 january 2016

A Parable For No One

meeting the paradox in the hallway
I prayed hard
O Lord let me pass invisibly

and He did
but I met another on the stairwell
avoiding the elevator as it tended

to be packed with paradoxes
in the mid afternoon
all in various languages assembled

and so, arraying myself in shadows
flecked only slightly with gold

I cried

into the handkerchief of my dream
the embroidered one
and there three angels came

to tell me it will be this way
it is always this way

mary angela douglas 29 january 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Original Sour

oh that all sourness in life could taste like apple green candy
the same colour light up the skies on the
simply marvelous mondays.

perhaps it would in a Paradise
perfect as raspberry vinagrette
concocted by raspberry sunset

or close to it (all deadlines being
fruit-filled there)

and this is the original sour of the sourdough bread out West
the reason the lemon puckers at the seams Cinderella
in your jumping rope dream of a dress

not forgetting the tangerine
the cherry popping pickling fizzling of
the sour balls, jawbreakers and the rest

oh sometimes sour is best we could have said

in the land where the cream never curdled
over the strawberries

mary angela douglas 28 january 2016

Monet, Sighed Children In The Dream Museums

one day he learned the lily pads looked
violet in the afternoons and on the violet waters
and what for us is Springtime everytime

we see the painting for him required much.
don't touch the paintings they say in the museums
but you want to reach

the brush strokes when you see them
to find if they feel like amethyst waters
or the lilypads, like velvets.

mary angela douglas 28 january 2016

We Went Forth In The Apple Of The Day

we went forth in the apple of the day
the gilded coach so apricot in the sunlight
happy learning what to say

and that our shadows lengthened,
painted on the garden walls.
and is that all she said;

who was the Painter?
you are small, chirped the birds
but you could fly away

if you tried harder
and we played we could, remember?
and stirred our lemonade in the shade

the way the old music plays itself out
on the player piano in old movies.
and this is the cinema verite

of Cinderella in the silents
her glass shoe that blindingly crystal
the way I saw it on the toy projector's screen and

the way the silk spools out at the end of the play
gleaming and gleaming

mary angela douglas 28 january 2016

The Wizard Speaks Of Guarantees Aloft Above Treetops To Dorothy On The Ground

this is your guaranteed balloon sweet Dorothy
notice the cunning silks in every shade of green
the wicker holder for the little dog

the sandbags in chartruese.
everything has been thought of in advance
and you've prepaid

that much is clear.
thank you dear for slaying the witch

my nemisis.
too bad I couldn't do the same for you.
for you will find and not only in dreams

things are never guaranteed
no matter which way the wind blows.
something goes amiss

and then we cry and say
why didn't we think of this
and Glinda isn't always there

in her stunning pink ball gown
and matching wand
to make the scene go right.

mary angela douglas 28 january 2016

Maybe Someday In An Out Of The Way Antique Shop

maybe someday in an out of the way antique shop
you may come across an obscure issue of
The National Geographic

with a fold out map of Heaven;
not the heavens,
not god or the gods with a little "g"

but the real Jehovah
cloudy amid the stars
and wondering why

it took you so long
to believe.
and you will forget the ribbon candy like

glow of the Depression era glassware
for awhile
and walk out the door with the little bell above it

like Dante:
all beneath the stars and above them, too
for you, just for you-

fantastically illumined.

mary angela douglas 28 january 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Order In Which It Occurred To Me

the order in which it occurred to me;
not History.
since this is a personal essay and

I'm writing it personally.
I hope you won't mind
that I go back in Time

that's just my own.
starting with home,
the stars over our backyard,

the sidewalks when I fell too hard
on roller skates and never caught on;
the lawn bereft of clover.

what will the bees do we wondered.
will there still be honey on toast?
and the Holy Ghost is pale green

except at Christmas, when it's pine.
and God will be my valentine
when I grow up

no matter what happened in Eden.
as violets are blue
may this be true.

mary angela douglsa 27 january 2016

Somewhere Kneeling On A Dandelion Shore

[to Ray Bradbury (again)]

somewhere kneeling on a dandelion shore
like old explorers coming home
perhaps we'll meet you

in your beatific horn rims beaming
fresh sheafs of paper in your hands
ready to scatter

confetti for the children
up their in the Heights.
until then we'll make up our own stories.

wishing we had the keys to the story files you left;
who has them now?
is there some clerical mistake? you'll ask in

I've got to go back and finish them.

mary angela douglas 27 january 2016

Missing The Door To Dreamland

[to Eugene Field]

missing the door to Dreamland
maybe we got in through the window
from the branches of the apple tree

we always wished was in our back yard.
let it grow golden apples then
so no one can doubt

it is a tree of wishing.

let them thunder on the lawn
waking our small dog
who can't believe her good fortune.

and here are the sunsets made of taffy
(we always knew they were);
the early Christmas decorations of the stars

blinking their red green blue orange lemon starriness
over our hearts like Life Saver candies
so that the sky in all her branching

is the Tree
unto itself with extra icicles for sparkling
and the train whistle under it signaling

the angels suddenly appearing by the coffee table.

mary angela douglas 27 january 2016

I Dreamed Of A Language In Prussian Blue And Gold

I dreamed of a landscape in prussian blue and gold.
was it the castle at the top of the world
I wondered;

the one with towers of mother of pearl?
and was it the sky that was prussian blue.
I know that the road

was paved with sapphires,
that the trees were blowing.
say that the winds were prussian blue

and gold was the sheen of the wish to be there
it was stamped so clearly
for a child out walking.

you see the spires in the distance beckoning
and it seems to you
you will be there in no time

and that it shines it shines for you, you only
if the truth be told
of the dream landscape

in prussian blue and gold.

mary angela douglas 27 january 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Dolls In The Dollhouse Dream

we will paste stars on the ceilings
and call this Heaven or
stare pointedly at the children

wishing they would until it happens
and then, paper angels will come down
and the lights will go on by themselves

the oil lamps in the parlour with no oil
and we will think "miracle" trying very hard
to let someone know we are grateful

and be placed around the convincing piano
with the hinge and the little stool that twirls
and silently sing

while the paper angels flutter and where
the scisors slipped, very large snowflakes
will cover us

and we will know then with 5 golden rings
it is Christmas
and there is a King.

mary angela douglas 26 january 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016


in this workbook you will learn
how to tell apples from oranges
how to slice the pie among five

friends without offending any
and still have pie leftover for breakfast.
how to tell time

and the names of clouds as they dissolve
and costume jewelry from the real thing
and how to make anything happy

out of play doh. and small talk, small change
while wearing complementary colours.
how to address a valentine correctly

even if the red envelope comes back.
to act in school plays
in a sequined costume

as though you were the Princess for real
gold flecks in your hair, the confetti of the kingdom,
disappearing into a final sleep

you, who've just recently learned
how to tie your shoelaces so they won't come undone
and how to make biscuits

that won't fall apart.

mary angela douglas 25 january 2016

The Rose Held In The Mind Is Fairer

the rose held in the mind is fairer
where it always shines
and perfect from the stem

unfolds its scarlet, blush, or
pear, soft tangerine, l but, more than these
as the rosebush

you remember from your youngest of
rose days when everything beautiful
you named "rose"

when you first learned to say:
"rose" as if to pray in Rose
began for you that day

and still you want to pray in roses
speak in Rose a hidden langusge
specific to only you

though all legends are beautiful in the mind
confused, a little, except that as
in St. Exupery

you mean every time

the rose that is mine
and mine only.
suffer not the sheen of this rose to depart:

heart's blood it is and fragrant forever;
beyond all wounds its petals bloom rose light,
beyond incursive darkness

set apart

mary angela douglas 25 january 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Ode To The Sliced Pears At The Food Bank Surreptitously Appearing

of course I remember your sisters in the orchards, yellow-
green with a trace of rose or perched on market shelves
and there on rare occasions at home since

we were an apple and orange household
occasionally tangerine.
but when with sickness afflicted it was you

the canned variety so supreme, softened like moonlight
down the throat and soothing beyond the
dreams of children after a day at the Fair

listen when you're grieving and it is the pear sounds ringing
in the air that will always bring you back to goldeness
but how by what miracle did you appear lodged in with

the ever present dulling abundance
of the corn and string beans, o pears sliced in a pale
lite syrup not even on the list!

to come to me in this month's
food box from the pantry.

Whither the Mystery How or When
I will ponder until I question God in Heaven.
and prize you best

above all feasts on earth.

mary angela douglas 24 january 2016

P.S. Anyone (like myself) who must visit food pantries (church or otherwise) knows that some things will never be found there. Sliced pears is one of those things. You might as well expect caviar or champagne flavored chocolates. But always you will be given canned corn and canned green beans, some months, with boxed mac and cheese, that is all you will get and though you don't want to complain about the manna considering what happened in the Bible when the Israelites complained, still you know not to expect certain things ever.

Two times in seven years I have experienced a miraculous intervention in the food box that I can't explain. Once, with raspberry coffee cake (iced and barely a day old!)and recently, with sliced pears. O Thank You God for letting them slip through the cracks of the Tuna Based List of Acceptable, Non-Exempted Donations. I saw a list from Second Harvest Food Bank once by accident and it SPECIFICALLY FORBID any donations of a gourmet food type nature. I was shocked by this at the time as in my richer days,  I had always imagined I would want to give to people who had to endure the embarrassment of asking for any food at all, something beyond wonderful. But the poor somehow must be punished even as they are graciously helped out of the ditch.

In the case of the raspberry coffee cake I ran out of the center quickly lest someone realize their mistake.

Orange Crush Grape Crush

orange crush grape crush
who has a crush on sodas
in the sum sum summertime

and the strawberry cone is melting
on the picture book of rhymes
the vanilla and chocolate

in the wings, standby
so you won't be disappointed when
it plops down pink on the sidewalk

and it's Christmas time for the ants.
its a heart sung library flung out dream
our skirts spinning wide

of the cream skimmed off the top
of the Big Top

mimosas in the front yard fluttering
feathery their pink and green goodbye goodbye
that I remember best

the silver beads on the iced tea glass at home
and the slender, the silver spooned repast

of the banana split, whipped topping dream
fudge sauce rendered in the fluted glass
or the Melmac cereal bowl transfigured

by my Grandfather

as if someone suddenly said to you:
here child, this is Heaven.
taste it, please.

mary angela douglas 24 january 2016

Never Go Away

[to my mother, Mary Adalyn Young-Douglas
and to my sister, Sharon Foster Douglas]

clear this space! I heard the Angel thunder
and the green glades came down from gilt ceilings
before our eyes the beautiful machinery

in place, the mists lifted
fronting the castles the snowy pirouettes 
of the ballet brides and it is

there the sleeping princess will be found.

and the briers part,
and the heart with the paper arrow through it
the blue ribboned doves

serenely sails above the scenery.
this is the stage we thought we had lost:
a cardboard theatre heart stoppingly

beneath the candlelit tree unwrapped
and carefully
and the scent of balsam

and the balsam angels careening

floating and singing:
green be the glory
be it early or late

may the greeness
the apple white mays this time!
never go away...

never go away echoed, half-wailed  the child
in the sunlight lifting her hand
to shield her eyes

while Mama vanished with the angels
she thought
on the way to the corner store

mary angela douglas 24 january 2016

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Little Off Stage

fairy tale borders I painted on the walls
I printed in the halls
the coat closets in the apartment of my dreams

where on the patio

birds would come to my hand, if only
for the stenciled cherries.
and I am the tuning fork of

the prismed clouds I kept to myself.
while outloud outloud  the fervid chanters chanted
in the village square

near the garish fruit stands.

whilest we laid low my soul and I

where the ice breaks apart
revealing the glaced violets
speaking our rainbowed part, the past

a little offstage; the houselights
dimmed with starlight sleeping
and everything prayed in colours.

mary angela douglas 22 january 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Reason

it's washing out my water coloured sky
she turned aside to cry when the rains occurred
and the dolls seemed sympathetic to her words.

another rainy day
the scrap of blue taffeta already sewn
for the smallest doll

the tea trays put away,;the little cups

and shadows are caught with the red rubber balls
in the vents where the air comes up
and light is a tangled thing as bliss.

it hurts to remain and yet to grow
and see your height marked on a wall
and candles added year by year

and tears. and all you
know as a child 
is that you cannot tell

or find the one who disappeared before you

who will spell it out for you:
the reason why it hurts-
it comes from only being on the earth.

mary angela douglas 21 january 2016

The Poetry Suit

you should tailor it to what you dream,
not the other way round
and then wear it

the wrong side out
all the seams showing
so all the embroidery glows

so they will know
sometimes beauty is knotted
but that doesn't mean

it's not.

mary angela douglas 21 january 2016

Musing Over The Potatoes

the fable will be finished soon
she said snipping off its cherry coloured threads
the whir of the music in her head

the moonlit shreds.
will it fit them I will always wonder afterwards
she smiled.

when they turn the turnstile
and get on the trains to work
no longer the kings and the queens

of the newspaper folded crowns?
now they want poetry that is like old potatoes
that rattles down the bins and is

collected like taxes into artful books.
and whether the potatoes are russet or Idaho
or Yukon Gold, well, what can I say?

they are still potatoes, aren't they?
while I match sound to sighs and
colours to bright replies

and chimes to the light of day;
they just say, mashed, with chives
or drowned in curdled cream

in the plastic trayed cafeteria
where they have bills to pay
since honorariums don't go that far these days
while I'm at the city gate

and late for everything:

showers of golden coins
raining down and down on me.

mary angela douglas 21 january 2016