Monday, February 29, 2016

On Leap Day I Thought About The Life Of Colours

I thought about the life of colours,
a lot to think of there
God's Paintbox 

or the cigar box that held old crayons
worn down to the stub in an early classroom
and the red one always broken

in two when a child bore down too
hard on the paper
wanting to make the

darkest rose appear. or pictures
on Sunday school leaflets;
Joseph's coat that

bothered his brothers but
bedazzled us. 
or Noah and all the animals

looking out of the portholes
almost smiling when the rainbow showed up.
our dog smiles we thought

my sister and I
it seemed logical the rest of
the animals could too

especially after what they'd been
on the high waters

mary angela douglas 29 february 2016

Saturday, February 27, 2016

They Seem Ashamed Of So Many Things I Am Fond Of

[for James Larkin Pearson, Shelby Stephenson and
most of all, to Valerie Macon]

they seem ashamed of so many things I am fond of:
words that grow wings; that have no double entendre.
things that shine, frost on a winter window pane's

unexpected design, for instance, they decline.
what if my ferns and flowers are ice
and not a horticultural wilderness objectified

filled with crimes committed by the symbolists
or a drum beat and beat and beat for the deprived?
who still could cherish beauty if they were let alone

to enjoy it on their own and that, for free.

what if I don't even like their kind of poetry
and wonder at it as though it were devised
by the devil himself.

a recounting of wrongs to the point of madness.

what if I love love only words only
for their innocence and childhoods made of snows
and the lives of the poets

who knew this.
what if I see the moon for its vanilla cream gleam
and not for her mythologies in a thousand indices

overlearned by those advanced at school
and full of such disdain for the untrained eye.
who honor darkness

as though it were Light. and who cause much pain.
Lord make my flight from them swift.

I wonder why they cannot be happy with pure song,
with any rainbow tinted music.
why must they use and even abuse things

confuse things
seeking to control and to despise;
making a nightmare game of it

in their coteries shutting us out
and delighting in the click of the gate
above all other sounds;

foster children of beauty
if at all who strip the jeweled sounds,
the brides of irony

sniffiness even
for those who don't comply
and don't intend to.

who stand their poetical ground.

they grow cleverer at
making their faintly damning praise
ever more meticulously intellectual.

the Snow Queen's vetted vassals
short on praise for imagination,

and for the enchanted stream.
oh God, for anything dreamed.

how can we be called, the same:
by the name of "poet"
I ask the few green corners of earth

they have not sullied yet with
ever devolving newsspeak, socialspeak
population speak

and implore the Heavens

not to forget us, out of reach
those individuals who write for love,
not power. in this, a murky Hour-

for by my reckoning
despite the prizes that they get
it only makes them fret

no matter how long their resumes become
if they've lost simple Song.
unspeakable, the joy of merely singing.

mary angela douglas 20 december 2015;rev. 27 february 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Writing You On The Edge Of The Cloud That Flies

[to God, our Father]

writing You on the edge of the cloud that flies,
on anything I recognize as light,
I fold my words in half

paper airplane like
hoping they are jeweled
knowing that you will know

past all things

I love You
though I am small
to fit the crevices

of the earth
happy to observe
the gleam of a blade of grass,

a flower's repast;
happy enough
waiting for the dew that falls

to fill the thirst
of my soul

mary angela douglas 25 february 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Some Late Night Headlines From CNN And Two Rainstorms Many Hours Earlier: February 24 2016 11:19 P.M.

seen from the upper floors 
the rains are moving sideways
trying to be clouds. or tides.

the small hail flies like birds
blown sideways
and next I look for someone else's Spring

from another planet to fly past
the child at the window
knowing it will last...

no matter how long it is
it comes to pass like the
sudden wildflowers in 28 varieties

the newspeople marvel over
in Death Valley
appearing after another rainstorm...

this was my etude to the winds
on a february day 
in a small town (it started out that way)

far away (but with extravagant rainstorms)
from the new map
of the milky way's possibilities

announced, today
and the astronaut
longing for earth

and ready to return
who feels he has earned it.

mary angela douglas 24 february 2016

To Spend Years Learning Languages Only To Find

to spend years learning languages only to find
there are people all over the world 
telling each other not to believe

in the fantastic, to stop herding clouds
is a little disappointing
until you flip the coin over and

it is still golden,
on the other side.

mary angela douglas 24 february 2016

Monday, February 22, 2016

Pandora In The Morning

she lifts the lid on the box of day
and it comes out blue,
with silver linings

and there's no hint of anything
but jade leafed summers
where she runs to play

while her mother smiles
the smile reserved
for a happy daughter:this is

pandora in the morning.
how could things go that far astray
with so little warning

I wondered when I read one day
the child sized legend that made me want
to slam the lid shut tight on everything

just to be safe.

and was it just a trick of light
in that wild future where you
lost the singing world, delight,

and caused our plight
merely by

not hearkening to your mother?
finding suddenly [and too late
to close the gate

the infinite things that sting
though you mean
no harm 

just at your play in the Beautiful
doing what you always did
till it all turned drastic

so fantastically, irrevocably.

why couldn't the winged fairy Hope
be the only one who rose or why
couldn't she have summoned batallions

or rainbows
that day from the things too deeply stored
and too ignored

and packed away; why couldn't there be
a lock so strong to lock out all the
hurt and wrongs to follow

I wondered, wondered even as a little girl
told in my turn, not to wander;
not to wonder too much.

where was the path backwards
I wanted to say 
to unclouded joy when you were free

as the seas in your brief brightness
happy about the house with the pillars 
of trellised vines.

this was the dream her mother had ever after

well who can say when 
the charm wears off the toy,
the little idols made of clay.

that day or any other.

and a shadow
crosses the Sun.

mary angela douglas 22 february 2016

Going Away Is Dying Said The Snows To The Hills

going away is dying said the snows to the hills
and the hills cried
this we called melting

not knowing anything then
as candy melts in the mouth
that we were savouring

going away is grieving said the leaves to the winds
and the winds pretended they did not hear
that the leaves were sere

or would be soon
and the moon in the clouds turned away when
somewhere the stars clanged

ringing the bells of their demise themselves

and someone was whispering
this is all that I had left
and now you are bereft except for the snows

the hills the leaves  and the stars
that remain to tell you who you are 
and how,if not when

you are going away like them

mary angela douglas 22 february 2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Once I Waited Till Dawn

[a prayer at the present time]

once I waited till dawn
for one white word from You.
I remember the greenness then.

the aprilness of everything.
the dew on the grass where I kneeled.
the stars that were my own.

time has carried these away
so that I feel I was nor there
where the rose blossomed out

of the dark and the rains finally ceased.

if I could reach back far enough
would I find You there in the same
white whispering as of leaves

against the pearlescent skies
and oh would the trees remember
it was I who counted then

on their guardian shade.
or was I another person then
and just unwise

and has it really been that long
when I was accustomed
to think the earth was

only made of birdsong

mary angela douglas 20 february 2016

To One Who Considers Leaving Earth Too Early

on the day you feel like going away too early,
I hope it comes to mind that certain clouds
still need you to be here or else (I fear),

they will weep themselves into the sea.
and birds will scatter aimlessly;
lost without your particular

tree of dreams,
the one they are used to;
the secret one of gold.

reconsider colours,
without you to grow old;
at least, your childhood

favorites on a summer's garden wall

through a raindrop prism
will tremble in their bands
and the rings of planets

seize up in a cold
no scientist foretold.
and certain ships so laden

with the wishes just for you
that have come due-
oh now that you have done this

wanting nothing left to rue-

will never reach land.

mary angela douglas 20 february 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

We're Still Good

your mislaid backstory
when you tried the wrong door
oh that's not it you said

embarrassed in a dream.
that's hardly fair.
in dreams, shouldn't things

go right
to make up for real life?
we argued this.

implausible to be bored
with this subject:
dreams vs. non dreams.

is waking really sleeping
or is it  turned inside out
for a good long while

with a view of endless rains.
ah, for all your pains.

but blossoms will come
for you to arrange.
and I remember still

the pennies you picked up from the road
shone more than gold.

I said.
it doesn't matter.
any of it. anymore.

we're still good for
making up stories.

mary angela douglas 18 february 2016

Fall Into God As Into A Snowbank

fall into God as into a snowbank,
you will not freeze.
or into april's breeze.

then will we be flowers?
asked the child so hopefully;
and may I be their queen?

may there be clouds of angels

and dessert afterwards?
fruit salad with all the
gooseberries, palest green, left in!

and the rubied, rubied maraschinos...
and I held all her words most carefully
as though they were music

that could vanish
almost, instantly
like snows dissolving into seas

while we had cherry tarts
for tea.

mary angela douglas 18 february 2016

Cause Celebre

for causes that are trends
they will roll out the flower seed carpet
and in a time lapsed dream of all Dreams

the flowers will all
gleam at the same chime.

this is our wonderland they lie from the dais
awarding each other prizes at
the flower bedecked scenes

while those in the ditch outside of town
and in between where they can't qualify
for the Magic Beans,

the random sparrows- freeze;

falling in slo-mo  from the picturesque branch.
those outliers! those unlucky sods

are only picked up,
cradled, in the hand

of God.

mary angela douglas 18 february 2016

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

And This Is Music

[to God our Father]

this is to the One who caused, who causes
music to arise though He is denied
He cannot help but Shine

above our tormenters rising
early or late from unexpected
corners to deride, to hound us home

thus, bitterness is sown
and the whole vast earth a lemon grove
frozen over besides.

once the lane it was lined with roses
where the larks sang and there was
no need to lock and unlock doors but now

our honeyed Springs gleam past;
just see how Winter soars and will not let us go
and we live snow to snow or, if we can

wherever we reside and fret
His instruments and cannot rest when
the noise comes thick and fast

the storms, our agonies abide

from which what other reprieve, repose
can ever shall ever be found by us
except that You bright Singer of the real

the only ground
of our being
cause us, bless us,  to resound

and unaccountably to feel:
still. There is Beauty.

mary angela douglas 17 february 2016

Treasure Hunt

there are many things still left to find
on this belated treasure hunt:
the charms in the cracker jack box

the cereal prizes
and the giftwrapped aisles
where we sighed in toyshops

just before birthdays.
or looking at new catalogues
thick with wonder and glossy array

before Christmas, Christmas Day!

or the book of dancing school patterns
my Grandmother commissioned in the Spring for
someone else to sew in exchange

for a daughter's piano lessons:
Chopin for chiffons beaded radiantly by
a neighborhood's exquisite seamstress.

what shall we make today we
wondered in our paperdoll play.
will we cut out her dresses from the snows?

and will she whirl till midnight?
oh make a flower print dress and colour
it with lemon and with rose for afternoons.

a dress with princess seams,
pure turquoise green?

and this in a shoebox, shadowbox of dreams;
an empire kept and stowed,
swept clean on Saturdays.

but where, old living room
with the beige rose embroidered
sofa did you go?

strewn with Christmas tissued ruses;
or you, brown armchair in vanilla lamplight?
where I

mused long and late toward the last of school vacations;
where the light fell in alternating pools
of the entire jeweled spectrum:

the colur wheel shining on the silver tree.
I'll remember this as Heaven
why couldn't I think then

instead of later on,
when everyone was gone?

it seemed, already, with the Christmas
spelling it so, an Eternity
replete with snows

that could not vanish...
where we would gladly, always live.
forgive me that I couldn't think otherwise

and so, in the end, forgot goodbyes!
I whisper now,
to my invisible friends...

mary angela douglas 17 february 2016

What Is The Location Of Your Emergency

what is the location of your emergency
said someone on the line
is it behind the eyes or farther back

to dream where all has virtually stopped
in the workshop of time
and the elves come no more because

you made them garments of the red and green
oh no your mother whispered from the eaves
where whispering turned to snows to sudden angels-

turn your footsteps back as in the fairy tale that day
the children did with so much left to say
where the moon shone illimitably

above the small path marked with stones

mary angela douglas 17 february 2016

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

For Emily Dickinson

she was writing for ghosts for the
clocks in the hall or someone else's staircase.
not at all thought the neighbors of anything

she said except that it was strange
while she only dreamed of
how to arrange words, thoughts, feelings

so beautifully, elegantly

not to be met with such disdain in even
the smallest of tasks, gossiped about
by even the rains perhaps she would have

smiled to herself, certainly
by the satin denizens  she commemorated

and even mocked at in a later age by Billy Collins
in a ribald poem all the rage, a century plus removed.
how could she have deserved a doom like this

I question but I keep it to myself.
and feel her momentary presence
in my room by the bookshelves

where I'm learning to spell her out
a little, I think and wish oh wish her well
the bride the bride

of Poetry itself in this or any other Day
(I hope to catch
her bouquet...)

mary angela douglas 16 february 2016

Who Could Believe The Tyranny Of Clouds

who could believe the tyranny of clouds
in their set designs
fixed to one point and

glowering in the sunset.
and the grass withers under the proud
and the onstage miracles

are few.
who could light candles here
and wait for anything real

to be revealed
and not play the fool?
what we have here

the well paid lecturers intone

is the tyranny of clouds.
and the crowds crowds
are lost so lost to themselves

in adulation of the minor.

mary angela douglas 16 february 2016

Sunday, February 14, 2016

I Wish You A Red Crayon Heart Of A Day

[to my sister Sharon F. Douglas on Valentine's Day]

I wish you a red crayon heart of a day
bearing down hard on the crayon, remember?
that way you get the darkest red

waxing almost Christmas! or layered edge to edge
and fit for roses, the roofs of little houses
under a corner sun

and the rays extending
in dotted lines on you, on everyone.
these were our masterpieces of

the classroom afternoons clapping the erasers
so the chalkdust scattered like pollen
because it mattered to do everything

with that much heart to stay in tune so

as to fall on our aluminum foil swords
or shimmer, the princess,
in a tower of words

and that was all we knew of art
and all that we knew when
all schoolroom days parted from us

and the autographs of friends
scattered like petals
before a rising wind...

mary angela douglas 14 february 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Valentine For My Grandmother

[for Lucy W. Young, forever.]

hibiscus flowered the late sun tints
the cream of clouds outside
the piano studio

where you rehearse
only for music's sake
the early nocturnes

and scales of pale green
grace notes wandering
the flake of gold off the tick

of the mahogony metronome.
oh grandmother in a red silk dress
teaching us all, all of this

and God, besides

how beautifully the birds must sing
in your Eternal Spring.

mary angela douglas 13 february 2016

No One Will Know Now How You Looked At Clouds

no one will know now how you looked at clouds
when they turned pink; how you could sink
into books as into your own dream.

how the newest green of trees was all of
Spring to you (not counting the roses.)
how you found violets early on

without anyone telling you to.
and if they knew, what would they do
with such knowledge

but turn from you or gossip or construe...
even that would make no difference.
toward all perspicacity you were like

a lake that seemed to hold the moon of your own soul
asleep or awake there but really,
some kind of fairytale conspiracy

that kept from view

the still invisible you
floating above sheer cruelty

so infinitely.

mary angela douglas 13 february 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Words You Left Behind I Meant To Say

[to Walter De La Mere or his reflection in the glass]

the words you left behind I meant to say
are curled like silver ferns around the
things that cannot stay

and they were then
before we were
the merest trace

of what already could
but be erased
and yet we long to hear

them echoed childlike, still
beyond the ghosts inhabiting
what fades.

and will they? wistfully
a garden make

a voice beside me asks and is it you
I say or someone else implores
return thou to the task

I cannot see and yet, adore

mary angela douglas 12 february 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Folding The Poems Into The Suitcase

first of all you'll wear the same thing every day;
poems come first. one raincoat; a snack.
fold the red leafed ones on the bottom.

in a separate compartment,
the ones of shaken snow.
apart in a little case

with a hand mirror,
the brokenhearted ones
with their single ray of light

and in a jeweled bag
those where the angels sighed
green sighs and in the pink patent pocketbook

you'll hold by your side
containing no map (and some coffee candies):
the ones in pieces

waiting to be

mary angela douglas 11 february 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

To The Secret Writing Life Of J.T. Little

[in memory of J.T. Little as beautifully profiled by Mary Guiunca in the Winston Salem Journal some years ago:

J.T., quiet friend of many, loved by his family, coworkers, secret wonderful poet and writer known only to God, died age 48 under mysterious circumstances but not more mysterious than his articulate soul]

somewhere on a road off of heaven
there's a bookstore or a library
a little under the undergrowth

of weeds of ferns and mushrooms spiraling
after rains their unexpected galaxies...
that contains- behind

some chain linked fence filled with bright sparrows
the books people meant to write;
you know, the dream books

constructed partially on yellow tablets
on coffee breaks, at odd moments
in between scoldings, scary tasks

tongue lashings perhaps or bus stop drizzle;
or simmering in summers county seat or
beneath an overhang corrugated, rusty

a little dusty but you're not there
but somewhere else with fresh lined paper
ball point pen in cadillac two toned green

or some other favored colour

writing the scenes for your first play?
rearranging the stage directions
of a life that had 

yet to open crammed to the timed to the minute
of a kindness little repaid a smile in a
glorious daydream anchored now

in Eternity angels jostling to see
over his beatified shoulder
the latest lines in gold

on earth on earth,
untold except by Mary Guiunca
after the fact of his fortunate, unfortunate going away...

mary angela douglas 10 february 2016