Saturday, July 30, 2016

Lost Role

dancing off the face of the earth
in the ballet you trained for
even in sleep...

beyond the effects of tulle,
the momentary sparkle;
the sprite poised at the edge of the woods,

the lake;
the burgundy roses tossed and the rustling of programs.
this is the denouement of

dancing off the edge of the stage;
the exodus into the crowds
under the clouds of rose and blue

that do not mirror the earth,
the earth at this moment
with its opaque lakes,

its noncommital paths, its obscurity;
when you float without wings

toward the choreography of the sun.

mary angela douglas 30 july 2016

Friday, July 29, 2016

Lemon Stars Over The Patio

lemon stars over the patio of dreams
where the fronds of the ferned
and the mystical trees,

exotic with pink-peach blossoms stream
in-between the paper lantern sanctums of summers...
there, our fireflies

in a lavender key
compose in the moment small galaxies;
we sip  on strawberry sodas

carefully, the childish
once upons suffused
with the lemon stars.

we shall wear our quartz scattered
rainbows well,our polished cottons glowing
all heirloom garlanded; in beaded slippers,

in faceted earrings near the frangipangi;
in empire dresses of the setting sun
till Grandmother says it's getting cool

oh little ones

and oh, my dazzled angels recede
like the lemon stars, the patio of dreams;
like the gauzy motions of the ferny trees,

the pink peach blossoms falling
starlike through the air

mary angela douglas 29 july 2016

It Grows Dim For The Astronauts

reading the angel bells on the wind,
the friends who have gone-
will you be staying for awhile,

or not for long?
tea leaves break in the cup
and the cup breaks too;

mirrors turn inward,
do they reflect
the pear ripe time

of you?
who will you be when the winds have gone
and the clouds are standing still;

what will you feel
as the light ticks down
and the train tracks stand revealed?

who is there even left to say
what you should take 
when going away;

or even, how you should pack?
I chose a summer dress to wear
but a spring wind at my back.

you with no kerchief waving goodbye;
you, who look on with a jaundiced eye
(as was said in sentimental novels)-

what will you do when it's chimed away-
the dream that you thought
would be today's some say

grows dim,
upon leaving earth...

mary angela douglas 29 july 2016

Or What They Were

the snow crowned disappearing swans
or what they were I have watched
where a milk white dawn disguised

their vanishing;
into my heart, I cried.
you could have fled

but you did not yet
who would believe me
if I cried:

they have gone. who has gone
sighed children with their bouquets
and then moved on.

they have gone and the tournaments
of our imaginations with them

slain by those who came after,
whose signet is impatience.
progress they say is everything

or if they do not say, they mean
that everything in disguise
cannot serve them.

how will I call them back
I ask my Lord
but He is also in disguise

and with them
and wears the look
if one could look at the sun directly

or all the myriad suns
in the conflagration of original love,
of the one in original exile

pleading our cause.

mary angela douglas 29 july 2016

Thursday, July 28, 2016

We Built The Perfect Dollhouse

we built the perfect dollhouse
on stilts so the tides couldn't take it
of brick so the winds wouldn't shake it

with spiky bushes so the burglars
would go another way.
a door with a real doorbell

an attic with a semi real ghost
and in the kitchen,
miniscule toast from a retro toaster.

children were there
albeit rather still.
with snowshoes, cherry carcoats

and no bills
came in the mail; no need of pay
not even on a Saturday

with the color tv tuned
to the one felicitous channel.
and even by noon

the plastic ice cream
molded to the plastic spoon.

mary angela douglas 28 july 2016

Only The Skies Knew She Was There

only the skies knew she was there
the small clouds passing back and forth
when they could catch the wind

the wayside flowers springing up everywhere
no matter what was said
the books she read

turning the pages
as if they were gold
and I am telling this legend

as if it were true
the path through the briars unsucessful
the rose shedding petals

in lieu of tears the snowdrift years
and the tear strewn rose strewn day
she went away

mary angela douglas 28 july 2016

The One Who Writes In Crooked Letters

the one who writes in crooked letters
badly spelt against the red heart,
deeply felt-

too large, cut out from

the larger sheet painstakingly
with mama's sewing scissors,
is small and dressed in pink

and penciled in the margins

somewhere else I think, made fun of;
but here at home
a universe

like a rose unfolding

mary angela douglas 28 july 2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

There Are Some Things You Will Know

there are some things that you will know
painted into the corner of your age,
your childhood home:

the apples and oranges weighed up
in the fairy tale scales of gold;
the presents at the time, unwrapped;

you can't look back or forwards then

nor peering down any toychest kaleidoscope
prophetically to see beyond
your colouring book's outlines though you

think you should be
in between roadstops for cherry vanilla
connecting new dots on the maps

and though you feel at times
an unease when you think this
musing over the paper doll wardrobes

pointing a finger
through the childhood haze
because it comes to you on certain days

there must be something I should know I don't
you won't, no matter how hard you try
and so you continue to dream

and hear
the wind strum through the trees
so visibly

that you forget to understand
what can't be understood, anyway.

mary angela douglas 27 july 2016

Emily, No Letters In Hand

[for Emily Dickinson, a letter a little late]

why is there no word washed ashore for me
did she ever cry in silent reading of a
New England twilight, breathless at the window

how will we know her in her white dress-
when ghostlike perhaps she comes to call-
from snow or mist

my name is Emily she says

soft as snow intense she said
as the sherry in the cup
after the guests have fled.

mary angela douglas 27 july 2016

There Was A Piano That Hid The Sound Of Rains

[for Alice Herz Sommer of blessed memory]

there was a piano that hid the sound of rains
then swept them over plains of golden arpeggios;
that lulled the roses under their coverlids of snows

then glowed with their unfolding.
petal by petal how that music stole the soul
and carried it through sickness, wars;

through what cannot be spoken;

the beautiful piano that hid the sound of rains
and fastened us to the infinite songs
so that we would not, could not,

blow away...

mary angela douglas 27 july 2016

Reading The Book By Heart And In My Sleep

reading the book by heart and in my sleep
I follow the page of snow and try to weep
but I weep gold and know by this

I am latched in the fairy tale and will
not wish away what follows next;
I'm reading the book by heart

and need no pretext, library card
or interdepartmental vexation;
waiting in line no longer or for vacations;

soft as a bird in a nest of intricate
things plucked here and there by glittering wonder
picked from pale rainbows, unaware
and over the waterfalls tumbling down
only to rise and fly
above the netherlands where

they ask me why, why
do you have your nose forever
in a book tick tocking your life

away, unequal to all tasks
frown the taskmasters tapping a foot;
I'm reading the book at last

and cannot say to you anyway

in my sleep you don't understand
that it's my heartbeat
reading everything

and garnering all the wishes.

mary angela douglas 27 july 2016


demitasse on random afternoons
quite richly she'll explain
though she has very few

and we, our eyes awash in tiny flowers
of the springtide hues
will feel it like a dream

our whole life through
as from the soul a floral feeling
attaches itself forever

that we become accustomed to;

to the china in the cabinet;
a feeling that will deepen into time
like the chime of a spoon

on demitasse
or the words, refreshments will be served...
from a cut glass bowl

with lime sherbet melting into it
on summer afternoons
or anytime, after school

when we have unexpected lessons
of delight of gemmy words
in the lights and the half lights

of home.
mary angela douglas 27 july 2016

Not Spoken Is Still Lived

not spoken is still lived
though you keep it to yourself
and in the early mornings

visit the shrine
half obscured in the mood of half remembered dreams
when you first awake in a pale green room

and the dew extravagantly still on the grass
soaks your shoes

as though silver had come to pass overnight.
and you, you dream of wearing white
and a wreath of kind roses

as though from a photograph long past;
oh let the edges be blurred of the coronation,
but not the openwork, cut embroidery

on pastel cottons

while you ponder in your heart
every syllable unheard
as if you were a bird

at the pearl gates of Heaven
fated to burst into Song.

mary angela douglas 27 july 2016


[to Lucy W. Young, my grandmother]

she will fix you tomato consomme
when you are sick
and the way she says it

you just know
it's something elegant
and it's the elegance

that makes you well;
the way she dresses her grandchildren
for the recitals,

always in pink, sometimes with rosebuds embroidered
and a wrist corsage of pink and cream carnations.
they will play nocturnes, vintage pieces

and the notes falling through the air
with an unmatched delicacy
because she teaches them that way

as though music were the snowflakes
driven in by crystal winds to desolate porches
or the sun,

melting all the gold on earth.

mary angela douglas 27 july 2016

The Beautiful, Not The Perfect Weather

the beautiful isn't always perfect
I said to you where you couldn't hear me
wishing it on the winds in a wildflower field

by the side of roads
you weren't likely to be on.
you will straighten your dresser drawers

with every ribbon folded in
and turn to practice your piano
while you still can;

the piano near the picture window
while the pines sigh in the winds
that come up suddenly

with the thunderstorms
and Grandmother says,
get away from the piano

and the windows;
there's a storm coming in.

mary angela douglas 27 july 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

White Roads

[to Dmitri Shoshtakovich]

we would take all the white roads
through the little villages
and draw in crayon the sun

over the similar, the rose red roofs
and hear the hooves of the magical horses
who would just roam

since no one was in need of rescue,
being home.
and we would stroll as if

our days were already immortal
tinged with the gold of peaches,
of apricot mornings

with no warnings

and eat the pastries in the shop windows,
the ones with pink icing
and be free,

on the white roads

that reflected the sun back to itself
that seemed more familiar with each unfolding scene
as the dream lapsed into telescoped into

its own peculiar nesting dolls
one after another who sang folksongs
each more cherry sprigged than the last and

like the waters lapping
at the edge of a long sleep

where the sound of roaring is a diminished Fifth
and the fairy tale, this distinct melody
of the white roads.

mary angela douglas 26 july 2016

Monday, July 25, 2016

What Alice Found There, Variation No. 1

the interior mirrors weeping inconsolably
comfits in the hold
party favors,

the party being disbanded
and the invitation lost
the left hand vanishing into water

the jeweled sword on the banks of memory

roses under duress
the lands of conquest running away
children with new suitcases

the blue silk lining of
the sky of the mind

mary angela douglas 25 july 2016

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Ithaca Is Not Here

in a garden of stone I tried to go home
but nothing came back to life;
though I stood long over the rose beds

murmuring, it cannot be that this has happened.
when did the cyclone come to stay,
the doors blow apart,

and stone by stone it all come raining down
somewhere else a long ways off; on a summer's day
in someone else's field.

maybe it will be revealed.
and maybe it will not
what war was fought here

and who won, when the cypresses
grew, twisting into the thunderheads
and the mirror backings'; rue,

rootless as water lilies.

I have had no news
and not one messenger.
nor do I want to.

mary angela douglas 24 july 2016

Goodbye And Yet, Not

written in coloured chalk in the toyroom
or on a pincushion of silk shaped like a heart
we left a  final note to the fairies

do not follow us into the world
they won't believe you
take instead the fairground train into the country

a country of lavender where never wars
wounded the skies
and where you may live

the greenwood sort of life
we knew you were partial to
when we were with you

in crimson crushed velvet.

ah, but they persisted
packing their luggage of light,
not forgetting the Grimm paperbacks

the tales of Andersen
and the heart
with its radiant needles,

already threaded,,,

mary angela douglas 24 july 2016

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Last December's Poet

the names of things are floating away
oh catch them quick quicksilver breath
on windowpanes my melting images

my driftwood brushed away from peeling canvases
what more is there to say they shrug
I turn away what more? can tears

form syllables

only worlds, worlds on worlds remain
all unexplained and me
running out of time and paper

or with a cupboard bare
or elsewhere to sleep resplendently
but how

when the names of things are floating away
and I have lost
my nets of gold.

mary angela douglas 23 july 2016

Knowing This, Be Comforted

when gardens spoke themselves into flowers
on the very page we looked at
we thought only this was how

it should always be as the golden hours flowed by
so river sweet
and ate our ice cream dutifully

dressed in our Easter lily frocks

and watched the clocks
to see if we could really tell
when the hand was on the three,

what did this mean?
was it time for Christmas.
glowing bulbs on the trees

in manifest colours?
how lily lulled our mother, grandmothers
would have lifted us in sleep

to cradle in the fleecy clouds
to roselit kingdoms ever after
if we could have been spared

our whole life long
even the little disasters.
and even now, I think

when subject to unwarranted power

when the soul is pierced and on the brink,
still it is in, a gardenia spiked hour.

mary angela douglas 23 july 2016

We Were In Love With The Chivalry Of God

we were in love with the chivalry of God
the unknown troubadours sang
to you or I

in a world apart
where we went searching for the extravagant names
of things as though they were diamonds.

oh weep for the unrecorded tournaments;
the unwitnessed walking of the planks
set in motion

by the pirates of their time.
I do. I do. as though it were a wedding vow
and know the history

of real poetry
leaving its scars behind,
can only be this.

mary angela douglas 23 july 2016

While Others Weep

I had a dream that everything I sent
came back to me, postage unpaid;
report cards with a missing grade

and in the eyes, a missing glint
and jurisdictions that 
had questioned my intent

while I was merely dreaming;
unfinished schemes and blueprints on command
sent to me by mistake

or by some angel's hand
of imperial warning
knowing how I was

partial to the truth

of all the behind the scenes,
the too sudden shifts in the scenery
crashing down on me:

the gleam in their eyes unearned.

but we mowed down all the miracles,
they moaned in a crafty sleep
while God

swept through the house
turning over their furniture:
"all that furniture that you've accumulated.

while others weep."

mary angela douglas 23 july 2016

Friday, July 22, 2016


oh it is flying away sang children to their balloons
now sadly in all their colours farther away than
they used to be

and ice cream melts all strawberry in the afternoons

snow in December all too soon the leaves turn gold
and just as you turn to say, how beautiful,
they blow away

and the edge of music shimmers at close of days
more sharply so that the heart almost stops
as if turning on the dime of it and then

the chimes on breezes too and there is no time,
not time enough to hear,
waterfall cascading, all of it;

you play no longer on the keyboard of

dreams when your nightmare seams fall apart and
spill out into the day to day of making toast,
and coffee, maybe

but ah, say I where no one knows
the wild cherry sum of it exceeding
all the formulas,

the heart keeps its own chambers
and there, it is always God saying over again
to you as if He cherished the sound of it,

oh yes, Light, let there be...

and you cry all the iridescenes
till the floodtide,
from happiness,

going away with Him, then.

mary angela douglas 22 july 2016

Farewell To The Ship In The Harbour

farewell to the ship in the harbour
that is not yours, the snow whirling
in the cherry late skies;

angels surmise, and you could do no better.
now, in the tolling of innumerable bells,
the invisible swells on the oceans of air,

hosts of heaven see us and they know-
clearly the cost of what would have been gathered.
inland now, farther from shore, the farthest-

and safe in a little house,
store your jewels.
no need to burn what could have been burned.

the tides are all outgoing now,
there are no returns.

mary angela douglas 22 july 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Under Some Western Sky

sooner or later we'll be reborn under some western sky.
see, there's the mud tracks of the cart moving on
by the scraggly wildflowers; whoever knew their names

held the reins 
on the wagon that had seen the last of the sun,

blistering dreams; that quarter melon moon heightening
old schemes, pots and pans, hourglass sandstorms,
dresses that are worn clear through

while we make do
and carry the one on odd pieces of slate.
is it too late the soul sighs on its own

or is that the winds
through prairie grasses I pretend,
suspending all belief.

mary angela douglas 21 july 2016

Child From The Careful Tower

child from the careful tower you'll keep watch
and pray and dream and live your stories through
and they will not come after you

though their horses flash silver, thundering;
how mirage like you will see them pass,
missing the entrance and the winding stair.

and though they search, o everywhere,
thinking, there the treasure is at last,
God Himself

will confound their paths.

mary angela douglas july 21 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Better Than Roses, Thank You St. Therese

in Christmas storybooks the dolls are all lined up
in the pictured shop window, variously
dressed in pink, in blue, in yellow and mint green

with matching socks, appealing arms stretched out,

curly hair and an apron over their frocks
that looks like milk white silk

and so, reading the story you pick all four

gazing at the picture
while the storybook girls pick just the one.

all childhood long I did this

with every picture.
I chose all

and felt a little piglike as I did

even though it was only wishing
until St. Therese with her "Jesus,

I choose all" story

made me feel
a whole lot better.

mary angela douglas 20 july 2016