Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Faille Snows

the faille snows veil the ballets
she rehearses in her sleep,
adorn the keepers of the

frostbitten flame, the arctic names;
the white pears in crystal gleams
from the canvas and from the stage

they vanish into pearl
from the wars into intaglio
cutting the performance

short

mary angela douglas 23 august 2016

Questionnaire Concerning The White Horses

to the ones on white horses who lost their way
we will not blame you that this our minstrelsy
seems dead and that the nightingales

refuse to sing because you are not here.
and in the mists,rising we rise too,
in fleeting years,

in coded songs remembering
you used to think of us perhaps
in your dense forests,

now and again.
o why pretend?
the sallow children sang;

no reign is certain,
no matter how tightly they hold the reins.
and the white horses, were they only

what we dreamed?
or are we vanishing, too?

mary angela douglas 23 august 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

Lunch Money

what if you found the reference books of kings
on sale perhaps at the thrift store near
the old magazines, a rubied coronet

or the faded floral dresses, garish scarves
and carried them away, having spent your lunch money;
feeling yourself changed somehow

as if a golden aureole surrounds your head.
and wondering, would anyone note the difference
when you slipped back into work

the things to file having grown for you meanwhile
in the inbox piled seven stories to the moon,
several times over.

but you will think in another language
in the office gloom as you resume captivity;
or part of one, at least;

or the one that you make up in your sleep,
dripping with fantastic colours
like the Northern Lights on display

dripping down the candle of the day.
the afternoon ticks by
and then the trains;

your dubious dinner made
but just before,
you plan the next week's splurge:

maybe the Crown Jewels cast aside
in a dusty showcase of old things
for new brides;

think of it! for only 75 cents...

you will envision bookshops in the rain
you're sloshing through
that have rarely been on earth:

the ones piled high with the charact'ry
Keats too richly conceived,
with little known fairy tales

in quaint spellings, that bear retellings;
etchings, done in moonlight.
and on a proverbial whim,

you'll spend the last of the gold for them
forgoing that new dress, figured, on fuschia.
and go to live in the hold

of the ship with the cold, cold
apples of silver
from an intricate lullaby;

or pluck for Hans Andersen
one january rose; one fugitive sky;
sent to guard the children

and to shield them from the snows.

mary angela douglas 22, 23 august 2016

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Kingdom Of Maraschinos

o do you remember
the kingdom of maraschinos
and you in red velveteen

practicing for the recitals
the waltzes from the south?
and the roses outside

seemed complicit
and music lit from within
like opals, measure to measure.

I remember this,
I think to myself on the bus,
the houses with a thousand windows

flashing by,
bequeathed with too many wreaths.
and it is Christmastime

and I remember
the kingdom of maraschinos;
the light in the skies

above our childhoods, cherry-wise.

mary angela douglas 20 august 2016

A Final Thing To You Will Be Said

a final thing to you will be said
but then you won't be here
so you may as well imagine it,

spell it out in code to the birds
who will fly away with it
back to their fairy tale lands,

to their nests twined silver and gold,
the occasional turquoise.
something sparkles in a beak

and it's too late to take it back
and it goes free, without permission
into the clouds.

so it could be for you or me
the last day on earth;
when we escape the denouement

they had planned
with God, sweet God,
commanding otherwise...

mary angela douglas 20 august 2016

Premonition

your mind with its stained glass
its reverent fissures, cul de sacs
its lime green neighborhoods

peridot coloured moons
they want to exhume, examine
and ask you: please say back to me

a few minutes later the words:
penny, apple, table
and of course you do

you will
but the drill keeps on going
they'll ask you to count backwards

to subtract the current atmosphere

from the one in which you were free.
oh it's all for your own good
they say benevolently perhaps.

how could it be
when I hear the jeweled bells ring out
from the distances in peril.

mary angela douglas 20 august 2016

Unknown Hearts

when God traced in green the outline of His trees
in the First Spring of the worlds
did the birds sing ghostly,

knowing they were next?
and the angels cried:
there will be birdsong,

flight! and unborn children
in a sequined light
stirred in their coming dreams

where the silver birds flew
and song spilled over from the trees
cascading like the rains

and rainbows are near,

near to us whispered the freshly
configured stars
and unknown hearts

will love us, looking up
the moons all aureoled.

mary angela douglas 20 august 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Was I By The Ochre Or The Rubied Trees

was I by the ochre and the rubied trees
underneath the skies of silken grey?
I wonder, was it real and if, in feeling

should I go back
and hear the crackle of leaves
beneath my feet

on a walk at evening
near my old schools as I
and they were then

until it is too cool to be outside
and I'll walk back 
alone as I longed to be and as I was

latched into my own mind
and dream at my window
in a rose coloured blind

having read Rilke for the first time
outside of the school assignments
or Dante, The Paradiso, by Ciardi

with no one recommending him to me;
perhaps, the Unseen or unseen angels
and with the light snow falling

before the lamplight
so that you could see
it was snowing at night

though it had just begun
and I or was it I
have opened the window

entirely so the snow terraced
winds come through,
the few leaves remaining, reminding me:
I am the only one remembering that autumn;
I was the only one there.

mary angela douglas 18 august 2016

Monday, August 15, 2016

And Did They Glide With Flowers In Their Hair

and did they glide with flowers in their hair
striking an attic pose by the stairway
the cherry stairway near the stained glass

the light peculiarly violet there
and was there one there
apart, in modest dress

a diffident air
waltzing outside on the grass
and dreaming that loveliness passes

she says like the rose flowing from
moment to shattered moment
alas

the petals dripping in the silver rains.

mary angela douglas 15 august 2016

Little Bugs

little bugs.
little soldiers in a perpetual war;
belittled pilgrims with us here on earth

in your miniscule sojourns.
how I regret that you must live in corners,
dart into crevices

weave and bob on kitchen floors
where the linoleum patterns
seem like camouflage to you

yet I can see you clearly, black against
the white, or cream where you freeze
thinking this is the thing to do.

I wonder if you wonder:
what are giants for if
not for kindness built

if they don't even want us in
the cabinets they're not using
or in the kitchen drawers.

or in the unheated garages,

the tool sheds where
we hoped things would be
different this time.

are you musing on a castle of your own
in between mad scrambles
where you could freely roam

about your own living room?

I will make you tiny stories of them

where fountains play,
and so do you.
the scent of orange blossoms in the air

and rare music.

you will forget your furtive existence;
the nights where you must lurk
till all are asleep;

the frantic minutes when the Enemy
suddenly flicks on the kitchen light
grabbing the sandwich you crave

only one crumb from that could last you a week.
in heaven may you have your own kingdoms
and be done with hiding forever

playing Blind Bugs Bluff with the angels cheerily;
God throwing rose petals at you in your sleep.
and finding you cake crumbs iced.

mary angela douglas 15 august 2016

Sunday, August 14, 2016

There Is A White Silence

there is a white silence that comes over me
whenever I see the snowfall descending
as if I were suddenly become

the dream that moonlight has when half asleep of

the crystal air.
through an open window
I test my soul

that longs to step out through
the translucence of clouds;
the crystals whirling in the night air;

that wants to fly out into it
as though nothing could keep me here,
not the farmhouse in the distance,

the thought of what is dear to me

nor the silos of hidden light
I have stored up all the years
for the bitter days:

heaped there in plenitude is a secret gold.

and I only I white as the may flowers
am certain now of where to go;
no longer drifting like the snow;

am leaning now over the sill of the world

I must one day leave, unseen
though I will still be here
in the beauty of it, not quite vanished yet

and unable to forget.

mary angela douglas 15 august 2016

Let There Be Lanes

let there be lanes before and after the cataclysms
threaded with bluebirds and the hedge rose;
the aureoles of angels through the trees

surreptitiously.
the glaze on the puddles in winter
and the snows when they give way

turning again to Spring
and not the bombed out homes.
let there be lanes the Lord God said again

and we cried 
because it was so.

mary angela douglas 14 august 2016

Singing Was Different Then

singing was different then
as though we had cast our nets
toward the Beautiful

forever slipping through
the jade territories, hints of
the early Spring

or lit our candles privately
before an unnamed shrine
in evening dews;

endowed so quietly
as if we could reach Heaven, somehow,
on a dime with one note only,

only a silver bell,
a rubied chime
so that Time drew back

at the edge

of the glimmering wood
as in childhood,
where it was forgot. 

and song was the well
rimmed with wishes
into which was set

one jewel, and then another
sinking down into clouded depths;
what men have wept to find.

such was grief and laughter then;
the gift of pretending kingdoms until it became
so real

that we could fell all hearts
in the grimness then, made Light and
threaded music

spilling into,
over and above,
the thunderstruck love of God.

mary angela douglas 14 august 2016

Saturday, August 13, 2016

They Blocked The Roads So That We Could Not Run

they blocked the roads so that we could not run
and so we flew, dream past dream
and all the evening through past evensong;

the steel rivers, the unblinking dawns.
but they, they blocked the roads
and thought they were the stronger.

did we find detours, we were never

that sure of the way we went
or if we went at all.
but we were there when stars

fell into our hands
and we could understand
this was how it would be

whenever we did not care
that they blocked the roads
or that they blocked them everywhere

so that we would not roam;
not knowing we could make our
home an anywhere or nowhere, simply at all.

all this, despite their ears to the ground
and them hearing no music
because they were obstinate or

the clouds of snows as they descended
veil upon veil
and mind beyond mind.

within us,
obliterating their tracks.

mary angela douglas 13 august 2016

These Are the Facts (Perhaps)

these are the facts about the country
I was not born in minus the
sprinkling of anecdotes, the

vivid quotes, though,
sometimes they creep in
when the editors are asleep

and the Cinderellas come to sweep up.

these are the facts, the who, what,
where and when crammed into the
first paragraph in case the reader

doesn't quite make it to the end
and sometimes the how o now and then
but never the why, so why pretend.

so we could say, couldn't we, my erstwhile friend
this is the abc but not
the x, y, z,

of the country I didn't
grow up in, the one
where I never went to school

or was asked to dance
the one where the merry go round horses
would not, could not prance

though you used up all your dimes on
the grocery store carousel
trying to make it work.

still, all manner of things should go well
and what have you learned
despite you know, good spelling doesn't count anymore

of everything that went before:
the depth of the files
they ask you after each mistake

and after awhile, you almost smile and
just say: nothing I can't make up for
inside my own head, thank you,

instead, a,b...
being (then they'll say, superciliously)
not at all that well read.

mary angela douglas 13 august 2016

The Last Day On Earth

the last day on earth as I prepared for work
I lost my balance while pouring the milk for the cereal
so that a whole carton of milk I just bought yesterday

sloshed out over the freshly mopped floor
then I snagged the stray thread on my skirt
so that the entire hem ripped out

but only on one side and while looking for
a safety pin in my purse I stabbed myself with
a large open one and then the phone started

ringing and someone was at the door
and the neighbor's dog got loose in the garden
and started eating all the flowers frenziedly

and that's how I knew the end was nigh
because that dog never had a taste for flowers
up till now and then the thunderstorms rolled in

with the tornados that just wouldn't quit and someone
threw a brick through the side door and broke in
stealing all the emergency supplies

and the police, the C.I.A., the S.B.I. were at the door
in a case of mistaken identity
and hauled me off to hq at the same time I had

left something cooking on the stove, or in the oven,
and there I was in full view of all the neighbors who
had come outside to gaze at the approaching asteroid

and me with my hem dragging down in certain places
being taken downtown
while they all went inside to their basements

brought out the cake and refreshments for the party
to which they hadn't invited me anyway
and just before the tsunami wave rose to cover the

whole earth, the dog died, slipping on the spilled milk,
and I woke up,
glad to be still alive

mary angela douglas 13 august 2016

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Here Was A Kind Of Countryman

[to the tragic story and aftermath of Donald Crowhurst]

nothing to salvage from the wreck;
only the waters ruffling over
a kind of country submerged

or what stood for one.
the placeholder.
and his place gone.

the ship pristine.
but not the mariner
and whose is the puzzle now.

somewhere a jeweled discovery awaits
of a land where to try is never to fail.
where to sail is always unfurled

under a bright sky with no need
of warnings.
but here is where

certain stories were brought low;
the self made myths dissolving
after the blow of consciousness revealed

what even now we cannot feel,
not knowing the whole
except that in the soul,

suddenly, with no premonition,
the inhabitants started awake  hearing
the church bells toll

over all the island
and no remedies opposed.

and the artifacts with hushed
aspects we examine afterwards
as though handling

time itself, come undone,
the scripts of a foundering logic,
the sea, the sun

unwitting witnesses
to what we still cannot fathom.

mary angela douglas 10 august 2016

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

There Is No Condemnation

she wept into the handkerchief of the skies
and then it rained for days
we said, trying to explain

what couldn't be.
or she is captive in a far tower
and hour by hour spins

something into gold,
but what, we do not know
since no one told us.

all our lives we will imagine her
this way, working a pearl shuttle
through the stars to earn her way,

to break the spell of less
than velvet afflictions,
that all may be well in the kingdom;

and courting the favor of those

who do not allow her to grieve,
to leave the sting of condemnation behind.
but we, we couldn't condemn her for suffering

from blows we knew were not imaginary.

mary angela douglas 9 august 2016

The White Ship On The Waters Of Braille

the allusive ship, the white ship vanishing
into mists, or onto the canvas
where the artist is disappearing

into a cameo frame

or the haunting of our years
the ship down, the treasure
never found

the jewels transposed into light
and the passengers with them.
in childhood, the ship that

sparkled on the waters,
the waters of dream
ah! the white ship

and you are lulled,
thinking you are there
or is it, as is often the case

the moonlight sheer, and sure,
the ship made of moonbeams
your mother sings of

and now in the harbor, the white
ship, is it the same one there
and you hear it when sleep is fugitive

and the sound of oars or something silvered

or is it the ship of diamond and evanescent snows
half buried in winters long ago
foundering at the Poles

or the ship that bore Arthur away
that tragic king
three lilies in his hands

on the wide white waters
on the violet waters pale.

mary angela douglas 9 august 2016

Monday, August 08, 2016

As It Snows

some collect the names of famous diamonds,
majolica in palest green,
I collect the scenes cloud framed

outside my window
and the seamless seams
of light;

and every night, the lilac moon
I cannot see as it comes up
on the other side

of my building.
some collect pressed flowers in a book
or the remnants of stars

as they fall to earth;
but I am coated with silver
whenever it rains;

with diamonds,
as it snows

mary angela douglas 8 august 2016

Sunday, August 07, 2016

As If We Could After All

[to my sister, Sharon F. Douglas]

we laughed when the clouds were wispy;
knowing they were called cirrus,
we adopted them

and drank pure limeade gladness
in the shine of our familiar trees.
will you go to sea later on

or last and last
without ever sailing forth
in your cherry best or

will you go North at some behest

confiding to old diaries
your fears about the expedition
or work downtown near the Library

and wear navy blue dresses
with little collars
or collect sand dollars

in lieu of cash
keeping your stash
of butterscotch well hidden

from the children and
their Halloweens...

life came to us unbidden
as our dreams
by the questions we never asked

but I like to look back
and consider these things
as if we could, after all,

start out, again.

this time, with wings.

mary angela douglas 7 august 2016

A Cherry Lemonade For The Man On the Velocipede Please

[to Robin Williams and those who loved him]

we are the jesters in old costumes
and bright slippers, with worn soles;
worn souls, gestures of the

harlequinade, the dancing days;
with glittery wings and gauze,
we give them pause,

the brokers in the rain
bounding for their trains.
o may they fill our felt hats

to the brim caught in the nets of whimsey;

with spare gold, a doubloon or two,
for stories told,
the odd star sapphire.

odd isn't it, how a lifetime

can be spent as plain as plain
with no revelations whatsoever
then, down the drain

we, on the other hand appear

over decorated

like Eloise at Christmas
cause we like it that way;
careening in and out of traffic

and making small payments
day upon day
on the velocipedes

of the fairly free;
olde poetry on a spree.
and the paper flower bouquets,

the scarves in credible array
in quixotic shades
pulled out of the very air

we breakfasted on,
just yesterday.

mary angela douglas 7 august 2016