Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Taken Into Account, Obscurely Dreamed

I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
    dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
    Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
    As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding

    Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding...

Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Windhover



taken into account, obscurely dreamed
I caught this morning's Mourning
in its gleam

the text of leaving green
on the milk white skies.
goodbye to the leaves

was scrawled on the evening wind
I have seen this before you murmured soft
and then

you turned to go inside
and from the turret window, despite the
upstair's tenants' noise, the sudden slams

a glimmering sped in the breeze

and we could not answer
was it birds or leaves.

mary angela douglas 30 november 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Falling Off The World We Came To See

falling off the world we came to see
the underside of clouds
the breathing of leaves

stars scattering before the storms.
before the storms
we believed in the Golden Age

and did not know that we should pay our way
and that the way was paved with tears
the kingdoms sinking into the sea

merely at an unkind word
we did not know we would be herded
and not heard

and fastened onto a track and measured,
fined for looking back
at the illusory

we did not know these things

and so we lived in dreams
negligent to a fault
still owning our own souls.

mary angela douglas 29 november 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It Was What We Wanted To Learn

it was what we wanted to learn,
not only to believe
that one could come to the edge of town

after much suffering
at dawn and live under the shower of gold
or that every word you uttered would

become a pearl
and alternately, a diamond
so that speaking could be only jeweled.

and speaking would be only jeweled
because virtue grew
green leaves in the wintertime

under deep snows
and that is where
we wanted to go

where the spearmint of the air
was truly what we were
capable of breathing

I believed this
I would read this
though I was mocked for it

long summer afternoons
and learn the madrigals by heart,
the Gospels,

and believe in Art
yes, for its own sake

taking up the cause of Poetry
floating above the common world
filled to the brim as it was with bullies

and with ostentation.
so that words became my nation
and beauty spilled from the stiles

of the heavenlies,
from the pitchers of music.
as though it were cream.

mary angela douglas 28 november 2016

We Did Not Dream Of Weddings

[in memory to Mr. and Mrs. Milton B. Young, my grandparents...
and for Sharon F. Douglas, my sister]

we did not dream of weddings,
but of the white gold light
and of the pearl of the skies.

any day now it may snow
the moon and the stars
amd we will stand entranced.

let it be lamplit,
and the snow falling delicately before.
let Grandmother's books

with their tissue guards unfold
the mystical illuminations
of the sweetheart's rose

in miniature.
or we compose on toy pianos
plinking on rainbow scales

the notes we'll sing
in after years
and lift the hidden veils

of Christmases to come:
we knew,
when we were young.

mary angela douglas 27 november 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Setting The Table

setting the table
the butter pale yellow on the butter dish
with the butter knife

just so
the stack of wonder bread beside it
oil and vinegar in their casques

for the salad
the pepper mill
bought with S&H trading stamps

the pride and joy
also the willoware or the melmac
kitchen bright

each night
the pastel paper napkins.
these things remembered

50 years ago
predictable as rain
or a windy day in april

oh, if time were more flexible
I would ride, no gallop back
to be in that again

with those who loved me when.

mary angela douglas 24 november 2016

For Dylan Thomas In The Dark Blue Dusk, The Dust Of Words

[for the poet Dylan Thomas, his every word]

as you were singing that the givers of light
would have no end that the green rills
growing greener would furl in waves

about us ever near and clearer from year to year and that the
sun dipped in the clouds down low
would ever arise

somewhere farther beyond your white roads chrism
we forgot that poetry is not prose
and no longer gathered the rose upon rose

the once upons.
now the prismed web breaks apart
and with it the human heart and where

and what and how in Art will the angels come
to trouble the springs again
so that healing descends

when your voice is stilled
when the news is all we know
I cannot comprehend

only that vaguely

blue and darker blue with the dusk
as your disguise the village from afar
you view

and weep for Wales
for all that meant to you.
and we go casting about in sighs

mere ghosts of ourselves
forgetting what you knew.
and that bright words, though few

are wise.

mary angela douglas 24 november 2016

The Teakettle Rosily Sings On The Hob And Dreams

your teacup balanced on the edge
of the fantastic tea party
only just beginning

will you lose your balance
plunging past the cakes,
the creamed filled,

the ones with plum icing
will they find your manner nice
will you be coasting down

the sugared slopes, the gumdrop spiced
of childhood hopes
your whole life long

and keep alive
your teacup songs
no matter how

you may feel wronged
by the dreamless worlds
around you?

mary angela douglas 24 november 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Doll Weddings Made The News

doll weddings made the news
in the Christmas town by the sea
or under the Christmas tree

in the star flecked snows
or what we thought were those;
tree skirts all confetti

and we'll send off in the mail
for the aurora borealis
just for selling Christmas cards

in July to the crabby housewives
without a/c
drinking up all the tea all

summer long and the clinking sound
of ice in the glass was a musical one to us.
as were so many things.

the froth of ice cream shakes
the little bake oven and its spongy cakes.

we lived in dream town
lilacs over the back fence
at least in our readers

and pink flowers clambering too
though you couldn't say for sure
which kind they were.

we'll live there one day
that is what we thought
and pack our trunks with

costumes from the fairy tale plays
on our way
to the town of perfect friendship

having mastered our spelling by then
and all the word problems
in the back of the book.

mary angela douglas 24 november 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Farewell To The Legends

farewell to the legends
wove of the boughs of beauty
heft of tapestried moon and

the stars
the pearl waft of evening
the arches of the green.

yet what they had seen
let it remain
in books put by

like the purpling of the skies
that men who are wiser
and are blind, ignore.

this lore was ours
I hear through mourning grasses sigh
the ghosts of an old surmise

what have you done with it

mary angela douglas 22 november 2016

Have Chains of Sadness Bound You, Second Variation

[after John Dowland]

have chains of sadness bound you;
ropes of tears?
through the gloom I see

these dismal jeweled years
festooning ancient madrigals or rather,
like the sun, all's climbed above

the dense, deep graphite
grey of thunderheads,
a gold at a far remove, ineffectual-

as a Storybook
whose pages you grow loath to turn.

Beclouded is that picture,
midnight's noon
the one I have in mind

and no shepherds piping

in a greening meadow's clime
can I infer:
above, below, on either side

I see strange Melancholy 
on a throne of ice,
the vain assays of knights

up the glassine hill,

the silver apples rolling down,
like tears, like tears
in the stymied after tones

of all our dears
consigned to the workhouse of the shrill.
like a ship that won't be turned,

the ice bound Will.


mary angela douglas 27 september 2016 rev. 22 november 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Things They Forgot To Tell You

the things they forgot to tell you
out of kindness
will find you out

though you have hid yourself behind
the thousand words for invisible
the colors of an infinite palette

like telegrams they will arrive
at precisely the blindsiding moment
and of course, you will be at home

and happy in the day
when spring turns instantly to ice
the entire castle going under

going under you say to yourself
making friends with the clouds too late
goodbye to the drifting, drifting away

as it begins to thunder in Heaven

mary angela douglas 21 november 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I Had A Feeling About The Stars

I had a feeling about the stars
that maybe they could be
the outward shell of God

and he was speaking that way
in silver to us all and from distances
no longer calculated by the radio astronomers.

and this is why we misunderstood
and he was weeping in pearl aureoles
above the quiet snows inconsolably,

beyond His incontrovertible Will
because we did not know Him, still.

mary angela douglas 20 november 2016

The Snow Maid Tries To Think In Words

is this the sign that I should speak
she said to herself when the peach
blossoms shone and for one moment

only, clouds parted.
is this the parting of ways
she wondered in a kind of haze

how am I to know
when no one speaks here
the language of snow

or cares for me,
that I come or go
though I have diamonds in my hands

and a pearl like shadow on the landscape
when the moon glows.

mary angela douglas 20 november 2016

The Gleaning

I will go and glean from the fairy tale fields
I said to the wind when she was listening
for the outworn stories of men, for the

sheafs bearing down and I with two small hands
could not gather there.
or then it was winter and in the soft snows

the raspberry skied I lost again or was lost,
witnessed by those who pointed out mysteriously
you're at the wrong crossroads

move further on
for it is time the fairytale clock designed
to chime for those we've screened

kicks on.
I will leave you I said inwardly
much as the wind does

making little sound
but only what the trees can hear
and at the end of the year

when iced bells chime
and recognize who I am
my hands filled with snowy blessings

my watch broken in half
by the whisperers.

mary angela douglas 20 november 2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

And If You Need Rest

and if you need rest there is the story
of the thumb sized little girl and
she slept in her cradle

under a roseleaf said Hans Andersen
and the tears of the child subsided
and did it blow off in the night,

the roseleaf inquired the child
oh no. the winds were kind and
did not stir it, so think of this.

when you are worried that the
moon can't kiss the sun or
there's too much homework to be

done or your shoes become untied
every time on the sidewalk
and everyone sees

oh just believe
it could be you
under the roseleaf

fast asleep
and your mother, singing to you...

mary angela douglas 19 november 2016

I Saw

I saw beauty in her towers crumble and fade
and the myriads who danced in the ruins rule.
and day followed subterranean day

when evil was praised unstintingly
and we were counted fools.
I saw the flowering of stars ripped from the page

and from the stage declaimed ,

the lies that foment the midnight soul and roil
with the old distresses parlayed new
and bought and sold

and beauty mute and all her verses

on the floor of the world half buried under no moon at all.
soon may the coral rise around their enterprise
the Floods come through

and swallow up the baiting tongue
the ironclad rule of wanton ecstatic abuse
where children  lose at Forever as if

at marbles on a simple day and this is

called coming of age, the tainted rains,
the cult of the few, superiorly trained.
my God in his rage refurbish us anew

though we are wounded through-

that we may rebuild her towers.
oh Beauty- lost, disconsolate!
amid the decimated hours.

mary angela douglas 18 november 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Say That An Angel Came Instead

north of the stars we looked for her
and the weathervanes creaking
in January's snowiness,

in the hidden heart or
where her veils lifted,her dress,
in a painting by Monet

of the meadow strung wind,
its beaded sunlight-
or among the wreaths

left along the highways
of diffident shrines
and the weeds grown over Time itself.

shy was she of discovery, perhaps
crowned prematurely by
Renaissance artists

and not at her behest

painting grandiloquently
her departures in heavy velvets,
cherubic decor. brocaded duress.

of course, she did not die,
they murmur, the crowds,
what the saints once called The World

lingering like children
after the Fair or
like you or I,renunciation's dream

our candle cast shadows
apart

waiting for visions of
the blue and the gold,
for the tinsmiths to finish the heart

for lilies cascading from her hands;

the beatitude that understands
everything that can happen
on Earth

to those thought poorly of.

and will there be the myriad wings
of the valentine doves
we made in school?

her children sing but
as a rule,
on earth, she kept things to herself

since who would believe her,
think that she had heard
the goldfinch encrypted rains on the roof

witholding their reproofs,
and far less, God
with His pearled and storied

Word in the early evening
of all her singular prayers

say that an angel came instead
she whispered to the chroniclers
of blood.

and then she whispered, Love.

mary angela douglas 16 november 2016

She Dreamed Of The Future Of Music

she dreamed of the future of music
green notes falling out of the skies
so emeraldly

pink notes sapphire bright
and yellow notes mean the stars
at night and flower notes

when the wind blows and it was Spring when
the wind blew in her dream
trees toppled kingdoms stood bereaved

and then she was home

mary angela douglas 16 november 2016

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

We Are All Unlikely People

we are all unlikely people she half thought
turning over the rain soaked pebbles in the road
to reveal, she thought 

the less jeweled side
all brides at the altars of uncertainty
paper wad hit in the classrooms

long ago
and the desks when you put your
head down to rest

all smelling like taffy.
why can't we go back
apprentices and mouseketeers

and start again some Parents' Open House Night

the notebook open at the first snowed in page
and arrange it so
we don't care what they say

but glory in the way
imperfection has its beauties too
and dreaming never minded

about that.

mary angela douglas 15 november 2016

To Come Into The World, To Leave Like Snow

to come into the world, to leave like snow
like leaves that blow is this a thing to wish
perhaps most devoutly

Shakespeare knew but then with rue
returned to work the laden mines
of his own mind

it should be enough to work with God, for God,
for joy, and in the instants find
no words that cloy but those that shine

and then depart from the world 
to leave like snow no imprint of its own
but bearing the imprint of what blows

what breaks in the ice or twig like goes
its creaturely way across vast distances:
the soul filled up with clouds,

going away

mary angela douglas 15 november 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

For This

for this I stepped onstage she thought
perhaps, towards the end
of the production

in a small part, with infrequent lines
to embroider rosebuds in the corners
of my mind as though my mind were

a cloud and very fine
superfine they might complain
but here I am to braid the rains

the silver with the silver
plum with plum in the afternoon
or to run on the plains at recess

when the day is done with the
jeweled bridle slipping a little:

a wild pony so that after years
when it may be difficult to walk
you will remember running like that

as you remember Easter hats with cherries
strawberries in high season, sugared, creamed
and reading poetry out loud not to any crowd

just in your room pale blue with the white curtains
stirring in the winds coming through
to hear what you would do with Keats, with

Elizabeth Barrett Browning with a thousand sounds
with their jeweled awnings stretched over you
as though you were the bride, and the canopy, music.

I was here she breathed through the mists
in after years to embroider small rosebuds in the world
on an imagination lost at sea so that children after me

arising from a dreamless sleep might wake and see again
a sail! a sail!
even from a landlocked window

and exclaim
all this, is ours, forever, honeyed hours
and beauty after pain

to find this out is
why we came

mary angela douglas 11 november 2016

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Poetry With No Prizes 2

birdsong at morning
and the unfettered skies
above the ant farms of the world

and it is no surprise
that we don't want to board the trains,
the buses, the remains of our lives

after merely glancing at fantastic sunrise
but we endure
sure of our prize.

but birds are free.
free in their chirping green
or in their decimated

Falls,still glorious or spiraling
in the cold and myriad songed.
and this you realize

all on your own, this pure gold
the way you did as a child,
is music,

poetry, with no prize.

mary angela douglas 3 november 2016

Eternal Music Turns The Page

she was the one
who ate from dishes the colour of raspberries
who longed for snows in deep summer.

carving ivories in the shade
the snow maid glimmered,
and was gone

while we made april stations of the cross
and crowned the emptiness with flowers.
how will they auction her piano

when everything she dreamed was music
and angels guard the treble clefs
the grace notes made of diamonds.

and grant her rest.

ah! bar the creditors at the door
and break the rabble
and deplore

the trampling of her shadows
in the afternoon by the curious
seeking curios and no more.

by those who itch
to sell Forever
having no tune of their own.

mary angela douglas 3 november 2016