Sunday, April 30, 2017

Home Schooling Wasn't In the Rule Book Back Then

we could have stayed home
and worked on the history of toys.
it certainly would have been

better than some days I remember
in the droning cafeterias
with the tater tots and

the fried something or others;
hot as firecrackers on the
May playgrounds

far from the sprinkler at home where
we would have been having lemonade
about this time we dreamed

or fizzies under the shade trees
that we made ourselves so cherrilly, 
that's cherry flavored, in case you wondered

or doing our homework on the magic slates
with the red rubber pencils

where all the results just disappear
when you lift the plastic sheet
ready to begin again inside in case of thunder

whatever your heart chooses.
and we could have been at home
with Grandmother all the day

and learned even more on the pianoforte
and watched the mailman come
loaded down with Life and Look

and the Reader's Digest Latest Condensed Book
and learned at our ease
whatever we pleased.

flashcard fractions, or the latest in hats
veiled in the purple lidded hatboxes
on Grandmother's top shelf.

where we would have helped ourselves
once her piano students clamoured in
or danced in our velvet flats through the whole

house universe or sat forever
watching the clouds, the rose petals fall
the snows, the rains beyond our family window panes.

I think I would have liked that.

mary angela douglas 30 april 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

These Transcendent Qualities

these transcendent qualities
in late afternoon skies
can cause the heart to break

into song, quietly inordinate sighs;
abet the tear streaked child
in the wilderness of school

in the unruly crowd past noons remembered
as if they were wounds.
there are the colours picked for you

by attending angels or your mother:
the clouds like a code that
only you can read, discover

the sudden breeze
and the lifting of your load
perennially hard to bear;

the deeper green in the greening shade
where you wait for the closing bells oh everywhere
and there the angelic whispers swell

for you for you in a hidden dell
where the violets riot and the wishing wells
beckon you beckon you

to believe
there is a way out within you
and it is glistening.

mary angela douglas 29 april 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Let Us Become The Hidden Things In The Picture

let us become the hidden things in the picture
that we may find grace for the wanderer
in his day.

the storm clouds hover about him,
the small winds play
and become devastating.

let us be
angels on the underside of clouds
where the light rays pierce through

slanting to the ground like rain.
let us become balm for the
unauapwxrws pain, relentless;

the bruised roses
emitting small perfumes.
and to the children,

the toys that give delight
in a foreign room;
the small candies they

have hidden in their shoes
on the evil day,

the pebbles white
containing the moonlight
slipping away

let us become the bright things in the picture
in the opportune moment disclosed

that they may not wander

mary angela douglas 28 april 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I Opened The Book Of Peace And The Pale Doves Flew

I opened the book of peace and the pale doves flew
a crease of snow appeared in the sky
oh all things under the earth will lie

and even the roses dewed
I sighed then my sighs flew
up to the panes of Heaven

and looked through

to where the stars in merriment
sounded like tiny bells o tiny bells
and the waters spelled at the far, far poles

under the green ice drifting
the berry strung remedies
of my lost summers.

I opened the book of peace and the pale doves flew
and everything I ever knew and worried through
and all the midnight hours that tolled

and took their toll

turned  o! at once to silver and gold.

mary angela douglas 26 april 2017


are we going backwards
something softly chimed
chiding my shadows

in late afternoon
and it's like a story book
read upside down when you were new

and all you saw was the pictures.
and you hear the bells of the ice cream trucks
but they do not turn

down your lost leafless lanes
do we sit in a chair and dream then
o what a shame

or ride the unicycle down
the exceptional memory trails
oh we are going backwards

day by day
rereading the parts that we forgot
only because 

we loved them so
and apple pie currying favor
with the snows the Christmas glints

and glimmers heaven sent
and wearing the crown invisible at will-
of the princess in her doom

consigned to keeping geese
retaining still
the cherry cobbler refinements

unbrokenly the rainbow gauze
overleaf of the seamless views receding
farther and farther nearer and nearer

oh we pray

mary angela douglas 26 april 2017

Saints Of Words Were These

[to the Immortal Poets]

they had taken up the cause of beauty
and for them God had in reserve
whole wildernesses

timed to bloom in one compacted hour
and as though we had wept flowers
those hours descended their ghosts sang

their words jeweled in a driving rain
and flame upon flame of the Word
driven inward

having no other home.
saints of words were these
last poets, lost though they seemed

their own illuminated manuscripts
torn, and destitute of little repute sometimes
in the heedless world

what is poetry they ask in the magazines
and I cannot say but how can it be
they do not know

when such as these were on the earth
and vanished slowly
giving birth

in every language possible
that beauty vanishing with them
should return

to us, the uncomprehending.

mary angela douglas 26 april 2017

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Elegant Doll Who Looked Like The Singer Lily Pons

[to my Grandparents with love forever...]

a doll in pink tissue in a pale blue box
is staring up at me through a birthday haze
with a porcelain face

and eyes of green
in a gown a gown with an ivory sheen
an overlay of pink rosebuds

rhinestoned leaves in relief
a doll a doll in pink tissue
has come to call

here on the dining table though I am small
I dust every Saturday with lemon pledge
obliterating all other presents heaped and opened first

and I could brust with happiness
and my gaze is a gaze that is fixed
on the doll the doll in the ivory gown

with its delicate overlay of pink velvet rosebuds
tiny embroidered rosebuds
delicate pearl drop earings

and a picture hat

and I want to be worthy
maybe even a saint
to honor the doll

the doll in pink tissue
in the pale blue box
and those who loved me

when I was in the second grade
to give me such a fairy doll, a shining one
her hair the colour of a copper sun.

mary angela douglas 25 april 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Kingdom Of The Cults

they would have stolen
the mist before our eyes
if only they had...

the moon from the night
would we have been
the clear sighted children

our careful mothers prayed for

instead of what we were,
what we would become:
captive in our own native land.

the very forgers of our own chains.

on every hand said Solzhenitsyn
there is a door meant just for you
in the terrible labyrinth of a fate

you have no prior knowledge of.

you stroll out in the afternoon
not knowing you won't come back.
then it's too late: you're caught.

who can describe the lack of something

in the air when they close the gate
and you can no longer breathe
as you did in childhood.

starry eyed, you feel you're just the same.

such pirates await you child
of any Age, the same, the very same.
guard well

the candle flare of your soul
from their encroachment.
traps are set for you everywhere.

the netters of dreams.

mary angela douglas 24 april 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Now We Are Crossing The Pink Part Of The Map

now we are crossing the pink part of the map
I say to my sleeping soul and next the mint green
the lilac countries

there were no wars here, no sudden shifts
in the earth but everything was 
the way you feel

when you are a little girl
and they show you the map
and you think to yourself

it's all candy coloured
a candy coloured world
and you feel glad inside

so here in your dream
it has become the same time of day
and you are on the train

traversing the candy tinted countryside
and your mother is there
your Grandparents

a hamper with very good sandwiches in it
the little toffees we loved
a whole thermos of coffee

with the most perfect cream
I want to stay in this dream
your soul murmurs I want to stay

but you may not stay a guardian angel smiles
wavering in the light of day
that streams through the white curtains

mary angela douglas 22 april 2017

Let Us Consider The History Of The Rails

the history of railways
leading back to what?
to vanished platforms

designs in the mist
stairways into the clouds
vintage trunks bound and

charabanc conveyed and
delivered with their
mysterious compartments intact and

lined with green satin
the odd book of Latin

the Family Shakespeare
tears embedded in old garnets
and the heirlooms unwrapped

at dubious destinations
let us study the timetables in the cold
where the fog is rising the sighs of the departing

the forlornest heart
times times Time the scars incurred

considering what went before
the illusory journeys back
the unexpected journey home

from vanished wars
into the infinitudes.

mary angela douglas 22 april 2017;rev. 30 may 2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Poverty Is A Wound That Cannot Heal

sudden poverty is a wound that cannot heal
like a star that drops from heaven
and becomes a stone

like a scar on what was known or
unknown, weighed equally
you want to shake it off

like a dog shakes off the rain
but you are always on that train
when people around you sniff

the absence of gold 
and turn away
thinking thank God it isn't me today

maybe tomorrow
but they just want away from the sight of you now
as though you were a prison, plague

in mirrors you don't look the same
but God stands out in the rain with you

you who are afflicted
not afflicting

they think he's a hobo too
the King of everyone!
so the two of you laugh

and that brings out the sun.

mary angela douglas 20 april 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

God Is Not An Idea

God is not an idea,
a thesis
a theorem

needing to be proven.
having been already demonstrated:
QED and etc.

by whom?
for what purpose?

can you prove air.

and by proving cause?

God is not a blackboard equation
a summation of human thought
on the subject thus far

subject to a vote.
beyond the realm of
all that it is possible to consider

in this world
He lives
life itself.

and measureless.

mary angela douglas 18 april 2017

To The Agencies Whatever They Are Now

I'm not this person
who waits to be told
by your Recording Angels

you're too old to believe that you are young
and that the hills beyond
are still filled with gold.

I'm not this person
at eternal beck and call
amenable to the Wall

the sour and the sweets

constructed to please.
bearing the brand
of the ranch that bled me

no. No counterfeit soul is mine.
drift clouds across the American prairies
pour winds and waters 

into the gulf streams.

there is a God in American Heaven
and He means everything to me.

mary angela douglas 18 april 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

To Corinth, To The Corinthians

to Corinth, to the Corinthians
St. Paul must have written all night
paens to love itself

to God who is love
to Christ who is love's emissary
to Corinth, to the Corinthians

so that reading it 
in even a small Testament
epochs later

you wonder

did the Corinthians hear him
no brass bell sounding
but the bell of gold

of sheer crystal
a poetry incomparable
even in Translation

even if I give my body to be burned
but have not Love...

mary angela douglas 16 april 2017

The Death of Debussy or Of Ravel

a minor discordance in the music of afternoon
his life is ebbing
and the colours of the trees are sobs

and diminished thirds
and half of what he is saying
in delirium I have never heard says the

doctor shaking his head...
sing the birds, the birds in the trees beyond
now he is floating, his own ship,

on the dream waters

who will call him back
will the after mirage
of all his music

seal the doom of all wars
and heal the earth?
it is the cause

it is the cause weeps the
soul of music of my distress the song
departing and the angelic resonances


mary angela douglas 16 april 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

It's Sure To Come True

everyone wants the life they do not have
the princess longs for bread and butter only
with bologna, bored with her high teas

and to be caught in the rain

the jester dreams of a university position,
modest acclaim.
the actor wants to go about unseen

and Cinderella dressed in green
in the jump rope rhymes
won't stay that way

now turn the page where

the ballerina wants to sing opera...
it is good that it does not work this way
in Nature.

what if the oranges all wanted to be apples.
the hippopotami poodles?
the layer cakes, noodles?

oh learn to make do to

be happy you are what you are,
said jiminy cricket, don't be blue.
wish on a star

for what you have.
it's sure to come true.

mary angela douglas 15 april 2017

I Am Certain That Jesus Was Not That

I am certain that Jesus was not that
person walking down a dusty road
in an immaculate robe, in Cinemascope

that he was not could never be
whatever it is that you think he was
while worshipping before altars

ornamented in gold.
he was a quieter gold.
he cherished the heart of people,

things. small flowers on the hillside.
the olive groves.
I know he has been depicted otherwise

but Jesus in my heart
never wears this disguise.
he is all candlelit within, his own

secret Christmas.
this I thought as a little girl.
when I felt his presence on

every wind.
and in my Easter frame of mind
when the air is heavy with springtime

I think of him as I knew him then:
King of the beautiful,
and my friend.

mary angela douglas 15 april 2017

Note on the Poem: Although the poem in some way critcizes the depiction of Jesus in the movies I do want to add that I admire every effort made whether in film, literature or song to depict Jesus. And there is something valuable in every depiction. My favorite movie of all those made in the 1950s and early 1960s is the film Barrabus. Fantastic in every aspect, a fictionalized account of the life of the thief whose life was spared instead of Jesus according to the Gospels and the custom of the time. There is a moment in that film where Barrabus on his way out the prison door comes across Jesus who has his back to the camera and is in sorry shape just beginning to shoulder the cross. Jesus catches his eye and you can infer in an incredible way the expression of Jesus face as he looks at Barrabus by the reflected glory in the actor Anthony Quinn's face. An incredible moment in the history of depictions on Jesus on film and in the annals of acting. In this one scene where we only "see" Jesus by the response of Barrabus and his emotional response mirrored in his face we have, I believe, the truest depiction of the character and personality and magnaminity of Christ. It is simply astonishing.

Before The Voyage

maybe you packed the wrong things:
the sequined shoes, the lamp that can't go out
the diary of Moroccan leather

the dress for any weather
figured in stars
the map of who you are

not were, witch hazel
for the bruises of time
assorted rhymes and candies.

the three wishes folded
into a plain handkerchief
an opal ring and patchworked things

for patchy occasions.

it's late now anyway it's Spring
the gang plank's down
the sun

and all you thought you'd won
shines in a mist like a dream
that recently fled

before you woke.
before you wake again
mid liquid after notes of birds

you'll remember the lillied verse
your Grandmother pressed into your hand,
the silver edged Testament:the worsted

purse with the little pansies.
everything is dandy Grandfather says

the flower fades but not the Word.
despite the rest of all you've heard or will hear
oh my dear

under His handmade firmaments.

mary angela douglas 15 april 2017

You In Your White Dresss Crying

you in your white dress crying
will you later appear in a painting by the
Impressionists, a cloud in the poet's

sky will you be transformed
you at the Graduation with your gardenia flare
or pausing for a moment on the stair

your hair braided with the gold
of a vagrant Light.
you will take flight in your white dress

at best from all life's indignities
however you are remembered.
clear to your own fingertips

in that elaborate anguish you possess,
possessed, from the Beginning.
and disappear and disappear

time and again through the grottos
where you have laid your lilies down
in the fitful grasses for one instant only

quicker than lightning how it all passess...

so that only the fictive fragment
remains for the general audience.

mary angela douglas 15 april 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

Castle Keep

when you're the only one awake in the castle
it's you that's got to keep the clocks running
the winds from winding down

the sun in its corner just behind the moon.
change places everyone you'll call out
just before the salmon tinted dawn

and you know you're the one to do it.
how late the courtiers sleep
but you don't falter

never earning your keep
because really they don't pay you
except in shepherd pies

the occasional apricot compote.
what is the life beyond the trees
the seas and the seas of the trees

so green is this April
and you would like to know
but you are the keeper of the snows.

mary angela douglas 14 april 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Another Poem To Sylvia

to the poet Silvia Plath, wishing it had been otherwise
and the great Greek scholar, Edith Hamilton...

impeccably lyrical they may say in the current day
and I say too having read you a few years later
after your demise and I say now:

a lightning bolt among the tepid confessionals
of the day your poetry

a charge that illuminates the Heavens
on its way to extinction
sylvia what's in a name

that could so confound
your verses were already this way
what was the rationale

that they could not say so
while you were still among us
and why did you struggle so

to be more widely in print
imprinted as you were with diamond alacrity.
I wonder if

you might have lived
had they not in envy?
barred the way to your daemonic instancy

until at last you become
this self immolating machine
where the Muse and the mask were done

and done
in a poetry that blazed
and fused The Greek Way

with your vivid anguish to a seamless seem
the mask becomes your face
in a display never equaled 

this was no longer comparable
with anything anyone anywhere
in the slick magazines

the sleek coteries

beyond Grace
a furious pace and you pace around the Sun
half burned already

and the chariots of the sun
plunge down

and thus 
in the London flat
with the gas light on you become a legend

where you already might have been one
had things been different

and all that you could sing or say ever after
is a grave
your grave

the victory of the insipid
over the Beautiful.

mary angela douglas 12 april 2017

Note On The Poem: Certainly as a poet AND a human being, most definitely as a person who is unashamedly a believer in God and in Jesus Christ as my saviour I am not nor have I ever been a person who wanted to take my own life. Not even in the slightest.

Nor am I a fan AT ALL of poems that would seem to encourage this.
Or of the current trend for decades now of Sylvia Plath imitators.
Whatever I write about in a poem I believe in leaving the light on in the poem and in providing the very valid escape hatch of beauty even in perhaps depicting a difficult situation or frame of mind.

However, I do personally believe that if the strong poetic gift of Sylvia Plath had been appropriately acknowledged in the U.S. as it was in Britain she herself would have turned more to the light in her own poetry, given time.

And I also believe that poetry in the U.S. suffered at that time from an overemphasis on distancing itself from emotional, lyrical epxression on ANY subject and is still suffering from that. I believe on a positive level both within herself and in her poetry Sylvia was trying to breach that wall and we all needed that wall to come down and for the pure lyric voice in poetry to once again fountain and flow in all its colours. Instead through a false sense of modernity, a faux scientific objectivity, poetry became quite stagnant and the lyric tradition in American poetry was virtually abandoned.

I DO NOT want my poem on Sylvia to be read in any other way. Because it is not intended in any other way. I believe in the end she would have been a life affirming person, that she loved poetry, she loved being a poet and she loved her children. Poets of much lesser talent were elevated in the literary magazines of the time where her talent was not and this was for her a final blow. Much in the same way John Keats suffered.

Of course each person is responsible in the end for fighting through whatever there is to fight in order to make their contribution. But something needs to be corrected in the American arts where the cream truly is allowed to rise to the top. And this is ongoing...

We Build On A Flood (But Not Forever)

life is strange.
we build on a flood,
thinking ourselves snug

and the whole time, washed away.
time is stranger

meeting ourselves at some beginnings again
or seeming to, all ribbons maypole waving
and there the bridge gives way,

the little sticks.

but we will build again one day;
there where the planets wash gold to green,
to reds and blues like gummed stars

over our pianoforte pieces used to, Shine!
when we played well.
who can tell when?

we'll sigh like the roses
in the flower beds again
when the warmer winds come through;

exult with the backyard larks that
winter's gone forever now, away
while we spy on every hand

each familiar gleam beckoning us,
pretend it’s already here
through our tears fast fading

and learn to say
there in the peachbright morning,
ah, there's Land again, and free.

mary angela douglas 1 september 2016 rev. 12 april 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Boat Of Dream

your shadows loom on the wall
but you yourself are small
and the moon is cool

through the silvery trees
the sun is not
except the winter sun

that you forgot
can be silver high in the sky
and inside look as warm as June

from your old room
but in the snows
it's cold you know

the sun you used to
call by amber names all last summer
and carnivaled candy appled

you don't feel well
as if you suddenly outgrew

the crystal shoes
the quests in fairy tales
the crimson sails

of the boat of Dream.

mary angela douglas 11 april 2017