Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Future Of Pedagogy For The Forlorn Post Modern Child

will they teach you that rainbows are really
full circle seen from higher up
and that Peter went without blackberries

to sup on after he disobeyed 
and went into McGregor's dreaded gardens.
will the rain seem purely silver to you

and the scent of it through the open screens
seem clearer than any saint's dream or vision
or will they say to you

oh this is all just anecdotal evidence
and take away your scissors
cutting the filagree

for the paper hearts you love you love 
and breaking yours too
the heart of God above

into the heedless bargain
of it all

mary angela douglas 1 september 2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

In Mandelstam's Heaven

for Osip Mandelstam

your sleep interrupted by the noise of stars
perhaps the scent of pine tar on the winds
of once, home, then turned

into the dragon's lair.
have you forgotten
does the air you're breathing now

emit Heaven's smell of snow,
the whirling ecstacies,
childhood relived?

and an angelic path softly trod.

transposing into another key
the griefs that fell away
you'd still be writing

things we'd long to say
in another language
far from strife

of dreaming then;
you're unaware
the day you entered There.

I hope, too long ago
to remember:


mary angela douglas 30 august 2017

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Bugs Bunny To The Little Bunnies Gathered Round

they'll always think they're right;
just hop away
those who storm at you

and pretend that it is you
who came up with the plan
to undermine the ground

on which we stand
just float away
as though you were the ghost

they saw clear through
snowshoe bright on winter's night:
they have

when seen in public

there with you
on the public sidewalk
suddenly grown chill

as though you were invisible
from the high, high hills
they imagine they inhabit

where they are the hunter
and,at best,
you're just the rabbit.

and you're in their range
cause it always, always you
who's just so strange.

mary angela douglas 26 august 2017

What Was It

what was it you wanted
when you came in the room:
to follow the trail of the wandering tune?

to find the gold thimble

your Grandmother had
or the corner you went to
when you were bad

the runaway mirror
you used as a child
the plastic red phone

you used to dial
the feeling that something
will happen soon

like Christmas or birthday
or trip to the zoo
complete with snowcones

and ice creams too
small elephants trumpeting:
we love you

what was it you wanted

while you stood still
the feeling,you know,
that you always will

and everything else
that you hold so dear
in a world 

where it's easy
to disappear

mary angela douglas 26 august 2017

As Though We Were Children, Still

we will spend the splendid pennies of our days
to the very end
drenched in the wind, the perfumes of cut grass

the antique stories that will last
told over and over again and
gathering up late violets on the hills

or singing silverly to ourselves
taking down the cherished books
from familiar shelves

and dreaming more than reading.

stilled is the water in our wishing wells
and ever clearer and there we linger
not lifting a finger

concentrating so hard
and wrapping the world in our wish;
sealing the letter

with the luminescent heart
red o red and shining.
rich in the measure of days

that drift oh, amber! like the leaves away
while we cry stay, stay
and are heard of God

who blows them back
to us mysteriously
in colourful array

as though we were children, still.

mary angela douglas 26 august 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Rewriting The Book On Wonder

rewriting the book on wonder
may we live?
I asked in Simple Simon

the massing clouds:
army on army composed
of what was vanishing

and what should not!

do I dare to speak outloud
to those whose time
is sealed in a book that

looks mysteriously like an accounting ledger;
who have designs on sealing mine

who weigh with heavy looks
all those who are glad

in the crucible of the world.

to the rim of feeling and 

overflowing then
I want to live!
and drink from the fountaining ink

of those so impelled to sing
even while those in bitter charge of them
brayed in their ears.

mary angela douglas 24 august 2017

A Kind Of Folksong, Newly Minted

they had a perfect day; they wrote the songs
ending human wrongs
if only it had been that way.

lovely music saves the day
in the morning papers heralding.
we wanted it so.

we dreamed it so.
life flowed on
or it didn't flow.

only God knows
when we will see Land.
only God knows

when we will understand.

mary angela douglas 24 august 2017

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

They Will Dismantle The Sun

they will dismantle the sun
I said to myself in a dream
of Kingdom come

this was underwater

when we were younger
we practiced holding our breath
but now is a distant summer

and thunderheads gather
over the river of our eclipse
and I hear the ghost lips murmuring murmuring

the wreckers have come to dismantle the heart
and all Art suffers from it=

mary angela douglas 24 august 2017

The Hinge Of Autumn, The Rubies In The Rain

the afternoon falters and the heart beats slow
in vapid summers one dreams of future snows
and prescience cries, "alone"

as the crows in autumn music seem
the year will unfold
its screen of rains

the candle sputter in the drizzle
the one you were holding to see by
the least leaves fail.

fall softly to the ground
I whispered to the rubied trees
fall softly

fail light, light
before the encroaching night
fail like rust

but only into God.

mary angela douglas 23 august 2017

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Who Will Teach You Now If You Don't Know

who will teach you now if you don't know
the soul can't bear a million blows.
the soul is made of snow.

I have heard canticles sung by the ages
to the One who made it so
the soul is fragile

setting out to sail, and slow
and full of dreams and
easily ripped apart

at the seams.
sometimes a human face
won't show the scars

but there they are, each one in its place
in God's full sorrowing view
so clear to His eye and

creased with every harrowing word
the soul on earth resembles to Him a bird
caught in the hunters' nets

how can it forget to grieve
sometimes it manages a brittle smile
for only a little while until

let fly let fly say the conspirators
who would break it down
before it's even been to town

before it has earned its stripes.
oh wipe the slate clean said Christ
while he was bowed down to the ground.

the soul is a fragile thing
until the soul is given wings
and that's a long time from now.

mary angela douglas 23 august 2017

The Day You Think You Will Have

maybe it will be the one tied up in silver curling ribbons
the jeweled ship coming back from the far seas
your saint's day, a day all candlelit

even with the sun out.
maybe it's the day the bill collectors forget to call.
when the protesters go home

to read something happier than
what was scrawled on the wall
by someone bitter past repair.

maybe it will be the day you dare
to ride the roller coaster
or to stop drowning your sorrows.

the day your hitherto unknown silver mine uncle's
will pops up in the mail
in your favor.and you the only heir

or a day with a hard candy savor.
snow sparkles in the air
or maybe the day that opens onto

a lifelong grief that flowers into God

a day of wreaths and of putting under sod
whom you loved best in the world
the numbing day when just an instant before

you noted with glory the

shadows on the floor were singing
the familiar ones
on honey stained wood.

the day upended
or the day of the crystal stair.
the beckoning throne

the burnished pear tree
loveliest in all the kingdoms known
has flowered into this day.

you own.

mary angela douglas 22 august 2017

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Eclipse Of The Beautiful In Our Time

the eclipse of the Beautiful in our time
a dream headline  made to order
in my mind

a summing up of stars receding
of the need to explain the Universe
without Him

over and over again

the eclipse of the beautiful
and the after parties
and children deprived

of the Beautiful and
the stories of gold
the trees weeping onto

the vacant avenues
sodden leaves
in the rain

and in the little lanes
the absences of birds
and roses

people striking odd poses
the cult of the ugly
the raucous rewarded

the look at me
look at me
even if

there is nothing to see
no one to ask why

are people happy
with the eclipse of the beautiful
and light is going away unmourned

crowning some other planet
where sparkling 
in its myriad disguises

is made to feel at home.

mary angela douglas 20 august 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

Small Rehearsal For The Last Song Sung

the white rose blows in the wind
we're on
the jelly bean trail again

or blistering in the sun
near the clover fields
when twilight comes

and the dinner bell calls
or you're in your new dress
with nothing to confess

while everyone else
is doing sums
becoming what

you will become
so secretly
and petal by petal

the white rose blows
the soul
with a clean candy center

and God will gobble you up
the shadows say
one day one day one day

when we're past the swing set stage
or red is the rose red rage that fades
that fades that fades

with nothing left to say
when the curtains close
but I was there

on that small planet
oh, so long long ago

mary angela douglas 18 august 2017

Thursday, August 17, 2017

On The Odd Removal Of Certain Statues And Cemetery Angels...

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations

from The Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln

the wrecking crew is here
a cheshire voice purred very near
and disappeared

amongst the statuary
of the waning years excised.
blood spilled was not enough

and overnight the granite snows

bloomed into tears
for what was lost
at such a cost

as one by one
from the court of what remained
old statues were carted away

proving the righteousness
of the current day
the retrial of the past

convened, reconvened
like a school test in a dream

you didn't see coming
and so, were not prepared
for what you thought

or felt, caught unaware:
for kicked in the head
on the summer ground

a statue
cannot make a sound
it's mute

and though
it's never been alive
it's been decreed

decreed that it must die
be publicly shamed

no witness to a grave

until not a shard remains
of the dateless angels
commemorating grief

on the wrong side of the coin
lo these many years after

and stripping the 
last last shred of dignity away
is now the game some want to play

all those intent and jubilant
in venting wrath this dubious way while
Christ said from the wings

the stones would cry out
the stones would cry out
the stones would cry out

except that grieving
was no longer allowed

out loud for the renegades
or in the public square

and arrogant vacancy proclaims the lie
that they were ever even here
let's make it clear to the amputees

who died anyway on a blood drenched field

chanted the wrecking crew
chanting the wrecking crew
to whatever ghosts were listening

and could be made to suffer more

mary angela douglas 17 august 2017

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Saints And Those Who Knew Them

what if they were caught in the thickets of the stars
(the saints and those who knew them)
so that the heart could shine somewhere else

not here where fears arise to be cut down

and then arise again the rank and file displaced
by the rank and file.
and all the bills due at once.

and the 3 a.m.'s rising and setting
setting and rising
gloom on gloom

in a perpetual fog
so that the soul is launched-
it must be-

from another site

where the colours of dreams
flow over the canvas of Night
and there it is Spring

and the fantastic
while down below
what was left of you

in a continual wake.
thinking mistakenly

 that God had departed.

mary angela douglas `15 august 2017

Saturday, August 12, 2017


how do you make your eclipse velvet
and not the jangling of bells
o my distraught angels

even the stars are caught in it
they will eventually fade
yet send their light ahead anyway,

to the living and the dead
and in the green of summer shade
we have gathered our wits about us

and repaired the damage

how do you make your eclipse shine
so that no one realizes

well, this is it
Jesus was eclipsed
and still is

by the cognescenti of
everything but Light
it's a long night they say

and turn over
or write another play
no new leaf

but in my grief

for what cannot be otherwise
maybe it's only a momentary angle of vision
light is eclipsed or light is disguised

but light is not gone
you said to me once upon
even in broad daylight

the stars are still there.
or God writes I still care
in invisible ink o don't despair

mary angela douglas 12 august 2017

Friday, August 11, 2017

Where We Are Now

where we are now
I couldn't tell you
anyway not in words
paint with light my mother said
and disappeared

into infinitude of angels.
where we are now
in which summer

it's confused like a dream
when you recognize the scene
emotionally speaking

but couldn't say
the longitude or latitude
or if there is a bus

that stops at the corner.
in dream neighborhoods
its the country of the vague

is that where we are now
my seconding soul rings out
in a room of crystal

but there's no crowd to answer
there's no one left at all
when the scene stealers bear it away

and get on
with the next show.

mary angela douglas 11 august 2017

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The High Things Of The Heart

the high things of the heart 
and those who believed in them
these things I found

in the old books not on display
and I know that what I read there
was no lie

that these things lived
though not before my eyes
when scanning the landscape

it seemed to me in vain for present evidence.
the books piled high as the poet said
fantastic with heraldry and dreams,

nobility, life lived for some grand thing
and self renounced
and in my mind I saw

as when a chlld

the light of Heaven bend kindly
refracted through the stained glass
the Chistmas angels in the clouds

the powerful star.
and in between God's face and ours
so little remained

so little
to keep us apart.

mary angela douglas 10 august 2017

Tuesday, August 08, 2017


it is a silver wood, a castle of gold,
a diamond pond.
that much is certain

to those who know
the oldest version of the story.
well, if I turn it round

one somersault and a half
in the summer grass, spring muddy ground,
will I be found wanting?

say, it is a diamond wood.
it looks that way in the school day dawn
waiting for the bus to come on.

why shouldn't the pond be gold
when the sun rose that way
is all I can think of to say

when the teacher frowns:
no, you've got the hat on backwards.
flowers to the front.

will they send flowers to the front
some silver day that's wept clean through?
some countries managed to;

some centuries

when we closed the book
and ventured out
to see what the shouting was all about...

some day the books will be closed on
all nations,
some day made of crystal,

of the mirrored glazed cakes...

may it not fall apart.
when the heart figures out its own 
version of the story.

mary angela douglas 8 august 2017

Note on the poem: Images are taken from the Russian fairy tale: To Your Good Health.
that is, I borrowed one silver wood, one golden castle, and one pond made of diamonds.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Platinum Over Gold The Sunset Charms

platinum over gold the sunset charms are stored,
the cameo snows.
hand over hand on the monkey bar playgrounds

we grow cold
the leaves scuttle near the swings
that sway

ghost children,
on their way
to the snow clouds.

Christmas can't too soon.

come and play
said the winds in the poem we learned in grade school
by apple tart light and cream enlightened

sometimes it seems only yesterday
we dreamed it all up
coming in from the side door

from our play
to a fine supper,
tomorrow's spiraling homework.

mary angela douglas 7 august 2017

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Leave Your Songs At The Door

[for Anna Akhmatova and the others]

leave your songs at the door
some guard or other should have roared
at the prison doors, the in extremis gulags

where the hair was shorn, the clothing grey dispensing
with all colours anyway in everything sorrow trans sorrow
two sizes too large the shoes without shoelaces.

something distracted them, say,

an angel or two
sent by God and Grace itself lingered
so that the poets kept something

a something indefinable stowed away
according to the rules for such transits
perhaps recurring dreams of lilac

unchecked, certain musical passages, regrets,
the tracks of beauty in the hard snows
 a waxen pair

of wings or, who knows,
the memory of Orpheus looking back.

mary angela douglas 6 august 2017

Saturday, August 05, 2017

The Things You Read In Your Sleep

the things you read in your sleep:
the passing of clouds
the drifting away of kingdoms,

leaves, from the silvered bough
infinity inscribed
on a mercury dime

you spent on one summer day
the snow hours and the glistening
Christmas spray, corsage

of the candlelit wonders

May budding into flowering
in a bridal way and petal strewn,
inevitable Junes

enshrined with pearl

and all the time you thought you had
when you were a girl,
the sudden reasons to be glad

the ruby throated singing

of before
the opening of
an amethyst door in a mist.

and disappearing, all of this,

the birthday of the sun.
the shutting of the earth
for what is done.

mary angela douglas 5 august 2017

Friday, August 04, 2017

Will We Find Tracks Of Firebirds In The Snows

will we find the tracks of firebirds in the snows
the snows of the mind imprinted not imposed
with the heraldic rose or with

our embroidered losses
sad tapestries of the bygone.

scavengers of Beauty
of the fleece of clouds we'll
reign, perhaps a little while

illuminated with the gold

the rose of the child,
the moss green and violet sheens,
saffron, where the wind

blows down corridors
of the contemplative;
light bells on the wind.

will God send angels
softly you cried to the universe
of pure beginning

nursery rabbits on the wall,
their shadows portending

or in the corners at school,
bending no rules at all

mary angela douglas 4 august 2017

I Remember When We Were Standing Still

I remember when we were standing still
and the day was a drop of honey
beading on a spoon,

the spoon of silver made.
how intricate our delays seemed then
in the afternoons

like Florentine colours laid on

thickly one by one.
peach bloomed in the skies
over the cypresses

our shadows
embroidered like frescoes

the dreaming walls.
now the hours 
do not come to me

when I call
but I must wait
at the gate of all the stars

God ever made
reading the night skies
like the apprenticed Magi

mary angela douglas 4 august 2017

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Will I Find The Angels In The Picture

will I find the hidden angels in the picture
softly the Soul said
speaking out of line

and it's not your turn
murmured the stones
or distant ones who would

have thrown them.

will I find I am disowned
that glinting in the corners all this time
of all the unlikely places

an irredeemable treasure,
confederate money was
sown to our detriment

or will I turn and say
oh, not perishing my republics gleam
as they were meant to and

oh dear Christ mend

all our smashing of the ornaments
in Your shop how could we ever buy
as if it had not been

as if we were this whole time through
slaved and unslaved
undistressed, beyond it all

in the Heart of all things
still in Eden's green

mary angela douglas 3 august 2017

NOTE ON ALLUSION IN POEM: my line: Oh, not perishing my republics gleam is a reworking and reframing of the American poet Robinson Jeffers line and poem title: Shine Perishing Republic.