THE TOP ONE HUNDRED POPULAR SONG LYRICS THAT WORK AS POETRY

Image result for music in renaissance painting

The phatic is common to both song lyrics and poetry; music aids the lyric, condemning it to be not quite poetry forever, while poetry is its own music, condemning it to be naked without music forever.

The two are never reconciled—the standard of poetry is never–-never—reached by song lyrics, which breaks the poet’s heart, a heart which travels into music’s realm, shunning its help.  Madness and torture!  Why do the two exist–-never to meet!  Poetry and music!  Divided heart!  Divided mind!  Poor, divided mankind!

As a healing device, we list the top 100 Song Lyrics As Poetry of All Time, with the single criterion: when we hear the song, do the lyrics intoxicate us as much as the music?

Note we do not ask the song to be judged as poetry—as words on the page.   And yet—and yet—words are being judged.

The list below is not based on reading the lyrics alone on the page as if it were a poem, for this is to take the creature out of the water: we judge the lyrics with its music as poetry.

If an especially beautiful music accompanies the words of a particular song, making the words even more beautiful, we have to assume the words are responsible; the songwriter will sometimes experience this phenomenon: words inspire the music, as if the words and music were born together.  It is as if the music were an aura around the the words—words which nonetheless are not strong enough to be poetry, since they need the music.  We celebrate this paradox—in our list—of poems which are not poems.

If one were to boil down the two essential criteria they would be: 1. originality and interest and 2. strongly realized feeling or idea, but we’ll briefly comment on why for each song.

1 Perfect Day  (Lou Reed)  performed by Lou Reed   —Why: The haunting ambiguity: drug fix or romance? “I thought I was someone else, someone good”
2. Day In the Life  (Lennon/McCartney)  performed by The Beatles   –“Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall”
3. The Good Life  (Distel/Broussolle/Reardon)  performed by Nancy Wilson  –A love song with a tantalizingly puzzling message
4. Coming Back To Me  (Marty Balin)  performed by Jefferson Airplane  –“Through a window where no curtain hung I saw you…coming back to me…”
5. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan)  performed by Bob Dylan –“You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you”
6. America (Paul Simon) performed by Simon & Garfunkle –“Toss me a cigarette I think there’s one in my raincoat…”
7. Over the Rainbow  (Arlen/Harburg) performed by Judy Garland  –“That’s where you’ll find me”
8. Is That All There Is?  (Lieber/Stoller) performed by Peggy Lee  –A life-flashing-before-your-eyes song
9. Ruby Tuesday (Jagger/Richards) performed by Rolling Stones  –“She comes and goes, no one knows…”
10. Both Sides Now  (Joni Mitchell) performed by Judy Collins  –“I don’t know clouds at all…”
11. I Want You (Bob Dylan) performed by Bob Dylan  –“The cracked bells and washed out horns blow into my face with scorn…”
12. Forbidden Fruit (Oscar Brown Jr) performed by Nina Simone –“Eve and Adam had a garden, everything was great…”
13. American Pie (Don McLean) performed by Don McLean  –A perhaps overly sentimental tribute to Buddy Holly…”the day the music died…”
14. Lather (Grace Slick) performed by Jefferson Airplane  –A haunting lyric about growing up…”Lather was thirty years old today…”
15. She Loves You (Lennon/McCartney) performed by The Beatles  –“She” instead of “I” makes it a song about three people instead of two…
16. Me and Bobby McGee (Kris Kristofferson) performed by Janis Joplin  Best going-down-the-road song ever.
17. If You Go Away (Jacque Brel)  performed by Shirley Bassey  –One of those crushingly crushed-up love songs
18. Horse With No Name (Dewey Bunnell)   performed by America  –“The heat was hot…”  You can walk into this song…
19. Yellow Submarine (Lennon/McCartney) performed by The Beatles  –Intimates the ‘we’re-all-together’ spirit so nicely…
20. Jennifer Juniper (Donovan Leitch)  performed by Donovan  –“I am thinking of what it would be like if she loved me…”
21. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite (Lennon/McCartney) performed by The Beatles –Phantasmagoria at its best.  “And of course, Henry the horse…”
22. Maggie Mae (Stewart/Quittinton) performed by Rod Stewart  –“I suppose I could collect my books and get on back to school”
23. Play With Fire (Phelge) performed by The Rolling Stones  –“Well you’ve got your diamonds and you’ve got your pretty clothes…”
24. Mrs. Brown You Have A Lovely Daughter (T. Peacock) –The boy complains to the mother…different.
25. You’re Lost Little Girl (The Doors) performed by The Doors –The “little girl” is really the one in control; one can hear William Blake in it…
26. Sunny Afternoon (Ray Davies) performed by The Kinks  –“telling tales of drunkenness and cruelty…”
27. Yesterday (Lennon/McCartney) performed by The Beatles  –A simple, but perfect lyric: “yesterday came suddenly…”
28. Fakin’ It  (Paul Simon) performed by Simon and Garfunkle  –a  masterpiece of introspective nostalgia
29. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Lennon/McCartney) performed by The Beatles  –“Rose and Valerie screaming from the gallery…”
30. Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (Bob Dylan) performed by Bob Dylan  “When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez and it’s Eastertime too, and your gravity fails…”
31. Fire and Rain (James Taylor) performed by James Taylor  — a wreck of a song, in the best possible way…  “I always thought I’d see you one more time again…”
32. Irreplaceable (Beyonce, Ne-Yo, Eriksen, Hermansen, Lind, Bjorklund) performed by Beyonce  “You must not know ’bout me…”
33. Mona Lisa (Evans/Livingston) Nat King Cole –“They just lie there and they die there…Are you real, Mona Lisa?”
34. Cry Baby Cry (Lennon/McCartney) The Beatles  –“The duchess of Kircaldy always smiling and arriving late for tea…”  one of John’s best…
35. Night And Day (Cole Porter) Fred Astaire  –“in the roaring traffic’s boom, in the silence of my lonely room I think of you, night and day…”
36. As Time Goes By (Hupfeld)  Dooley Wilson  –“hearts full of passion, jealousy and hate…”
37. Ferry Cross The Mersey (Marsden) Gerry and the Pacemakers  –“we’ll never turn you away…”
38. Georgia On My Mind (Carmichael, Gorrell) Ray Charles  –“Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through…”
39. Ring Of Fire (Gilgore/Carter) Johnny Cash  –“the flames gettin’ higher…”
40. The End (Jim Morrison) The Doors  –“this is the end, beautiful friend, no safety or surprise, the end…”
41. The Times They Are A Changin’ (Bob Dylan)  Bob Dylan  –the ultimate protest/wake-up-to-reality song…
42. Everyday (White, Crisler)   Buddy Holly  –“Everyday, it’s a gettin’ closer, goin’ faster than a roller coaster…”
43. All You Need Is Love (Lennon/McCartney) The Beatles  –“There’s nothin’ you can’t do that can’t be done…”
44. This Land Is Your Land (Woody Guthrie) Woody Guthrie  –“This land was made for you and me…”
45. My Generation (Pete Townsend) The Who  –the slinging, self-righteous, celebratory anger of the 60s in 3 minutes…
46. Let It Be (Lennon/McCartney) The Beatles  –“Mother Mary comes to me…”
47. What’d I Say (Byrne/Robinson) Ray Charles  –“Tell me… What did I say?”
48. Sympathy For the Devil (Jagger/Richard) Rolling Stones  –Jagger wrote a Bob Dylan-type ballad and the Stones added mayhem..
49. Crazy (Willie Nelson) Patsy Cline  –“Crazy for cryin’ and crazy for tryin’…”
50. A Whiter Shade Of Pale (Brooker, Reid, Fisher) Procol Harum  –“and the waiter brought a tray…”
51. I Say A Little Prayer For You (Bacharach/David) Dionne Warwick –“The moment I wake up, before I put on my makeup…”
52. Dream A Little Dream Of Me (Gus Kahn) Mamas and Papas  –“Stars shining bright above you, night breezes seem to whisper I love you…”
53. California Dreamin’ (Phillips) Mamas and Papas  –“Well I got down on my knees and I began to pray…”
54. Hotel California (Felder, Henley, Frey) The Eagles  –“But they can never leave…”
55. Walk On By (Bacharach/David) Dionne Warwick  –“make believe that you don’t see the tears…”
56. Guess Who I Saw Today? (Grand/Boyd) Eartha Kitt  –what a beautifully constructed little urban story…
57. Lovely Rita (Lennon/McCartney) The Beatles  –“sitting on a sofa with a sister or two…”
58. White Rabbit (Grace Slick) Jefferson Airplane  –“and the white knight is talking backwards and the red queen is ‘off with her head!'”
59. My Favorite Things (Rodgers/Hammerstein) Julie Andrews  –“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…”  Keatsian.
60. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (Kern/Harbach) The Platters  –“Now laughing friends deride…”
61. Stranger In Paradise (Borodin, Wright, Forrest) Tony Bennett  –“If I stand starry-eyed, that’s a danger in paradise…”
62. Misty (Garner/Burke) Johnny Mathis –“When I wander through the wonderland alone…”
63. (They Long To Be) Close To You (Bacharach/David) The Carpenters –“Just like me, they long to be close to you…”
64. Ain’t Misbehavin’  (Waller,Brooks, Razaff) Fats Waller –“I’m home about eight, just me and my radio…”
65. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (Ellington/Russell) The Ink Spots –“They’d have asked me about you…”
66. I’ll Be Seeing You (Fain/Kahal) Billie Holiday –“In all the old familiar places that this heart of mine embraces…”
67. Mack The Knife (Brecht/Weil, Blitzstein) Bobby Darin  –“Oh the shark has pretty teeth, dear…”
68. Pirate Jenny (Brecht/Weil) Lotte Lenya  –“Asking me, kill them now, or later?”
69. Tiptoe Through The Tulips (Burke/Dubin) Tiny Tim –“tiptoe from the garden, by the garden of the willow tree…”
70. What Is And What Should Never Be (Led Zeppelin)  Led Zeppelin –“and if you say to me tomorrow oh what fun it all would be…”
71. Golden Vanity (anonymous) Pete Seeger –a tearful adventure novel packed into song…”and down sunk he…farewell, farewell to the Golden Vanity…”
72. Star Spangled Banner (Key) Various Artists  –“O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light?”
73. Tiny Dancer (John/Taupin) Elton John  –“Jesus freaks out on the street, handing out free tickets for God…”
74. White Christmas (Irving Berlin) Bing Crosy     Best-selling single of all-time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records
75. Barbara Allen (anonymous) Pete Seeger  –the most popular of the old ballads…”oh mother, mother go make my bed…”
76. Tenderly (Lawrence/Lawrence) Sarah Vaughan –“the evening breeze caressed the trees tenderly…”  this is not corny; this is poetry
77. Lady of Carlyle (anonymous) Pete Seeger  –another beautiful old ballad…”and for a space of half an hour, this young lady lay speechless on the ground.”
78. Take Me Home, Country Roads (Denver, Nivert, Danoff) John Denver  –a big, outdoors song, one the best…”Almost heaven, West Virginia…”
79. Winter Wonderland (Bernard/Smith) Various Artists –so many great Christmas songs, but this one is especially charming…
80. If I Had A Hammer (Seeger/Hayes) The Weavers –Pete Seeger, who cut Dylan’s cords at Newport, was Dylan before Dylan…
81. Wayfaring Stranger (anonymous) Burl Ives  –“I’m going there to see my father, I’m going there no more to roam…”
82. Silent Night (Gruber/Mohr) Various  –the Ur-Christmas carol…
83. Paint It Black (Jagger/Richard) Rolling Stones  –“I see a red door and I want to paint it black…”
84. Every Breath You Take (Sting) The Police –“I’ll be watching you…”
85. It’s All In The Game (Dawes/Sigman) Tommy Edwards  –“And your hearts will fly away…”
86. You’re So Vain (Carly Simon) Carly Simon –“And your horse naturally won…”
87. Killing Me Softly With His Song (Fox/Gimbel) Roberta Flack –“I felt he found my letters and read each one out loud…”
88. It’s My Party (Gluck, Gold, Weiner) Lesley Gore –“I’ll cry if I want to…”
89. The End Of The World (Shave, Smith, Pebworth, Astasio) Skeeter Davis  –“Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?”
90. Under the Boardwalk (Young/Resnick) The Drifters  –“People walking above…”
91. It’s Now Or Never (Schroeder, Gold) Elvis Presley –“Tomorrow will be too late…”
92. I Will Survive (Perren/Fekaris) Gloria Gaynor –“At first I was afraid, I was petrified…”
93. Moon River (Mancini/Mercer) Andy Williams –“we’re all after the same rainbow’s end…”
94. Paper Moon (Arlen,Harburg, Rose) Nat King Cole –“it’s only a paper moon over a cardboard sea, but I’ll believe in make-believe if…”
95. Bennie And The Jets (John/Taupin) Elton John  –“she’s got electric boots, a mohair suit, you know I read it in a magazine…”
96. Freed From The Gallows/Gallows Pole (anonymous) Ledbelly  “I think I see my mother coming, riding many a mile…”
97. She’ll Be Comin’ Round The Mountain (anonymous) Pete Seeger  –“she’ll be riding six white horses when she comes…”
98. Jam On Jerry’s Rocks (anonymous) Pete Seeger –“crushed and bleeding on the beach lay the form of young Monroe”
99. Come All Ye Fair And Tender Maidens (anonymous) Pete Seeger  –I wish I were a little sparrow and I had wings and I could fly…”
100. Groundhog (anonymous) Pete Seeger –“We’re all going out to hunt groundhog…”
101. September In The Rain (Warren/Dubin) James Melton –“The leaves of red and brown came tumbling down, remember?”
102. Pretty Polly (anonymous) Pete Seeger   –“Leaving nothing but the wild birds to moan.”   We had to include one murder song…
103. Danville Girl (anonymous)  Pete Seeger  –“She took me to her kitchen, she treated me nice and kind…”   And one hobo song…

192 Comments

  1. drew said,

    November 9, 2013 at 2:24 am

    What – no AEROSMITH?
    I may have to renounce my membership…

    http://connecthook.wordpress.com/tag/nobodys-fault/

    • thomasbrady said,

      November 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      I hate Aerosmith. The Doors are a thousand times better, much closer to Poe and Blake. Aerosmith, even when they try to be profound, are never beautiful or subtle. That song of Aerosmith’s you analyze on your blog has some interest but it’s finger-pointing and preachy, too.

      • noochinator said,

        November 9, 2013 at 2:01 pm

        I loved Aerosmith as an adolescent,
        E’en shoplifted their tapes—
        Now my interest is quiescent,
        But this song still elicits gapes—
        Thanks, drew!

      • drew said,

        November 9, 2013 at 3:21 pm

        I like the Doors too.
        I probably like the Aerosmith song because of it’s preachiness… I go for that sort of thing.

        I thought you might like the connection to Poe in the blog post… the first notes evoke “The City in the Sea” for me.

        • thomasbrady said,

          November 9, 2013 at 3:39 pm

          Yea, the Poe is beautiful.

          • rich smith said,

            February 20, 2016 at 7:22 pm

            Like a bird on a wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my own way to be free.

            • thomasbrady said,

              February 20, 2016 at 7:49 pm

              I am metaphor mad. I’m naming the good in an effort not to be too bad.

      • March 21, 2015 at 6:45 pm

        Thank you.

      • Anonymous said,

        April 15, 2016 at 2:59 pm

        Btw aerostats is WAY better that the stupid DOORS!!!

        • thomasbrady said,

          April 16, 2016 at 9:58 am

          Doors made rock an art form. The Doors cast an insouciant spell. I guess you either get them, or you don’t. They are easily in the top ten of any must include list. Good guitar playing alone is not enough. Doors’lyrics often hit that rock song sweet spot, too. Poetry, no. But song and poetry will never be the same thing.

  2. thomasbrady said,

    November 9, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I love Aerosmith but I’d rather not pay.
    Store detective surprised me: “Walk this way.”

    • noochinator said,

      May 31, 2016 at 12:00 am

      Andrew, do you remember this one by the ‘smith?

      • Desdi said,

        May 31, 2016 at 3:04 am

        Happy Memorial Day Noochinator —
        That song is not by “the Smiths. ”
        It is pure Amerikkan poetry by St. Tyler and Joe Perry from Sunapee NH. New England poetry played on electric guitars. It is in fact a Dionysiac dithyramb.
        Puts Edgar Poe back in his place of course.

        Almost as good as Mahler’s 6th (or was it his 4th ?)
        As poetically enlightened Amerikkans, it behooves us to draw the line.

        • noochinator said,

          May 31, 2016 at 9:01 am

          Yes Desdi — it is a Dionysian work of our time… I wrote the ‘smith (short for Aerosmith) — but thank you for inspiring me to cue up “The Headmaster Ritual”:

          • Desdi said,

            June 1, 2016 at 5:15 pm

            Go forth and Noochinate every last one of them.

  3. noochinator said,

    November 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    104. “Cool Calm Collected” (Jagger, Richards) Rolling Stones — “She’s so affected, cool calm collected” (although that’s really the only quotable line; features Brian Jones on kazoo and electric dulcimer!)

  4. noochinator said,

    November 9, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    105. “Snookeroo” (Elton John, Bernie Taupin) Ringo Starr — “I need someone to cook for me/ and turn me loose at night/ I could be happy with a factory girl/ ’cause a factory girl’s my type” (Yeah, I know, I know, but who said lyrics have to truly express the feelings of their creators?)

  5. noochinator said,

    November 9, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    106. “Stay with Me” (Rod Stewart & Ronnie Wood) The Faces — “Red lips hair and fingernails/ I hear you’re a mean old Jezebel/ let’s go upstairs and read my tarot cards”

    • noochinator said,

      November 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      I always thought of “Stay with Me” as the ultimate sexist song, but in this version Rod Stewart appears to be addressing a guy dressed in drag: “I don’t mean to tell ya/ that you look like a fella/ but you really shouldn’t wear your hair that long” — these lines are not in the well-known single version, though these later lines are, and they reinforce my theory: “Yeah I’ll pay your cab fare home/ you can even use my best cologne/ just don’t be there in the morning when I wake up”

  6. drew said,

    November 9, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    What about Roxy Music (my favorite band all around)

    or John Dowland?
    Do not poetry and music kiss each other and become one in these songs?

  7. thomasbrady said,

    November 9, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Bobby Darin made a bet with a friend that he could turn any lyric fragment into a hit song and he won (Splish splash I was taking a bath) and what this demonstrates is that music does not need poetry to appeal and lyrics don’t need poetry to appeal and poetry and song lyrics, as similar as they seem, are not at all the same EXCEPT in some inexplicable realm which I have tried to intimate with my list and its introduction. I think we can peer at a certain set of words on a page for the first time and get a definite sense that: oh this sounds like 1. a clever insight 2. poetry 3. song lyric 4. joke 5. social commentary and so on. Now we can work backwards from this idea to see not the vague similarity but the crucial difference. The Dowland seems more like poetry than song lyric to me and this may be a compliment, I don’t know.

  8. drew said,

    November 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    John D. was, is, and ever shall be THE Elizabethan rock star.
    Long live Albion’s white rose our Gloriana Queen Bess and I hope they sink the armada…

    I think he was a poet first and lutanist second but that order may be backwards.

  9. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    November 10, 2013 at 2:24 am

    American Tune

    Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken
    And many times confused
    Yes, and I’ve often felt forsaken
    And certainly misused,
    Oh, but I’m all right, I’m all right
    I’m just weary to my bones,
    Still, you don’t expect to be
    Bright and bon vivant
    So far away from home, so far away from home.

    I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
    I don’t have a friend who feels at ease.
    I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
    Or driven to its knees.
    Oh, but it’s all right, it’s all right
    For we lived so well so long,
    Still, when I think of the road
    We’re traveling on
    I wonder what went wrong,
    I can’t help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong.

    And I dreamed I was dying
    And I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
    And looking back down at me
    Smiled reassuringly.
    And I dreamed I was flying
    And high above my eyes could clearly see
    The Statue of Liberty
    Sailing away to sea
    And I dreamed I was flying.

    Oh, we come on the ship they call the Mayflower,
    We come on the ship that sailed the moon.
    We come in the age’s most uncertain hour
    And sing an American tune.
    Oh, it’s all right, it’s all right
    It’s all right, it’s all right,
    You can’t be forever blessed.
    Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day
    And I’m trying to get some rest,
    That’s all I’m trying to get some rest.

    © 1973 Words and Music by Paul Simon

    • drew said,

      November 12, 2013 at 1:34 am

      I was definitely wondering why Simon & Garfunkel were nowhere on T. Brady’s list…
      American Tune is a good choice –
      lyrics from the albums Sounds of Silence and Parsley, Sage Rosemary and Thyme come to mind as well…

      I think it is very subjective in the end.
      Scarriet’s creators get to pick their favorites and then proclaim that those particular songs meet the stated criterion
      ( the lyrics intoxicate as much as the music)
      but then – one man’s high art is another man’s black velvet painting.

      • thomasbrady said,

        November 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm

        “America” & “Fakin It” are S & G songs on the List. Yes, Drew, obviously there’s subjectivity involved but as the great Alexander Pope said a great judge is as rare as a great poet and Scarriet, in case you hadn’t noticed, is heav’n inspired.

        • drew said,

          November 12, 2013 at 9:31 pm

          I didn’t see them there – my bad (as the Heav’n inspired poets say…)

  10. November 10, 2013 at 2:32 am

    Dear Tom, Wow, things have really been cooking on Scarriet while I have been busy with a couple of things like planning my mother’s 87th birthday party and mailing out copies (to friends) of my article on Northwestern University Prof. Ernest Samuels. It was just published in the Fall issue of “Western States Jewish History.” You know, I haven’t forgotten that it was on Scarriet where I saw some mention of Mr. Samuels, whom I took a course from myself in college, that inpired me to write the article about him. Asked to cut it and give it more pointedness, I ended up with just a five-page story, short and sweet. I think that now it is a “better read” than before. You yourself said it was a “good read” but you weren’t sure what its point was. Maybe now that it is a manageable size and shouldn’t overwhelm anybody — or perplex them– I’ll post it one day soon.
    In the meantime, I got hold of Mary McCarthy’s book, “Birds of America,” where I remembered there was a brief description of Epicurus, the Greek philosopher often misunderstood as a “hedonist.” Peter Levi, the novel’s protagonist who is spending his junior year of college abroad, sets the matter straight: “Most people don’t realize he was an ascetic. I did a paper on him for a course in ethics. He lived on barley, bread and chese and water because he thought the simple life was the the way to achieve happiness, which he considered the “summum bonum.” Naturally nobody would believe that. Instead they believed all the lies the Stoics spread about him being a gourmet and lecherous with women. So now Epicureanism means just the opposite of his teaching.” I — this is David Bittner speaking again — can testify to the truth of that. As a child in Europe, my father and his fellow scholars would get a stinging blow on the cheek for trying to stump their teachers, along with the insulting epithet, “Apikoris”! (That’s Yiddish for “Epicurean.”)
    Before I turn in, just a comment on songs. If the most important thing is the lyrics and not the music, how do you account for the fact that new lyrics are very often writen for old melodies, but not the other way around? Am I just “blanking” on the matter, or when are new melodies written for old lyrics? Good night!

    • thomasbrady said,

      November 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      David,

      I don’t recall saying or implying that words were more important than music. I adore a good melody. It is the mysterious relation between the two that is our object here.

      When I was trying to get a band together and looked at want ads, I noticed there was always drummer or bass or guitar or singer needed, but NEVER a songwriter. The singer-songwriter of the 60s replaced the old team of lyricist/composer/vocalist.

      I wonder why poems are so rarely put to music? Is that what you mean? Donovan put music to Poe’s poem “Eldorado” on his album Sutras, a nice record from about 10 years ago. No, I guess you mean a song lyric identified with a melody given a brand new tune. The old ballad, “Barbara Allen” has melodic variations. Cover songs often bend the melody of a song. Paul McCartney wrote a new tune for “Golden Slumbers” when he saw it in a song book and he couldn’t read music. Well, there’s an example.

      • Ashu अशु said,

        March 4, 2015 at 5:13 am

        Oh, and Macca’s melody is SO much better than the candy-assed original. And Macca is actually one of the great rock poets, but SO terrible when he tries to write for the page.

  11. thomasbrady said,

    November 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Gary,

    A friend of my parents in NYC, Francia, who worked in music publishing (she has a writing credit on “In Spain They Say Si Si” ) knew Paul and gave us his albums as they were released in the 70s. She said they thought “American Tune” was going to be his biggest song ever. It never quite caught on with the public, however. It didn’t become another “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” Simon was an extraordinary songwriter. He should have stayed with Art. There are intangible factors surrounding the making of song that must be acknowledged sometimes.

    • Ashu अशु said,

      March 4, 2015 at 5:18 am

      [He should have stayed with Art.]

      “A pretty face will last a year or two,
      but pretty soon they’ll see what you can do.”

      The same was actually true of Lennon himself, though he didn’t have the pretty face.

  12. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    November 11, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Don’t forget:

    A) Jimmy Webb, who wrote:

    Galveston
    Wichita Lineman
    By the Time I Get to Phoenix
    Up, Up and Away (In My Beautiful Balloon)
    The Highwayman
    MacArthur Park
    All I know

    B) Leonard Cohen

    C) Woody Guthrie

    D) Joni Mitchell

    E) Neil Young

    • thomasbrady said,

      November 11, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      Gary,

      I could easily make a list of a 100 more songs but I had to stop somewhere. My daughter was doing a school project on Joni Mitchell at the time—that’s why “Both Sides Now” is high on the list. I found out Joni had a secret kid she couldn’t raise and that’s why she wrote all those songs. I got teary when I found that out. I did consider “Wichita Lineman” and “Suzanne takes you down to a place by the river”…I should have included that one…Neil Young, yes, and “When the Saints Go Marching In”, I missed that one. “This Land Is Your Land” is on the list.

      • Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

        November 12, 2013 at 12:58 am

        I heard a rumor that they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

        • thomasbrady said,

          November 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm

          OK I just got run over by a big ole yellow taxi. Thanks, Gary

      • Ashu अशु said,

        March 4, 2015 at 5:25 am

        [I found out Joni had a secret kid she couldn’t raise and that’s why she wrote all those songs. I got teary when I found that out.]

        You may know that Mitchell and her daughter reunited in the nineties, to much media attention. Less attention was paid to the embarrassing subsequent souring of their relationship. Mitchell had the kid while living on Toronto’s Huron Street round 1970. I’m a Toronto boy meself, and Huron has always been one of my streets.

        • thomasbrady said,

          March 4, 2015 at 1:13 pm

          The daughter probably couldn’t handle Joni’s smoking!

  13. drew said,

    November 18, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Regarding a favorite of mine you included in the list (Lovely Rita by the Fab 4): http://connecthook.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/lovely-reader-meter-made/

  14. thomasbrady said,

    January 25, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zK-VtRTcEAE

    This is Danville Girl, the last song on the list, performed by Pete Seeger. Look at how few views it has. Proves Scarriet is cool.

  15. drew said,

    January 26, 2014 at 12:21 am

    You so ON, bro. 43 hits.
    Danville Girl gots it goin’ ON like a hoochie train.
    Thatz cause it’s not authentic fiction…

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 27, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      Drew,

      It’s an easy song to play if you happen to play an instrument: C then F then right back to C. In the second part, C to G.

      Tom

  16. thomasbrady said,

    January 29, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    And now I find out he died…

    I’ve been playing Danville Girl for the last week or so…

    That’s uncanny…”I pulled my cap down down over my eyes, started down for the track. Caught the very next railroad car. Never did look back.”

    A musical icon from my childhood…

    Fare thee well…

  17. April 26, 2014 at 12:32 am

    […] The Top One Hundred Song Lyrics that Work as Poetry […]

  18. thomasbrady said,

    April 30, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Probably should have included Fools Rush In and Cry Me A River.

  19. Drew said,

    May 31, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Hymns to Gods who choked on vomit
    (undertaken in overdose;
    rocks that never rose to comet
    rolling – but ending comatose),

    from a poem soon to be revealed @
    http://connecthook.wordpress.com/

  20. noochinator said,

    June 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    107. “Long Haired Lover from Liverpool” — this ditty was a number one hit in England in 1972, or so they tell me:

    Jimmy Osmond – Long Haired Lover From Liverpool Lyrics

    I’ll be your long haired lover from Liverpool,
    And I’ll do anything you say.
    I’ll be your clown or your puppet or your April Fool,
    If you’ll be my sunshine daisy from L.A.

    I’ll be your leprechaun and sit upon an old toad stool,
    I’ll serenade you till I’m old and gray.
    I’ll be your long haired lover from Liverpool,
    You’ll be my sunshine daisy from L.A.

    You’ll be my lovely daisy on the mountainside,
    There are lots of other flowers, too.
    But all the other flowers hung their heads and cried
    Because the loveliest of all of them was you.

    But you were evidently the exception to the rule,
    I picked you quickly then I ran away.
    ‘Cause I was your long haired lover from Liverpool,
    You were my sunshine daisy from L.A.

    I’ll be your long haired lover from Liverpool,
    And I’ll do anything you ask.
    I’ll be your clown or your puppet or your April Fool,
    Cut my hair, I’ll even wear a mask.

    I’ll be your Valentine, and you’ll be mine, and things’ll be cool.
    We’ll move along together every day.
    I’ll be your long haired lover from Liverpool,
    You’ll be my sunshine daisy from L.A.,
    You’ll be my sunshine daisy from L.A.

    I’ll be your long haired lover from Liverpool,
    And I’ll do anything you ask.
    I’ll be your clown or your puppet or your April Fool,
    Cut my hair I’ll even wear a mask.

    I’ll be your Valentine, and you’ll be mine, and things’ll be cool.
    We’ll move along together every day.
    I’ll be your long haired lover from Liverpool,
    You’ll be my sunshine daisy from L.A.

    Songwriters: KINGSLEY, CHRISTOPHER
    Long Haired Lover From Liverpool lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., VIRGIN EAR MUSIC

  21. noochinator said,

    August 1, 2014 at 10:34 am

    How about spam e-mails that work as poetry, or at least song texts? This is ‘All-Natural Male Enhancement,’ Boston-based composer Michael Veloso’s brilliant choral settings of spam e-mail texts. The work, conducted here by Allegra Martin, is in five movements:

    I. Fwd: I was looking at your profile (begins at 0:01)
    II. (no subject) (begins at 1:21)
    III. Only ant best way to elanrge your p_e.n|s. voyage scalps (begins at 3:35)
    IV. enemy (begins at 5:40)
    V. Our gilrs is verry yuonng attendees absolves (begins at 6:56)

    Michael Veloso’s website can be accessed at http://mjveloso.com/

    The texts of the spam e-mails are approximated below, but they can be better seen in their raw form at http://mjveloso.com/works/all-natural

    I. Fwd: I was looking at your profile (begins at 0:01)

    Hi, my name is Tiffany! (wink)
    My friend said you were a really cool person and I should get in contact with you!
    I looked at your profile and thought I would contact you.
    I love meeting new people, I also love to talk. I just got my videocam working so you can see me to! It doesn’t cost you anything if you wanna watch/see me! You don’t even need your own videocam! This is not my screenname, but a friends. To contact me you need to go to my personal site (dont worry it’s a FREE site like Yahoo!) its the only way to contact me! My personal site:
    Just Copy and Paste in your Broswer
    http:/www.tifde.com/fritz.html
    Best of love and regards, Tiffany

    II. (no subject) (begins at 1:21)

    Sitting at home bored . Find a date from us right here
    What have you been searching for?
    Hot sex
    A married mom
    A long lasting relationship
    Find everything you need here

    III. Only ant best way to elanrge your p_e.n|s. voyage scalps (begins at 3:35)

    Hello. I know about your problem, man.

    overseer Maxtor antics Carlisle bulged

    I know that you always see a grin on faces of other men, when you goto shower after GYM…

    greed smash Anabaptist excess helping

    I know that your woman dreams about man with big and hard pne|s…And I know that you have small one.

    weather mountains acetate breezily finders

    I know your shame when you undrsse|ng when women look at you…

    fungible spellings customer grips startup

    I know what is it, because some time ago I had a little pne|s too.

    cored sweetness poured Germans Kalamazoo

    One time your woman will meet a man with a big dc|.k…

    fevered subjecting shorts stiffens faithless

    And you’ll loose her…

    crypt start recoiled reformat calamity

    As I lost my g|rl… But you have chance to correct situation.

    payroll undresses diaphragm lockup economize

    You have 100% guaranteed and safe way to ELNRAGE YOUR PNE|S!

    minded updated donate dishonored repairer

    Read M0R_E.

    IV. enemy (begins at 5:40)

    Rosario Wu,(
    Govenment don’t want me to sell
    UndergroundCD !Check Your spouse and staff
    Investigate Your Own CREDIT-HISTORY
    hacking someone PC!Get a new passport!
    Disappear in your city
    bannedcd2004

    http:/c9003hosting.com/CD3/

    ,affectate ,slut
    ,ammonia ,boredom .

    V. Our giIrs is verry yuonng attendees absolves (begins at 6:56)

    Clara has a prretty face, hoI puusssy, Iong Iegs chloroplast’s

    She came over.. I bussted out the pipe and we smoked and.. Liechtenstein

    Gett ennjoy http:/olefun.biz/true/?enumerate

    It’s nice when these girIIs will posing themselves on camera for a few buc=
    ks Schnabel

    essences derailed adverbs boor’s.
    inclusion’s filmy ate brown bismuth
    appointments elm adaptive auto maestro blacker badger

  22. Anonymous said,

    August 31, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    This Onion piece pretty funny:

    Bob Dylan Lays Off 2,000 Workers From Songwriting Factory.

    Ha ha ha

  23. noochinator said,

    August 31, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    108. I Bought Myself a Parakeet

  24. noochinator said,

    August 31, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    109. You Need Us (The Honey Bees)

  25. noochinator said,

    September 2, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    110. Now That the Night is Falling (Graves/Poe)

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 1, 2015 at 3:21 am

      Thank you Nooch….happy new year, dear friend …I don’t think Poe, as far I know, has anything to do with “Now That The Night Is Falling…” But Graves/Poe sounds nice…

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 6, 2016 at 4:55 pm

        Tom Graves, Now That The Night Is Falling is a beautiful piece by you. As fine a melody as anyone ever wrote. Beautifully, perfectly, satisfyingly melancholy and simultaneously serene, your signature, I believe, musically, poetically speaking. Is it possible you might be inspired to compose others along this line or even, to expand this work? It is a rich and silvery vein. Thank you. If not I will just listen to this over and over for its sheer, undeniable loveliness.

  26. Allan Samuels said,

    December 31, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    I expected to see the lyrics from Stardust, which I find indescribably haunting and melancholy. Also Begin the Begin. And Deep Purple. I’d love who agrees with me.

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 1, 2015 at 2:25 am

      Allan,

      Scarriet has a 100 best Jazz standard lyrics list…I believe Stardust is on that…

      Happy new year!

    • Andrew said,

      January 1, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Deep Purple are a great band; I agree with you- so love me please!

      Ian Gillan also provided the voice of J.C. in the original cast (not the film version) of Jesus Christ Superstar – which is a great way to begin this New Year!

  27. Anonymous said,

    January 1, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    I meant to say I’d love to KNOW who agrees with me. Also the lryics to Deep Purple. “When the deep purple falls, over sleepy garden walls”

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 1, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      Deep Purple was a piano hit with lyrics added later and it was responsible for the band name Deep Purple. The grandmother played the song at home for the singer as a boy.

  28. Anonymous said,

    January 6, 2015 at 10:24 am

    This list is rubbish. So mainstream… Where is lyrics of Morrissey, Lou Reed, Ian Curtis, Roger Waters, Bono, David Bowie and Patti Smith?

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 6, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Well, Lou Reed is at the top of the list, for starters.

      Just because you could make another list doesn’t mean this list is “rubbish.”

      Morrissey and Bowie are good suggestions.

  29. thomasbrady said,

    January 30, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    http://www.maggiesfarm.eu/shadowlyrics.html

  30. Andrew said,

    February 3, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Not many stars age as elegantly as Emmy Lou:

    http://tinyurl.com/m89gjvd

  31. February 15, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Emmylou and Louise Brooks and Nichelle Nichols: Three ageless women, and not a drop of botox between them.

  32. Anonymous said,

    May 25, 2015 at 12:53 am

    Read these lyrics and tell me that this is not poetry : https://youtu.be/hARz7Ymilqo

  33. thomasbrady said,

    May 25, 2015 at 1:28 am

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=n-cD4oLk_D0

  34. noochinator said,

    August 4, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Irving Berlin’s “I Love a Piano” ain’t bad as poetry — nor are “They’re Either Too Young or Too Old” and “Who Paid the Rent for Mrs. Rip Van Winkle” — all cued up below:

  35. noochinator said,

    September 13, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Lyrics to a song titled “Musical Chairs” by Jeremy Nicholas:

    Beverly’s next to Joanie, and Jessye’s on her right,
    then Montserrat can squeeze in
    though it might be rather tight.
    Earl Wild and Van Cliburn
    have said they’ll both be here,
    and Michael Tilson Thomas
    which will make it rather queer.
    Sinopoli and Previn will turn up without a doubt;
    leave a space each side so they
    can wave their arms about.
    Luciano’s coming; let’s hope when he arrives
    that he sits where he’s told
    and that the scaffolding survives.

    Yehudi’s next to Itzhak, and Isaac’s at the top
    but as Nigel isn’t kosher
    he’s a name we’ve had to drop.
    We’ve Mstislav and Yo-Yo
    (that’s Slav and Yo for short)
    and there’s Julian Lloyd Webber too,
    but as a last resort.
    Gennadi Rozhdestvensky will join in all the games,
    so will Esa-Pekka Salonen,
    but how do you spell their names?
    James Levine’s not coming,
    he’s turned us down quite flat—
    which isn’t so surprising
    with a sense of pitch like that.

    Zubin has accepted and Seiji’s such a dear!
    Can you blame a girl for subtlely
    advancing her career?
    There’s Vladimir and Daniel, whatever shall we do?
    For there’s Claudio Abbado and Riccardo Muti, too!
    We’d better ask that woman who always talks such rot;
    says she studied under Toscanini
    (nobody knows just what!).
    Now Mieczyslaw Horszowski, I put him at the head;
    I sent an invitation, but apparently he’s dead.

    There are one or two producers
    I thought I ought to try—
    there’s that so-and-so from Sony
    and that creep from EMI.
    Sir Michael and Sir Maxwell and
    Sir Malcolm say they might —
    I’ve seated Kathleen by herself,
    I’d like to avoid a fight.
    Placido says he will be here if he can fit it in;
    he’s not sure if he’s in Paris, Honolulu or Berlin.
    There’ll be paper hats and crackers, and what else
    goodness knows!
    Maybe cabaret from Kiri, singing hits from all her shows.
    I think that’s everybody—
    there’s you and me, my dear…

    “But wait! We forgot David Helfgott.”

    He’ll have to come next year!

    • thomasbrady said,

      September 13, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      What about Yeol Eum Son?

      • noochinator said,

        September 13, 2015 at 9:01 pm

        Her name should be subbed in for David Helfgott’s…..

      • noochinator said,

        May 1, 2018 at 10:18 am

        Here’s Ms. Son messing ’round with Doucet’s “Chopinata”:

  36. forestblush said,

    October 10, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Very lovely blog 🙂

  37. Taylor swift said,

    October 16, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Can you please make a new song and it will not have to be about the same thing over and over again okay thank you so much for the first half of the day before I go to sleep and I’m still waiting to be the first person to talk to you in a while

  38. thomasbrady said,

    October 16, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    BY THE LIGHT OF THE SUN

  39. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 6, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    CHERRY TRUMPETS

    [remembering the trumpets of Herb Alpert “Up Cherry Street”]

    transposing the cherry trumpets in the sunlight
    or twirling a pink parasol shade
    we came to life

    in lessons of astronomy
    when we could gaze and gaze
    in our backyard and there’s Orion

    and how it does amaze
    Orion remains though others have gone away.
    and the cherry trumpets replayed on the phonograph

    and the cantinas blue as blue
    their twilights tied with silver ribbons;
    the evening dew.

    time is music or music is time
    we thought we knew.
    it’s only later as the music fades

    we feel that it’s not true.
    and yet we linger when the music starts
    and feel it’s altered in our hearts

    as though we were fresh winds again
    paused at a golden beginning;
    sweet on the tongue as a candy that lasts forever

    knowing all, all the songs.

    mary angela douglas 6 april 2016

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 6, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      P.S. on Cherry Trumpets poem: Up Cherry Street and Cantina Blue were my favorite instrumentals of Herb Alpert and the Tiajuana Brass when I was around middle school age. I was just starting to learn Spanish and it seemed a golden backdrop to me for that though I realize it wasn’t mariachi music per se but very kin to it. I always though Alpert was highly underrated. His arrangements to me were fantastically rich and evocative of varied emotions. Not California psuedo Mexican pop appealing to all ages as it was so often portrayed even at the top on the back of the records. Haunting music. I know this thread is about songs with lyrics but I contend this music is lyrical without the words and deserves mention here as something poetic, metapoetry maybe. Autumnal music I always thought of it in my overblown way.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 6, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      Correction on Cherry Trumpets: should be sparkled away, not gone away. I’m sparkling away now, at least I like to think so, and somebody out there or is it in the plural is probably thinking, thank God. I don’t mind what you thank God for even if it’s for me going away as long as you talk to Him now and then. You will feel a whole lot better about whatever it is you’re feeling bad about if you do. And if you feel good you can talk to Him about that. I don’t think He hears things of that natur, that much sitting at the golden switchboard of grievances day after day.

  40. thomasbrady said,

    May 31, 2016 at 9:58 am

  41. noochinator said,

    June 1, 2016 at 6:57 am

    Tomas, are you into Ween at all? Two high school friends who started a band and became one of the most electic pop music acts ever — here’s one of their more intense songs that was set to animation by one of their fans:

    • thomasbrady said,

      June 1, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Someone gave me a Ween CD about 10 years ago. I listened to it about a dozen times. I liked it. This sounds how I remember.

  42. noochinator said,

    June 1, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Tom, how about a post on the most heartrending songs, those ditties that cause the tears to flow from the eyes of most homo (and hetero) sapiens? Such a post could be a public service for those looking to spend some quality weeping-time with their favorite dominatrices. I suggest these as a starter:

    “That’s the Way I Always Heard It Should Be” by Carly Simon
    “Touch Me in the Morning” by Diana Ross
    “Winkin’ and Blinkin’ and Nod” by the Simon Sisters

    • thomasbrady said,

      June 1, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      Scarriet did put out a 100 Songs That Make You Cry. Did you miss it? I like those songs. “Touch Me In the Morning” was written by a guy who lived right across the hall from me when I was growing up on 105th st in Manhattan, Michael Masser.

  43. le Gamin en Moi said,

    December 8, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Damien Saez, is a more modern song writer whose lyrics are essentially poetry. He is very well known and respected in France– He being a Parisian.

    If you know french, listening to his songs, which are great in themselves, or reading his lyrics should be very pleasing!

    🙂

    • thomasbrady said,

      December 8, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      Thank you, I’ll check out his music.

      A quick look at his lyrics: Angry Marxism. Sounds too adolescent and too negative to be great poetry….that’s just a first impression…

      One of his lines…”we’re not descended from apes but from sheep…” Of course that’s always going to have appeal: berating the ignorant…

  44. noochinator said,

    April 30, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    “A Strange Boy” by Joni Mitchell

    A strange boy is weaving
    A course of grace and havoc
    On a yellow skateboard
    Thru midday sidewalk traffic
    Just when I think he’s foolish and childish
    And I want him to be manly
    I catch my fool and my child
    Needing love and understanding

    What a strange strange boy
    He still lives with his family
    Even the war and the navy
    couldn’t bring him to maturity

    He keeps referring back to school days
    And clinging to his child
    Fidgeting and bullied
    His crazy wisdom holding onto something wild
    He asked me to be patient
    Well I failed
    “Grow up!” I cried
    And as the smoke was clearing he said
    “Give me one good reason why”

    What a strange strange boy
    He sees the cars as sets of waves
    Sequences of mass and space
    He sees the damage in my face

    We got high on travel
    And we got drunk on alcohol
    And on love the strongest poison and medicine of all
    See how that feeling comes and goes
    Like the pull of moon on tides
    Now I am surf rising
    Now parched ribs of sand at his side

    What a strange strange boy
    I gave him clothes and jewelry
    I gave him my warm body
    I gave him power over me

    A thousand glass eyes were staring
    In a cellar full of antique dolls
    I found an old piano
    And sweet chords rose up in waxed New England halls
    While the boarders were snoring
    Under crisp white sheets of curfew
    We were newly lovers then
    We were fire in the stiff blue-haired house rules

  45. noochinator said,

    May 2, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    “Joe Public” — The Rutles

    My name is Joe Public, I’m sure you all know me
    Sometimes they call me ‘the man in the street’
    But I don’t mind

    I’ve got my place in society
    I’ve got my feet on the ground
    I’ve got my pride and my prejudices
    No one can push me around

    My name is Joe Public, I’m sure you all know me
    Sometimes they call me ‘the proletariat’
    But I don’t mind

    They know me for my common sense
    They know they can’t please all of me
    They know I can’t be fooled all of the time
    I am what I am and I’m happy to be

    Joe Public, that’s me
    Joe Public, that’s me
    I put my faith in the powers that be
    Joe Public—that’s me

    My name is Joe Public, I’m sure you all know me
    Sometimes they call me ‘the great unwashed’
    But I don’t mind

    Sticks and stones may break my bones
    But names can never hurt me
    I’ve got my pride and my prejudices
    I am what I am and I’m happy to be

    Joe Public, that’s me
    Joe Public, that’s me
    Joe Public, that’s me
    Joe Public, that’s me

    I put my faith in the powers that be
    Joe Public—that’s me
    I put my faith in the powers that be…
    I’m sure you all know me…

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  47. maryangeladouglas said,

    March 17, 2019 at 12:18 am

    LEARNING

    gold flakes off the sun

    or stardust streams from the once upons

    and suddenly you stand inside the crystal.

    not outside, looking at the diagram again, uncomprehending.

    or feel on your face the winds of Athens,

    Shakespeare rising

    and you, the Dialogues, you are the plays, each one

    as though you spoke each word in your sleep originally.

    or it’s bright midsommer on a jam coloured day

    when you feel called inside the treasure heaped caves

    eluding chores

    and wander in…

    the dream within the dream and Calderon…

    oh life, the fleeting the beautiful has come and gone

    and now returned, you hear the light leaves murmur

    in their song that you like Shelley are the King of clouds.

    or Queen of the May or the Saint envisioning the

    curative fountains, directed to find them

    on some Saturday…

    what century am I today you feel like Alice

    still in the same blue dress wondering at her desk that

    then the strawberries gleamed too

    in Junes and children sat in school

    reciting golden numbers feeling metrics

    like the drone of bees outside the open windows

    sanguine amid the flowers

    till called to attention. in their new school shoes

    from such reveries…on the eve of undeclared war

    or simple as cream, the walking out the doors

    to waiting trains;

    the winter seeds sown.

    let us revisit these scenes

    all the way down to their sunless seas

    the Christmas ghost pleads (or Coleridge, who knows)

    and you go with them through the clouded dells

    to all that you could never spell

    or with the Blessed Damozel

    to forgotten wishing wells, or come upon shelves unshelved of

    untranslated biographies

    in fragments, seraphs in tears

    for all the unrecorded years…

    one star upon a stone

    that sang out:”Christ!” along a tolling road

    and you elucidating, on your way, your own

    while some take orders for a seamless garment

    the cost of dreams the cost of dreams the cost of dreams

    mary angela douglas 16 march 2019…

  48. maryangeladouglas said,

    March 18, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    This poem is not about Scarriet. Scarriet is not a contest. Scarriet is mystical, like the weather. You think you know the forecast and then you don’t. You can’t pinpoint when the winds will rise. This is just a poem I wrote to feel better about not qualifying for a contest due to everything on my blog being considered previously published work. So be it I said recovering my original happiness. And then wrote this and it was FUN.

    EVERYTHING IS NOT A CONTEST IF YOU DON’T WANT IT TO BE

    everything is not a contest

    if you don’t want it to be

    I don’t want it to be.

    what if they held auditions for the birds

    what if some birds didn’t make the cut

    how triste we would be.

    the forests filled with pared down song

    maybe two. tops, three. what would the mute birds do

    limited to:

    whatever wasn’t previously sung.

    why should you wait for months

    to hear back from the magazines

    till Kingdom come

    when you can go anywhere

    in the great outdoors

    maybe to the canyons

    and recite for free

    I like canyons better than magazines.

    think of the echoes.

    the resonance. the company

    of blooming cacti keeping their secrets.

    they know how it feels to be patient

    awaiting their flowering, published to the winds.

    patience doesn’t really even come into it.

    not being compared. not worrying about

    first serial rights.they can fare.

    friends with the starry nights

    unaware of the contradictions and the spite

    of trying to prove in a dry spell

    to the resident cognescenti

    they really are capable of flowering.

    meanwhile they defend themselves

    from condescending smiles

    with their prickles like Exupery’s rose.

    well, they might.they could. who knows.

    really, they don’t have to do anything.

    just wait for the desert Spring.

    isn’t that something worth singing about?

    flower on your own. crawling to no throne.

    you will know

    the happiness of not being paid in copies.

    not bartering your Manhattan for trinkets.

    of singing because you want to.

    painting or dreaming.

    skipping in the lanes.

    sans the workshop disdain.

    the grim reengineering

    right within your hearing

    for the MFA.

    stand in the clearing.

    far from the fray.

    joy is better that way.

    sound never dies they say.

    already you would be immortal

    sing song saying it

    even in your dust bunnied room.

    even in a tomb.

    due to the laws of sonics.

    happy in your phonics.

    barely whisper your latest sonnet

    to a crowd of angels…

    sound never dies. nor music.

    music in God, the trefoil union intact.

    the heart singing all on its own

    undeterred, silvery perhaps,unbeknownst.

    like a ghost.

    in its own mystique.

    proofread by no creep;

    poor editor with no sleep.

    a heightening mirage

    leaving its sound print, invisible track upon

    the open universe soaring above the pines

    so that the leaves sigh.the upper atmosphere.

    clouds in their vagueness;

    the air, bursting with wings

    and turquoise.

    mary angela douglas 18 march 2019

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      March 26, 2019 at 6:53 am

      for children trapped in wishing wells
      for all of my hushed nightingales
      for the carrion crow that caws from the bleachers:
      carry this up to God in a silver slipper
      that children may no longer
      live among thorns.

      Mary Angela Douglas 26 march 2019

      • Mary Angela Douglas said,

        April 8, 2019 at 3:02 pm

        AWAKE

        [a piano piece for my sister]

        is that the far kingdom she asked

        through sleep misted eyes

        through sleigh bells

        through the tolling of dreams

        small angels held her hands

        I knew she was there

        though the room had faded into space

        the space between keys when you are little

        with your first piano piece

        and proud; is it Christmas there already

        I heard her say in the sharp breeze

        in the blue breeze turning the corner

        where our roof froze over and the leaves

        not long ago, on the trees, soft gardenias

        in an in between season the colour of clouds.

        you were clad in snow and if I could have

        I would have painted you in blue and rose

        the way you looked at five or four

        in your first sun dress

        oh don’t get cold I cried aloud in my sleep

        then everything vanished.

        and I was what they call in this life,

        on any green apriled evening

        wrapped in pearl occasions like a first concerto

        younger then,

        and “awake.”

        mary angela douglas 8 april 2019

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          April 12, 2019 at 6:55 am

          THE RAINS ARE SWEEPING THE CANYONS WHILE WE’RE ALL INSIDE

          beautiful canyons spanned the distance

          but we were all at work.

          at school.

          in the laundry rooms.

          watching tv.

          what if it had been different

          what if we hadnt kept our heads down

          when the Perseids showered

          their gold for free.

          what if freedom was for beauty.

          playing the mandolin

          under the moon.

          what if candy cane deliberations

          in the Christmas drug stores

          at the last minute, while the snow flew

          had meant everything always.

          and the Nativity.

          set in the window

          with its yellow bulbed star

          its radiance

          and the beauty

          spanning the distance

          had been

          where we lived

          instead of just

          keeping our heads down.

          taking someone else’s word for it

          taking one test in the row

          and passing the rest down soundlessly

          when the silver rains swept through;

          motionless. registering only

          all the second hand things we knew.

          or were expected to.

          mary angela douglas `12 april 2019

  49. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 14, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    LATE SUMMER

    for my sister Sharon (yet again)

    you’ll wear your trapeze pink

    and dangle from a cloud

    or we’ll go gleefully

    to the five and dime

    in search of dangly earrings,

    once upon a time

    and come back with hair ribbons instead.

    lilac cologne.

    new stationery with fanciful borders.

    that was the summer we planned.

    and hamburger stands

    and blowing out straws

    at our Grandfather

    sitting at the little table

    thinking we were grownups

    while he beamed.

    and we breathed in pink and green

    watermelon after the games.

    already we were full up on cracker jacks

    but he would have to explain

    to Grandmother

    why we looked sick

    at the mention of supper.

    though double dipped ice cream

    was not amiss.

    I remember this.

    how the mown grass fragrance

    made we want to never leave.

    the drone of airplanes above

    the vivid zinnias.

    and the sky trails.

    how I cherished

    getting the mail

    full up with school ordered paperbacks.

    the summer classics.

    the quick fizz of coca cola

    in the jelly glasses

    poured over ice.

    the sifting of days.

    the malted ways.

    piano pieces in the afternoons.

    I miss you all.

    and call you over

    the backyard fences of Heaven.

    mary angela douglas 14 april 2019

    • April 15, 2019 at 4:03 pm

      From now on, when someone says “you got MAD skeels,” I’ll know what they’re talking about.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 15, 2019 at 10:36 pm

        BEAUTY ITSELF IS BURNING DOWN: TO NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL, APRIL 15. 2019

        beauty itself is burning down

        a newsman cried

        with Notre Dame lit like a torch

        against the sunset sky

        what can we say

        from faraway

        will the rose windows melt inside

        I wondered, can it be so many saints have died

        and now their images too their agonies renewed

        for another contract, lease

        is the name for Paris, rue,

        not rosemary, please forget me

        what I knew or thought I knew of

        Hugo, I thought randomly

        cathedrals burning in a green april

        april, the cruelest

        does the world skip a beat in an afternoon

        of eight centuries

        the world within the world

        we never see

        not being visionary

        the cathedral erupting into great roses

        in a penultimate Spring

        the cathedral a great green candle

        consumed for the Lord

        as if by example, we should be shorn

        of our somnombulance

        in the lily of this hour

        with the traffic no longer surging, transfixed

        in the rose of its crumbling

        singing, singing singing

        the bell into the tower

        the tower withstanding

        the bell in the tower

        the bell in the tower

        beyond all wars and scars

        the little mockeries in peace time

        and yet, crowds grew

        and thronged the singeing avenues

        willing the walls to stay

        for hours and hours

        the spire of Notre Dame

        our lady’s arrow-sorrow

        lit in a golden flame, flickered, floated sideways

        what next? The flaking, flinging down of stars. the moon falls into the earth, a mirror no longer

        ashes for beauty?

        time itself collapsed in a deep black hole

        remnants of a single spring twilight

        our souls in the rubble still singing.

        will not cease, will not leave it this way

        on this, no calendar’s day.

        mary angela douglas 15 april 2019

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          April 16, 2019 at 7:47 am

          AFTERMATH

          waking up at 3 a.m. at first, no thought

          it’s still dark

          then suddenly, the sinking of the heart anew

          oh no, it really happened not to you

          to the cathedral

          weeping embers still

          oh blessed mirage,

          kaleidoscopic ark

          and smouldering dawn

          no war did this.

          what must they think of us

          in Heaven

          who built you stone on stone

          that you might remain

          the myriad tollling

          hours refrain from speech

          what words can reach

          what hearts can cmprehend

          the loveliness lost

          how mended, how

          we kneel in your dust

          and find

          His radiance still,

          within.

          mary angela douglas 16 april 2019

  50. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 16, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    ADMIXTURE OF KABAKOV, ILYA (AND NOTRE DAME)

    here is the boat

    you want to get in.

    to go to the other shore.

    the other shore is a toy.

    this does not deter you

    from drawing up many plans.

    the plans take on

    their own luminosity

    they have their own closet now

    and several angels.

    the glass of rose windows

    reverts to sand

    the plans are everything now.

    mary angela douglas 16 april 2019

  51. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 17, 2019 at 11:04 am

    WHEN IT GETS THIS WAY

    things have fallen off a table

    and landed where there are pears,

    apples

    burnished in gold

    where we are told odd fables over breakfast

    and midas cornered,

    the mice pattern fine clothes

    allotted the miracle

    of a spot of jam

    a fallen crumb

    do I hear singing from the attic,

    remotely view

    the girl in the pier glass cracked

    in the chanson

    where the rubies gush through

    of the light allotted her

    where bluebirds fetch

    her snowy gowns?
    garlands of myrtle…
    and the three lilies.

    Notre Dame.

    my poems burst into flame

    and the toy ladders cannot reach them

    weeping the violet or the rose.

    I have composed it in my sleep

    the thing to say

    when it gets this way

    but the throat of the swan

    on the spun glass rivers

    is braided with tears.

    mary angela douglas 17 april 2019

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 18, 2019 at 6:39 am

      MY POEM HAS MANNERS

      my poem has manners

      sometimes it is diffident

      it will pour tea

      when there isn’t any in the house

      and the cup is cracked

      the one with a favorite flower

      but you don’t notice

      when you drink from it

      the whole world seems

      hand painted by God

      well, who else would it be

      although they pretend

      he’s not only

      an unknown artist

      he’s unknown period

      .

      he’s not even there

      well did you make stars

      my poem wants to know

      or is merely rhetorical

      perhaps you should go

      my poem wants to cry

      it’s like that a lot

      you would know

      if you lived with it

      if you watched it sprout

      green leaves.

      or wings

      if you saw the way

      it looks into the distance

      as if, into a mirror.

      or into the wind

      the way it brings roses

      into the day

      on impulse

      and scrapbooks the tears

      of small children;

      then, their amethyst smiles

      mary angela douglas 18 april 2019

  52. maryangeladouglas said,

    May 2, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    IN CASE

    I dreamed we passed through clouds without aeroplanes

    and we were no one’s Project

    but lived as we pleased, in the meadows,

    understanding the field flowers,

    or, when it rained,

    under the broader leaves:

    durations of the sunlit, the introspective hours

    where the light floated through us

    in gipsy coloured rays

    as though we were prisms.

    no census taken, night or day

    we became stars and twinkled

    in such profusion

    they gave up counting us;

    resigned from that illusion.

    we became rich in ways

    not easily boxed

    making crowns of tinfoil,

    crumpled candy wrappers

    we crowned ourselves

    and perched our green badged lean to’s

    close to the wishing wells

    in case the elusive armies

    no prisoners taken

    and the dogs of blizzards

    dormant, should suddenly awaken.

    mary angela douglas 2 may 2019

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      May 4, 2019 at 9:59 am

      IN THE COUNTRY

      in the country, where one grows old

      and the roses shadowing into their dusk

      the moon held aloft, a pale green lantern

      by whom are these things noted, gardenia soft;

      the moon a wide ribbon woven through clouds

      consumed for the Soul, that silver moth

      it’s the crescent of ending

      I behold or you, as you were,

      before the floods the candles’

      drift on the snowy cakes

      the present of it all

      in star flecked tissue revealing

      you,

      on your small porch

      looking out on your allotted ocean of time

      and the foam of it aqua,

      unto the stars, the swing’s wide measure

      on the playground dreamed

      the dust rising from the shoe scuff of it

      the blues and the greens in a whirl

      on the carousel colored in; carillions counted,

      blossoming pink to white;

      the horses raving, frozen as they were

      and turning into the Fair remembered

      one was fire, singing the milkmaids

      in a dawn, the faun colored roses

      the heart tuned to pearl

      and the dew tinged hour

      the freshness rose it was ever Easter

      rising, sweets in the grass half hidden

      the dime witched dial crumbling you thought

      was diamond

      the Disneyland beckoning,

      reckoning,

      of childhood tears behind

      dried, in the sullen a pinwheel wind

      the music box wounding of it, forgo;

      the purple rising,the iced tea clinking

      of the glass you were drinking the purple of

      what is past and that gleams

      the gleams of it far behind now

      the Star ahead

      the may blossom falter of it;

      the ones that loved you

      when you were new,

      the honeysuckle bright of it,

      blazing up

      renewed, it’s Christmas;

      the angels draw nigh;

      Hans Andersen, in a sleigh

      parting invisible snows.

      mary angela douglas 4 may 2019

  53. maryangeladouglas said,

    May 4, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    THIS AND THE THIMBLES SCATTERED

    this, and the thimbles scattered

    the ones of gold

    with the Princess seamstress gone gathering

    small mushrooms after the rains

    I remember;

    we marveled at her marble cake

    the bakery made

    could she return?

    where the traffic stilled.

    the raspberry sun

    upon our childish once upons.

    now the moon has gathered

    her ivory flowers in:

    our Grandmother’s folded fans

    will I recognize your shadow in Heaven

    so that I do not sln,

    missing the cue of “Rumplestilskin;”

    slipping

    on polished stairs in a fine gown;

    short of the railing

    strawberries, cream in an opal dish

    oh I wish, I wished, closing my eyes

    splashing the angelic.

    no one wanted to ruin The Play

    to be the one at fault in The Ballet

    drawing the curtains;

    out of tune with the day, with singing Everywhere.

    my thought is a spindle in the wind

    it has that quality unwinding

    this again and the thimbles scattered

    no more patchwork

    no more pincushion moon;

    valentine saints with the arrows through

    she just Was

    no more the brightness of thread

    which to choose

    the where to begin in the musical measure

    which riddle to shine

    embroidered in time

    she never said

    when spooning the honey

    on our bread.

    just God is the Flower that does not fade;

    be good, not clever.

    in any weather.

    you aren’t sugar;you won’t melt.

    mary angela douglas 4 may 2019

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      May 9, 2019 at 3:38 pm

      WHO ARE WE THAT YOU SHOULD SQUANDER

      who are we that You should squander on us

      so many stars, illuminations over the castles

      so bright so bright

      we forget where we are

      in the summer grass

      with the fire balloons ascending

      the sprinklers, in a purple blue dusk.

      there it is, the perennial grace note

      in my poem from Ray Bradbury;

      torchlight for the gazebo

      thank you, Ray.

      thank you God who in your green shade

      have furnished for us

      so many songs.

      early and late.

      on the piano, the pianola.

      oh let the gate, wide open, survive

      let all the singers arise

      in a silvery stream

      beyond sunrise

      beyond our qualms

      there, with the children making mud pies

      where the gardens sing too full of gardenias

      and the perfumes of forever,

      wafting us on.

      mary angela douglas 9 may 2019

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        May 10, 2019 at 5:15 pm

        WE LIVE ON

        we live on in the nursery of the world

        despite unfinished grocery lists,

        keys that plunge to the bottom

        of any bag.

        what’s to be had now what’s to give away

        though Aurora’s rosy fingers

        still can tinge the day

        at its earliest.

        are we on our way

        to somewhere we can’t name.

        I don’t know.

        but in my dreams

        sometimes I’m in unknown towns

        with familiar scenes.

        in old factories

        looking for the exit to the right street

        the one to take me home.

        but home is a ghost ship too

        waiting its turn

        at the stoplight

        gazing ironically at the old trees.

        when they sigh I remember

        the poet Rilke almost said at times

        who sighs anywhere in the world now

        sighs for me.

        mary angela douglas 10 may 2019

  54. maryangeladouglas said,

    May 14, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    SOMETHING

    even in a closed system, God can breathe on the pane

    out of the ash a sudden ember

    though the eye remains

    shuttered.

    there, on the border of dreams

    one may not remember in the morning

    something stirs the curtains

    in a heralding way.

    who can say what it is for sure.

    was it the wind

    the child awaking early wondered

    something else, that gold let in

    why pretend if not to know

    something glows;it isn’t us.

    something

    in search of what was when:

    Eden, and the rusted gates.

    mary angela douglas 14 may 2019

  55. thomasbrady said,

    May 17, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Something in search of what was when:
    Eden, and the rusted gates.

    MAD is the real thing.

  56. maryangeladouglas said,

    May 19, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    THE RISING

    beginning again on the green leafed path

    with the dew on the grasses, our diamonds,

    or the overhang of orchid clouds

    amazed at our looming shadows on the ground

    the alphabet,

    all the colours!

    and telling time out loud;

    telling time by what He said:

    “I will make all things new.”

    he said this I think, I feel,

    in golden letters.

    in the tick of the fairy tale clock,

    and I play nocturnes again

    on my Grandmother’s Steinway piano

    observe the irises

    take comfort in the demitasse

    the way my Grandmother pronounces it,

    of hand painted roses, or violets;

    on a background of cream. the late strawberries.

    the view from the screen door

    the sound of near bells

    I implore you oh Heavens

    for the calendar towel of linen in any year

    with the old mill stream;

    the songs my mother taught me

    in a dream;

    the songs without words.

    the same cherished pines.

    more time to remember

    the way that we have come

    the rising,

    not the setting,

    Son.

    mary angela douglas 19 may 2019

  57. maryangeladouglas said,

    May 22, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    DISPENSATIONS

    in the eternal moment in your teardrop dispensation

    suspended we survive

    though we don’t how we are still alive

    waiting out the storms.

    a crystalline peace descends

    the wind picks up

    loaded with fragrances

    though we don’t know

    where the next dollar is

    coming from

    or who will come beating an old drum

    and take our loved ones away.

    the axe seems at the root

    in the middle of the day and yet

    it could happen this way

    that angels will stand guard

    at our decrepit doorsteps

    freezing the axe stroke,

    the bureaucratic stroke of the pen.

    we are golden.

    who cannot turn the Ikon to the wall.

    we are in your high tower.

    the moment flowers between us oh Lord,

    and your deliverance is sure.

    mary angela douglas 22 may 2019

  58. Anonymous said,

    May 23, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    MARISOL IN WINTER SUNLIGHT

    Marisol in the marigolds, rose gold aftermaths

    was captured in a pose with small birds glittering

    about to rise from earth

    and Midas the only futile thing in the landscape froze

    turning himself to gold and there lost kingdoms shone

    as she ran up to greet him with a handful of flowers,

    a little girl.

    no witnesses but God then tears were stopped forever,

    forever immortalized;

    and the instant before

    with the scudding clouds o Marisol

    he could not reach oh Midas

    small king that he was,

    a token of golden anguish

    and the winter sea, its gilded wave

    suspended over all,

    mary angela douglas 8 july 2018;23 may 2019

    • Anonymous said,

      May 26, 2019 at 10:20 pm

      THERE IS NO WILDERNESS

      there is no wilderness

      in which he will not write

      of running streams

      or label the stars in jars

      and set them on shelves

      for future, for tender, reference

      counting the opaline his;

      every instant, an amethyst.

      you will say, perhaps,

      why must he sieve the snows;

      does he really need that many starfish?

      or to carry the roses from Here to There

      in a rundown workshop

      all chimney smoke

      and no wood…

      to an infinite garden?

      if he only could.

      beware of him the mothers cry

      clutching their infants close.

      he comes from the tribe of wishes

      shining into no mirror at all

      and crystal pendants

      on foreign chandeliers;

      year on year,

      gathering prisms like moss;

      and into the great concertos

      that have not yet arrived

      he will dodge as into thickets.

      why is he alive

      at such a cost, contradiction

      of being lost and labyrinthine too

      pressing the words down carefully

      into the Spring mud

      as if they would fly away:

      the scudding clouds.

      and growing stranger day by day

      radiant and painting the sun

      in an unequal contest;

      developing the film all night

      ah he is armor bright,

      inured to all affliction

      so that tomorrow,

      the contract with dawn

      may be renewed.

      mary angela douglas 26 may 2019

  59. Anonymous said,

    May 24, 2019 at 10:43 am

    ESSE QUAM VIDERI

    sometimes truly in a desultory mood

    I wonder how is it possible that

    so many seem to be seeming to

    actually be doing something

    so that it all rolls on

    when in fact, it is nothing, or

    worse than nothing

    something to cause more pain

    for those out in the rain

    and for this nothing they are

    praised, paid highly, even promoted

    feted even and there is so much paperwork

    old file cabinets even overflowing

    to be gone through to be filed

    on a daily basis

    with intemperate notes in the margins

    about those who’ve failed in life

    so they say, talking among themselves

    at the awards banquets

    “but we’ve made progress.’

    oh they

    as if they solved the great equations, parade,

    solve nothing at all

    and gaze at a person

    as if, at a wall, inscrutably

    thinking what’s for lunch

    I have a hunch;

    meanwhile, those affected by the outcomes

    suffer even more

    because they are judged on top of judged

    like a judgement layer cake

    by those who don’t admit

    their own mistakes ever

    and perhaps these people

    the wall people

    haven’t even made mistakes

    but have just been kicked unmercifully

    or are something to be stepped over

    even when not stepped on

    or else are not seen or heard

    except by those who collect brownie

    points for listening;

    or more and more data, extrapolating

    from those

    who are regarded herd

    a diseased herd at that,

    so let’s fix them.

    and it is everywhere this way.

    how long can this go on

    I wonder as if trapped in some Aliceian dream or

    as if some people would be relieved today

    if an asteroid hit the earth or is on it’s way

    right now

    where the deck is not only stacked

    it comes to life and flies in your face

    and calls you when you’re wounded, a disgrace

    the face somehow they can’t erase,

    in the face of everything real, everything you feel

    it’s just

    children trying to tie their shoes

    while other children trip them up

    or cases

    in which there is no appeal

    and everyone knows this but you

    even when there are tons on the dockets

    for those with empty pockets

    for there are judges

    pretending to judge

    to be ruling on something

    all the time

    that make a miserable person

    even more miserable

    call out to God

    because, truly

    He is the only one

    on some days who will NOT “start the conversation up”

    keep the thread going, as they say

    who actually does something instead

    for those still alive from a thousand cuts

    not giving socks to those on the street for instance

    when what they really need, isn’t it obvious

    is a roof, four walls and a door that shuts.

    a little sleeping in, not driven from the fold

    where rain and judgement

    can’t seep in.

    beyond the games of “let’s pretend.’

    we are charitable.

    mary angela douglas 24 may 2019

  60. Anonymous said,

    May 24, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    RECENTLY, THIS LETTER FROM SHALOTT

    I sought the courtly world but it had vanished.

    behind the curtains of uncertain dawns

    I stood, the unappointed lookout, looking on:

    gone were the purple banners and the gold

    banishing of the small fears

    held aloft at the parades

    and decked in flowers.

    I stood amazed and soundless then for hours;

    the battles I thought over, veering

    back, shone illimitably:

    in the Pageant of everything unwon.

    fresh rains have washed the back roads in the sun

    while I scoop rainbows from the clouds…

    they’re falling away like leaves in the last

    horrific winds before the calm,

    but not taking me with them:

    the years that no mirage sustained.

    and through no haze I contemplate again

    the debut in the perfect white dress

    the embroidered handkerchief bestowed

    the golden task importunate

    only you would recognize at all.

    I am seeking my lost King, the corner of a last word-

    tranquil, folded down;

    and reverence linked with song oh, long ago

    left for dead.

    knowing that I may find instead

    ruined cornices dripping icicles before spring…

    and these few winter roses for a crown;

    more than enough to live.

    my mute processions I have gathered tenderly

    in the emerald shade of God.

    oh let the lights shine down on Camelot renewed,

    confessed in these late dreams without regret.

    let knights be true.

    and constancy my only jewel

    though held aloft in the final verse

    by fingers this absurdly frail still weeping snow

    above the apparent waters of the town.

    mary angela douglas 19, 21 may 2012

  61. Anonymous said,

    May 25, 2019 at 6:51 am

    VAN GOGH SEEN SIDEWAYS OR FROM GREAT DISTANCES ABSTRACTED, INFLUENCED BY KABAKOV…

    to understand the founding of the sun

    the enigma of clouds in their various

    dispositions of rose

    there arose one

    who had within himself

    the reality of sunflowers

    who burst upon the page

    in saffron

    who faded as the day fades.

    as the day fades,

    I think on my porch,

    my invisible wrap around porch

    of him;drinking my tea with mint;

    not him exactly,

    but the way that he saw clouds,

    the cloudiness in his work and in his stars

    if, indeed, that may be called his;

    maybe, for a little while, on loan

    that comes and goes

    that flows out windows

    through the poplars

    and into the green Beyond

    into the green beyond

    where the railing is

    mary angela douglas 25 may 2019

  62. Anonymous said,

    May 29, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    WAITING YOUR TURN AT THE OPEN MIC, WITH LIGHT REFRESHMENTS SERVED

    “My soul, be not disturbed
    By planetary war;
    Remain securely orbed
    In this contracted star…”
    Elinor Wylie, Address To My Soul

    it isn’t that there should be rules

    only it would be good if you could stop the cymbals, noise in your head (the whole time someone else is reading their one poem)

    of your own poetry and how nervous you feel to get up there yourself.don’t worry. all things have an end.
    this moment is itself a single star blinking.

    be still

    know only that you are listening
    to soul translation
    from the original

    like sea music coming out of a seashell
    held close to the ear and pearlescent.
    or static from an old radio used in wartime,

    obsolescence

    at least in part, you’ve only got
    as far as that poet could get the transmission
    to come through, without the text

    you have to listen hard to catch it
    the quartz instances, the heart slipping
    on wet stones

    then starting up, tremulous

    quaking,fish or mermen,
    who can tell
    a shift in the music, a broken spell,

    the ship is freed
    the icebergs brood ineffectually
    but we sail on.

    what if in a huge field the poet before you
    has suddenly come upon a rare flower
    and drifting, you miss the name…

    medicinal flower, the one that would have
    healed…the hidden code revealed.

    the phantom word in no dictionary at all.

    there is life in the flow of words paid attention to,
    if not in homage,
    no matter how flawed

    it may be the heartfelt flaw is the one beauty resplendent

    in the antiseptic reading room
    doled out by the library with a disclaimer.
    where some are gathered

    and certain angels, say, are whispering there:
    by the back wall:
    old speech teachers,beatific; language itself, pale

    growing paler, murmuring to a few:

    Speak louder, so they may hear you at the Poles…

    you may be the last poets anywhere.
    as in the last moments of everyone on earth
    sometimes, there is gold in the last utterance

    of Light

    they will say later, in Heaven, on other planets.
    referring to this event.

    listen…
    what if it is, will be, the next batter up,
    the last words that you hear, the numbing toll,

    the last cherry glaze on consciousness itself.

    mary angela douglas 29 may 2019

  63. Anonymous said,

    May 29, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    should be, in lines 13 and 14: “used up in wartime’s obsolescence.

  64. Anonymous said,

    May 29, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    and ending should be:

    “the last cherry glaze on consciousness itself;
    rustling of crab apple tress, indistinguishable
    from moonlight”

    md. etc.

  65. Mary Angela Douglas said,

    June 8, 2019 at 3:05 am

    WAITING

    tonight I think of waiting.
    everyone waits.
    I wonder, did He wait too

    long ago, when the world was new
    for the seed to become a star
    to illuminate

    a pomegranate darkness
    did he watch ferns and shade them with his hand
    and place them near trees once they had full shade

    was everything made from His waiting
    even the peacock fan
    all waiting was Love in Him.

    somehow we could not wait enough
    and so, we packed it in and left Eden.
    and now everyone waits. for something.

    parents wait for the dawn
    hoping their children will live on
    prisoners wait for their parole

    or wonder, how can I grow old
    behind bars
    babies wait to be picked up

    spinsters for the street car
    sleepy children for the end of the story

    refugees wait between lands
    oh how can they
    and many wait for sustenance

    in vain. for anyone to call them by their name
    not from an agency.
    to be safe again in their own homes.

    for the war to end.
    and long to begin again.

    so many wait alone and pray
    their pain will not be great
    when angels come to the gate

    when finally they depart

    and all, all wait with a broken heart
    that was in my dream…
    afraid that the boat of Heaven

    will leave without them
    some shortlisted year
    that no one will know
    they were ever even here.

    mary angela douglas 7 june 2019

    Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

    • thomasbrady said,

      June 12, 2019 at 3:08 pm

      “a pomegranate darkness”

      That’s as good as “wine dark sea”

      Mary Angela Douglas is a modern Homer.

      I wonder if anyone knows it?

  66. Mary Angela Douglas said,

    June 8, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    INCIDENT ON A TRAIN

    I take you out of my pocket on the train

    carefully

    and you shake off the rain

    because this raincoat isn’t waterproof

    and fling the droplets all over the place

    while I pray please Lord of the emerald bird

    the topaz eyes, or of the sapphire, growing wise

    you, in your rubiness please

    make my bird, invisible

    and I see the prayer has worked to set up

    an invisible screen, kind of a Chinese one

    with miniature dragons, thread jeweled suns

    so that I and my pet will not be seen

    and more to the point, not charged a fee.

    here we are. the landscapes rolling by

    the washlines with their wash to dry

    in all the pastels. small children with their mouths agape

    too stunned to wave…

    but birdie wants some brunch,

    and Im not sure what’s on the menu

    for a Firebird, even a small one..

    or will I have to feed it, sigh,

    just poetry drafts again. old maps

    a few saltines.

    pimento cheese.

    some raspberry Canada Dry.

    mary angela douglas 8 june 2019

    • June 9, 2019 at 2:32 am

      Thumbs up!

    • thomasbrady said,

      June 12, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      I like it! Delightful! I reminds me a little of Paul Simon’s “America” but the words are even better even than that…

      • Anonymous said,

        June 12, 2019 at 3:52 pm

        Oh yeah, the raincoat, haha, real detail among great whimsy. I always remember the part that seems to stand stock still in the song “And the moon rose over an open field.” At the same time hearing that song I always wished I had on hand Mrs. Wagner’s Pies which I imagined to be those sugary blue collar pies you always used to find in gas station convenience stores. Dont know anymore as I no longer travel. Yum. We still have them in NC. Little pecan pies too. very small. as if made for elves (not by them, as in Keebler). But probably 1000 calories. What if they came with poems.

        • Anonymous said,

          June 13, 2019 at 12:25 am

          Be careful. His bow tie really is a camera.

  67. Mary Angela Douglas said,

    June 12, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    THE LAST WORD THAT YOU SAID

    I dreamed that poetry was the last word that you said

    the one that had broken off, broken off starlight and

    fallen by the road

    and it had taken root where no one knew

    and broken into bloom

    and had become a vast tree

    some said the tree of night made more beautiful

    with the moon behind clouds and moonlight, then,

    imagined.

    moonlight then imagined it was poetry too

    as there were no singers left who would sing that

    when called upon to sing

    in storerooms where the dead arts are kept,

    in the attics of beauty long neglected

    where children go to play

    when it rains, when they are disconsolate,

    to discover they still can wear it

    though it doesn’t fit them yet:

    moonlight, the yard, and the blossoming blossoming Tree.

    mary angela douglas 12 june 2019

  68. Mary Angela Douglas said,

    June 12, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Influenced I know at least in part by Pauline Hanson’s exquisite poem SO BEAUTIFUL IS THE TREE OF NIGHT but beyond that, all the storybooks I ever read or that were read to me in little kiddom.

  69. Mary Angela Douglas said,

    June 12, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    SOME SUMMER

    we’ll go spend every pirate coin at the carnival

    and then come home to tea

    with little pink cakes

    how would that be

    we spoke to the empty cupboards for her sake

    willing them to become

    suddenly magical, all twinkly

    and fling themselves open to reveal

    pink cakes and more

    apple core Baltimore

    jingle bell time

    and one shaded moment

    for the wild violet surmise

    we feel, while on appeal.

    oh close the screen door

    cause they all want to be

    the one and the only

    queen of the white honey

    they only come to steal

    and the causeways brimming

    with gipsies…can’t you just feel it…

    or skate on moonlight, plum dusted

    who is there to stop you

    in the carport

    at least in dreams with their bicycle bells

    and the evening in violet seams

    comes down

    it all comes down

    in blue taffeta.

    still needing to be hemmed

    said Grandmother, magical Grandmother.

    her mouth all full of pins.

    mary angela douglas 12 june 2019

  70. Mary Angela Douglas said,

    June 12, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    my grandmother really did have perfect enunciation. she could have said all that and more with a mouth full of pins, every word like crystal.

    • Mary Angela Douglas said,

      June 12, 2019 at 5:32 pm

      Haha. Maybe my grandmother would think some of my poems need to be hemmed, but I doubt it. Im pretty sure some people would prefer I trim them all the way back to haiku but Im not the one in charge.

  71. Anonymous said,

    June 13, 2019 at 12:36 am

    ghosts in gabardine hammered on the wing
    just to hear William Shatner scream those gremlins are gonna make the plane crash….remember T Zone Nightmare at 25,000 feet. my sister and I used to scare each other by pressing our nose against the glass on the living room picture window when one of us was inside. Looks exactly like that gremlin. Try it. This may seem off the subject but Paul Simon did use the word gabardine in that song America. If I ramble I’m not aging. This is the folk song thread and Im a rambler and a gambler. No I’m not.

    • Anonymous said,

      June 13, 2019 at 12:37 am

      oops. its not the folk song thread. I still dont have dementia and I dont play BINGO.

      • Anonymous said,

        June 13, 2019 at 12:46 am

        And it was Nightmare sy 20,000 feet, not 25,000 but who cares;once you see the gremlin in the party city gremlin suit on the wing, all the numbers go out of your head anyway.

        • Anonymous said,

          June 13, 2019 at 12:47 am

          at not sy. bye.

  72. Anonymous said,

    June 19, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    SADNESS COMES IN WAVES I SAID

    sadness comes in waves I said

    they closed the door

    leaving me to wander near the shore

    of it

    captive to the day of writing me off

    like a bad debt.

    they did not care that the ebb and the flow of it

    seeped under their door, and marled, and beautiful

    as disastrous

    pooled in the well waxed hallways, lapped at the balconies’

    recreational edge.

    my pledge I have kept

    windswept

    ridiculed, words skewed slightly sideways

    by the knowing smiles.

    I dont know what they know.

    or how they tally up the miles.

    God keep me safe.

    under no bitter moonlight nor escape

    unmined. with no resort but You

    oblivious to the time we live in

    they think they’ve wasted with me.

    in the palace of your mercies,

    with my small candle lit.

    and Infinite.

    mary angela douglas 18 june 2019

  73. Anonymous said,

    June 20, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    CONFUSED, TANGLED WITH STARLIGHT

    {to Jesus, the Light of the World]

    did the dark illumine the corners where you were

    confused, tangled with starlight

    no longer sure of its demesne

    how could it remain the same

    in the presence of true Light

    perhaps the Magi wondered

    in their flight from Herod

    warned in dream.

    it takes centuries to gleam

    what else did Rembrandt mean by mingling

    dark with light so that it seemed

    alchemical, all of it, gold

    waiting to be born.gold petticoat showing through

    the funereal.

    Light shines the scripture says

    in darkness

    darkness does not understand

    why suddenly

    it is embroidered with marigolds

    and the children are singing it hymns.

    mary angela douglas 20 june 2019

  74. Anonymous said,

    June 22, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    I KNOW YOU WILL

    I know You will catch me whenever I fall

    into the nets of Your delicate provision

    whenever I envision

    the world as it was before.

    before when you were dreaming

    of the colour green

    of the canopies of trees and clouds.

    before You said one word of leaves, aloud

    when Light was a thing unseen.

    and wished for, by the angels.

    I will remember with You

    the notebooks on birdsong

    please

    going back to those scenes:

    Eden before the ruin.

    looking for mushrooms

    and the tiniest flowers

    spellbound for hours

    in the green shadows.

    in the plum’s purest stain.

    the benison of rains;

    Orion.

    mary angela dougla 22 june 2019

  75. Anonymous said,

    July 4, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    COLD READING;NOT TO BE RESUMED

    it comes back to you like a wave, a cold one

    strong enough to knock you down

    you feel you are reading your own poem soundlessly

    before a crowd but

    there’s such a lack of resonance

    in the room

    you might be reading in a tomb

    and not the one where those who died

    for beauty rest.

    for truth, o, even less.

    and a something’s not in tune.

    how discontented the orchestra seems

    some Greek chorus in a dream

    chanting the victims home but there’s no bier.

    no Delphic fire.

    never mind I said to my soul.

    we will be brief

    and sail away before we come to grief

    captive for a day

    that turns out to be a century

    like one mistaken, from a foreign shore or

    entering through the wrong door

    to a stranger’s wedding reception

    with radar like detection

    scanned and banned

    when they assess

    you’re not one of the guests.

    mary angela douglas 4 july 2019

  76. Desdi said,

    July 8, 2019 at 2:35 am

    I can’t handle the sheer verbiage . . .

  77. Anonymous said,

    July 8, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    TO THE MINOR POETS IN A HEARTLESS HOUR, SPEAKING LOVE TO POWER

    [to Valerie Macon, who lives for all poetry.and who rose to the occasion]

    in almost any poem

    someone else’s heart is on the line.

    to think this way

    is to be subject to the rejoinder

    too much schmaltz.

    I think, really? Is it better to ignore

    as has been done before

    of course, always in the name

    of Higher Criticism a poet, a peon’s inalienable soul?

    of holding to golden literary standards

    the person writing anything at all.

    in their starry scrawl

    as if in the dock, or in jail.

    to make them feel, they failed.

    is this necessary?

    we are all small.

    we all try to be known.

    some for power.

    to occupy a throne.

    I am not speaking of those.

    even small insects in their summer fields compose

    and float up to God

    their miniature hymns.

    are unacknowledged poets

    not as worthy as them?

    mary angela douglas 8 july 2019

  78. maryangeladouglas said,

    July 27, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    As If The Trees Could Not Help;Or Dystopia In Its Meager Hour;Or The Brightest Light Bulbs In The Room…

    as if the trees could not help but burst into flowers

    nor the stars swirl into galaxies without them

    or streams run. under the summer sun

    they have decreed all things to grow

    in depressing mandates issued by the score

    and as they see it, are charged

    with telling us so. even how to breathe.

    this is the nightmare role

    they have conceived

    who take notes on the less fortunate

    they suppose are unenlightened or just plain lazy.

    the lightest reading of the old forgotten tales

    would enlighten them

    that men perceived to be in ill fortune

    are often the most blessed.

    but you can’t tell them anything

    they don’t think

    they already know unless they can think

    that you know less. o so much less

    though you are schooled in great distress

    they imagine they were the first

    to come to all knowledge.

    and have degrees from every college,

    earned or not.

    lead the horses to water as you will

    they will not drink

    no matter what their thirst

    unless you think they thought of it first.

    mary angela douglas 27 july 2019

  79. maryangeladouglas said,

    July 28, 2019 at 12:01 am

    CORNER OF THE SKY

    that’s your corner of the sky

    I whispered to no one standing by

    to those who had gone before me unexpectedly

    so that the day forever was divided into two parts

    the part when I thought they were still on earth

    and the part where it seemed to break down

    why is there such a veil between heaven and earth

    I asked the rains when they swept like the harp glissandos

    music, over pain

    oh our Sustaining cannot be measured

    like a star for magnitude

    that’s your corner of the sky I sang and sang

    and prayed that it was true.

    mary angela douglas 27 july 2019

  80. maryangeladouglas said,

    July 28, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    THE MOON AT MY WINDOW FOR FREE

    sent on a mission to mars and afraid of heights

    would I conquer my fear if not the Martians

    mending my parachute year to year

    having barely mastered sewing on buttons

    of a silver, a milky hue like light streaming through

    whatever place I was dreaming in at the time.

    I practiced gliding in my room in my bright shoes

    while reading the news and counting down the days.

    but no one was buying it.

    who am I to sell moonlight in a jar

    red rocks from a distant star

    but keep in mind

    others went out to the gold mines on a whim

    and found nothing then

    but empty pockets nights of no diamond sleeping.

    I hope to write no resume someday

    to live on a planet where this is not required

    to define why I should be paid by the hour

    when I have Mystery, the moon at my window

    for free and all the pearl glorias

    singing inside me.

    mary angela douglas 28 july 2019

  81. maryangeladouglas said,

    July 28, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    IT IS NO MARVEL AFTER ALL THESE WARS

    ‘…Irish poets, learn your trade…’William Butler Yeats

    it is no marvel after all these wars

    that we should tune the harp once more

    and find in every leaf and fin

    a gold that limns it all.

    Yeats came not to vanish here.

    become the sound of distant spheres

    disclose the waning, yearning years

    and bring to light their sullen eclipse.

    let jewels still fall from poet’s lips

    who know the mysteries are real

    who dare to form from what they feel

    a music keened, a boat well keeled

    and let the winds of God drive on

    in every trembling, rose like song but

    rooted in a firmer zeal

    in beauty founded, found again

    beyond the weal of human sin

    let heart be tested in the fire

    and find in words the worlds expired

    that lived on in the banished soul.

    let language be the bell that tolls.

    and not the slogan that pretends.

    mary angela douglas 28 july 2019

  82. Desdi said,

    July 30, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    There was a young man
    from Nantucket, whose verse

  83. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 3, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    ALL THOSE LION DENS

    I dreamed that God would lift me from this place

    above the lovely tree lines and the sorrowful town

    above the Goodwill lost and found

    the remnants for the formerly working poor

    and the Angel of Death out keeping score

    in the count of all the homeless heads

    no longer called by their Christian names.

    There I would see from galaxies so far removed

    the rains sweep in, the birds, and then I would

    hear transfiguring birdsong flooding everywhere

    the poor had once been.

    all those lion dens.

    mary angela douglas 3 august 2019

  84. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 4, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    ON SHELLEY

    I think of his poems as cloudy weather, magnified

    the lark ascending always

    a kind of natural ecstacy and yet, immortal in its saying.

    ennobling.

    but I wonder if Shelley

    would have been acknowledged in our time

    when so many proscribe in diatribes:

    only the political is real. and political poetry.

    I am glad he was born then

    so that his cloudy imagination

    remains on the antique page

    undisturbed. as snow at the poles must be

    a dream on a now forgotten stage

    a dream within a dream

    with all your modern semi revolutionary zeal

    you cannot kill, not even in yourselves

    but only- conceal.

    mary angela douglas 4 august 2019

  85. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 6, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    ANOMALIE

    I have seen the after mirages of the visionary sometimes

    and been effectively, momentarily punished for that seeing

    but I still know despite all punishment

    what I know and I do not dress for success because

    it isnt the outward thing I want to be.

    call me an anomalie or whatever you will

    I am rooted in sheer poetry forever

    and soon, this tree will grow wings and disappear

    or leave its rings in a mirroring lake

    from which forgotten kingdoms rise.

    mary angela douglas 6 august 2019

  86. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 6, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    AND BE RAISED

    for Walter de La Mare

    walking at dusk in starlight

    some have lived

    parting the trees as moonlight does the clouds

    making their silvery vows

    scene after shining scene.

    what is it now you waited to believe

    caught between centuries as you clearly were

    dim is the thought you thought that you preferred

    when shifting.. gleam to gleam.

    then you are shadow,

    sorting out what you dreamed.

    bear with it as you can

    the livelong days

    pass, as you pass among them

    in your praise.

    tread as you may in velvet

    the sad maze

    you’ll still be kind

    in the wanings, and be raised.

    mary angela douglas 6 august 2019

  87. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 7, 2019 at 12:48 am

    CLARITY

    I sought clarity but darkness was on the wind

    things that couldn’t be mended then

    with their one wing

    had taken their toll:

    hairline fracturing the china soul

    I sought somewhere else to go, to be

    to remember what it was like

    walking under a canopy of trees

    thinking that time on earth was a green roof

    to cover me, since I wished hard enough for it.

    if I get permission and the necessary paperwork is done

    can I speak to you who skip brightly on dry land

    while I am drowning the best I can.

    what should I say.

    have a nice day?

    while waiting for the ship to come

    and feeling like something inventoried.

    should I bring you bouquets

    and lighten your load

    where sunken treasures are.

    should I wish upon a star

    I will mend my heart with red sealing wax

    and carry on as if I were a tree

    newly branched.

    and play my part in the mystery.

    that the sun in my heart is

    still sparking words

    even if the world goes dark.

    mary angela douglas 6 august 2019

  88. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 7, 2019 at 7:08 am

    CHRIST WITH HIS BRIGHTER SHADOW I BELIEVE

    Christ with his brighter shadow I believe

    though I’m not one for walking out to sea

    I know He’s there

    when the wind is fair

    and when no one says anything to me.

    and if the earthquake breaks the seams apart

    he’ll be whatever’s left of my scared heart

    the ore of gold revealed

    and the way, out of it all.

    mary angela douglas 7 august 2019

  89. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 7, 2019 at 8:10 am

    HOUSE OF STICKS

    we were beggars but we begged from no one

    anything but the right to breathe for ourselves.

    to watch the shells fall apart

    revealing nothing.

    so had seeming become an art

    so many aspire to

    with their own particular Brand

    while the image within

    of the Weeping God

    they don’t understand.

    I will be without everything then

    with no professional repartee at all

    still the skies are His

    who swallowed gall

    and though I am deemed small,

    even minuscule

    in the general census of things

    still, still I know

    far better to be His fool

    in a house of sticks

    burned down to the Wick

    than to live like this

    to play the role

    and defraud your Soul.

    mary angela douglas 7 august 2019

  90. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 14, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    NOMENCLATURE

    should we call You by your weeping name

    when so much of beauty remains you left for us

    on the day that we left Eden.

    shall we be Rumplestiltskins, asking it again,

    your weeping name, demanding our small toys back.

    Ah, Christ, the vagrant hopes grow dim

    above the stealing, the conniving worlds;

    when wretched men are used to balance budgets,

    then, true wretchedness begins.

    there is no end of that accounting

    no matter how many borders are crossed

    or crossed out and sealed. sealing us in.

    I see your cross and you on it lifted high above

    the spheres and the earth truly a matte and manic flatness

    too dull now without you here to gloriously intervene

    now that speaking in stars is done.

    arise and come you said to us

    so many things blessed, blessed are the poor,

    for everything,

    for what they endure; for the kicking down

    the perennial stairs, the wicked and the fleeting glares

    I need as flowers do the Sun

    your Weeping Name. for oh in sunshine or in rain

    through all of Eden that remains.

    I have lost my own.

    mary angela douglas 14 august 2019 Crystal Towers Public Housing Development Winston Salem, North Carolina

  91. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 17, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    I READ OF A BOOK ON THE HISTORY OF GLASS

    I read of a book on the history of glass

    in the National Museum of Ireland

    and I thought on a cloud drifting day

    with the rains not that far away in Carolina,

    I thought, all that has passed

    my thinking on the destiny of glass

    and high Irish song.

    yet still from the aeons where I belonged

    a faint stirring rises like the wind,

    signaling a storm

    the kind that clears the air for clear eyed speech

    or shatters it all

    and angels beseeching

    the beautiful, the faltering airs behold them fallen where

    I could not reach

    and all was lost from each to each

    in a thuderclap morning.

    what matters now in the aftermirage

    green island and fair where I never was yet wanted to be

    I never went to the National Museum of Ireland.

    but something in me seems a part of that

    and I feel that this is so through the little else I know

    through the door that has no key

    they will come back to me, in the rounding of the hour

    the wounds that have staying power-

    and become the sea.

    mary angela douglas 17 august 2019

  92. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 18, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    SENTENCES

    the beautiful sentence.

    the beautiful sentence, alone.

    the lillypad sentence

    floating

    the suspended sentence pale green in its estuaries.

    on the wily paper drawn in thick pencil!

    I want to write in the largest cursive writing ever

    spiro-graphing in cuneiform on flaming poster board

    with a Magic Marker

    and each successive sentence even larger

    because it is the way I feel

    when beauty is reeling me in;

    but the teacher marks me down for this.

    like it’s a sin

    in the Sixth Grade, on my report about Jane Eyre,

    on Unruled Paper.

    it has taken decades for me to understand

    why this seemed tyrannous;and why I fumed on the orange

    school bus home.

    If you do this again…she said, not unkindly.

    It is Spring. trellised with lilies, small violets;

    the cream bright rose. and we learn madrigals.

    a sentence for posies my

    Grandmother says and she should know

    Shakespeare writ large in sepia

    in vast memorials echoing still;

    my mother sings of Marble Halls

    I will too, despite you all

    whoever you may be who imagine

    you are in charge of me sentencing me

    for sentences ah

    my bailiffs, cuffing me

    for the way they weave in and out of traffic

    or how they appear in dreams;so scintillating,

    the way they behave in public company

    or pirate like, at sea, brandishing adjectives.

    the way they distinguish themselves in opal suddenly

    above lost centuries skywriting

    on cloudy evenings perilous and clear

    showing the way to the King

    beyond the wistful the inarticulate heart,

    clanging and clanging:

    the one and invincible Star.

    the sentence of where You are.

    mary angela douglas 18 august 2019

  93. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 20, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    STILL SINGING

    dear Christ I do not ask superfluous mansions

    or the gifts of State

    I will wait for you in hovels

    or even at the gate, with no roof ever.

    only do not sever the heart I kept for You.

    what can I do knowing the longitude and latitude

    of all ships as they drift.

    for me the midnight shift

    the candle at its wick

    You alone are Light.

    I do not need emergency supplies.

    or to be overwise.

    or to be assured You will endure.

    only surprise me with Your green

    in every april seen, Spring at the door

    even if I through no window look.

    or turn to see in indigent liberty

    only one blossom left in a desolate field,

    to be the one left

    still I will honor You

    in the falling of the dew

    in the bird with one wing reft

    still singing.

    mary angela douglas 20 august 2019
    Crystal Towers Housing Development (under disposition)
    Winston Salem, NC

  94. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 27, 2019 at 11:23 am

    THE ELEPHANT MAN RECALLED

    it seemed to him that he should be

    the same as others

    that he should lay down his head

    at Bethel and see the heavens open

    the angels descend on ladders

    filaments of the stars.

    how hard his pillow why would it matter

    if he could dream God was not far

    oh from the mocked misunderstood

    the misshapen vessel that he was

    lumbering amid the tiaraed.

    flocked to by the tittering crowds.

    feted and lovely the center of all praise

    he knew he knew he would never be but leprous-

    lonely in his days beyond all human anguish to withstand

    and in his carnival life abandoned

    so ridiculed the elephant man I see him

    at the end on a silken pillow sink

    as if to say, just once let me be like them

    with a dreamlike visage, brokenness

    the final snap of the knotted thread he almost sped

    into the arms of the crucified Lord.

    mary angela douglas 27 august 2019

  95. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 28, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    I DREAMED OF COLOSSUS

    (This is not a political poem. this is against the political throttling of the individual, individuated beauty of each human soul; imago dei, for those who think they were born to engineer it, on both sides of the aisle. who lie and lie and lie…

    It is, in fact, a nightmare and not a dream though as for Alice in the horrid wonderland, the key is on the glass table, if you only look for it; and the Door to the beautiful garden as I do not believe in leaving the reader stranded)

    ———————————————————–

    I dreamed of colossus and a marble stair

    where I looked out on everywhere from the last landing

    on the same blank scene

    and I woke up and I said I will mean

    more than the vastness of snow over the empires

    of no soul. those selling even the moonlight for profit and

    control

    and the view from the empyrean

    that outranks God.

    all these greek names.

    what they reign over now.

    sadness the myth of sadness

    I can see, all its golden apples

    rolling down the hill. the Princess, in name only.

    distress and the case for myrrh

    and the crystal devastations

    of the king’s will; Cassandra and Antigone

    perhaps for a little while I’ll be

    but never never the chorus

    for the song is not good

    that hammers fate, determinism home

    like a nail through the heart

    to rule in God’s stead.

    Only Christ is free.

    let it be understood.

    there’s a tyranny in dreams

    that lord it over others.

    their sisters and their brothers.

    though I am a glass harp

    and not the timpani.

    still, I dreamed of colossus.

    and I wish I never had.

    mary angela douglas 28 august 2019

  96. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 30, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    THOSE WHO IDENTIFY DIAMONDS

    there are those who identify diamonds

    inspecting them under a spectral light

    so that they may more freely

    crush them into diamond dust.

    should we go quietly

    summoned under moonlight

    or should we pray

    all night on our knees about the trending Gethsemanes

    that we may be delivered

    from such as these

    should we leave overnight

    the unbaked bread

    the droning words they gave us to recite instead

    of the ones that well from our own hearts

    should we allow and allow and allow

    the kingdoms of the dark.

    how can I know

    when my own crushed soul

    is bleeding continually

    God save us from the unseen petty tyrannies

    from those who slaughter and yet

    we are still alive.

    my God how long all saints have cried have cried

    under His crystal throne

    sometimes I think the world is on the brink

    and Jesus will come to see it all

    hidden behind office walls

    in the schoolroom, in the hall

    everywhere the wolves devouring the sheep.

    everywhere beleaguered people

    failing to fall asleep for dread of the next work day

    while those with invisible truncheons

    wield their power

    every bloody second of every hour.

    mary angela douglas 30 august 2019

  97. maryangeladouglas said,

    September 1, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    USED THAT WAY

    I would like to be treated as an individual

    and not as an anecdotal source

    written up in a magazine a journal

    of great repute reviewed by someone’s peers

    making the career of someone

    far younger, even brilliant

    or shown upon the screen

    of the ultimate power point presentation Machine

    making the scene as a sliver of the pie chart

    though it’s art Im sure of that, of a certain sort

    to undergird someone’s mission statement

    so the voiceless can be heard and really

    when does that ever happen but snap to it

    to applaud the populations sewn in half

    and magically restored ;

    final theses by the score on the subject full of buzz.

    my life having furnished details on the above

    in places I myself would most likely

    not be welcome, much less hired.

    to earn another praise is perhaps the

    action of saints. to use another’s lifetime

    to grind out statistical reports so you can

    visit all the resorts

    I cant have any mercy for.

    or fellow feeling.

    forgive me if I am wrong.

    but all of us here not so collegially

    really don’t want our anguish mined

    so you can flourish in the daily grind yourself

    while we’re on parade:

    clear examples of everything

    wrong with our country

    so some say; or props of the progress you’ve made

    while given props for throwing shade on us

    in turning our lives around but

    in the wrong lane. forgive me if I complain.

    and may I just say, having found my own voice by myself

    we just dont want to be used that way.

    mary angela douglas 1 september 2019

  98. maryangeladouglas said,

    September 3, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    I’d Rather Be Warm Than Trendy: A Cheery Winter’s Tale

    I want a winter coat that sweeps the ground

    no matter what they say to me in town

    when they dart out in shirt sleeves

    even though they’re freezing;

    endow me with their fasionista frowns.

    well, it’s alright.

    I want a hat that covers up my ears so tight

    though I will not be counted as your peer.

    two hats, or three and I’ll be filled with glee

    and then I’ll be a happier me

    though you think I look so absurd

    and then a scarf that winds around the moon, the earth,

    or could, woolly, woolly

    good good good good good

    I’ll be warm as toast

    confident in the Holy Ghost

    with cherry mittens on and then some.

    warm all day.

    no matter what you say!

    jingely jingle all the way.

    as if Im in the month of May.

    mary angela douglas 3 september 2019

  99. maryangeladouglas said,

    September 9, 2019 at 8:11 am

    A FEW METAPHORS ON WORKING FOR A LIVING

    we have felt half measures, quarter measures

    and measured words, too

    slogging through rain, or sleet, or snow

    almost as soldiers do or simmering summer parking lots

    like deserts

    to make up the city plotted distance from the bus

    to where our warehoused duties wait.

    probationed like prisoners from the word go

    in some places

    you know, to show us who’s in control.

    and you’re on trial, or even, on loan.

    and don’t know anyone this far from home…

    oh, my soul by planetary wars be not disturbed

    the poet wrote. I add as a footnote.

    this is what is called

    working for a living and we are grateful

    and forgiving

    considering the alternatives.

    yet when push comes to shoving us out the door

    because you know they want to make more

    and the easiest way is to cut your job

    whatever it is

    to make a Merry Christmas for the shareholders.

    how can we not have a stake in this

    when our lives are at risk, our families too

    or maybe, only, our modest hobbies.

    what we consider our life. our shabby home library,

    more than shabby chic;

    astronomy, keeping the goldfish fed.

    other countries, torn by strife

    by bloody civil unrest we know, we know

    and children on their own

    in every kind of zone

    have suffered more than we, than me,

    in the land of the nearly free on weekends

    and I bow down and on my knees

    for them.

    but one small hymn

    I sing for all my peers

    who are counted failures.

    wait. wait for the Gate swinging open

    for your tears are heard

    despite your being herded.

    by the one who is the Word

    that cannot be broken

    who won’t use you like a token

    to barge through the golden turnstiles.

    though from the time that we sign on

    each day survived seems like a miracle.

    still to be there.

    but for how long.

    each day feels a little

    like the French Revolution.

    new heads may roll.

    so you perfect your role

    in the enterprise avoiding the tumbrils

    the best you can

    being pretty far out

    from the chain of command

    and they’re not sending the

    Coast Guard

    to find you in the flood.

    though the One they crucified will.

    _________________________

    (the poet I cited is Elinor Wylie)

    P.S. may God truly bless companies, managers,
    coworkers who still retain the milk of human kindness.
    and forgive those who don’t.

    mary angela douglas 9 september 2019

  100. maryangeladouglas said,

    September 11, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    SO WHAT IF WE THREW WORDS INTO THE AIR

    so what if we threw words into the air

    repairing nothing

    they were all we had

    aspirant jugglers that we were

    but sometimes merry

    spinning our plates

    while Time waits at the Gate,

    the garden one.

    beyond it are the Fates

    spinning the gold of Shakespeare,

    Keats, the clarion greens of Rilke,

    all those letters.

    from high towers he called the angels

    and his words grew little wings

    and they have gone so far

    into my heart

    as to become a landscape

    littered with stars.

    we wrote in cloud breath on the panes

    of Christmas;

    punctuated in offices on our own

    keeping the dream of appled home

    amid the tiny exiles.

    the sword upraised from the Lady’s lake.

    brush your rosebud tears away

    for what seems to have come to you

    too late. the amber birds of Mahler rise

    to stay your executions.

    maybe the heart gives out,

    but Music remains

    like the golden ball in the well

    the frog kept fetching back

    alas alack the goose queen, princess, cried

    stepping out in the moonlight on the Other Side

    where she never can grow wise

    because she can’t leave lace like

    wonder, ever, behind.

    the clouds shaped like the bracelet charm

    pianos.

    mary angela douglas 11 september 2019

  101. maryangeladouglas said,

    September 13, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    TO WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

    as far as day is from night then

    you would be tuning your harp

    near the rills down to Benbulbin

    or where I cannot wind

    because I’ve never been there.

    but I have been in poetry

    thick as field flowers up to my chin

    in it so that the gold rubs off

    and I would remember clouds

    and their roselit aftermaths

    and so much then

    that could not be said

    any longer, in words.

    where has the treasure gone

    and who has filched it now.

    who will find them again

    the lost longings crystallized

    the music, measure by measure recalled

    the strains of immortal language

    falling on the air

    like thundering pearl.

    and the awe of it all.

    mary angela douglas 13 september 2019

  102. maryangeladouglas said,

    September 14, 2019 at 1:25 am

    HERR RILKE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

    oh to the drill and the picking apart of the heart remembered

    at dinner is poetry’s orphan picking at his food

    impossible to imagine the perjuries

    in the drawing room

    where pupils learn manners

    and how to cloak mockery

    beneath it all. fall in.

    its the fall of the year

    he walks the footpaths endlessly

    and the leaves are with him sympathetically

    and the roots of trees

    the stars, far from military occupations.

    robot student expectations

    click heels. it comes again

    endless misery to the dreamer

    perched as if before death

    on an unseen branch

    that weeps in the constellations

    only for him.

    mary angela douglas 13 september 2019

    • Anonymous said,

      September 17, 2019 at 2:00 am

      This is good. I like when you get weird. The weirder the better.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        September 17, 2019 at 4:01 pm

        There is nothing weird about my writing or my subject matter. I dont know why you would even say such a thing. But to each his own.

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          September 17, 2019 at 4:36 pm

          You can throw all the spitballs you want at the Sun. Light is still light. And spite is the cheapest cereal toy of all.

          • Anonymous said,

            September 18, 2019 at 7:27 pm

            You don’t take a compliment worth a shit.

            • Desdi said,

              September 21, 2019 at 6:59 pm

              I also like when she gets weird.
              Nothing weird about that.

              No spitballs, no spite.

  103. maryangeladouglas said,

    September 17, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    IN THE ARKANSAS WOODS

    the bridge is broken where it stood

    the bridge of stone

    the mill wheel will not turn again

    and I miss home.

    November’s startled leaves by some mysterious angel, jinn

    by some weird turning of the wind

    will lift in random flight

    the earth rich loam it feels my own

    the skies filled with their ransomed light.

    I used to feel with every leaf

    like Shelley, my whole soul could lift

    and in far childhood with a small wagon

    i carried whatever I could of drifts

    time has drifted now

    I am the same somehow

    sifted by love and grief

    for this little bit

    in the woods at dusk

    but turn I must

    through all this gold that now has set

    and the leaf mold’s beauty

    I can’t regret.

    mary angela douglas 17 september 2019

  104. maryangeladouglas said,

    September 24, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    THE WAY TREES GROW IN DREAMS

    the way trees grow in dreams

    their roots out toward the stars

    when the great storms come

    I wanted an art song made of this

    in an unwritten language.

    oh I felt wistful on the looking glass side

    looking back at home and its inversions missed.

    I wanted to grow like trees in dreams

    and so I thought of this

    sending this message, waking from one.

    one dream like a sigh with a faint imprint on the morning

    I have left for you here.

    when you are clouded

    reading your lines.

    when the silver shoes you’ve shod.

    things lined in velvet disappear

    roots first, defecting,

    into God.

    mary angela douglas 24 september 2019

  105. Anonymous said,

    October 4, 2019 at 2:44 am

    I find it rather interesting that room was made for a children’s song, and yet, no Pink Floyd… Curious

    • thomasbrady said,

      October 5, 2019 at 5:09 pm

      I love Syd Barrett and Floyd. As lyric writers, they are certainly good, but as “poetry” it’s either a bit campy or a bit obvious. Could have included them, certainly. If someone makes a song suggestion, we have been known to add it right to our list…

  106. Desdi said,

    October 4, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Love the Floyd’s early stuff.
    I tuned out after “Wish You Were Here”.
    Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Saucerfull of Secrets, More, and Meddle are my faves.

    What’s your favorite ?

  107. maryangeladouglas said,

    October 12, 2019 at 1:23 am

    YOU MY METAPHOR ROBED IN GOLD

    for John Donne in his devotions

    You my metaphor, robed in gold

    My Light My Night

    my new and old

    my Spring My Winter

    in repair

    the ghost of Beauty

    everywhere

    though I am mocked on every side

    and in my tears left to abide

    I know that You my tower shall be

    beyond the lies of mimicry

    beyond the clique’s door

    clicking shut

    beyond the fear of mold and must

    my Diamond and my star removed

    the witty marking

    Christ’s own fool.

    one of an abandoned tribe

    a poet seared

    a friend denied

    still I wait and not alone

    where You remain

    my only home.

    mary angela douglas 11 October 2019

  108. maryangeladouglas said,

    November 5, 2019 at 8:20 am

    THE SUM OF WHAT YOU ARE

    the voice you hear

    from long ago

    could be the voice

    of all the snows

    could be the light of all the stars

    of all the feelings near or far

    you felt just when

    the world was new

    until the sorrows

    ransacked you

    until the mornings cold and drear

    deprived you of the voice you hear

    at this late age of all the snows

    of all the stars and meteor glows

    of all the feelings near or far

    you feel again

    the door ajar

    to take you from the sorrow here

    that cut your heart from year to year

    and lead you then through all the snows

    away from all of hardship’s blows

    away from what you felt of fear

    to One who loved you oh so dear

    who made the snows who made the stars

    who made the sum of what you are.

    mary angela douglas 5 november 2019

  109. maryangeladouglas said,

    November 7, 2019 at 3:33 am

    TO THE STATE OF ARKANSAS ON THE MATTER OF MY SISTER FILE THIS UNDER CRUEL CASE 60PR-16-226

    they will bring you information back in a thimble

    that maybe was true two years ago.

    you will scrape the bottom of the well

    of wishes. but there will be no residue.

    you will write and there will be no reply.

    or there will be a reply as transparent as glass

    taking wing into the Invisible

    and meaningless in any language.

    we are free scream the posters

    scream the candidates on tv

    or whisper to themselves at odd moments

    happy with their salaries.

    that their favorite restaurant in a chic spot

    is always glad to seat them.

    we are free I cry myself to sleep.

    free to be told nothing

    as if our heart had disappeared

    our soul skipped town.

    mary angela douglas 6 november 2019


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