THE POET MARY ANGELA DOUGLAS: THREE FRAGMENTS AND THREE POEMS

Who could imagine the pause
between song and song
could alter us so

*

Is it always raining
at the back of every poem
and just for you
with your antique pen brand new

*

may I scoop from the frozen honey of your tears
white velvet on my slightest wings

__________________________________________

Cracking The Mold They Made For You

for Judy Garland

cracking the mold they made for you
and the little box of stars-
a voice made of everything living

spends all its diamonds
in one song
and still has more:

carved from a nightingale quarry-
outdistancing by many rubies
anyone else’s rainbow;

we’re opening now, a box of sky-

cloudy and bright
reconstituting everything submerged and
packed in lies you’re

pealing out your perfect time in time
above all those
who couldn’t repair

the sheen beyond blue
of the bluebird soul
savaged by idiots…

but she’s in scarlet or in gold
and it’s all holiday astonishment again-
and building the ship around her as she sings

breath by breath till breathless in the end—
notwithstanding—
shout Hallelujah! for the

rose-bright flare of song illuminating
more than was contracted for-
I am sure:

unique as a sunset thumbprint rainbow-ridged
perpetual as dreaming could ever be made to
be in sepia or techni-colored.

you’re all apart—
rebuilding a burnt-out nest
on every stage

till it shone
like a gold never seen
in the land of let’s pretend:

a metasong sailing into space
becoming only you -–- yourself—

where is the place for us
and all our encores
broken from the stem

like the home you made for music
all along?

the seam in the earthquake shifts
and is never the same

____________________________________

 

THE POETS WAR AGAINST POETRY WHILE THE AMATEURS ARE COMFORTED

to Valerie Macon, poet laureate of North Carolina for just six days who resigned on July 17, 2014 because other, former poet laureates and many others in the literary community ganged up on her because she was only a “self-published” poet (at least, it seemed that way to me and to many others)

and who said in her resignation letter to everyone. don’t forget to love poetry even if you haven’t collected accolades…

and, we won’t. As for those whose scorn for the self-published seems unbounded, if you want to drive the Muse from your own door, attacking a fellow poet, (no matter how lacking in credentials you think they are) like a pack of wild dogs – in broad daylight – should suffice.

who will He send, the angels of saffron?
this time, the ones of sheer starlight small children
see straight through?

the ones of green linen
soothing the wounds. the wounded.
once again on earth, cried the violet

shadows, poets fight poetry with their inverted shields
their plumes upside down backwards on their horses
running down the unqualified.

plaintive on a lute in a far away time someone strummed
a few notes under the moonlight. thank God no one heard.
or just a few friends. and song flowed under the doors, through

the chinks of the windows and was welcomed.
sit down at the table, here is dark bread, our last slice
and spring-cooled butter. jam of the summer strawberries we kept

just for you and you recited for no money at all
the beauty of the day gone by and how the angels tread
on clouds of rose and gold above our worst hour and children folded up their

tiny griefs and grasped with both hands the moonlight appearing at the door that never wanted to leave again.
and neither, neither did we.

___________________________________

The Childhood of Marcel Proust

your teacup brims with starry light, rich
traceries of time – translucent as
fresh raspberries bought

on a day by M. Swann
heaped on fairytale plates that chime
when the scenes shine through

somewhat berry-stained.
bright doves float through your
stained glass hands through

opaline rosaries of the rain and
turned to a strange cessation
in a dream we almost see

the glint of (home):
taking the madeline
dipped in snow

and a nectared universe…
your linden angels pause, mid-air
cognizant of a pale green rustling

but no one’s there
just once to say:
Good night, dream’s child,

you’ll sleep the steeple
out of the sky’s
late roses at Combray

and wonder how
it all turned into
stalactite colors overnight

dripping down winter walls
sweet candle-wax and pure
resurgences of rain.

but the 13th guest arrives
mid-scene to no
gold place setting

set with rubies
and who can still the lime-leafed – unrestrained—
lamentation of the rain…

your hawthorn branches
in the dusk

its storied snowy paths more dear
to lead you out of houses here—
this suddenly – no longer home.

but you’re still writing when the angels come
the rose-torn chanson of the rain
scratched out, then blooming once again;

they wait for you to finish up
fanning themselves with their crystal haloes
distracted by your clouds of sheer Limoges…

mixing the pink or is it blue
tinctures of remaining skies
you turn to ask them

just to stall:
the peacock or mimosa?

but God turns down the flaring wick
color by color almost
regretfully.

the angels turn:
fiery medallions on their sleeves
like Christmas refractions

most intensely felt,
a silken step…
and mama comes

with a bunch of heliotrope
a fugitive smile then
“Marcel!”

blue violet banks off creamy distances.
prevail in Heaven now
when childhood fears are hushed

and the holy candles lit forever
from hawthorn petals in your hands
you clutched at the last moment

afraid to let go.

how would you ever leave them here—
all your white orchards,
where Beauty’s often not revered

along the via dolorosa
and breaks the thin importunate glaze
on a lake of half-way frozen
lies.

and lost and lost
where mirrors on the
other side

can’t give the key-light back
of cherished nacre
anymore.

but the phrase in rainbow clarity appears
through veils and veils of summer rain
and this gardenia darkness knows that

every time the music’s played.
it rushes on…

 

 

16 Comments

  1. Gideon O'Rourke said,

    January 8, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Mary Angela Douglas writes with a limpid, life-affirming awe. In an age dominated at one turn by prose poems cloaked in stanzas and the deranged babbling of hazy minds at the other

    Mary plays in the deep, skipping serenely from register to register, always with music. Here:

    a voice made of everything living

    spends all its diamonds
    in one song
    and still has more:

    to Here:

    this time, the ones of sheer starlight small children
    see straight through?

    As for self-publishing: here we all know that Walt Whitman and William Blake make short work of the notion that poets need align themselves with an outside institution. It seems the academics have forgotten this. They haven’t. They feel threatened by poets like Valerie Macon and Mary Angela Douglas…and they should feel threatened. Their craft is inferior, as is their hearts.

    To self -publish and self-distribute seems to me the most honorable course of action for a serious poet today, considering the poisonous dopiness of “po-biz”, though I don’t think this ideal; poets have a hard enough time writing poems, let alone funding their reproduction and then hoisting them on “the public”. Alas, in these dark times the muses seem to demand more of Their poets. The Internet has a certain leveling effect, but I think all poets would prefer their poems in books as well. What to do? Keep working. Get our work out to the best of our abilities. Praise the good.

    Cheers, Gideon

  2. January 8, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Thank you! I agree especially about the need for books in this dimension not only online. I think hand made books might be the answer and would surely be made to be more beautiful than the really ugly for the most part books produced now (I’m talking about the art of the book itself, not the contents), They seem uniformly blah even utilitarian in concept and color. I guess it goes with the territory. Concerning self publishing my inspiration is definitely Valerie Macon as well as the samizdat of the brave lyric poets of the former Soviet Union.

  3. thomasbrady said,

    January 9, 2015 at 11:54 am

    The reason academia has such a hold on poetry is that three powerful half truths are involved. Book reading, authority, and wimpiness. 1) A Prof is just someone who has read more books than you. True, poets read a lot. But reading a million books won’t make you a poet. 2) An institution gives poetry a stamp of authority. Poetry doesn’t need it, but there it is. 3) Academia = paper pushing wimps. And that’s how society generally perceives poets.

  4. January 9, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Poetry is being strangled.

  5. January 9, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    FOR POETRY

    everything she held in her hands turned to snows;
    the starlight above diminishing where she had departed
    no longer sacrosanct in the little villages of the world.

    and the evergreens shed needles under the moonlight’s
    vast expanse and this was of her going; the trees weeping
    what they could; the little clouds leaving, with her,
    shod in her threadbare slippers of gold.

    so diffident she had become, inured to Cold
    and begging for crumbs from the new.
    and in this vultured darkness some,

    a lovely few-
    wept for what was lost.

    in the accounting systems of the world
    who will account for this.
    Beauty spurned from door to door

    the citadels closed.
    they will marshal
    their armies of words

    (the ones that they have left.)
    and make new words, impossible to sing.
    and numbness will spread and get all the prizes.

    and curl the lip and the modern mien
    as those of antiquity, the same, before us did:
    scorning true music and the Soul.

    it is still the same she wept into hands of snow
    still.
    not vanishing…

    mary angela douglas 9 january 2015

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 10, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      Thank you, Mary. There’s poetry in your poetry.

  6. January 10, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Thank you for saying so. I wonder if there is an anthology anywhere on poems about Poetry?

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 11, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      Mary,

      I thought there was, but perhaps not.

      But your question inspired me to write a little poem which—after some revision—I feel to be quite good.

      Those I love and who I count as friends these days are those who inspire me to write poems.

      Thank you, dear Mary.

      I will publish the poem soon. And I just found a perfect picture.

      (Deep satisfied sigh)

      Tom

      • January 11, 2015 at 4:47 pm

        I wondered myself why I was asking such an embarrassingly simple question, but I ask questions that occur to me bubbling up to the surface because I am compelled to even if makes me feel like a grade school kid Come to think of it I found out a lot of things I am still happy about creatively while I was in grade school and I can’t really say that high school or college improved on it.

        The fact that this question caused you to write a poem is a wonderful mystery to me AND validation again that asking the question that comes to mind even if it makes you feel like an idiot (or a simpleton) is a true course of action.

        And of course I can’t be anything but glad to be considered among your friends in writing poetry and that is a poem in itself, a living poem.

  7. January 13, 2015 at 7:38 am

    But they were once (Persia) one of the foremost cradles of Poetry.

    • Ashu अशु said,

      January 14, 2015 at 9:58 am

      This shows that you need to think quite a bit more carefully about what you mean by “they”.

      • thomasbrady said,

        January 14, 2015 at 1:07 pm

        Ashu,

        I think Mary was referring to Iran’s present government, not the people. And yes, there are still poets in Iran!

        Tom

      • January 14, 2015 at 4:15 pm

        The construction of the sentence makes it clear who “they”referred as I put Persia in parenthesis immediately after it. I am leaving this website. I appreciate you Thomas but I am tired of being bullied by whoever feels like it

        This is primarily a blog about poetry. This was my attempt to introduce a discussion of Persian poetry (which is truly beautiful) and which I truly want to learn more about into the discussion.

        We have become a nation of bullies, a world of bullies. Conversation is no longer possible in the way I understand it. I wish everyone well.

  8. thomasbrady said,

    January 13, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Was this meant for Je Suis Sacred, Mary?

  9. January 13, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Yes, it was.


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