I, TOO, FIND THIS WORLD MEAN AND UGLY

I, too, find this world mean and ugly.

When I am sad, it is sadly beautiful,

But this is a passing mood, and not the truth.

 

Accidental verdure trailing across the top of an industrial fence outside the train

Can bring a momentary feeling of reprieve: heroic verdure!  Then the entire stained world seems okay.

This feeling lasts as long as I am sad. Beautiful moods attach themselves to sad ones.

 

But I find no beauty at all when

I dwell on wronged and fallen humanity, and how asphalt and trash

Are the essence of every city, and cleaning and flushing is an operation

That never ceases, and human loneliness and its bewildering pain

Afflicts even the sweetly innocent who try

To be good and tender before the very door of truth.

 

Inside that door, which is iron and spotted and gray,

I sense eternity, whose darkness is our darkness,

A rich, beautiful darkness, which never quite goes away.

 

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2 Comments

  1. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 29, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    I always find deserted factories warehouses beautiful as if after the workers leave and in the trauma that they left probably having lost what they thought was a lifelong income if not servitude, in the vacancy of all that those buildings take on a peculiar glow. I think Blake felt this which is why his poems about the misery of the world (and especially the London of his time)shine as much as his poems of innocence and I think in the same sense you have writte na very Bleakean poem (though in your own words and senstibility) which I enjoyed reading. In return I’m leaving here a poem I wrote today though on something different.

    FOR HAROLD BLOOM

    the maps to the poems have been lost!
    the king cried out in his sleep
    till his sleep was worn quite through

    and cried in unison his
    royal shadows from the foyers,
    no longer that distinct- but doomed

    in the foyers of misplaced dreams.

    now you will weep no longer knowing why
    and the blizzards lock you out
    of the laceworks.

    but I stood still in the clouded
    woods waiting for the vagaries to arrive,
    shaking their pearled manes-

    did he exclaim?

    or put another way, as all things will be, someday:
    I have come to this courtyard
    mused the merchant

    to this particular courtyard and no other
    to the wild rose hedge
    glow in the snows;

    cultivated roses, soothed the Invisible
    (editor of all fairy tales then).
    anyway, he came. but then forgot to

    pluck the rose and Beauty regardless of
    this at home may go on to lead
    her ordinary ordinary life though

    somewhere the silver bells peal out
    in ordinary time with a difference,
    tone, that some are

    called out of the world and
    enjewel God

    or at least, the ornate calendars-
    supping on cabbage soup, dark bread.
    oh but he is a jewel on his own

    I said (knowing that I remember: God)
    as if to say, I remember light
    when all is night and

    we had lost our way;
    tearful, not even hand in hand
    laid rail to rail in a fractured land

    that they may go over us
    heedlessly
    in the kingdoms of our sleep

    mary angela douglas 29 august 2015

  2. thomasbrady said,

    August 29, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    What an interesting poem! Mary, you do have genius, I sense it even as I often struggle to understand what you are saying. It is almost as if your poetry speaks with images, not words, as if language really were a camera or a paintbrush for you. It’s not that others don’t use images in their poems, sure they do, but they use words to make their images or use their images to illustrate their ideas—where you seem to take a shortcut: you make that leap in which images are your words, where words are your images and images your ideas already and you inhabit a kind of pure world of fancy where everything is alive with poetry without speaking—but in a speaking poem! That’s the only way I can describe it. It’s always fascinating to read you and you always seem to come up with a matchless line or two. I hope you read Miss Barrett and Miss Millay; two of your sisters in genius.


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