HER NAME IS SORROW

For A.

Her name is sorrow, which I whisper in fragmentary dreams.

Dreams of her are fragmentary when I wake to find my dreams

Are dreams; sadly, only dreams—

Nothing but fragmentary dreams—dreams of dreams,

Dreams dreams are dreaming; so fragmentary, she is not even real in dreams, unreal

Even in dreams, in vivid dreams that are almost life, so real these dreams,

Even in dreams as real as this, she is not real in the most fragmentary dream that seems.

She doesn’t want to be real for me, she is unreal even in the sweet reality of dreams.

She reviles me with such surety, because in life I included her in schemes.

She refuses even to seem as she seems to appear in dreams.

 

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34 Comments

  1. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 11, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    This poem is entirely beautiful. Well, I think so. dream within a dream within a dream within a…in a pervading sadness. Nothing could be more in the tradition, pathos of the Romantic tradition in my opinion than this poem by Thomas Graves.

  2. Andrew said,

    January 11, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Sorrow was beautiful, but her beauty was the beauty of the moonlight shining through the leafy branches of the trees in the wood, and making little pools of silver here and there on the soft green moss below.

    When Sorrow sang, her notes were like the low sweet call of the nightingale, and in her eyes was the unexpectant gaze of one who has ceased to look for coming gladness. She could weep in tender sympathy with those who weep, but to rejoice with those who rejoice was unknown to her.

    Joy was beautiful, too, but his was the radiant beauty of the summer morning. His eyes still held the glad laughter of childhood, and his hair had the glint of the sunshine’s kiss. When Joy sang his voice soared upward as the lark’s, and his step was the step of a conqueror who has never known defeat. He could rejoice with all who rejoice, but to weep with those who weep was unknown to him.

    “But we can never be united,” said Sorrow wistfully.

    “No, never.” And Joy’s eyes shadowed as he spoke. “My path lies through the sunlit meadows, the sweetest roses bloom for my gathering, and the blackbirds and thrushes await my coming to pour forth their most joyous lays.”

    “My path,” said Sorrow, turning slowly away, “leads through the darkening woods, with moon-flowers only shall my hands be filled. Yet the sweetest of all earth-songs—the love song of the night—shall be mine; farewell, Joy, farewell.”

    Even as she spoke they became conscious of a form standing beside them; dimly seen, but of a Kingly Presence, and a great and holy awe stole over them as they sank on their knees before Him.

    “I see Him as the King of Joy,” whispered Sorrow, “for on His Head are many crowns, and the nailprints in His hands and feet are the scars of a great victory. Before Him all my sorrow is melting away into deathless love and gladness, and I give myself to Him forever.”

    “Nay, Sorrow,” said Joy softly, “but I see Him as the King of Sorrow, and the crown on His head is a crown of thorns, and the nailprints in His hands and feet are the scars of a great agony. I, too, give myself to Him forever, for sorrow with Him must be sweeter than any joy that I have known.”

    “Then we are one in Him,” they cried in gladness, “for none but He could unite Joy and Sorrow.”

    Hand in hand they passed out into the world to follow Him through storm and sunshine, in the bleakness of winter cold and the warmth of summer gladness, “as sorrowful yet always rejoicing.”

    “Should Sorrow lay her hand upon thy shoulder,
    And walk with thee in silence on life’s way,
    While Joy, thy bright companion once, grown colder,
    Becomes to thee more distant day by day?
    Shrink not from the companionship of Sorrow,
    She is the messenger of God to thee;
    And thou wilt thank Him in His great tomorrow
    For what thou knowest not now, thou then shalt see;
    She is God’s angel, clad in weeds of night,
    With ’whom we walk by faith and not by sight.’”

    from: http://www.youdevotion.com/streams/August/19

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      January 11, 2016 at 11:15 pm

      This is so beautiful, Andrew. Thank you so much for sharing it.

      • Andrew said,

        January 11, 2016 at 11:22 pm

        Thanks Mary.
        I love Streams in the Desert.
        It contains beautiful poetry.To me, it complements Tom’s poem. I like his dream-within-a-dream motif of his poem referencing Poe, but personifying Sorrow as a melancholy muse.

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          January 12, 2016 at 1:38 am

          That is a lovely way to look at it.

  3. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 12, 2016 at 6:22 am

    HELD ALOFT BY ANGELS DID HE DEPART

    [goodbye, exceptional artist and poet,
    David Bowie]

    was anyone else like this? a harlequin
    who made himself into his own material
    regardless of the pain; almost not human; just

    his own art, and that only… or how can you say it
    best, he himself was the canvas and the rest-
    painted on, hammered and nailed: by his own hands only

    snowdrifted hands thousand jeweled

    a billion interpretations couldn’t convey the whole

    and he was lost there or he
    was his own nations praying;
    in astronomical dimensions dusted, obscuring

    his own army losing the way
    it seems to us without a map
    mercurial to the farthest power

    exponent of colours not in our spectrum,
    hearing, sight or hummingbird quicksilvered
    minute by minute fanning the air in costume in space or out of it

    too many to keep account of
    certainly not by critics erased

    changed rearranged and with an anguish
    delicate as a filament keeping a universe alight
    and often filled with fright I felt beyond all singing

    possible. clown of night of the carnival suspended
    misrepresented. fingerprinted
    you still won’t know anything about him

    the original alien’s alien

    maybe on other planets or one in
    particular he might have been king
    dressed in a silver outfit, a violet smile

    always falling down in this hemisphere
    making the falling down a song

    a shudder and the chrysalis shifts
    and falling up, his own maze
    then he grew wings. amazing

    he was here for awhile. or even at all.
    so vastly riddled
    we never knew him.

    and know it now, a little.

    mary angela douglas 11 january 2016

  4. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 12, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    BLUE RIBBONS

    going to St. Ives
    the cherry tree splendid
    nursery rhyme land

    opened up before me
    the barley sugar sun
    am I the only one

    whistling, mused the cobbler
    new to his trade.
    and the cobblestones are made

    of gold and business will be brisk
    with plenty of tallow saved to
    work by night or moonlight moonlight

    in my pockets.
    he went down to St. Ives
    and was cherry tree splendid

    in the nursery rhymes
    and all his steeds caparisoned
    and jeweled.

    and I am the simple fool believing this
    bereft of huckleberry pies
    each time I go to the market or

    the Fair selling my wares
    in a patched disguise
    and bartering everything

    for blue blue ribbons. an honest face
    the shawl of snow bright lace…

    mary angela douglas 12 january 2016

  5. thomasbrady said,

    January 12, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I never knew about Streams in the Desert. It’s good.

    Sorrow and Joy both seeing God as the opposite of themselves, who then unites them. That’s really beautiful.

    I’ve been waylaid by Christians. And I like it!

  6. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 12, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    So do we! It’s much more pleasant than is rumored.

    P.S. Poem I finished today on David Bowie. I put it in another thread yesterday not realizing it wasn’t finished yet. Does this ever happen to you?

    HELD ALOFT BY ANGELS DID HE DEPART (OR JUST A PRISM IN TEARS)

    [goodbye, exceptional artist and poet,
    David Bowie]

    was anyone else like this? a harlequin
    who made himself into his own material
    regardless of the pain; almost not human; just

    his own art, and that only… or how can you say it
    best, he himself was the canvas and the rest-
    painted on, hammered and nailed: by his own hands only

    snowdrifted hands thousand jeweled

    a billion interpretations couldn’t convey the whole

    and he was lost there or he
    was his own nations praying;
    in astronomical dimensions dusted, obscuring

    his own army losing the way
    it seems to us without a map
    mercurial to the farthest power

    exponent of colours not in our spectrum,
    hearing, sight or hummingbird quicksilvered
    minute by minute fanning the air in costume in space or out of it

    too many to keep account of
    certainly not by critics erased

    changed rearranged and with an anguish
    delicate as a filament keeping a universe alight
    and often filled with fright I felt beyond all singing

    possible. clown of night of the carnival suspended
    misrepresented. fingerprinted
    you still won’t know anything about him

    the original alien’s alien

    maybe on other planets or one in
    particular he might have been king
    dressed in a silver outfit, a violet smile

    always falling down in this hemisphere
    making the falling down a song

    a shudder and the chrysalis shifts
    and falling up, his own maze
    then he grew wings. amazing

    he was here for awhile. or even at all.
    so vastly riddled
    we never knew him.

    and know it now, a little:
    [o bluebird shining too brightly;
    oh prism in tears for years…]

    disappeared

    mary angela douglas 11, 12 january 2016

    • Andrew said,

      January 18, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      AWwwww wham / bam / thank you ma’am…

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        January 18, 2016 at 8:53 pm

        “Out of the abundance (or lack of it) of heart the mouth speaketh’ Holy Bible.

        • Andrew said,

          January 18, 2016 at 8:59 pm

          OK but it was a a quote from “Suffragette City” so I was attempting to follow your Bowie thread.
          Out of the abundance of worldly Rock’n’Roll I spoke. Too hastily, I regret.

          • maryangeladouglas said,

            January 18, 2016 at 9:22 pm

            Psalm 64[a]
            For the director of music. A psalm of David.

            1 Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint;
            protect my life from the threat of the enemy.
            2 Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked,
            from the plots of evildoers.
            3 They sharpen their tongues like swords
            and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.
            4 They shoot from ambush at the innocent;
            they shoot suddenly, without fear.
            5 They encourage each other in evil plans,
            they talk about hiding their snares;
            they say, “Who will see it[b]?”
            6 They plot injustice and say,
            “We have devised a perfect plan!”
            Surely the human mind and heart are cunning.
            7 But God will shoot them with his arrows;
            they will suddenly be struck down.
            8 He will turn their own tongues against them
            and bring them to ruin;
            all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.
            9 All people will fear;
            they will proclaim the works of God
            and ponder what he has done.
            10 The righteous will rejoice in the Lord
            and take refuge in him;
            all the upright in heart will glory in him!

            • maryangeladouglas said,

              January 18, 2016 at 9:39 pm

              I DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY SAY TO EACH OTHER

              [to the Chief Musician, to David, singing Psalm 64…]

              I don’t know what they say to each other in the duck blind
              in the woods waiting where it’s cold as the poles
              and the mist is dank there.

              I’m not talking about your ordinary run of the mill hunters
              but the soul quenchers.

              you know.
              the ones that lie in wait
              while shooting the breeze.

              watch me comes the cry
              destroy the innocent with a golden arrow
              don’t I have the superior poison, the know-how?

              don’t I? aren’t I full of the king’s own strategies.
              or for that matter, the queen’s.
              the world is full of it.

              the casual slaughter in the daily conversation.

              the arrow hits its mark
              no valentine.
              no foil wrapped chocolate this time.

              but the heart goes on as it must;
              bleeding in front of the angels

              who wait their turn while rust gathers.
              and the final reaping.

              mary angela douglas 18 january 2016

              • maryangeladouglas said,

                January 18, 2016 at 10:18 pm

                THE DUST LIES OVER ALL

                [to the Chief Musician, to David, singing Psalm 64…]

                I don’t know what they say to each other in the duck blind
                in the woods waiting where it’s cold as the poles
                and the mist is dank there.

                I’m not talking about your ordinary run of the mill hunters
                but the soul quenchers.

                you know.
                the ones that lie in wait
                while shooting the breeze.

                watch me comes the cry
                destroy the innocent with a golden arrow
                don’t I have the superior poison, the know-how?

                don’t I? aren’t I full of the king’s own strategies.
                or for that matter, the queen’s.
                the world is full of it.

                the casual slaughter in the daily conversation.

                the arrow hits its mark
                no valentine.
                no foil wrapped chocolate this time.

                but the heart goes on as it must;
                bleeding in front of the angels

                who wait their turn while rust gathers.
                and the final reaping.

                mary angela douglas 18 january 2016

                • maryangeladouglas said,

                  January 18, 2016 at 10:21 pm

                  THE DUST LIES OVER ALL

                  the dust lies over all
                  said a whisper in my head
                  think that instead

                  instead of what they said
                  when they thought
                  you weren’t around

                  the dust lies.
                  the fountain lies when it
                  springs to life on

                  designated holidays
                  and is lit up like flowers
                  and all the colours are waving their flags

                  and you say, hopefully, is it a parade?
                  the smiles fade.
                  the shuning starts.

                  the looking the other way.
                  and all that’s light has turned to dark
                  but angels say, or God Himself-

                  be that as it may,
                  and though you’re stranded
                  on the neighbor’s lawn

                  while festivals go on and on..
                  and you are feeling very small
                  with no one no one left to call-

                  the dust lies over all, my heart.
                  the dust lies over all.

                  mary angela douglas 18 january 2016

            • Andrew said,

              January 18, 2016 at 11:32 pm

              Amen.
              May it come to pass according to the word of the Lord.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        January 19, 2016 at 4:03 am

        HOW DARE YOU TALK TO ME LIKE THAT KNOWING I’M CHRISTIAN. AND YOU SAYING YOU’RE CHRISTIAN TOO. IT SEEMS ANY SOCK PUPPET WITH A DIRTY MOUTH CAN QUALIFY AS CHRISTIAN NOW. OR SON OF PERDITION.

        • Andrew said,

          January 19, 2016 at 6:06 pm

          Mary – the all caps are hurtful.

          I used to love the song Suffragette City.
          But I now feel sadness in my soul and wish I had never heard it. I wish I had never known anything about that perverted freak David B. and his empty world of Rock’n’Roll vanity.

          Again, I am sorry for unintentionally offending you.
          Pray for me if you can. Let us persevere in faith.

          • maryangeladouglas said,

            January 20, 2016 at 11:54 am

            There was something true in David Bowie behind all the masks.
            That’s what I was trying to say in my poem.
            You deliberately picked a song to insult me that I never heard or referenced in my poem and which, is anyway, not his personal statement but his framing like a novelist of something overheard by the narrator, the vilifications spewing out of the mouth of an ugly character.. Your ‘unintentional” is a lie.

            • Andrew said,

              January 22, 2016 at 11:33 pm

              So you never appreciated “Suffragette City”?

              OK you win. I am 100% intentional.

            • Andrew said,

              January 22, 2016 at 11:34 pm

              By the way, can I yell at you in all caps if I feel slighted?

  7. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 12, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    YOU WOULD THINK

    you would think
    an angel with a pink harp
    had come out of the woodwork

    we were so happy when our birthday
    cakes had pink roses on them
    and pink matching ice cream.

    then presents wrapped in blue
    tied with pink ribbons and
    the box with the doll

    blue too, like skies in Spring
    with deep pink tiny roses
    criss crossed, sprinkled all over it.

    I will go in the backyard now
    where we will drink in the shade orangeade
    and eat little hamburgers, gold with mustard.

    and I will retrieve a good luck clover.
    and we will speak in clouds of glass blown

    pink bubbles over our heads
    as in perfect comic strips
    folded tiny in

    the bazooka bubble gum wrappers.
    and we will laugh at elephant jokes and our
    little dog with us running in the past

    brought back to life without the leavened bread.
    and we will call this (she said solemnly)
    in a moment of whipped creamed drifted inspiration

    on all the strawberries God ever made:

    “Heaven.”

    mary angela douglas 12 january 2016

  8. thomasbrady said,

    January 12, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Mary, I’m going to have to write a song with one of your poems as the lyrics.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      January 12, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      I’m writing songs myself to go with my poems, but the best songs always have several versions (at least the folkloric ones).

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        January 12, 2016 at 11:51 pm

        This is the poem I’d like the most to find a melody for and if it would appeal to you, I would be fine with you finding a tune for it. You have a way of finding melodies that have both melancholy and calmness in them in equal measure which I wanted this poem to have to; i.e., in the worst situation even if people would be throwing stones at you literally, you could look for beauty somewhere else and focus on that and still be free in your spirit. Art that you could hold onto that way is really my aspiration and what I love most in any work of art because it’s often the situation we’re in, even on a normal day of being in a situation we would like so much to get out of it, yet we can’t; finding the one transcendant thing to focus on, anything, anything in your mind is almost the same or maybe is the same as prayer. Vital not just for survival but for not being dead, becoming dead while you are still alive. Gosh that went on too long. Here’s the poem I want the tune for, but it’s elusive for me until I get my piano back.

        SPELLING YOUR NAME IN STONES

        spelling your name in stones
        they turn aside to conjure over
        what’s next on some pretext

        and you think,blinking back small tears
        maybe the stars are stone

        and when they fall we all we all
        will be the brides of silence
        abiding under the Shadow

        or in the school yard
        praying hard
        by the evening swings awaiting the

        punishment of mimicry
        in a dress of cardinal red
        so all can see at recess

        and tell later, tell and tell
        what was said

        but the heart has wings
        and the green trees have
        the winds

        and they are rustling then
        though they are planted firm
        as if they had angels in their boughs

        instead of only birds
        and though it may turn out

        that you cannot avert your face from it
        when the hailstorms hail
        somewhere there is a grace in it

        though you feel terribly alone each time
        beyond the chimes of angels
        when they spell your name in stones

        mary angela douglas 11 january 2016

        • thomasbrady said,

          January 13, 2016 at 6:01 am

          Thanks. I’ll see what I can do. If not this, then another of your poems. I don’t like to say something can’t be done.

          • maryangeladouglas said,

            January 13, 2016 at 6:50 am

            Feel free to do or not do. I know how inspiration is. You feel like promising but you can’t because it doesn’t only depend on you. Every single writer or artist who ever lived had a backlog of ideas they couldn’t realize. It wasn’t because they lacked commitment. We live in a tide of impressions from moment to moment and day to day impossible to gather all the gleams in one lifetime but we are all I think incredibly brave to try. No matter how hard we try we can’t predict it, even when we think we can. We think we are writing one thing, and then it turns to another. Five year plans are ridiculous in creative work; something always changes. Haha. I got in trouble at one job I had because I wouldn’t make a five year plan and because when they asked me what my goals were for the next year I said the same ones I had this year; they’re already perfect as they are. I got fired a few days later and they said they were firing me because they didn’t like my goals! But it turned out to be a really good thing; they job was driving me crazy.

          • maryangeladouglas said,

            January 13, 2016 at 4:41 pm

            This is a poem in a way, on the same subject.

            THE WORLD IS FULL OF SCOLDING

            the world is filled with scolding
            children looking down at their shoelaces
            trying to think of something gold

            the sales force dreaming of their
            favorite meal berated in the
            fine room with no windows

            somebody open a window you
            want to scream but there isn’t one
            and you’ve got to stand there,

            sit there, crouch there until
            they’ve finished flaying you
            with words.

            I want to remind you though
            you may not feel it now,
            there are other words:

            take “rose” for instance
            perfumed, luxurious rife with colours
            rich with love and velvety, velvety

            never made of iron.
            or for example, “star”
            very far, even disappeared

            yet still giving light.
            oh concenrate and maybe
            you won’t feel the pain

            on light that still remains
            even after it’s gone.

            mary angela douglas 13 january 2016

  9. thomasbrady said,

    January 12, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    The “sorrow” of the poem is that the “seeming” isn’t even allowed—she who I am dreaming of is so angry and distant—so it is more than just a sorrowful dream, it is a dream that won’t even allow me to taste sorrow, or the seeming which brings me sorrow.

    She refuses even to seem as she seems to appear in dreams.

    But of course the irony is that “seeming” not seeming is still “seeming.” And the idea that the vivid reality of dreams can be more real than life, and yet—they are dreams: they merely seem.

    And in fragments, you see but a glimpse of a person—but life is full of fragments as well, and you get glimpses of a person, so a glimpse in a dream should seem “real” precisely because of the glimpse, and yet in the poem I am saying that even in the unreal she does not seem real, even in a real/unreal way.

    So I see why you guys hear Poe’s “dream within a dream” (life and dream both feel more real and more unreal at the same time) and why Andrew remembered the Sorrow/Joy passage from Streams in the Desert: the sorrow of my poem is that sorrow is not even allowed to be real in my dreams (since she “refuses even to seem”) and yet the reader knows that on some level the seeming is…real?

  10. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 12, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Lovely conclusion not quite a conclusion drifting off into space with its question mark.

  11. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 13, 2016 at 5:55 am

    FLOWER ON A STEM

    “Consider the lilies of the field…”
    =Jesus

    how do you carry yourself
    oh flower on a stem
    in the rude world blowing

    I watch you from any window then
    looking out on anyone’s garden
    or on fields where you grow wild

    and watch the sleet beat down on you
    and wonder if I may be like you
    who must endure the cold

    and have no indoors place to go at times.
    and looking out I see the human flowers too
    and sometimes it is me

    who on the wild moors or the winter streets

    must wind my way and wonder how, more,
    day by day I carry myself and so do they
    like flowers on our stems

    without breaking down

    mary angela douglas 12 january 2016

  12. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 13, 2016 at 8:29 am

    TO COME HOME

    I was breathing and it was the light, the
    lightness of words, the valentines of snows
    that fell all night and the moonlight, dove sent,

    gathering force so quietly and it was
    the dream unraveling so that only
    a phrase in it was remembered into

    the day, a gesture a place I’d never
    seen where I was breathing anyway
    as flowers breathe and as the seas

    when they are restless turning from
    diamond to turquoise and then the
    other way. did the rainbows catch

    us by surprise? arcing over the
    floods that day or were we all, always
    waiting, wanting all the colours, finally,

    to come home

    mary angela douglas 13 january 2016

  13. Andrew said,

    January 18, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    I also want to come home.

    http://drmaryneal.com/interviews.html


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