ROBERT HASS AND TRACI BRIMHALL IN FIRST ROUND NORTH BRACKET BATTLE

The very, very small things, the mundane things, are immensely important.  The mighty know this.

But it’s one thing to take care of the small things—quite another to obsess over them.

Somewhere between the slob who does not care and the fop who does, genius lies.

To win, all you have to do is be in the middle somewhere.  Just avoid extremes.  Be energetic, but avoid the edges.

Marla Muse: Are you talking basketball, or poetry?

Both.

And chess. Chess players always say: control the middle of the board. A piece in the middle of a chessboard is potentially stronger, because it has more moves.

Getting yourself in the middle of the action (or passing to your teammates in the middle of the action) produces opportunities in a game of basketball.

And in poetry, one must be understood in a beautiful manner: looking good and being understood are middlebrow all the way.

We don’t know if Robert Hass, one of the better known American poets alive today, is a genius, but he is astute enough to know what we have outlined above.  Here is his line:

So the first dignity, it turns out, is to get the spelling right.

How true!

Traci Brimhall, an up and coming poet, has an exquisite line which works an ordinary image: a seashell.

Many lesser poets wouldn’t dare to write about a seashell.

Lesser poets would consider a seashell to lie too far towards the middle ground of Poetry Land.

Can’t you see the avant-garde poet scratching his beard, and with a smirk, saying, No.

The avant-garde poet is wrong. The center is where you want to go. The genius instinctively knows that the uncanny and the beautiful dwell more in the feelings and objects everyone knows than anywhere else.

Here is Traci Brimhall’s line:

I broke a shell to keep it from crying out for the sea.

If we have spelled her line right, we believe Traci Brimhall’s chances in the tournament are awfully good.

 

 

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34 Comments

  1. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 8, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Only when you read the whole Robert Haas poem do you understand the reason for the mispelling is that of unexpected, extreme grief.

    The seashell line left on its own affects as a line of extreme cruelty. And I do not find people who love seashells, poets who love seashells mediocre or maudlin as your essay seems to take as something a priori.

    Of course the seashell cries for the sea. Of course the soul abandoning poses cries out for God. To break either is a grave matter.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 8, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      THREAD

      [to Christ the Lord of Poetry as of all other realms]

      my soul I said weeping, we are tensile.
      we are threaded with gold
      someone has raveled us.

      something
      that hates moonlight
      that halves the waves on the shore

      then quarters them
      smaller and smaller
      ploting to diffuse.

      and to deny.

      knowing Whom we adore oh my soul
      we will only bleed light
      and the flowers of light

      on the dimming tides are vivid.
      when have we calculated
      the effect of words on the populace

      and schemed and called it dreaming?
      my soul. be bright.
      rework your broken threads again.

      and then.
      take flight.

      mary angela douglas 8 april 2016

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 8, 2016 at 8:08 pm

      Mary,

      My point was that many poets think they are ‘too good’ to write about seashells—this is a mistake; their pride is misplaced.

      I don’t know if I would call breaking a shell “extreme cruelty,” but perhaps I’m being insensitive….

      Tom

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 8, 2016 at 8:17 pm

        Or sarcastic. BREAKING ANYTHING BECAUSE IT CRIED FOR ITS ORIGIN IF THAT IS NOT AN IMAGE OF EVIL I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS.

        But maybe you are hell bent for leather over cultivating the poets that be in the guise of NOT doing so as in having your cake and eating it too and so you banter where what is needed are clear cut distinctions. Sooner or later you will find if you don’t take a stand you will be swept along with perhaps what you really didn’t want bo be swept along with. And that is a tragedy of great and not small proportions because you have real gifts and that is undeniable.

        Anyway I’m going. I have my own work to do.

        This is a poem I wrote just now not apropos of anything here but just as a parting gift. I do wish you well. Thank you for praising my poems. And Valerie Macon’s. I won’t forget you.

        IS SEAN HANNITY IRISH AMERICAN OR WHAT

        really? You have to be protected from harmonicas?
        I don’t write topical poems but today I make an exception.
        listening absent mindedly to a talk show host in the USA

        called Sean Hannity. Sounds like an Irish name to me.
        You know the motherland of the poets,
        the muscians, the dreamers.

        Lo and behold he answered the phone this time
        and instead of dead air it was a fellow American
        wildly playing the harmonica.

        what is this the host asked clearly already beyond miffed
        overriding the riff, but harmonica man kept playing.
        why and its music, Sean, the kindly leprachaun on my

        right shoulder soothed.

        After, the guy explained the piece was called go out and vote.
        He was so cheerful and expectant
        after his impromptu surprise concert unsolicited.

        a free lance harmonica guy and optimistic.
        Sure and he wasn’t expecting pitch rained down on his head
        even if he wasn’t pitch perfect and played faster than the

        Wabash Cannonball probably due to nerves.

        I was charmed myself, a charmed listener
        also of Irish descent, Mr. Hannity.

        Thank you you barked to the caller
        after telling him TWICE his harmonica sounded like screeching.
        Not so very nice Hannity almost scowled my leprachaun.

        only half astride the rainbow now. And click

        the phone went dead and not even taking a breath
        you said to staff on the air well you know

        And then the you know what hit the fan.
        And now I am not a fan of semi Irish Mr. Hannity.
        WHO IS SCREENING THE CALLS TODAY, Sean screeched.

        You’re supposed to be a mother hen. You’re not representing me.
        What are you representing Mr. Hannity?
        you with your political blather.

        the last time I checked the harmonica
        was a worthy musical instrument

        of Americana. How creative of the caller to serenade you.
        remember the old westerns, the boys by the fire
        after the long cattle drive

        the lonely sound of the harmonica there or by the
        railyards drifting nostalgic while we real Americans
        can’t keep a dry eye but you certainly did.

        Red River Valley and all that. or is that not top hat to you.
        How ungrateful and high and mighty toora loora you were.
        WHO’S SCREENING MY CALLS.

        as if a harmonica getting through
        was the lowest form of life to you.
        the most offensive.maybe you’ll come down

        with a case of railroad blues cooties
        your so above the folkloric apparently.
        you thank your lucky stars I guess for it but

        Are you really from Ireland, somewhere back there anyway?
        God forbid you represent those who are.

        mary angela douglas 8 april 2016

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 8, 2016 at 11:48 pm

        Tom, do you remember a Twilight Zone episode called It’s A Good Day? A little kid with destructive psychic powers was terrorizing the whole village because he could read minds and anyone who didn’t think as he did was pulverized or turned into a jack in the box in a cornfield, kind of the thing they feared the most of all his tricks. I’m not saying this about you. I am saying it about the poet that wrote the line about the seashell. She wants you to think that breaking a seashell on purpose maliciously because mystically “it cried for the sea’ is cute, a kind of playful thing. But it is not cute. It is diabolical, it is cruel. It doesn’t matter how young and pretty the person who wielded the hammer to the delicate thing is, out of her own perversity, willfullness or petulance. It is still smashed and smashed irrevocably. And this is an image from hell, not from heaven, not even from earth really. A new medusa myth as if we needed another. It is nothing to celebrate. It should cause a riot and an outcry linguistically speaking. Instead people are bowing down. That is what I am saying. And I mean it. It is not a good harbinger for the future of Poetry in this country.

        • noochinator said,

          April 9, 2016 at 11:10 am

          Young people do some very cruel things—
          From a beautiful butterfly pull off the wings—
          Plus much more too sad to mention—
          To hurt, to maim is their intention—
          Testing their pow’r as it rages and strives—
          And tortured by guilt the rest of their lives—
          How to respond to this very real matter—
          If nothing else, it’s poetry fodder—
          One can create one’s own candy-cane world—
          But the bigger one out there’s still being unfurled.

          • maryangeladouglas said,

            April 9, 2016 at 1:00 pm

            Not everyone is cruel, not even in their youth. And for sure not everyone feels remorse for their cruelty. And for certain many are cruel for their entire lives and even enjoy it. But people who use cruelty to make a name for themselves I have no real words for

            As to reducing those who prefer to create in poetry a bettter world, a world where darkness is not called light, nor the bitter sweet to “a candy cane world” this is absurd. I often write my childhood because it was beautiful. I’ve certainly been through my share of hell on earth. But I was raised that the beauty of the arts was to lift people above their sorrows. I will never apologize for anything I WRITE OR READ THAT HAS THIS PURPOSE. Whether it succeeds or not.

            You have a choice as a writer, an artist of any kind. To create heaven or hell in your work. Why, unless you were Dante leading people from hell to the beauty of the Paradiso would you recreate hell. And yet this has being going in every genre of American art for decades now with rare exceptions. This is a travesty and also, an incredible betrayal.

            You did express the thoughts you had in a solid poetic form though even if I don’t agree with the ideas expressed.

            • maryangeladouglas said,

              April 9, 2016 at 1:12 pm

              Very sorry I meant you expressed the thoughts you had in a solid poetic form not sold.[fixed -Ed.] I’ts clear you’re not a person bought or sold even if I don’t always like what you say. And I am sorry beyond words for the situation of people feeling guilt for anything over a lifetime. . It is a cruelty I believe the way some in the Christian churches have exacerbated the guilt that people feel for anything into a means of control and eternal manipulation and actually in doing that create greater pain when in fact Christ came to lift the oppression of guilt off of humankind. To be free and clear to start each day new or just each moment. I wish for everyone even poets whose poetry I find appalling happines in life and in their work. What will they do if they find out their dark verses have in fact caused others to even take their own lives. This is also part of the greater world unfurled. The influence of art on human life and thought. This is a serious matter and why I said what I said.

              For God’s sake or for our own we should at least strive to give each other hope. There’s nothing merely candy cane about that and really candy canes are wonderful in and of themselves. Well, I think so. Why not? Why is this wrong and dragging people into the lurid is not? How backwards everything is! And to make the least protest against that backwards world is to be regarded a fool. Then I’ll be a fool forever but I’ll create happiness and not more nightmares for people. And I will not be ashamed.

              • maryangeladouglas said,

                April 9, 2016 at 1:22 pm

                I meant I’ll be a fool forever [fixed -Ed.] choosing to write poetry that makes people happy rather than otherwise. And that’s another subject. Fooling people. Deceiving people. It is a deception beyond belief to try to convince others for the sake of appearing edgy that darkness has power over light. That darkness is winning and we might as well succumb. Light is always stronger than darkness. Always. And people who try earnestly remind others of this even if they write so called “bad” poetry, my hat is off to them.

                There is way to write of darkness and to give people a thread of light in the darkness. There is a way to write of darkness and show it for what it is. But when you get into a situation where people go around saying that darkness, evil is beautiful something needs to be said. Saying this when everyone else is saying the opposite is not candy cane. It is hard and sometimes it is humiliating. But I have done that and I will do it until I die. Darkness is not light. Evil is not good. Beauty, Truth and Goodness in the immutable God given sense of the words are not amenable to shell games. They are real. They are the aspiration of all true art as humble or great as the range of the artist may be. THEY ARE NOT FODDER.

          • maryangeladouglas said,

            April 10, 2016 at 12:19 am

            CUSSIN’ WITHOUT CUSS WORDS LESSON ONE

            [to my Grandfather, Milton B. Young who knows what I mean
            and who taught me how]

            cussing without cuss words can be quite folkloric…
            dadblame cartoon headed varmints wouldn’t know
            their toenail from a claw hammer

            headed this way on their two bit steeds;
            couldn’t shoot a clay pigeon off of the
            kitchen table if they sneezed; if you’re able, look up

            their pitcher under school chums who made
            the bottom of the pail look grimier
            the crime scene crimier.

            can’t wipe the shine off their nose even
            if the wind froze it off; wouldn’t know a shovel
            from a ditch when it came to which is which;

            been on the gravy train so long wouldn’t know

            the singer from the song; been so bad
            they made ole Santa’s secret list of cads:
            those who ain’t even gettin’ coal

            fer Christmas!
            o.k.? much less, peppermint candy.

            mary angela douglas 9 april 2016

  2. thomasbrady said,

    April 8, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Mary, Thank you and I wish you well. Of course it goes without saying I don’t want you to leave.

    The genius mingles spirit and letter and doesn’t get too upset about either one separately. The mingling is what counts in poetry, and that mingling can have a great impact or a lesser one. I’m just not going to accuse a poet of “cruelty” for saying in words she will break a shell. And no, I wasn’t being sarcastic.

    Tom

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 8, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      I’m glad you weren’t being sarcastic. I have looked at some of the other poems of this poet. I’m not an institutional Christian but the images in her poems seem to me dervied from what is called devil worship, violent, ugly and murderous. Maybe all her poems are not like this but the ones I saw were.

      Even apart from that, smashing anything in nature (except for vegatables) on purpose seems to me not an image to be celebrated unless you flat out like smashing things. I had a basket of beautiful seashells, especially the purple ones I don’t know the names of, but a real assortment. When I accidentally brushed up against the basket and they all smashed on the floor I cried.

      I’m not the only person that feels like that. I WOULDN’T DREAM of breaking them on purpose. Its a very unnatural image and then she adds to it that she broke them because they cried out for where they came from. How can you not see this is strange beyond all strangeness and comes from a
      streak of cruelty.

      I’m not saying she’s this way herself; I don’t even know her. But the persona of her poem (or rather this line) is grievously distured and if you don’t acknowledge this you’ve got to be on drugs or something or you just enjoy playing with ideas or people and seeing what will happen.as a kind of social or psychological private experiment on your part or even just idle curiosity.

      I’m not leaving to leave scarriet per se. I have to focus on my own work and I really see that I do when poets who write like this are considered benign.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 8, 2016 at 9:36 pm

        As to your theory about ‘mingling” mingling poison with the Crystal Stream only results in death. In language as in anything else. Darkness is not cute. Darkness is darkness. Light is light. THEY DO NOT MINGLE. Ethically speaking. Poetically speaking where poetry is truth, goodness, beauty. Where it is not I do not want to be.

  3. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 8, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    April 8, 2016

    Dear Tom,

    That poem about the disgruntled talk show host was kind of a crummy parting gift on second thought. Here is a poem my mother wrote me on a birthday. She was a poet. She was the reason I wanted to be one and then I did feel also later a calling from God to be one so that was a nice combination.

    She said this was her attempt to write like Yeats. I love this poem very much and not only, but mostly, because she wrote it to me. You know how that goes I am sure, with mothers.

    It has no title. I just named it songs.

    SONGS

    by Mary Adalyn Young-Douglas (my mother)

    Where do the songs come from, my mother?
    Where do the songs come from.
    From the deeps and the darks they come, my child,
    And from brightness of the sun.

    And each of them came from a moment of all other
    Moments apart that rooted and grew and flourished
    In the largeness of a man’s, a man’s heart,

    Swelled up in his heart till it tortured him there
    Like the sweetness that swells in the new ripe pear.
    Filled him with song and the moment and with the love

    Of singing.

    And that’s where the songs come from, my child.
    That’s where the songs come from.

    Where do the old songs go when they die?
    where do they go, my mother?

    The old songs never die, my child.
    The old songs never depart.
    For the songs of the weary flow on forever

    In the channel of many a deep wide river
    And the songs of the merry live forever and aye
    In the hearts of the merry of heart.

    -Mary Adalyn Young-Douglas 1985

    P.S. THANK YOU TOM FOR CARING ABOUT KEATS, SHELLEY, POE AND A HOST OF OTHER DISREGARDED POETIC LUMINARIES. MAY YOUR CROWN BE GREAT IN HEAVEN EVEN IF YOU FORGET ABOUT HEAVEN BUT I HOPE YOU DON’T (FORGET)

    And thank you for not codemning my typos to typo-hell.

  4. noochinator said,

    April 9, 2016 at 6:09 am

    NOLI ME TANGERE

    We do not understand why they are dying,
    but we know the disease spreads when they touch

    so we let the tree frogs sing to us. We answer,
    beckoning, faking mating calls to lure them

    to our wet hands. We take note of their length
    and weight and wounds, and put them in plastic bags.

    Separated, their confused fingers press the surface.
    This is not the body they longed for, no broad back

    and speckled knees, no eggs waiting to release
    and swell. But still, they sing like prisoners

    with hands full of moonlight, and I want to quiet them,
    the way, as a child, I broke a shell to keep it

    from crying out for the sea. It is so loud here,
    this country where a flower dreams of its color

    before it opens, where we coax the sick from the trees.
    Each morning I wake to kookaburras and a man stroking

    a guitar, singing a song another man wrote about love.
    At night, we transect creeks, eels skating our shins,

    swollen leeches hooked to our calves as we shine
    our flashlights on the banks. Everywhere we look

    vines are choking the trees. They cling until they suffocate
    the trunk beneath them, the strangler taking the shape

    of what it has killed. Maybe some animals want to die
    this way, to hold fast and feel something weakening

    underneath them. Sometimes we interrupt the small male
    in amplexus, gripping his lover’s generous back,

    limbs freckled by sores, their pile of eggs, round
    and imperfect. When we return to our tent, we take off

    our clothes. This is not what we expected. We believed
    in gristle, tendon and bone. Pathogen and host.

    But we are minor kingdoms of salt and heat.
    We trace each other’s scars-proof of our small

    green hearts and violent beginnings, engines of cell
    and nerve, yielding to this silent, lonely union.

    Traci Brimhall

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 9, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      “they sing like prisoners

      with hands full of moonlight, and I want to quiet them,
      the way, as a child, I broke a shell to keep it

      from crying out for the sea. It is so loud here,
      this country where a flower dreams of its color

      before it opens, where we coax the sick from the trees.”

      -Traci Brimhall

      These are exquisite lines and images. But still, why does the poet or the poem’s persona wish to quiet “prisoners with their hands full of moonlight” it still feels to me as if she wants to murder beauty somehow I don’t understand. I hope that she will not murder the beauty within herself or her poetry thinking that she has to to be accepted as a poet. These lines show an authentic and a very great lyric gift.

  5. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 9, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    TO THOSE WHO DREAM IN THE DARK AND CANNOT DO OTHERWISE

    to those who dream in the dark Light is still there
    this is written as starlight on the dark waters everywhere.
    oh, keeping the scripts of gold and holding them above the

    Floods that flood the soul, will we go on?
    beyond the perimeters of sorrow.
    they tell us this is all there is today and then, tomorrow,

    slim rations dwindling down to none
    these desert lands and break our hands or try to
    if we dream otherwise.

    they even find birdsong sullen.

    we will not succumb.

    Emily said they died for beauty, those before and
    why shouldn’t you or I believe her?
    or for truth and both the same remain, remain

    and in a world of pain still we may choose to retain
    the beautiful knowledge that this is so.
    and onward go

    though others glower an infinite No.

    mary angela douglas 9 april 2016

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 9, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      I DIED for beauty, but was scarce
      Adjusted in the tomb,
      When one who died for truth was lain
      In an adjoining room.

      He questioned softly why I failed? 5
      “For beauty,” I replied.
      “And I for truth,—the two are one;
      We brethren are,” he said.

      And so, as kinsmen met a night,
      We talked between the rooms, 10
      Until the moss had reached our lips,
      And covered up our names.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 9, 2016 at 2:32 pm

        I DIED FOR BEAUTY, by the poet Emily Dickinson.alluded to in my poem, TO THOSE WHO DREAM IN THE DARK AND CANNOT DO OTHERWISE

  6. thomasbrady said,

    April 9, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Mary, you are a light seeking the light.

    No darkness. I understand.

    No mercy. No compromise with evil. I understand.

    Ah, but there’s no evil, evil says, grinning.

    And in that grin, the world.

    We turn away, sadly, from the world within the world.

    We are that world.

    We are that light we saw.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 9, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      We should think of ourselves as Light because that is what God intended and He is not so weak that what He intended can be distorted. It is a problem deep within Christianity that this is not emphasized. In some regards they reinforce the belief that we are inherently evil and so actually work against the message Christ sought to give us. We need His help and God’s help to recover the Light within us. It is like we have fallen down our own well or mine shaft. I believe that the true, the good and the beautiful in the arts especially in poetry and music illuminates that and gives us hope.

      We are the Light we see. That is why we have to stay focused on it and to help others to stay focused on it. It is too easy for darkness to creep in and take over the whole enterprise. Thank you for what you have written here and elsewhere. It’s a funny thing about Poe you know. I always feel the light shining through the mists of even his melancholy and artistically, I can’t figure out how he achieved the effect. True genius. Eldorado is there even if only as an illusion. But it is very solidly there.

  7. thomasbrady said,

    April 9, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Mary,

    You sound exactly like Poe when you write, “He is not so weak that what He intended can be distorted…”

    Poe often says things like “we insult the Deity when we assume he needs to rearrange his creation…” (not an actual quote)

    It is the sort of logic which says that God is an imagining of something strong, ideal, perfect, etc etc and then when you posit this perfection or ideal (in terms of pure logic, mind you) and then diminish, distort, etc what you have advanced argumentatively, you undermine the whole notion of what you have posited or asserted.

    This is true of EVERYTHING, not just God. It is beyond morals and beyond even theology, and really does belong to science. It is this perfection which is the true glory and which shadows may inhabit, but as you say, Mary, they (the shadows) do not “distort” the consistency of the proclaimed truth.

    Inefficiency, in this picture, is akin to evil. Good is the path of least effort to acheive what is good. So, we insult the Deity when we assume he made the world overly complex—a blue cow upon which dance one million cardboard angels, etc

    This is what Poe does in his Eureka: he imagines the universe of stars *as simply as possible,* saying anything else would be to insult God, who would never be so weak or stupid as to use extra unnecessary effort to acheive something.

    Here is an excerpt from my diary which I wrote in 1995:

    “Most people, in politics, religion, love, whatever, act like bears surprised in a cave defending their beliefs and opinions. Try to get at why a person holds this or that opinion and they act like you’ve struck them across the face. The more banal and unthought-out the particular affection or opinion, the angrier the reaction is. Those most in need of instruction will not be instructed, which is tragic, but, unfortunately, makes perfect sense.”

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 9, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      There is (always) a lot in what you say, Thomas. I certainly feel that way about it. I’m glad you wrote/write diaries. It is so rich a thing to do and so clarifying. I don’t think God is who we think He is no matter what we think He is. I like very much the quote , or paraphrase of Poe. To say God is love is difficult too. His love is different than ours. He sees the whole of life and death. We only see where we are at this moment no matter how much philosophy we read, or thinking we do. But what the heck kind of Person creates zebras? I know it sounds funny but thinking about zebras makes me feel the most awe of God. Clearly it didn’t do it just to be utilitarian.

      I like to imagine the Imagination of God. I think William Blake did too. Talk about setting yourself an impossible fairytale task. Where are the little birds to come help you finish before sunset, I’d like to know.

      Reflecting on your essay/paen to poetry dealing with what can be said I wrote this this Saturday (a few minutes ago). A few years ago when frequenting a library sale that had books from several colleges in the area discarded (sad they were discarded but not for me since I bought them for a pittance) I found many volumes, buographies of Poe, critical writings of Poe, things like that, even facsimile editions of first editions inclouding Tamarlane and I felt quite inspired to buy them all up. The way I felt about those precious books is the same exact way I feel about your exposition of Poe. He is a person-writer I STILL want to know about, of infinite depths. I’m sure God Who Created Zebras was interested in what Poe had to say about Him as Deity, but then what do I know. I’m still stuck on Zebras.

      A POEM ABOUT WHAT CAN’T BE SAID.

      a beautiful intensity is passing away,
      I said to the walls. this is not as dismal
      a thing as it may appear to you, reading it-

      as the walls are buttercup yellow.
      a beautiful intensity is passing away I

      tried to write the poem to follow the phrase
      through music unscrolling, a few flakes of gold
      falling off in the air before I could

      get it all down. my angels frown.

      a beautiful intensity. lost or found, will I recognize
      it in the museums? along the way, tree lined or
      in the gardens of memory, rose scented, calling me home?

      the beautiful intensity lies here read the gravestone
      but whose was the grave. in a flash
      the gold splash, the gold splash in the bay;

      I wonder, I wonder
      but cannot say.

      mary angela douglas 9 april 2016

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 9, 2016 at 6:03 pm

        God Himself is beyond Theology. As is Christ. They simply Are and want to show us how to Be. Christ taught it was simple too. So simple that he said you can’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless you enter as a child. And as His child I certainly did enjoy your comment about the blue cow and the cardboard angels. Write some more! Please.

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          April 9, 2016 at 6:29 pm

          I mean poems and essays not comments to me necessarily. Don’t want to be a pig even of good things even conversations (except books which really don’t have other things to do.) Appreciate real feedback though and yours always is.

  8. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 9, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    MAYBE I HAVE INVISIBLE FRIENDS

    maybe I have invisible friends.
    who would know if I did or not.
    maybe I do…

    usually you outgrow this.
    pity. just when you need them possibly
    the most.

    my friends do not mock me at work.
    or interrogate me on British authors.
    they do not quibble when in a wavering voice

    I sing the ballad of anything
    I long to.
    even with- with- an inordinate amount of

    roses and cypresses in it.
    even when I pretend I am weaving the web
    and cannot look down look down upon Camelot

    and then I do and the mirror flies apart
    but it does not wound my invisible friends
    who have already departed

    for the mystical shores.

    mary angela douglas 9 april 2016

  9. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 10, 2016 at 7:48 am

    exceedingly unsmashed seashells…

    CNN BIG STORY THE MYSTERY OF SEA SHELL GROTTO

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 10, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      I’m guessing it was built for a little girl who died young and loved the sea.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 10, 2016 at 3:19 pm

        Annabel Lee dreamed that version of the story?

  10. thomasbrady said,

    April 10, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    A Poem About What Can’t Be Said is most excellent. One of your best, in my opinion, a very, very good poem. One for the ages. The “beautiful intensity.” Thank you.

    Can we have our cake and eat it? Can we be awed by the world (zebras?) and have it clarified, also (scientific truth)?

    As for zebras, I’m sure a haughty natural scientist would say their sides resemble shadows of the tall grasses to hide them from the lions, and their swift feet are to run from the lions and their eyes are to see the lions and their cute fat bellies are food for the lions.

    And no poet was also not a critic who was a literary lion.

    But if you can’t write a dear little song for a child you are no poet.

    Keep an eye out for Tamerlane by a Bostonian, Poe’s first book, in the original it would be worth nearly a million dollars!

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 10, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      i guess I would say never taking my eyes from the zebra lest it slip into the shadows where I would never find it again, BUT THE ZEBRA NEVER REALLY HAD TO EXIST AT ALL…There was no Zebra Imperative rolled out from the beginning of Time that without the Zebra the whole ecological thing would fall apart. And the same could be said for other detail. Were rainbows requisite for the mists? Or waterfalls for the canyons? God laid poem after poem end to end and labyrinth after labyrinth both without and within us and Hollywood made him into a law giving Thor. You have however put poetry into the mouths of the naturalists and this is Something.

      Have you read Loren Eisley?

      As a mathematical proposition in some cases (this would be the only kind of math I would be able to understand due to dessert metaphor) there must be scenarios in which you can have your cake and eat it too. One is writing beautiful poems yourself and reading beautiful poems by others no matter how long ago they lived. And being happy in both realms. I pick that one said not, Persephone.

  11. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 10, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Said not Persephone, tugging on the wrong purple flower in the summer meadow…Thank you for appreciating the Poem, A Poem About What Can’t Be Said. It definitely emerged from reading your essay. Anyway, thank you.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 10, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      I do love science but tend to veer off into poetic reflection when reading about it; True science vividly expressed as it certainly can be doesn’t detract from the beauty of just observing nature without marshaling the facts, the facts themselves are poetic to me. I see no real contradiction. It is possible though that some people manage to skew the scientific data in such a way as to squeeze all the poetry juice out of them and that I do not like. And they know what they’re doing too which makes it worse. That is what Ms. Traci did in her poem about the frogs. She was smashing her poetic or a poetic stance toward them. That is why I called it evil. But her images before she smashed them were beautiful. Who is teaching her to smash, that is the mystery I would like to solve; and not only her, but others. Who are the dried up pruny teachers fostering this kind of viewpoint onto a person such as Traci who has lyrical gifts to spare but is squeezing them into a strait jacket handed down to her by dubious elders. I think so anyway.

  12. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 11, 2016 at 6:59 am

    WITNESSES

    yet whole in a storm you don’t remember,
    were you fractured?
    timepiece seeming to tick but then

    something chimes amiss, and this
    is the beginning, the Angel says;
    the tall one in the paintings.

    with the apple green background.

    lilies on both sides of you;and you stand straight
    trying to stay the same.because you know,
    God expects this,.and you love Him.

    stylystically it means you should care
    your step on the piazza is light and in the lingering
    rains, remain unclouded
    remembering
    what you wanted to learn back there.

    the air is flower filled, you dreamed

    poetry is spurned now;
    weeping is spurned!
    Poetry is a golden coinage nobody

    can spend so that moonlight

    overflows and no one weeps for it but
    the witnessing trees.
    the rose light scarred, the last evenings.

    mary angela douglas 10 april 2016


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