Poetry is most likely deemed successful if it does two things:

1. It describes what must happen.

2. It describes it as it must be described.

Most people, looking back at their lives, would say,  I could have, or should have, done it another way, sure.

Poets, however, tend to feel uneasy as poets unless they are able to say, I had to write that.

Most people might see their freedom as a certain point of pride: there’s nothing that I must do. I did that because I liked it.

But poets would almost rather say: I had to write those poems, and I had to write them as I did. I had no choice.

How else to explain the furious truth of this by Brenda Hillman:

Talking flames get rid of hell.

That had to be said. Only Brenda Hillman could have said it.

It talks of hell and how hell exists, but does not exist; it talks of how flames may or may not talk, and flames might be people or they might not be people.

It has the stamp of poetry, and there’s nothing more to say about it.

Marla Muse: What do you mean, Tom? You always have more to say.

This time I don’t.  I’m saying something which is too difficult to explain.

Marla Muse: Because Brenda Hillman said something too difficult to explain?


Marla Muse: Tom, you are so awesome.

Thanks, Marla.

Lyn Hejinian’s line succeeds on the same principle:

You spill the sugar when you lift the spoon.

Obviously this has many meanings.

Marla Muse: Many meanings.

Marla, if you were not here to help me, I don’t know what I’d do.

Lyn Hejinian (pictured above) wants to be loved.

So does Brenda Hillman.

This tournament shows this from a certain angle.






  1. Surazeus said,

    April 16, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    At first I read “talking flames” as “the action of talking about flames” but was thrown off by “get” in the third person plural instead of singular.

    I had to read again to see that “talking” is an adjective and “flames” is a noun.

    So the flames are talking, not people talking about flames, thus flames that talk get rid of hell, meaning to me that a burning poem that discusses bad things helps the writer and reader comprehend and overcome the bad things.

  2. Surazeus said,

    April 16, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Sugar spilling from spoons is a great metaphor using basic physics of volume and surface interaction to symbolize how all interactions of other people are imperfect, as words we speak being the spoons often spill the slippery meanings for words are ambiguous and sometimes when we mean one thing by words we say the listener may understand them in a slightly distorted way.

  3. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 16, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    Have fun making fun of my typos. Anyway, it’s impossible to have or expect to have real conversations with people who persist in talking nonsense with only occasional glimmers and though I loved those glimmers I’m tired of trying. Mock on mock on Rousseau Voltaire however you spell their names, your name is vacuity. You won’t stand out in a culture of those making fun of everything by doing the same. You just blend into the general nightmare. The Real is still Real no matter what you do. I don’t have any reason to stay in a place where the ground keeps shifting out of perversity.

  4. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    April 17, 2016 at 2:45 am


    How reconcile this paradox,
    this Creator who loves creation,
    with the brutality and blood
    that makes it turn,
    the endless flow of life,
    forms granted their existence
    by the eating of each other,
    the bewildered, starving young
    still awaiting their dead mother?

    How resolve this lack of compassion,
    this cruelly designed summation
    by the One who loves us all,
    those lost to fire and fang and flood
    or blown from nests in storms?

    We will reason, for we are human,
    and create our fine Religions
    which our reason then deforms.

    Copyright 2010 – Ponds and Lawns: New and Corrected Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 17, 2016 at 3:39 am

      I believe that the animal kingdom mirrors the good and evil of the human one which God created to have dominion over. But there will come a day as the Bible indicates in Revelations when the lion will lie down with the lamb, when the child will play over the nest of the asp and not die for it. God is only the source of kindness, goodness and love. It is not God who created the Holocaust but I do believe it is God who directly inspired people to shield the refugees from it.

      I will not blame God for evil. No matter how many people, no matter how many times my face is smashed into this ‘pie’. I choose to believe God is good. I choose it everytime I am belittled and confronted with the polar opposite and I will never change my belief in this. I have the evidence of my entire life and many circumstances to prove it to myself. And why you and others persist in clinging to the myth of an evil God is beyond me. Or choose to insult people who believe in a God of beauty, love and kindness endlessly. Don’t you have anything better to do?

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 17, 2016 at 4:04 am

        Well of course you have something better to do, I know that. You have a lovely home and family and are a very good writer, poet. I just feel tired of being in such a confrontational situation every time I mention God. It didn’t used to be like this in the U.S. the way it is now. It feels like being knocked down to the ground and THAT is unkind and cruel even if it is not intended to be. Anyway, I’m going. I can’t stand this stuff anymore and I do have better things to do.

  5. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 17, 2016 at 3:06 am


    let us go to the storied beginnings rosepetaled,
    I cried out not to the red ashed caves but
    to the greenwoods, greenwoods.

    sweet echoes came back.
    come back to me mourned the mirroring moons
    in the dark pools reflected

    and no one to see.the children at sea.
    come back to me murmured the lilied fronds
    and the wildflowers sown all down to the seas

    and these the margins of our happiness,
    or should be, mayflowered and splendid.
    let those who lied to all children flee

    and beauty reign over us, and the sound of the seas,
    the wildflowers bent in a crimson wind then
    turning to ochre, to sudden rubies; Again!

    said we; deep in our enchantments; Home.

    mary angela douglas 16 april 2016

  6. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    April 17, 2016 at 3:23 am

    (Intelligent Design)

    Overwhelming diversity, constant multiplicity,
    extending still complexity, an existential mystery.
    Yet the polarizing entities are questioning reality:
    an accident of Being or a Being’s creativity?
    Inexplicable Cosmology, quantum relativity,
    omnipotent Holy monarchy or irrelevant necessity?

    A frog jumps and ripples ring the pond.
    A leaf floats up and down upon it.

    Copyright 2008 – HARDWOOD: 77 Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 17, 2016 at 4:18 am

      You did post both those poems before but they are (both) worth seeing again. I ESPECIALLY like the one with the frog jumping and rippling the pond and the leaf floating up. It feels like a Japanese garden kind of poem.

  7. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    April 17, 2016 at 4:19 am


    When once the changing world we understood,
    whose laws we knew were permanent and clear,
    when once distinct the shades of bad and good
    and fear was all we thought we had to fear,

    when once a narrow path before us lay,
    straight and unobstructed by illusion,
    when once our destination was plain as day
    and we were never troubled by confusion

    it was then that we were young and then we knew
    a simple world observed with simple eyes,
    but as we lived and learned and older grew,
    the less we understood and so grew wise.

    For wisdom is no more than finding true
    that, after all, we never had a clue.

    Copyright 2010 – Ponds and Lawns: New and Corrected Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

  8. Anonymous said,

    April 17, 2016 at 4:50 am

    Gary: I have been a fan of yours for many years, but you are casting pearls before swine here.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 17, 2016 at 4:58 am

      It is a mark of a true dyed in the wool coward and worse to make a comment like that as anonymous, especially to a lady.. And how odd that you who are most certainly an avowed atheist whoever you are should use a Biblical quote (casting your pearls before swine) to insult a Christian. Don’t you find that a bit contradictory?

      I have a right to defend myself and my beliefs and I know very well that I am not a swine. I have never deliberately hurt or trashed anyone the way I have just been trashed or any other way for that matter. So it is clear where the swines are in this case and who they are even without them showing their faces. And why are you hiding if what you believe is so pristine?

  9. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    April 17, 2016 at 5:23 am


    Thanks for your support.


    I think the intent here is that people do not either appreciate or understand the message they are receiving.

    Your immediate and unconsidered indignation may be somewhat indicative of this,

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 17, 2016 at 5:53 am

      You are not making any sense at all. It is the truth that I have the right to defend my beliefs and to feel insulted when they are insulted. To believe in God as the source of beauty, truth and goodness and to be unwavering in that belief is a noble, even a holy thing. I am a child of God. I am not ashamed of that. And everything I said, however imperfectly, I said out of love and for love and for the truth as I understand it.

      Tonight I tried to explain the feelings that I have and many Christians have now in America that there is nowhere for them to go, no forum at all for them to be themselves and express themselves without enduring mockery scorn and denigration. I thought I will try to share what I understand of beauty and of God in my poems. I still think that. But the sorrow that I have endured time and again on this website is too much for me. And you all in one way or another disguise the sorrow you have inflicted deliberately on me time and again as a mark of superior intelligence and have tried to portray me as some kind of brutal person which is patently absurd.

      I don’t know who you are. May the God of love, beauty and kindness whom I adore forgive you. Thomas Graves thanks for many kindnesses and for understanding my poetry as I do yours and your music. I have said kind words to everyone and the words I said have been deliberately construed, or laughed or mocked at. The evidence, the written record of this is here now in perpetuity for anyone with eyes to see, to see, both now and in the future.

  10. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    April 17, 2016 at 6:14 am

    You have much to learn, dear Mary.

    Without God

    Without God
    there is no point.
    We grow and multiply,
    expand and live and die
    like sentient crystals.
    Without point.

    Consider without God.
    We’re born and die,
    first young then old,
    up then down,
    soon deceased
    and in the ground.
    A nonexistent why.

    The rain and waves
    in deep, cold blasts
    can’t stop the moss
    on Winter’s forest trees,
    or algae on the rocks
    at night beside the seas.

    Without God we have nothing
    but birth and growth and death.
    Like Wolf Larsen’s yeast,
    just a moment’s life,
    like moss, like algae.
    Sentient crystals growing.

    Consider without God.

    Copyright 2008 – Specimens: Selected Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

  11. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 17, 2016 at 6:30 am

    If learning in this world is equated with throwing God overboard then I will be illiterate, spit on, cast in the role of an unregenerate fool Forever. But I will still have God and Christ so what difference does the rest of it make. You can think on that if you choose or choose not to. You are free. And so am I, dear Gary, dear everyone. I am sorry you don’t feel the way I do. If you did, your burden in life, even in death would be so much lighter and you would feel a very great happiness. That is what I want to say the most but you will call me an idiot for saying it because you don’t feel it’s real. But it is real. It doesn’t mean that I don’t think highly of you for even just trying to survive in this life because I do.

  12. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    April 17, 2016 at 7:11 am

    God bless you, Mary.

    I did want to note, though, just in case you haven’t heard, that they have discovered that the sun doesn’t actually revolve around the Earth and that the Earth isn’t actually flat. Imagine that!

    Painted on any cave walls lately?

    Your friend,

  13. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 17, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Did you make the sun, the earth or even the caves Gary? Or anyone you know, did they make them? Did you create the axis of the earth, the sun or even the minor stars? The degrees of rotation, the forces of gravity, all the electromagnetic fields necessary the fission and the fusion or even one eyelash of it? Did you? Or an obscure little cave somewhere forming crystals over long ages say in some remote part of France before it was France? Or flatness itself, the planes of Euclid, or rather the planes that Euclid discovered and all the rest. I don’t appreciate your sarcasm especially after pretending to be a friend. I supported your poetry because I recognized in it the beauty of nature and a sincere voice in poet except for your hammering home of a view of God as evil. And you reward me with sarcasm which really, when you think about it, is the lowest, crassest form of human intelligence. You are better than that. And God knows, I am. Because I know no human being made the universe. So what in hell do we have to be so arrogant about? Our own minds that forget even necessary phone numbers? Get real.

  14. thomasbrady said,

    April 17, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Let me defend Mary. She is right and Gary is wrong.

    As Plato and Dante understood (they, a tad wiser than us), God’s grace is not the same everywhere, just as the light shines more in some parts of the universe than others. The futile imagination sees only two choices: no creator or a creator who is all-powerful and does not suffer and intentionally makes others suffer. There is a third way to understand, and reconcile why in “God’s world” there is evil. God, and all that is good, is IN the world, but is not the same thing AS the world. Gary is lost in the leaves. Mary speaks of beauty and kindness, but becomes upset when Gary questions her God: then why is there evil, Mary, huh?

    For spirit to operate, it needs space and time. Spirit is not everywhere the same, because it is real AND the space it works in is real. The creator and the created are distinct. Mary’s desire for beauty is good. Gary’s arrogance is not.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 17, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      Thank you Thomas Graves, from my heart. I did not want to be cross with Gary or disparage his Poetry. But it is a family thing with me literally. I completely feel like God is my real Father. If someone is talking trash about him I can’t help but be angry. I love Him. That doesn’t mean I don’t think Gary Fitzgerald is a wonderful poet in every other respect excpet when he calls my Father brutal. Gary has a way of writing about nature that is incredibly beautiful. As though the ferns, the rocks, the dripping pools or whatever he chooses to depict is literally in his poems. I would compare him to the gorgeous essays of the scientist, naturalist Loren Eisley who had the same respect for the intricacies and the beauty of nature in every detail. On a human level of course I don’t want to be asked a question like, painted on any caves lately. It is embarassing. But then I thought about that question and my answer is yes, I have. But it is a very beautiful cave with stalictites and stalagmites (pretty sure I spelled those wrong but too tired to look it up; stayed up all night reading again) and all manner of mosses and winding passageways and it is called Scarriet. And I painted a lot of my best poems on the walls not to aggrandize myself but in the hopes that other people would do the same thing. I think it was not something I wanted to degenerate into mockery. And I do understand more than you would think how the current climate of rabid feminism is galling to “the brothers” I mean that in the universal sense; believe it or not it is galling to me too. I don’t want to be represented by this movement. Thank God for all the male inventors, writers, explorers, leaders, artists of good will. Long may their works remain and have influence confluence in the world and in the world to come. That is why it hurts so much to be attacked even in the backrooms of previous posts in a way certain posters think I am too thick to grasp yet I do grasp it. I see through walls, even cave walls and I got that from my Grandmother and I still refuse to believe that the Lord of the Flies is in fact, true.

    • M.T. Graves said,

      April 18, 2016 at 2:24 am

      Grace = getting what you do not deserve (from God)

      Mercy = not getting what you deserve (from God)

      I often wonder why there is evil in God’s world.
      Why did He create Lucifer… was it just for the drama ?
      Did God become bored with celestial harmony devoid of rebellion?
      I get sick of trying to understand it sometimes.

  15. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 17, 2016 at 9:36 pm


    I am going away where words are not arguments
    where they fall softly from the tree of language
    and it is moonlight and you are in your secret house

    near a window and off to the side you see
    it is either petals or snowflakes falling from
    the skies, the cloud trees scudding through the

    evening and you are as solitary
    as the one star that will not forsake you there
    if they twinkle they are planets someone says

    but the fragment fades, the last photo in the album
    and it is tied to your heart the whole thing as if
    you were a kite

    and you float over all the arguments the broken china
    the recriminations in your red shoes the ones from the fairytale
    but you did not lie to get them and so they are rose red slippers

    and you fly and the rooftops know you but say nothing
    knowing you are in need of rest and you are part of this
    the petals the snowflakes falling from the moon

    and the starlight covering you from head to foot
    in clean silver.

    mary angela douglas 16 april 2016

  16. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 18, 2016 at 1:53 am


    o words, not my words; no longer
    will I follow you through
    someone else’s country, marigolds,

    wilderness, screen door.
    or partake of the cake on the table;
    sip dark tea, as if I were Persephone.

    I know those words are not for me;
    that climate, and the covered well.
    forgive my spelling it out for you

    that the bird tracks in the snows cannot be traced
    to anything living;
    the scattered shot of my thoughts that I

    do not know not know not know

    where the echoes flowed;whose the
    birds are, rising; they’re flecked with silver=
    much less the horizons.

    I want to go home where honeysuckle thrives;

    the green grass grown remembers me and
    the trees so much older, their branches kindlier disclose
    the angels hidden in the pictures.

    and I will shutter the windows;
    will never think again
    the livelong night or day

    of where I have been
    and what language I was
    speaking, when I lost my way.

    mary angela douglas 17 april 2016

  17. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    April 18, 2016 at 2:27 am

    I guess my point was not clear. The issue is not God but humans. Anyone who truly believes in the existence of God must differentiate the reality of God, which, by definition, can not truly be understood by mere humans, from the religions humans have created to try and explain their interpretation of the reality of God.

    Thousands of years ago people got sick and diseased, but they had no knowledge of bacteria or viruses so these events were explained by evil spirits, hexes, demons or God’s will. They knew nothing of plate tectonics so earthquakes were the work of God. Greeks (including Plato, Tom) had no understanding of Meteorology so the storms of the sea were the work of Poseidon and lightening came from Zeus. Just as the Jews rejected the polytheism of the Egyptians and created monotheism, the Christians rejected the Jews and declared Jeshua Ben Jusef the Messiah. This has been true throughout history with the Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, etc. We are like tiny ants trying to explain what a John Deere tractor is when it levels our anthill. We simply can’t understand the reality of God.

    We humans are the truly arrogant ones in thinking that we are the crown of creation. Science has demonstrated that dinosaurs (and starfish and birds and snails) were only steps on the road to our current forms. Why should we then assume that we are not but another step on the road to God’s ultimate intention? Talk about arrogance. Likewise, we once considered our planet (and ourselves) to be the center of the Universe, but wait…there are many planets around our sun and millions of suns in our galaxy with billions of planets and then billions of galaxies in the Universe. Humans are smaller relative to the surface of the Earth than a bacterium is relative to the surface of our own body. Talk about arrogance!

    If you truly believe in the existence of God, then you should have enough respect for Him to stop reducing Him to the concepts of our primitive little minds and the understanding of people who lived literally thousands of years ago. Christians deny the polytheistic beliefs of Hindus and the reincarnation of souls believed in by the Buddhists, but what do you think that God would feel about our current evolution in understanding (and so diminishing) Him?

  18. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 18, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    No one can say you didn’t do your ultimate to get your points across.

  19. thomasbrady said,

    April 18, 2016 at 9:20 pm


    Human beings are “small” compared to the planet earth. Yes.

    But are you saying that if humans were “larger,” they would be more important?

    I cannot believe you are saying this. It is so awfully silly.

    Plato thought the people should believe in gods if it made them happier, but he did not believe in gods. Read his Timaeus.

    He did not attribute storms to gods. Socrates/Plato was a scientist.

    And it’s equally silly to attribute silliness to the ancients, while taking pride in modern accomplishments—most of which stand on what the ancients themselves did.

    The Moderns did not invent cause-and-effect; the ancients understood this concept very well.

    And anyway, it doesn’t take a genius to see a mosquito bite a man, the man gets sick, and then attribute the mosquito to the sickness.

    Cause and effect has always been around—scientific progress has been slow because causes and effects are often hidden—things as obvious as gravity were hidden for a very long time. It’s easy to look back and proclaim how ignorant people used to be.

    And Christianity did not “reject” Judaism—it built on it. You see too much “rejection,” Gary.

    Human history as a whole is marvelous.

    Gary, I’m afraid it is not Man who is arrogant.

    No, that would be Gary B. Fitzgerald.


    • Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

      April 19, 2016 at 1:20 am

      It isn’t necessary, hwen discussing the mysteries of life and God and being, to get personal, Tom. I am not arrogant…I am simply “Bewildered”.

      • Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

        April 19, 2016 at 1:25 am

        ‘when’, that is.

        But still, guys..don’t you get the point?

        • Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

          April 19, 2016 at 4:10 am

          My damned computer is so old it can’t even spell anymore.

          • maryangeladouglas said,

            April 19, 2016 at 4:33 am

            The old reverse the letters trick. Mine does that too. Lately it’s starting leaving out prepositions like its trying to send telegrams. spooky.

  20. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    April 19, 2016 at 1:15 am


    I rise each day and find these trees
    stand exactly where they did the day before,
    stood unafraid in a darkened wood
    through the cold and empty hours
    to welcome in a new day’s pearly light.
    But each day, it seems, I also find another
    who has ventured past that unseen door,
    has left us, we can only pray,
    for something good and something more
    and something less than standing through the night.

    Proud these trees stood still when we returned
    from the solemn procession and burial,
    on a day of tears and a last goodbye, of dying flowers,
    the lifting of a polished hardwood casket.
    And though weary when returning from the funeral,
    I take time tonight to walk beside the wood
    and of these hardwood trees and life I ask it:
    where stand and how grow until the day it’s I
    who, dressed in hardwood, awaits a morning bright?

    Copyroght 2008 – HARDWOOD: 77 Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

  21. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 19, 2016 at 1:21 am

    This is a beautiful poem. I always since childhood have felt close to trees and felt when the wind blows they were expressing something to me and I like this poem too because it has grief in it and quiet and then suddenly at the end a little light like on a day when ir rains all day and suddenly right before sunset almost the sun emerges from the clouds and it feels so amazing to see and feel that.

    • Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

      April 19, 2016 at 1:26 am

      So, are we going to be friends again?


  22. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 19, 2016 at 2:47 am

    Feel free to be where you need to be to do what you came to do on earth.

  23. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 19, 2016 at 3:04 am

    And try not to overthink things so much. Don’t worry. You’ll be ok. Perfect communication is impossible. Everybody knows that except for dogs. They come close to perfection.

  24. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    April 19, 2016 at 4:22 am

    Two tree poems for Mary who loves trees.

    Hope in Winter

    Two months of windy cold and rain
    became a crystal blue surprise
    on Christmas day.
    Clear now and warming,
    the prodigal sun wakes the yaupons
    and the live oaks
    and the pines, granting each
    a slightly brighter flush of green.

    They stretch and vainly pose
    in the unexpected light,
    impudently dare the soon returning gray
    with how their freshened colors shine.
    Rocking in the breeze they seem
    almost like children at play
    on the beach in summertime.

    Copyright 2008 – Softwood: Seventy-eight poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

    Untitled For March

    Even the most stubborn trees now budding,
    all the holdouts that procrastinate,
    like that arrogant little Red Oak
    who never cares if he’s always late,
    or that weepy, unwilling willow.
    But now the turn of axis and the rains insist
    that all cooperate and all lift leaf
    and seed from Winter’s pillow.

    Despite their sullen reluctance
    and the threat of Spring-borne storm,
    they gladly choose the fate of the reborn
    and in so doing are rewarded, the chosen
    of cardinal and crow.

    So spring returns and all revives
    but men still fight and lose their lives.
    Even birds and trees can understand
    what living means, have the sense to know
    the difference between what suffers and dies,
    and what will grow.

    Copyright 2008 – Softwood: Seventy-eight poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 19, 2016 at 4:31 am

      These are wonderful Gary. I will add them in with the bird poems you posted one day. A good combination. Please read Loren Eisley. You can get his books second hand on really cheap. I believe you would be kindred spirits in your love for nature and attention to unusual detail. Keep writing everything you can about nature. It is very refreshing your poems are, in that way although I recognize you write poems on other themes as well. Thank you for posting these.

  25. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 19, 2016 at 4:37 am

    This is one of my favorite tree poems ever. Come to think of it Robert Frost wrote a lot of tree poems.

    Tree at my Window

    by Robert Frost

    Tree at my window, window tree,
    My sash is lowered when night comes on;
    But let there never be curtain drawn
    Between you and me.

    Vague dream-head lifted out of the ground,
    And thing next most diffuse to cloud,
    Not all your light tongues talking aloud
    Could be profound.

    But tree, I have seen you taken and tossed,
    And if you have seen me when I slept,
    You have seen me when I was taken and swept
    And all but lost.

    That day she put our heads together,
    Fate had her imagination about her,
    Your head so much concerned with outer,
    Mine with inner, weather.

  26. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 19, 2016 at 4:44 am

    A children’s poem. I like the phrase “they simply grow”


    by Harry Behn

    Trees are the kindest things I know,
    They do no harm, they simply grow
    And spread a shade for sleepy cows,
    And gather birds among their bows.

    They give us fruit in leaves above,
    And wood to make our houses of,
    And leaves to burn on Halloween
    And in the Spring new buds of green.

    They are first when day’s begun
    To tough the beams of morning sun,
    They are the last to hold the light
    When evening changes into night.

    And when a moon floats on the sky
    They hum a drowsy lullaby
    Of sleepy children long ago…
    Trees are the kindest things I know.

    play sound play sound

    trees poem

  27. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 19, 2016 at 4:46 am

    “They are the last to hold the light” is lovely too.

  28. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 19, 2016 at 4:50 am

    There’s a very whimsical film from the early 1970s I think with Jason Robards called Mr. Sycamore. The guy turns into a tree. It is unbelievable because Jason Robards without special effects actually does a bit where he seems to metamorphose into a tree quite convincingly. It made me sorry he wasted his talents on that Watergate film. Also liked him in Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes as the Dad. He had a real range as an actor I think, but some realy crummy roles at times.

  29. thomasbrady said,

    April 19, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Mary and Gary….

    Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy?

  30. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Not in tablloid terms but perhaps in poetry styles a very interesting comparison. Which is of course is what you meant. Although speaking for myself only, I do think Katharine Hepburn is incomparable. As an artistic ideal. I don’t think that of myself but as actors go Katharine Hepburn had enormous emotional expressiveness that was often overlooked due to her eccentric and overblown public image, and lyricism to burn which was obscured by her ridiculous popular myth as to her paddling her own canoe and all that stuff. If you look at The Lion in Winter, Long Day’s Journey into Night, and The Trojan Women and compare it to The Philadelphia Story or Desk Set you can see that something really incredible emerged in her acting over time. I would say, in the classical sense even,-a kind of greatness, nobility. Something totally outside the norm. Just. Beautiful.

    While Spencer Tracy was in being completely natural in his approach to acting and having unbreakable focus and simplicity, an actor’s actor, un unshakeable root. And according to Katharine Hepburn especially in her two part television interview with Dick Cavett it was by watching and absorbing Spencer’s tremendous focus in his roles that she grounded her own. I guess we all learn from each other all the time even when it looks otherwise. And that without question is a great blessing in life as in poetry. Well I think so.

  31. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    April 20, 2016 at 1:30 am

    More like Hepburn and Bogart in the ‘African Queen’.


  32. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 20, 2016 at 2:47 am

    That is funny, Gary. I would have been useless on The African Queen. In summer camp at age 13 when we had our canoe test “swamping the boat” my arms were too weak to hoist myself back into the righted canoe so my campmates grimly and silently towed me across the lake as I hung onto the side of the canoe with my white knuckle sunburned hands. Maybe that’s why I have trouble with Hepburn always going around talking about the importance of “Paddling your own canoe”. It ws a horrible, triggering proverb for me, though I liked Katharine Hepburn above all other actresses (tied with Ethel Barrymore and Colleen Dewhurst). I just found out the other day the leeches in the river in that film weren’t real. Bogie said “no way’. You know for sure John Houston would want to use the real thing but he gave in.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 20, 2016 at 2:49 am

      Actually, according to Katharine Hepburn on the Cavett interview Bogie said ‘Not me”. I don’t think people said “No Way’ back then.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 20, 2016 at 2:50 am

      Of course the leeches in the river were real. They filmed the leech scenes in studio and used fake leeches. Sorry. Tried to condense my remarks for once and messed up the whole thing. Now you know why I ramble; I have to.

  33. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 20, 2016 at 4:18 am

    Speaking of rivers, do you live anywhere near Houston Gary? I thought I
    thought I read somewhere you live with yuor family in Texas. Hope you stay completely clear of the flooding.

    • Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

      April 21, 2016 at 2:18 am

      I live out in the country west of Houston. We got anout 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, They say this is the third ‘500 year’ flood weve had in about five years.
      Our pasures are a little soggy, but the problem is that all the rain drains into the creeks and bayous and goes downstream and then overflows in the city. The population in Houston has doubled in the last twenty or so years and that has resulted in a building boom with more concrete, more buildings, more freeways and more subdivisions.
      It is basically your “perfect storm”: Climate Change dropping more water in less time, more construction that eliminates anywhere the water can flow and be absorbed by the ground and more automobiles to heat the atmosphere and cause more climate change.

      • Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

        April 21, 2016 at 3:20 am

        “pastures”, that is.

        tpyos reallly scuk.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 21, 2016 at 3:25 am

        Good the only thing that happened out your way was soggy pastures. I read on there were billions of gallons of water in just a few days. Incredible.You would think the city engineers would have thought this through at some point but considering what happened to New Orleans in Katrina I guess that just doesn’t happen anymore; money allocated to that gets funneled somewhere else.

  34. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 20, 2016 at 7:48 pm


    I wept for the many-storied house, the
    castle we always wanted to go with
    the pink candled cake;though it

    would have been a bear to wrap.

    where was it, after long years and
    no more birthday lists required?
    I will make it myself, I said in

    my dream and began the long task.
    and now I have parqueted the floors
    and set the turrets ablaze with the

    afterparty fireworks and embedded
    a thousand gems in the palace walls;
    and o! dear Lord

    where are the former inhabitants
    that I loved then, receding in the afterglow
    of all my childhood wonderings

    who cannot come back for The Grand Opening
    because you have not willed it so?

    mary angela douglas 20 april 2016

  35. thomasbrady said,

    April 20, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    Yea, I can hear Bogie saying “not me,” rather than “no way.”

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 21, 2016 at 3:29 am

      He hated roughing it. Katharine Hepburn went hunting rhino with John Houston but almost caused a stampede. I forgot the details. She wrote about it in a memoir on The African Queen. It was really hard on all the actors filming there. After a lot of them got sick they relocated some scenes to in studio in Hollywood.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 21, 2016 at 3:51 am

        Pretty sure Bogie said “Not me” to the rhino hunt too.

  36. noochinator said,

    April 22, 2016 at 1:08 pm


    for MK

    (an essay in rhyme)

    Our mother was baptized on a kerosene box, our father was baptized in a creek, & we were baptized in a plaster pool while turquoise ripples played around our feet & desert air poofed up to make the long black robe a nylon buffalo. It makes your underpants wet, said our brother. It’s strange to be on fire with sins. This is how the past begins: it is the year of the missile crisis; it is the year of Barbie & Ken. Mama studies ridges in her gloves, the congregation sings a hymn while out in the desert, the worm grows tall & nature is a mixed-up miracle.

    We strain to see the cross behind our head: not only no penis on Jesus, no Jesus at all. That’s how Baptists like it: the invisible is physical. That’s the way it is, says Walter Concrete in the news. Talking flames get rid of hell. In college we’ll read Emerson; in college we’ll meet Robert Duncan dressed like a bat but we don’t know that. Go ahead, says curlicue, the mind is what you need to make up & why should a child be dressed like a bat, wings flapping up to her sides like that? Bat-at-at-at.

    The congregation sings a hymn, they hold the stanzas up-up-up. Mama studies ridges in her gloves; she is our eternal love. Childhood certainly is odd: everything is everything, earth air beauty fire wood water love blood, time is what you need to mix up & what is anything not god. The choir circles the circles; they’re singing to rehearse for glory, fiery stanzas fill our head. That’s why words are round in every story; that’s why we love music and talk to the dead—

    —Brenda Hillman

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