Image result for ghost scene in hamlet in painting

When pictures, noble, inspiring wonder and fear,

Swim into your sight, but do not respond when you speak to them,

These, like movies and books, are dead, like ghosts, their nobility

A rumor, a shadow, a reflection of anything which happens to move

In front of the mirror, even your own image, which you naturally love

Because it is you, though you may hate the way it looks

Because it is not beautiful enough to inspire movies and books,

And further, there you are, it is you looking at you, it is you

But it cannot tell you anything you want to know

Even as you stare meaningfully alone in the cinema at the glow,

The light and meaning of all light and meaning, but when you think

Of a question, it will not answer; it doesn’t know, it can only blink

With its noble eyes

And from its lips, anything—even lies.

When the noble Horatio heard the wild rumor, it was clear

How Hamlet’s friend felt: “Tush, tush, ’twill not appear.”

But when his thick reason saw the cheat, he turned pale with fear.

Who’s there? The rumored video, ghost, history, life, is near.





  1. maryangeladouglas said,

    June 8, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    An incredible poem. Truly a beautiful poem.

  2. maryangeladouglas said,

    June 8, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    As this poem is also concerned with ghosts and reflections on reflections I am posting it here (and because I have just written it and you know how that goes. What you just wrote and/or revised is the reflection you like the best if you write at all. Meant also to say but thought it to late to comment in the last comment, your poem, Thomas Graves blooming out from Hamlet’s ghost into your own mirrors has MAGNIFICENCE. There, that’s the word I was looking for.


    God give you the train of questioning
    that may let you find
    the snowflake pattern of your mind,

    the coolness after
    storms pass through

    the red, unraveling heart to valentine
    bright bends in the rivers and the angels
    behind the trees

    and in the seizures of the seas
    the lightning quickened, starlight fed
    we are we were but trade instead

    in things that other people said
    meaning to hurt us, casting the baiting
    twisted lines so that the soul spills open:

    weeping its jewels aloud

    mary angela douglas 1 august 2015 rev. 8 june 2017

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      June 18, 2017 at 2:42 am

      I dreamed of England returned to herself
      and the bitter knights reconciled;
      Albion, coming clear in the mists
      and the cherry carol branching
      and ah, the dream of the Rood
      tremulous in jeweled bloom.
      I will leap up to God, my God
      and see the angels rustling in the trees
      where once the poet William Blake
      fell to his knees and understood
      that poetry is certain good
      and illumination, praise.
      the sea of faith is verging in the dark.
      the poet soldiers mark their place
      and turn again, homeward
      silent, rank on rank and lilting,
      the lanes all apple blossom filled,
      the lovely strand…
      and all their words
      are like a field on every hand
      with madrigals strewn
      and not cut down.
      and not cut down.
      while ancient wounds
      break into birdsong,flower,
      into the bridal tunes.
      mary angela douglas 17 june 2017

  3. maryangeladouglas said,

    June 19, 2017 at 1:15 am


    what if I slipped through the net of dreams
    not returning to
    familiar scenes, consensus, anything

    letting the golden slipknots slip
    from the tower or be reeled in
    with all the hours

    that may have been
    and the May crownings
    and the flowers wreathed

    for remember whens
    that did not breathe

    there melting like snows away.
    let the margins fade with the outlines
    of a face not yet come into bloom

    then let me sound retreat
    telegram pocketed and
    never read aloud

    fastening fate on another cloud
    afar from the pearl and the marl of it

    let the moats be closed for repairs
    until further notice.

    let the snows fly,
    unconscious of their erasures of
    or what would have been, the lies

    had I chosen otherwise
    it’s a failing blue of the
    dust of lilacs of

    the paling doves from their
    fairy tale branches rustling

    that I have Lost
    to all that entrances.

    be buried deep
    beyond all sleep
    the wounding that

    would not occur then.
    then return, returning, returned
    the country I have heard

    in deeper and deepening music
    while I learned to be
    coded with all you feel or

    could feel let the winds

    take it all then
    let the only word left be away
    then say it

    vanishing, on the strand.

    mary angela douglas 18 june 2017

  4. maryangeladouglas said,

    June 22, 2017 at 6:32 am


    [for John Dowland and myriad others]

    “Flow, my tears, fall from your springs!
    Exiled for ever, let me mourn…”

    John Downland from the poem set to music: Flow, My Tears

    why do they balk at the beautiful words
    and send them pitiless, away?
    and for this, they expect to win the accolades

    that they have let the opaline fires die
    down to ash or that that they have lashed them
    mocking them in a dismissive way

    onto the departing masts until they drift

    harbor to harbor now, unwelcome in any language.
    gilded, gilded for naught I thought
    until I thought I would break down.

    ah no breathed my glad angels, no.
    find them wind them then the clocks of
    beauty scorned and phrase by phrase

    renew the obviated music!
    what light was ever lit for banishment.
    renew the facets of their diamond days

    let emerald grasses sapphire suns
    hold sway. the jeweled winds arise.
    and fashion, fashion it as though

    you came upon their snowdrifts suddenly
    in an ancient wood, so struck by awe and stood:
    bowed head and tears flow my tears, flow

    for the arrows let go no more
    from the stinging bow, the wounded deer,
    but sing in their stead:

    the Rose unfolding heedless sterling Center,
    Christ, of it all

    mary angela douglas 8 july 2015 rev. 22 june 2017

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