Image result for the doubting poet in painting

Why are there these obvious truths we somehow never see?

Why don’t you see the obvious, which is terribly obvious to me?

Why do you court ignorance, and not study the history?

Why dance a certain dance and not ask, what is dance?

Why do you think you know, and never give yourself a second chance

To better know, to winnow, to sort, to observe, to enhance?

Why do you practice such certainty?

Why do you fear doubt, which is your greatest friend?

Why are you certain there is no God and everything will end?

Why do you receive and receive, but never think to send?

When I was bullied in school, I didn’t say a word,

Because I believed that bullying was absolutely absurd,

Like fighting yourself—so I crept away and wrote a word,

And studied it, and wrote a poem I called, “Absurd.”

And showed it to my father, who couldn’t figure it out.

I said it was a poem, but he frowned in complete doubt.

He asked me about the bully. The real bully. The real lout.

He told me, “If a bully picks on you, put him in his place.”

He said, “Protect yourself. Punch him. Wipe certainty off his face.

Poems…? Listen, they won’t change the human race.”

And that began my poetic career;

I questioned poetry. As I am questioning here.

Distance, indifference. Middle distance, beauty. Up close, fear.

Haven’t you noticed beauty in a person disappears up close?

A face is beautiful, until you just look at the nose.

I need perspective, discernment, measurement, dose.

Why would you fail to experiment? Why would you fail to question all?

Not study love like a scientist before you wound and fall?

And finally, why would you play a tall person, if you aren’t tall?

It all doesn’t come from you. Life exists in a certain way.

Limits exist. Know when to rebel, and when to obey.

If the sea and the wind and the sun say so, stay.

Why are there these obvious truths we always somehow ignore?

Because they are hidden by your thoughts? Because they don’t reassure?

Don’t look for reassurance. Look for the one

Thing so obvious you don’t see it. You’re not done.



  1. maryangeladouglas said,

    July 12, 2018 at 12:26 am


    under the reeded roads they passed
    emblems from the looking glass
    once turned down on the summer page

    in pink sands while we played
    we were the kings and queens
    and Neptune augered, sand fly

    screened from harm
    but now alas I look around
    the fairy tales are leaving town

    since there’s no sanctuary here.
    how hammock breathed the air complied
    we had the golden on our side

    brides or grooms still to be wed
    to a quiet infinity shell lined
    scent of lime…

    but how bedraggled castles seem
    when no one else knows what you mean
    when all the seashores ebb away

    and none believe a word you say.

    mary angela douglas 11 july 2018

  2. maryangeladouglas said,

    July 12, 2018 at 1:25 am


    for Janacek, for T.S. Eliot, for Hans Andersen

    I love the dream languages disappearing into the mists
    I follow them there, my heart in a knot like Psyche’s
    my lit lantern I lift aloft

    the small birds warble caught as though in an art song
    only i hear
    where is she going, will she disappear

    and though I hear them I cannot delay
    but am hastening away
    perhaps like the girl in red slippers

    in a case of once upon or astronomical high tide…
    and the cathedral saints chime then as now
    so silverly, shivery

    askance look. look at the time

    and the vanishing point I’m missing
    wishing for telephone, strawberry sundae,

    Coca Cola dimes when
    it’s so redeemable Lady of ashes

    queen of the eglantine
    and of the rose silences, entwined
    where opal words like mermaids

    get tangled in the fishing lines

    once only only once the dream languages
    given to mankind
    they are throwing away so carelessly now

    for such small change
    headfirst into the breakers
    from all the with it libraries

    and dressing down the old fashioned
    who cling to them the lovely fading
    and the Cross

    that will save will salvage time out of mind
    everything beautiful
    every thing that was beautiful

    in its time.

    mary angela douglas 11 july 2018

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