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 Sushmita Gupta

Poetry doesn’t have a center—therefore this “hot” list is not legitimate, but is.

Good poems and poets are everywhere. These happened to hit my eyes.

The best poems are not being published by the major publishers or the glossy magazines or the Poetry Foundation, but by our Facebook friends, our girlfriends, or the guy sitting next to us at the café. The best poem in English, being written somewhere right now—right now—is probably being written in India. Comforting or not, this is the fact.

The death of Mary Oliver, and its fairly large public notice, shows poetry has a kind of shadow center, if not a real one, occasionally manifesting itself as seemingly real, only to fade into Auden’s cry, “poetry makes nothing happen.” Slowly, in obscure corners of people’s hearts, poetry does happen. It has no intellectual, philosophical, or critical identity, and its social identity is crushed by cinema and the popular song. But times change, and poetry does seem to be simmering towards something larger in the places where large things occur.

Poetry as the technical art, and poetry as it vaguely exists in the everyday efforts and reflections of the world are two different things. No poet or critic is responsible for the vastness of the latter.

In this contemporary snapshot list of poems, I intentionally made the search greater to include the best-known sources, for two reasons: “what are the most distinguished outlets doing?” and for the sake of variety.

So the poems on this list are poems I happily and locally and accidentally see, and also poems gleaned from sources which a slightly larger audience sees.

This explains why you see the poems you do.

As far as how the poems are actually ranked, the best first, and so on, again, I plead guilty to subjectivity, which never excuses authoritarian decisions—it only makes them seem more authoritarian; but the word authoritarian is overused and misused these days—whatever decisions the comfortable, fake-revolutionaries don’t like, are called, after the fact, authoritarian.

The poems are ranked by the best lines uttered in these poems.

Philip Nikolayev (on the list) has a theory that poetry lives, finally, in great lines.

It was a great Facebook discussion, and I forget what I said about it, then, which is all that matters—the Scarriet Hot 100 I introduce here is my authoritarian moment in the sun—and why I bring it up, I don’t know, because I agreed with Nikolayev, then, and now, perhaps, I don’t.

All the poems on the Hot 100 list are good—but some, as good as they are, have nothing but plain and ordinary lines, or phrases. No stand-alone piece of the poem—good when the poem is read as a whole—sounds very interesting.

In rare instances, the title of the poem, coupled with the selected mundane part of the poem, combines to be of interest, or surprising. As you judge, keep the titles in mind as you read the line.

Because the ranking here is by line (or part of a line, or lines) I should say a word or two about what makes a good line.

I believe it can be summed up: a good line is where the vision and the rhythm speak together.

Some lines are good for purely prose fiction reasons—they sound like the start of a great short story. They point, rather than being the point.

One more thing: since Scarriet has written on Indian poetry recently, many poets are from India; those designated “Scarriet” were featured on that date on this site, though found elsewhere. Please search, enjoy, and support, will you? all 100 of these poets.


(1) Jennifer Barber —Continuum (2018 The Charles River Journal #8) “Sure, it was a dream, but even so/you put down the phone so soundlessly”

(2) A.E. Stallings —Pencil (2018 Best American Poetry, Lehman, Gioia—The Atlantic) “Perfection was a blot/That could not be undone.”

(3) Sushmita Gupta —Gently Please  (12/18 FB) “Everything hurts,/Even that/Which seems like love.”

(4) William Logan —The Kiss (2017 Rift of Light Penguin) “‘I’ve never thought of you that way, I guess.’/She touched me then with the ghost of a caress.”

(5) Eliana Vanessa —this black rose (12/13 FB) “I’d rather be outside, with him,/turning stones in the rain,/than here,/listening to the hum/of so many skulls, alone.”

(6) Abhijit Khandkar —Bombil  (Poetry Delhi 12/1) “So I write this poem and feed it to the ravenous sea.”

(7) Philip Nikolayev —Blame (1/4/19 FB) “within its vast domain confined”

(8) Sharanya Manivannan —Keeping the Change (12/5/18 Scarriet) “burdening the wisps of things,/their threats to drift away.”

(9) Hoshang Merchant —Scent of Love (10/12/18 Scarriet) “I have myself become wild in my love for a wild thing”

(10) Divya Guha —Non-attendance (1/16/19 Gmail) “The shaver missing, your greedy laptop: gone too, hiding you.”

(11) Ravi Shankar —Buzzards (12/5/18 Scarriet) “What matters cannot remain.”

(12) Mary Angela Douglas —Epiphany of the White Apples (1/3/19 Scarriet) “one candle grown lilac in a perpetual Spring”

(13) N Ravi Shankar—Bamboo (12/26/17 FB) “You are nude, sweet mother,/so am I/as the bamboos creak a lullaby”

(14) Aseem Sundan —The Poet Lied About The Paradise (1/12/19 Indian Poetry) “How do I make the paper turn blood red?/How do I make everyone read it?”

(15) Stephen Cole —The descriptor heart (1/18/19 FB) “I feel the wind-tides/Off San Fernando Mountain./I hear the cry of suicide brakes/Calling down the sad incline/Of Fremont’s Pass.”

(16) Yana Djin —Days are so slow, adoni, so slow (1/2/19 Vox Populi) “In the dusk leaves like golden suns shiver and glow”

(17) Ann Leshy Wood —Thanksgiving, For my father, 1917-2012 (11/23/16 FB) “where groves of oranges rot,/and somber groups of heron graze/by the bay.”

(18) Shalim Hussain —Dighalipukhuri (12/5/18 Scarriet) “His downy heart bleeds over the bliss beneath.”

(19) Linda Ashok —Tongue Tied (4/4/18 Cultural Weekly) “How deep is the universe? How many/light years will it take to reach your belly”

(20) Marilyn Chin —How I Got That Name (2018 Selected Poems, Norton) “by all that was lavished upon her/and all that was taken away!”

(21) Diane Lockward —The Missing Wife (2016 Veils, Halos & Shackles Fishman, Sahay, eds) “The wife and the dog planned their escape”

(22) Daipayan Nair —Roseate with Jyoti (Season 2) Poem VI (12/30/18 FB) “you hold my hand like possibilities”

(23) Ranjit Hoskote —Effects of Distance (8/10/18 Scarriet) “Blue is the color of air letters, of conqueror’s eyes./Blue, leaking from your pen, triggers this enterprise.”

(24) Nabina Das —Death and Else (9/7/18 Scarriet) “under the same ceiling/fan from where she/later dangled.”

(25) Sridala Swami —Redacted poetry is a message in a bottle (6/9/18 Scarriet) “There is only this book, and your one chance of speaking to the world is through the words in it.”

(26) Anand Thakore —Elephant Bathing (7/5/18 Scarriet) “As pale flamingoes, stripped irretrievably of their pinks,/Leap into a flight forever deferred.”

(27) Danez Smith —acknowledgments (December 2018 Poetry) “i call your mama mama”

(28) Anne Stevenson —How Poems Arrive (2018 Best American Poetry, Lehman, Gioia—The Hudson Review) “Or simply wait/Till it arrives and tells you its intention.”

(29) Jennifer Robertson —Coming Undone (4/14/18 Scarriet) “ocean after ocean after ocean”

(30) Srividya Sivakumar—Wargame (1/12/19 Scarriet) “I’m searching for coral and abalone deep in the dragon’s lair.”

(31) Medha Singh —Gravedigger (January 2019 Indian Quarterly) “you’ve/remembered how the winter went/as it went on”

(32) Lily Swarn —The Cobbler (1/7/19 Pentasi B World Friendship Poetry) “The stink of poverty cowered in fear!!”

(33) Sophia Naz —Neelum (5/2/18 Scarriet) “Deviants and dervishes of the river/lie down the length of her”

(34) James Longenbach —This Little Island (November 2018 Poetry) “And when the land stops speaking/The wave flows out to sea.”

(35) Sam Sax —Prayer for the Mutilated World (September 2018 Poetry) “that you are reading this/must be enough”

(36) Raena Shirali —Daayan After A Village Feast (Anomaly #27) “we become mist, shift/groveward, flee.”

(37) Priya Sarukkhai Chabria —She says to her girlfriend (12/5/18 Scarriet) “in the red slush/open/to flaming skies.”

(38) Nitoo Das —How To Write Erotica (10/12/18 Scarriet) “You’re allowed to be slightly long-winded.”

(39) Sukrita Kumar —The Chinese Cemetery (4/14/18 Scarriet) “Flames are messengers/Carrying the known/To the unknown”

(40) Zachary Bos —All that falls to earth (May, 2018 Locust Year—chapbook) “In a library properly sorted/ecology stands beside eulogy.”

(41) Khalypso —Women Are Easy To Love Over The Internet (Anomaly #27) “to wake up/strangers & sticky & questioning.”

(42) C.P. Surendran —Prospect (10/12/18 Scarriet) “A train, blindfolded by a tunnel,/Window by window/Regained vision.”

(43) Dan Sociu —The Hatch (Trans. Carla Bericz, National Translation Month) “the man with the tambourine went off cursing me”

(44) Nalini Priyadarshni —When You Forget How To Write a Love Poem (12/21 Chantarelle’s Notebook a poetry e-zine) “You try different places at different hours,/dipping your pen in psychedelic summer skies”

(45) June Gehringer —I Don’t Write About Race (1/16/19 Luna Luna Magazine) “I don’t write about race,/ I write about gender,/ I once killed a cis white man,/ and his first name/ was me.”

(46) Robin Flicker —I fell asleep holding my notebook and pen (12/22 FB) “In my dream, the pen was a pair of scissors, and I had to cut out every letter of every word.”

(47) Robin Morgan —4 Powerful Poems about Parkinson’s (10/15/15 TED Talk You Tube) “Growing small requires enormity of will.”

(48) Arundhathi Subramaniam —Prayer (11/15/18 Scarriet) “when maps shall fade,/nostalgia cease/and the vigil end.”

(49) Menka Shivdasani —The Woman Who Speaks To Milk Pots (9/7/18 Scarriet) “I shall turn the heat up,/put the lid on./Watch me.”

(50) Ryan Alvanos —7:30 (2011 From Here—album online) “not too long and not too far/I carefully left the door ajar”

(51) Tishani Doshi —The Immigrant’s Song (3/16/18 Scarriet) “hear/your whole life fill the world/until the wind is the only word.”

(52) Semeen Ali —You Look At Me (3/16/18 Scarriet) “for a minute/That one minute/contains my life”

(53) Kim Gek Lin Short —Playboy Bunny Swimsuit Biker (American Poetry Review vol 48 no 1) “If truth be told/the theft began/a time before/that summer day.”

(54) Lewis Jian —Mundane Life (1/9/19 World Literature Forum) “who’s wise enough to reach nirvana?”

(55) Dimitry Melnikoff —Offer Me (1/12/19 Facebook Poetry Society) “Offer me a gulp of this light’s glow”

(56) Kushal Poddar —This Cat, That (12/13/18 FB) “call its name around/with the bowl held in my cooling hand./I can see myself doing this. All Winter. All Summer.”

(57) Ben Mazer —Divine Rights (2017 Selected Poems) “her room/retains the look/of the room of a stranger”

(58) Christopher T. Schmitz —The Poet’s Oeuvre (12/24 FB) “poems that guess/at the argot of an era to come/and ache with love/for the world he’s leaving/and couldn’t save.”

(59) Simon Armitage  —To His Lost Lover (2017 Interestingliterature) “And left unsaid some things he should have spoken,/about the heart, where it hurt exactly, and how often.”

(60) Akhil Katyal —For Someone Who Will Read This 500 Years From Now (7/5/18 Scarriet) “How long did India and Pakistan last?”

(61) Minal Hajratwala —Operation Unicorn: Field Report (8/10/18 Scarriet) “The unicorns are a technology/we cannot yet approximate.”

(62) Jehanne Dubrow —Eros and Psyche (2016 Veils, Halos & Shackles Fishman, Sahay, eds) “my mother might stay asleep forever, unbothered by the monument of those hands”

(63) Rochelle Potkar —Friends In Rape (2016 Veils, Halos & Shackles Fishman, Sahay, eds) “Doesn’t she smile at each one of your jokes?”

(64) Merryn Juliette —Her Garden (9/21 FB) “grey as I am”

(65) Marilyn Kallet —Trespass (Plume #89) “Maybe that’s what Verlaine said,/at the end.”

(66) Meera Nair —On Some Days (12/17 FB) “on all days/Without fail/I need you”

(67) Nathan Woods —Wander, Wonder (12/26 FB) “into wands for spells to scatter the beasts”

(68) Rajiv Mohabir —Hybrid Unidentified Whale (11/15/18 Scarriet) “no others/can process its cries into music.”

(69) Dana Gioia —The Stars Now Rearrange Themselves (Video, Dana Gioia Official Site) “a crack of light beneath a darkened door.”

(70) Paige Lewis —You Can Take Off Your Sweater, I’ve Made Today Warm (January 2018 Poetry) “Right now, way above your head, two men”

(71) Smita Sahay —For Nameless, Faceless Women (2016 Veils, Halos & Shackles) “change the way you tell your stories.”

(72) Sampurna Chattarji —As a Son, My Daughter (2016 Veils, Halos & Shackles) “You fear nothing./You frighten me.”

(73) Michelina Di Martino —Original Sin (1/12/19 Intense Call of Feelings) “Let us make love. Where are we?”

(74) Jo-Ann Mort —Market Day (Plume #89) “wanting the air/ beside me to welcome you.”

(75) Sohini Basak—Laconic (1/12/19 Scarriet) “the rude dove just blinked”

(76) Carol Kner —Pieces of us Keep Breaking Off (Plume #89) “to quench the rage that lunges daily”

(77) Shikha Malaviya —September 9, 2012 (A poem in 9 hours) (11/15/18 Scarriet) “Our hips swaying badly/to Bollywood beats”

(78) Michael Creighton —New Delhi Love Song (8/10/18 Scarriet) “all are welcomed with a stare in New Delhi.”

(78) Ranjani Murali —Singing Cancer: Ars Film-Poetica (8/10/18 Scarriet) “Anand jumps to his death from the staggering height of two feet”

(79) Jeet Thayil —Life Sentence (7/5/18 Scarriet) “your talk is of meat and money”

(80) Urvashi Bahuguna —Boy (6/9/18 Scarriet) “Girl kisses/some other boy. Girl wishes/it was Boy.”

(81) Huzaifa Pandit —Buhu Sings an Elegy for Kashmir (3/16/18 Scarriet) “The beloved weeps in a hollow tongue”

(82) Nandini Dhar —Map Pointing At Dawn (2/21/18 Scarriet) “Ghost uncle is a calligrapher who cannot hold/a pen between his fingers.”

(83) Sumana Roy —Root Vegetables (2/21/18 Scarriet) “darkness drinks less water than light”

(84) Jorie Graham —Scarcely There (January 2019 Poetry) “We pass here now onto the next-on world. You stay.”

(85) Christian Wiman —The Parable of Perfect Silence (December 2018 Poetry) “Two murderers keep their minds alive/while they wait to die.”

(86) Martha Zweig —The Breakfast Nook (December 2018 Poetry) “One day it quits./The whole business quits. Imagine that.”

(87) Alex Dimitrov —1969 (September 2018 Poetry) “Then returned to continue the war.”

(88) Campbell McGrath —My Music (12/17/18 The New Yorker) “My music is way better than your music”

(89) Terrance Hayes —American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin (2018 Best American Poetry, Lehman, Gioia—The New Yorker) “It is possible he meant that, too.”

(90) Garrison Keillor —I Grew Up In A Northern Town (1/12/19 FB) “Starved for love, obsessed with sin,/Sunlight almost did us in.”

(91) Dick Davis —A Personal Sonnet (2018 Best American Poetry, Lehman, Gioia—The Hudson Review) “These are the dreams that turned out to be real.”

(92) Sharon Olds —The Source (2018 All We Know of Pleasure—Poetic Erotica by Women, Shomer) “Ah, I am in him”

(93) Manjiri Indurkar —Diabetes at a Birthday Party  (1/12/19 Scarriet) “Who talks about diabetes at someone’s birthday party?/Ma’s life is a cautionary tale.”

(94) Jayanta Mahapatra —Her Hand (1/12/19 Scarriet) “The little girl’s hand is made of darkness/How will I hold it?”

(95) Rony Nair —Solarium (1/12/19 Scarriet) “some people get off on sleeping with your enemy”

(96) John Murillo —A Refusal To Mourn The Deaths By Gunfire, Of Three Men In Brooklyn (American Poetry Review vol 48 no 1) “You strike your one good match to watch it bloom/and jook”

(97) CA Conrad —a Frank poem (12/31/18 Facebook Fraternity of Poets, “one experience is quietly/consumed by the next”

(98) Sara J. Grossman —House of Body (Anomaly #27) “weather of abundant appendages”

(99) Rupi Kaur —did you think i was a city (1/5/19 Instagram) “i am not street meat i am homemade jam”

(100) Warsan Shire —The House (2017 Poetry Foundation) “Everyone laughs, they think I’m joking.”








  1. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 23, 2019 at 1:40 am

    Thank you, Thomas Graves, very much.

  2. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 23, 2019 at 3:11 am

    This is the whole of my poem I’m posting here as it might be a little hard to find, otherwise, I think. The allusion to the sob of the apples is from Garcia Lorca since I find a similarity at times lyrically speaking between Mandelstam and Garcia Lorca, I don’t know why and since I’m from Arkansas with its state flower being the apple blossom and essentially I’m just an old lady from Arkansas who was lucky to grow up among people who loved deeply great music, great poetry and God.


    for the poet Osip Mandelstam

    I don’t know why white apples in the frost

    seem suddenly to sob;

    reading Mandelstam three in the morning,

    I dreamt of God

    in an in-between time; or try to rhyme

    Him with something else, deeply felt

    but it’s too cold

    where after decades throw the arced lights’ brine

    as if they know

    this Neva is not mine.

    and who am I

    to make my petitions here

    on the other side of the world, the room I fear

    assorted people will not believe

    I do love Russian poetry;

    where the moon is made of glass,

    will it shatter at last? will I

    the milk bright pieces hold

    I ask like a child from a hand towel embroidered

    folk tale not my own

    God knows I’m bound up in the story though

    I won’t turn and become salt…if that’s your worry

    “it’s not your past”, a thin murmuring grows,

    how do you know I plead to no one heeding me

    what words came to me in a midnight hour

    and laid down their shields

    or that the blanched petals fleet so lingeringly by me

    on this heavy darkness, sown

    as an antique honey scarcely bottled.

    I don’t know why

    white apples in the frost…

    make me cry unto the light vexed distances:

    sheared seraphim may guard the long scars

    lightly felt now, the buzz of

    summer flies; soul freedom’s reedy tunes so

    lemon starred, no longer die, deep as

    Christmas hymns to the infant Jesus should be.

    one candle grown lilac in a perpetual Spring

    precariously I perch among worlds and


    they sigh, it’s you again and

    won’t even let me in

    for the ball dress, being less than Cinderella.

    packing one useless shoe

    I’ll look within

    wandering down Mandelstam Avenue,

    a quarter brimmed with wonders and

    remote viewing as through a screen of ancient snows.

    things, being foreign, suddenly parted

    on a mysterious stage, oh Star, my star

    where I, unaccountably, not knowing where You are

    but in a blinding Grace,

    have all the parts by heart.

    mary angela douglas 10 september 2016/3 january 2019

  3. Desdi said,

    January 23, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    The Hot Hinduphile Hundred.

    (or is that “Indiphile”?)

  4. noochinator said,

    January 23, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Tom, how is Dana Gioia’s 2018 ‘BAP’? (It’s probably too late now for a Scarriet review.) Here’s D.G. himself in a vid promoting the book:

  5. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 24, 2019 at 7:04 pm


    angels with their lutes in a foreign dream
    strummed in a corner apart
    and I said my heart is made of madrigals, too

    can I be here amongst the spangled?
    is it the Renaissance again?
    but all went silent as a pin

    and none of them were dancing.on it.
    used to the shut out I resumed
    cleaning my housing unit, little rooms

    that would never look clean
    nor gemmy like those angels
    in their opulent green

    their Christmas burgundies.
    so much for my time machine
    the journal entry read

    the diamond light had turned to lead

    I scrawled in a darker ink.
    then went back to the sink
    to try again.

    from that day. some day dropped out of a cloud
    and not on the calendar with the strawberry leaves
    I sang Happy Fair over the soap bubbles

    and made a fresh bargain with God
    I’ll live in You; there’s no place else to go
    not in any century, status quo

    and sing for free
    whatever song I know.

    mary angela douglas 24 january 2019

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 24, 2019 at 10:15 pm

      Beautiful, Mary.


      • maryangeladouglas said,

        January 25, 2019 at 12:30 am

        Thank you so much, Thomas Graves. I was very happy with the way it turned out. But I am additionally glad that you liked it. Thank you for allowing me to post it here.

  6. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 25, 2019 at 4:54 am


    tears of sleeping birds this evening I heard
    from the National Geographic blurb tears of sleeping birds
    on rare occasions…

    moths sip the tears of sleeping birds in Brazil.
    do they get their fill I wondered of salt,
    of the disappeared too early

    it seemed so fairy tale real, disturbing
    embroideries wrung from a fanciful tree
    miraculously inferred subconsciously

    the one gold leafed in an
    unsettling country
    milk and honey dried

    where something dear has died
    where coral moths are sought
    and seldom caught sipping the

    tears of sleeping birds

    what do the birds dream then
    that there is no more sorrow
    in the world?

    or the utmost burglary possible
    has been sanctioned

    the heart is a lake that rises
    for the small bird fluttering in its sleep
    incapable of the grief necessary

    who will deliver me now
    from the fugitive years ahead
    where nothing more can be said

    but “the tears of sleeping birds…

    shall we quaff a thimblesworth
    for everything on earth for
    what remains in that refrain

    that suddenly am I reminded of
    like a safe broken into, with all the codes
    of a trembling name or two

    an exquisite residue
    dewdrop poised on a branch
    as if it were song

    Nadezhda Mandelstam
    speaking of herself and Akhmatova
    after Osip had gone said,

    in those days we had no tears left…
    trembling over a handful of poems

    the moths, drinking their tears.
    the moths, drinking their tears.

    mary angela douglas 24 january 2019

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      January 25, 2019 at 5:41 am

      This phrase should go beneath the title (of Tears of Sleeping Birds): de lacrimis Christi

  7. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 26, 2019 at 3:21 am


    soli deo gloria

    beautiful obscurity I have come to know
    the hem of the soul from the inside,
    rimmed in gold

    and in the waking nights have spent such coinage
    on God, doling out the graces.
    If they accuse, if they accuse you oh my soul

    of not working hard enough God knows
    what is made in tears.

    through sheer curtains, the ice in the breeze
    bee sting and honey in the same blanched hour;

    building the blocks of abcs
    with childish real intensity
    though mockery seeps through

    taking all from You

    we vow to build anew, even overdue
    even on our knees,
    in beautiful obscurity.

    mary angela douglas 19 november 2018;rev. 25 january 2019

  8. Anonymous said,

    January 26, 2019 at 4:48 am


    for Victor Borge

    I dreamed of an infinite music: in chains.
    The chains grew stronger
    they made little arrangements
    the chains were acclaimed
    they went on stage
    music was dragged clink clink to a broom closet
    and gagged. Chains yanked free.
    poor music. we were so sad.
    those of us who noticed a difference.
    things got so bad.
    chains went on to make a name for themselves.
    the darling of the world. unfurled.

    music hid in God.
    in the flights of angels.
    in the sod. in potted vague hotels
    in wishing wells
    in the songs of birds in far countries
    their Emperors never heard of

    in the baby tears
    in all you used to hear
    when you were glad at the musicales

    in poorly lighted halls…
    and in the trees in flower
    in the art song streams diverted
    or in dreams converted,
    scattered like jewels after a break in..

    and pensive, in the twilight hour,
    finishing up old symphonies.
    variations, turning on a dime or on a midnight chime
    for tea and sympathy
    just waiting it out, in 3/4 time.
    with the orchestra timpani.

    mary angela douglas 14 november 2018;rev. 25 january 2019

    • Desdi said,

      January 27, 2019 at 6:01 pm

      I always liked Victor B’s audible punctuation monologue.
      Imagine him reading this poem out loud that way!

    • Desdi said,

      January 27, 2019 at 6:08 pm

  9. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 29, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    We had that record at home growing up. And used to watch Victor Borge with our grandparents and laugh our heads off. Great memory.

  10. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 29, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    The Slamming Of Doors;Its Effect On The Soul

    the slamming of doors
    the voice raised like a blindsiding dagger
    then sunk to a wounding whisper

    so there will BE no witnesses

    the evil clatter, even of dishes
    whatever innocuous thing is at hand
    the broken wishes from childhood on.

    dear God we try to not let it matter
    but it leaves a blister on the soul.
    sometimes it shatters worlds

    how long must we withstand
    the quiet insult hurled
    the faint and damning praise

    the teaming mockery
    the hand in near violence raised
    the carefully withheld praise

    these secret wars for which we have no defense
    that leave no bruises.
    beyond relentless and yet

    without a single footnote in our History text
    while everything else is written, down
    to each detail of a King’s breakfast on a day

    full of pageantry and cheers of multitudes.
    the thought we rely on the most year after year
    that Father, Son and Holy Ghost

    have seen it all and heard it even more
    down to the last nerve wrecking echo
    of a modulated roar

    and somewhere in the vault of Heaven
    Ecce Homo woman and child

    is it recorded down to the least blow
    on the most mild
    in letters of searing gold

    all the days that we felt small

    behind the door
    behind the walls
    at work or school or home or even in the street

    before indifferent strangers
    meeting our tiny Waterloos
    at the hands of so many

    two-faced fools.

    mary angela douglas 29 january 2019

  11. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 31, 2019 at 9:26 pm


    there must be
    another way of being in the world
    I must have said to myself as a child

    not wanting to depart the shores of childhood.
    after seeing Peter Pan, thinking I can,
    I can do that too

    keep wearing the same shoe.
    the little dress.
    and hang my coat on the same hook

    reading whatever books I want to.

    always the same height as the flowers
    the taller ones. maybe the iris; one bright snow sprigged tree.
    I will be quiet when they speak to me.

    they won’t find out I can speak in complex sentences
    without even trying.
    I’ll be steady as a star

    over the same backyard forever
    in my head.
    I’ll go to work.

    and pay the bills.
    and make my bed;
    manage my small meals

    but in my mind
    oh, how I really feel is this
    I’m in the hills

    and gathering up blue dusk
    the only way I must
    the way I always will.

    mary angela douglas 31 january 2019

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