THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE POEM

1490s in poetry - Wikipedia

This should have been the poem

where I sincerely renounced all poetry—

saying goodbye to Shelley in hell,

who I failed to write like—

numerous brazen gods hated him too well.

I was stuck in my admiration

of this paper-thin product calculated to be

anything I wanted. How could I kiss

extravagantly

when I was bursting with self-consciousness?

Why did I choose to be clever and lonely?

What the hell? How is it to be

Flogging the present with poetry?

Oh my God, I should have obeyed.

The past never comes to the present

like desire, which comes to it too fast.

Why did I choose to be selfish and afraid?

I should have studied prophecy,

not leaned on this. This alleviates nothing.

Nothing alleviates my poetry.

I should have been good. I knew how.

This should have been the poem.

This one. Which you are reading now.

9 Comments

  1. Thomas W Graves said,

    December 22, 2021 at 7:36 am

    This was good Tom. The honesty is engaging. Congratulations.

  2. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 1, 2022 at 4:56 am

    I just want to wish everyone at Scarriet, especially Thomas W. Graves Jr. a beautiful New Year 2022. Of course no one can guarantee a perfect year, but it is a wish and as a wish I wish it to be a perfectly beautiful year. If you’re going to make a wish, don’t be mealy mouthed about it probably Mary Poppins or somebody said some time, or not, but I am saying it now. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022. Long live poetic freedom and beauty and brave poets, fit or unfit to survive, who cares. WE ARE HERE. Thanks be to God for that.

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 1, 2022 at 11:44 am

      Here, here, Mary.

      I re-posted April 30 2021 Brief History of U.S. Poetry on Facebook—which has generated lively discussions. I’ll keep adding to it—my new FB friend Kent Johnson now has a listing for 1997 and I plan to add something about Laura Riding and Robert Graves for 1927—quite a story of these two; she jumped out a 4th story window during an argument and belonged to the Fugitives/New Critics.

      Happy New Year from Scarriet everyone! During our peak, Scarriet got thousands of visits per week, now, almost a thousand; we’re still relevant. I know that big shots secretly read us. Carry on!

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        January 1, 2022 at 12:16 pm

        Truly, God Bless you Tom, all your family too. I’m very glad to know about the ongoing update, always, your takes on literary history are illuminating and even sobering. But also, refreshing. Your poetry becoming always, more your own. I am very grateful for the poetic fellowship of Scarriet.

        i just wrote this poem:

        SPELLING THE STONE I AWAKE FROM DARKNESS

        spelling the stone I awake from darkness

        spelling the white stone: the lily set in the heavens

        the one close at hand in my secret pocket,

        the fern curled since last lost summers

        in the green shade of the moon I telegraph to God

        the author of the milky quartz, my vagrant Star

        leftover Christmas I will remember you

        though I am no Magi

        I know it is Christ

        in the wounded darkness

        I know it is Christ

        in the rising light

        in the rising light I will learn to spell Love

        love set in the Heavens, the Dauphin coloured light

        telegraphic from the Father

        love close at hand

        poem from the Son

        rose radiance I have come to weep you out

        as if petals flowed from my eyes

        as if my heart were a red rose

        the Lord had plucked from danger

        on the smooth back of the lightest year

        I will spell the beginning of Light

        learned at my mother’s knee

        heart cherished, never to be forgotten

        learned at my Grandmother’s knee

        the way of flowers in the pelting darkness

        when you raise your eyes

        they are meteors

        they are not stones

        star showers

        I am spelling Home.

        past all the Januaries of the Ages.

        turning the dark Pages.

        in the shepherd’s armour.

        in the snow’s blue flight.

        mary angela douglas 1january 2021

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          January 1, 2022 at 12:19 pm

          oops. haha.2022. I always make this mistake. old years die hard.

  3. thomasbrady said,

    January 2, 2022 at 9:35 am

    “the fern curled since last lost summers…”

    “in the rising light I will learn to spell love…”

    Thank you again for blessing us with your poetry, Mary. 2021, 2022, or whatever world we’re in…

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      January 2, 2022 at 11:43 am

      Thank you so much Thomas W. Graves, Jr. for the many years (well it feels like many years to me, time being relative in my book to quality of internal life) you allowed me the grace and freedom to post my poems in Scarriet’s comment section and the many digressions you graciously responded to. And for your insights, your poetic ethos and your courage. “Whatever world we’re in” covers a lot of territory, that is for sure. Shine on. I will especially always remember you for valuing the poetry of Valerie Macon at a time when she was treated how shall I put this, with extreme negligence and cruelty by the so called poetry cognescenti of the state of North Carolina who should have known better. In poetry as in all of life, valor matters.

  4. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 4, 2022 at 5:10 am

    THE SMALL RUBICONS

    crossing the small rubicons

    in my wayside poems

    don’t let me trip on the words of pearl

    unless it is to go back

    and gather them dearly again

    as if I were still a girl;

    my wildflowers, buttercups under no chin

    with tiny sparks of dew

    how happy you have made me

    all my life through

    writing you in my rooms

    remember me in His kingdom

    that in a world of strangling soot

    I never crushed you underfoot.

    mary angela douglas 3 january 2022

  5. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 4, 2022 at 5:42 am

    NOTES FOR A PLAY I DON’T WANT TO BE IN

    they tried to ram it down our throats

    the notion that Beauty should not be at all

    except as a slogan for The Revolution

    as if there had never been revolution before

    only this one in short term memory stored

    so raze it all at one blow: like the little tailor, you know,

    who swatted all the flies at the jam pot assuring his Name.

    raze it to the ground don’t hesitate

    crime won’t wait. and only crime pays

    beauty truth and goodness down all rivers sold

    and God is dead again

    the doors bolted and locked. the sorrow at the dock

    King Arthur out to sea.

    what should it mean to me.

    coolly he flicked the ashes away

    the ashes of civilization, say, you know what I mean

    the king for a day laconically, the king of all disposals

    sifting 3 minute proposals

    mary angela douglas 4 january 2022


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