THE SOPHISTICATED

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The sophisticated are not afraid
of anything---except others who are not afraid of anything.
The sophisticated form clubs and cabals.
They have long meetings
until meetings are no longer necessary. 

The sophisticated understand belief is hard-wired
and cannot be avoided.
Some populations are fearless
due to credulous, optimistic beliefs
and these populations must be targeted for destruction and panic.

The nearly sophisticated lack an understanding of belief;
they believe things without knowing it.
The nearly sophisticated run interference
for the sophisticated, 
sowing doubt and panic
in the optimistic populations.

Optimistic belief has always confounded the world.
The sophisticated understand belief itself is atomistic reality.
The truly sophisticated do not confute belief,
but invent new beliefs
for their shock troops,
the nearly sophisticated.

Poet, let us hope and be naive---
admitting, in order to love,
the optimism we must believe.




10 Comments

  1. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 18, 2022 at 2:23 am

    I love this poem.

  2. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 19, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    THE GOLD AMONG THE RUINS

    in ourselves the golden ore stands sifted

    through winter’s trees the ghosts of bird calls thrum

    as in our hearts recess from battle, respite

    like some worn guest upon the threshold, comes.

    time for a moment glistens in the winter air

    snow for a moment lingers there

    the snows of the heart from the worst of the fires spared

    and what remains in us

    God knows: and calls His own

    when with the brightening sun

    the gold among the ruins flares.

    mary angela douglas 19 january 2022

  3. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 20, 2022 at 9:09 am

    TO THE POSTMODERN POETS, THAT THEY TURN AGAIN, BACK

    how could you make of this language a desert track

    and spurn the illumination of a distant age

    I weep slow tears upon the page

    knowing for certain rich gardens once blossomed there

    now all is arid and spare

    twigged is the landscape absent of birds

    and men have banished the golden words

    the words the honeyed worlds had spun

    remember Shakespeare, Keats and Donne

    what have you done; o lachrimae pavane!

    their words had dazzled the sun

    and blinded prose

    or Yeats had plucked his beleaguered Rose

    out of the dire web of a faithless. degenerate Time

    and given a voice to dreaming again

    and called the ancient musical winds

    back to their Source

    that you have forfeited for dubious hire

    without a single shot being fired.

    mary angela douglas 20 january 2022

  4. thomasbrady said,

    January 20, 2022 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Mary,
    It might be fitting to copy here what I just commented to a FB post by the avant poet Kent Johnson, who was copying a previous FB conversation he had had with the poet Alfred Corn:

    Politics kills poetry. Politics (avants ranting) refuses to obey poetry’s rules. Politics has no rules and doesn’t recognize poetry’s rules. Here’s da rules (of poetry): The public (the people) will always recognize poetry as formalist. That’s the first rule. The second rule: Formalism demands a certain kind of content which reflects the very elegance formalism, as a “magical skill,” evokes—one cannot, as the failure of the New Formalists demonstrated, have *just any* content within Formalism. There’s a Keatsian sweet spot in which Formalism and Content interact and create each other. This is the rule which the Red Wheel Barrow tribe will NEVER GET AND NEVER ACCEPT and which creates, in itself, by not being able to accept Poetry’s eternal Rules, a wackier and wackier Politics, which indignantly speaks “for itself,” destroying poetry even more in the process. Thus, the Avants— and more so the post-Avants— are truly un-self-aware and completely insane—and all because of the Iron Law of Poetry which I have dared to outline here. Kent’s head will explode, but too bad. 😃

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      January 21, 2022 at 4:47 am

      I always appreciate what you say about Poetry because even though sometimes I find your thoughts hard to follow due to my total lack of attention to literary history and criticism and the fact that I only read poetry the same way I did as a little kid, just with my heart and not much else, I know you are defending Poetry in the real sense I feel it to be as well and I do certainly agree with you that politics kills poetry and it is tragic that many people do not realize this at all. I do know the difference in my spirit though I can tell you that for sure when I read a truly great poet from the Past and then read a post modern poem that is really a political statement. The lyrical poem makes me so happy even when its sentiment is sad. The political poem makes me feel dead inside. And I am sorry that the poet does not realize how much latitude they really have to write so much more than that, if they only knew.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        January 21, 2022 at 6:25 am

        I do hope no one’s head explodes. It is so great that you are forthright in any case when so few are. I definitely appreciate your dedication to tracing the history of certain trends fortunate or unfortunate back to their sources. I know that this is very important. And to articulating your standards of taste and beauty regarding poetry. I definitely share your devotion to the connections between music and poetry. It is a fascinating thing to me, the musical effects in poetry as well and the absence of music true music in poetry at the present time for the most part is mostly what my poem was about, thus, the absence of birds in the landscape. And certainly, imagery as well, the longer line which I find most elegant.Or it can be. In the name of simplicity and minimalism I feel a lot was lost. Kind of like over pruning the trees in the orchard.

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          January 21, 2022 at 6:28 am

          Or in some cases, chopping all the trees in the orchard down and still pretending everything is still blooming. Maddening to me.

  5. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 21, 2022 at 2:16 pm

    THE POEM I LOVE

    the poem I love chimes out of Time

    impossible to be mistaken for something else

    small brushstroke before the venerable mountain

    longing to go back to Oz;

    or it is cerulean blue in the sheepfold sky

    the child on the violet hill espies;

    Giotto’s last sigh.

    my rose tinted everything

    of which I shall not be made

    to feel ashamed by any Court on earth.

    the conjugation of starriness, illusion fortified

    I shall love till I die.

    a bright thimble in the Grandmother’s basket

    or life on Mars with a thunderstruck: why,

    it is the cloud’s intention to snow

    before anyone knows!

    prescient music personified.

    it is piecework done

    a little unfinished but

    with a marvelous unravel of gold.

    it is being stranded without a ticket

    and still, going Home.

    mary angela douglas 21 january 2022

  6. maryangeladouglas said,

    January 21, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    ALREADY THE SNOW LIGHTS HAVE GATHERED IN THE SKIES
    “iniquitous courts have banished the moonlight”
    -Natalia Gorbanevskaya
    to Robert Louis Stevenson

    already the snow lights have gathered in the skies
    opalescent shine the clouds from every side and corner
    of the map of our antiquities.
    I dream of that, that the angels of the four corners blow
    to tip my dream ship far over the tangerine horizon
    and the dream artist’s canvas drips
    with all the colours in full regalia so that
    it is tyger bright winter by the time I cry:
    depart from me, iniquitous courts
    and I commence floating
    to the place I don’t know
    that isn’t on any map revealed by snow.
    oh mapless soul, my swan,
    whither will you wander now
    I ask these dream shadows.
    but they, like any candle going out
    can only sing.
    mary angela douglas 21 january 2022

  7. Chado said,

    January 22, 2022 at 12:35 pm

    Oh Language, where hast thou hid thyself?
    Thy once-bright spires decline to dust.
    The calm, well-reasoned flow of wisdom
    a bygone memory. I’ll not trust
    these tween-to-twenty-something’s prattle;
    endless babble of self-absorption
    centered in pleasure-maximizing:
    narcissistic thought-abortion.
    Dude – they’re SO not app’ed for language
    used by dad ten years ago.
    I’m totally DONE with their, like, verbiage
    They’re all: Smartphone Teenage Show.
    It’s just, like, TALKING – without words
    in language ghettos; texting proud…
    Their lack of precision offends my brain –
    They ought to be ashamed (out loud).

    Vygotsky’s vaunted Z.P.D,
    and Bakhtin’s heteroglossic crack
    along with Roland Barthe’s pet parrot
    Are SO like totally talking smack.


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