And Were You Dreaming In The Licorice Night - Poem by mary douglas
Yet some, who all this while did weep and sing,
And sing, and weep, soar'd up into the ring;
But most would use no wing.
O fools (said I) thus to prefer dark night
Before true light,
To live in grots and caves, and hate the day
Because it shews the way,
The way, which from this dead and dark abode
Leads up to God,
A way where you might tread the sun, and be
More bright than he.
But as I did their madness so discuss
One whisper'd thus,
'This ring the Bridegroom did for none provide,
But for his bride.'
Henry Vaughn, The Ring
again, to Valerie Macon, true poet laureate of North Carolina- on the true nature of the poetic calling, ultimately, as a calling from God
and to Joseph Brodsky, who said at his trial in the USSR (being tried for being a poet and accused for that presumption, 'you parasite, ' they said) while he said, simply, 'I thought that was something decided by God.'
Esse Quam Videri*
and were you dreaming in the licorice night that words
like vagrant stars drifted through your window?
and did they settle like snows of your young Decembers
on the covers, setting up their illusory summer camps?
oh yes. and with orangeade on tap and the strawberry swirled; conversant with all the dolls.
and could you see, through the semi-transparent tribunals
of poets, even then, trying the poets they wouldn't let through their chain-linked honorariums?
oh fences dissolved for you, perhaps, as in the paintings of the Impressionists and
you were living then in their springtime washed in pink and
green, who measured time in the colours of the flowers
and the violet shadows flared. and you were in love with the licorice night
and thought God made the stars for only you. and thought that poetry was
the bright ring endowed by Him, for you, a chosen bride of words, and to you and
you, perhaps, reading this and, aren't we linked by love alone in the chain of eternal
poets, poetry who were never chained, being loved by God?
and this is pearl scented like the gardenias in your grandmother's gardens;
like the magnolia bush weeping white linen in a vast
perfume they cannot pretend to know
who crucify, if only they could,
the glow of flowers they did not create.
mary angela douglas 20 july 2014
*Latin for: To Be Rather Than To Seem, State motto of North Carolina...
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