mary douglas

Palm Sundays

to Boris Pasternak

'............................... ..........
................................... ........
In the thickets toy wolves are gazing
with terrifying eyes.

O my prophetic sadness
O my silent freedom.
..................................... ....

-Osip Mandelstam,1908

some shout Your name
to talk to You dear Christ
whom I hear

like a pale green whispering.
dew-bright are Your rowan stars

like tears remitted
in a honied wilderness;

the lily days passed by me, pearl by pearl.

but like the pieta, behind glass-
or fairytale burnished pears
the King keeps counting-

something's missing
something or someone*
and ink is weeping everywhere now

drowning in things to say.

oh You who guard the merest shadow
of the Rose where thieves cannot break
through nor steal guard my rose sadness

falling lightning-struck and seared
by the gossip of seeming multitudes-
when all the words too late to say

surge over the fronds of
nova-bright insomnia;

acute are digits queing up
for yesterday's lotteries-

for a momentary phone call-
but Giotto's angel, weeping blood,
won't be consoled by me.

beneath the glittering surpluses
of horsehead nebulae neighing.
I bring the foundling songs of Your unutterable beauty-

knowing at last what crowds can do
or the heart with no compass in an age of luminous wolves

pierrot lunaire my God- ** my God

mary angela douglas 20-21 june 2010

*reference to the poet Osip Mandelstam

**musical composition by Arnold Schoenberg
the phone call in the poem is the infamous one placed by Stalin to Pasternak after he discovered Pasternak was upset by the poet Osip Mandelstam's arrest. Stalin hung up on Pasternak when he said he wanted to meet with him to talk about life and death and could not be reached for further comment. Mandelstam died it is supposed in 1937 of a heart attack en route to a prison camp. But his poetry survived gloriously, thanks to his widow, Nadezhda and in part, to Anna Akhmatova.

Submitted: Sunday, August 24, 2014

Topic of this poem: Poets

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