Mary Angela Douglas
Speaking English - Poem by Mary Angela Douglas
courting the fair lost wonder of the skies
the ghosts of English poets stood out in the rain
wondering what happened
to the world edged all around in gold;
edged all around in gold,
who bartered what for what
and keyed it all down
so softly, by degrees, in the pearl smudged day
we hardly noticed when the Word
left glistening, alone
as though it had never been
spoken into green.
let the fairy ferns bend down their fronds through
these wrecked dells, now out-of-the-way
and the musk roses sigh in the Borderlands
that even light dwindles, dividing itself
into itself and praising nothing.
O eglantine! O mild musk roses blowing…
brief Tyrian clouds above the foaming cliffs
were mine, but they swept by my childhood's aching
that denied-not real enough, was said.
leaving me nothing more to say at school but
to hobble on, ever-after with the
clipped birds from my hocked fairytales
their scissors sawed part-through
I'll never be
real without them-
who wants to be baked inside a very tasty gingerbread by the witchy experts
stealing the names that color the soul- this has always been
oh my little little child.
don't volunteer for it.
pretending to grow wiser you'll escape
even further into the woods of gold and silver embossing-
pure silence gathers stars.
and treasured there you're a better country without bitterness…
this is the part of the story where you disappear, like a pearl
in the pearl of mist or cloud still owned by God
and safe from lies. It shall be so.
till the day you can come back
with all the light-rescinded years, the hollowed out rinds of suns
and snows, the wayward sparrows glinting in the shadows not in vogue
Oh God what's singing for
If it isn't this:
to brand on the wasted heart incessant amazement-
you'll wake to wonder, too, so all- at-once to see
each drowsing castle in familiar mists of rose:
the small house in the clearing
brimmed with Christmas lights,
the bright fields sown
of the full-throated music you did not disown-
mary angela douglas 11-12 december 2011
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