Best Poems From
to Juan Ramon Jimenez (1881-1958)
Juan Ramon standing amid blue flowers
did not hear me calling
small birds flew on every side
through chinks in a chain-link cloud and over
the scuttled rainbows of your sighs I picked up on the ground
to far-away laughter
oh but 'not-it' I cried out from
the space left by your shadow
on the grass
like a child in a game of tag,
the last one left in the
blonde and feathered fields still
of starlight by the railroad tracks
and hotel rolls with real pats of butter-
at home in the pink stucco of 'play-like' afternoons...
Sr. Jiminez bluer than the bluest
shadows could be,
could it be the earth is disenchanted?
will we grow apart?
stand still, I said, with a mouthful of pins
I will sew your shadow to the sky
and line it with pale green stars
it's strange while
I'm still trying to speak
in lilies and small roses
in blue diamonds secretly
oh why do you keep on
haunting your own poems
it hurts so much
even in my minted sleep or
is it, dream?
to be crumpling up the violet
of mimeographed vocabulary lists
balletic leaps by the
it's not that I'm that far
from all those merry dialogues
about butter about arroz con
pollo about beaten chocolate-
regarding time I find it hard to keep
the tenses straight:
do I keep breaking the heart of moonlight
without knowing why-
or is all that hushed?
and can I pray to God in
pure hibiscus, too?
a hundred years from home
no one recognized my speech
but the blue wind and God
and the tire-swing swung
in glittering silence by the
small girl dressed in
blue porous happiness...
mary angela douglas april 26-april 28,2011
Mandelstam's Ghost Returns Too Early
to Osip Mandelstam
someone has turned the moon's wick down
and I can't see where the
vague wolves gather
there's tar on the breeze
a perfume from Space
but I'm not the same one
I can't keep it straight
why Song is still caught in
my windy throat
and your smile is ravishing yet snows
on these familiar scenes
the moon's turned up, the earth
less featureless now
is this where we escaped the moat
dripping like trees in the green of summer
by winter canals?
mary angela douglas 16 june 2014
Note on the poem: if you listen carefully you can sense perhaps if not hear the interlocutory presence of Anna Akhmatova to whom, Mandelstam is speaking, or thinks he is speaking.
Whether or not she hears him I do not know. Whether or not she is still on earth herself I do not know but I think this is true. That is the meaning, one of them, of his 'returning too early'.
I imagine her in one version writing at her desk a few years after he has died. But like the notebook variations of, Dostoyevsky, the many pathed woods of possibility, some or all of these versions are true in the labyrinth of Time as long as you do not forget: these poets were on the earth and left their words for you to find...
P.S. the happiest secret of this poem that I am telling only you is that Mandelstam, although confused in the poem does not remember his pain on earth. That is one reason the wolves are vague to him or the wolves are vague because Russia has altered in that way. And Mandelstam has forgotten almost all of his pain on earth, at least, the details as well as Akhmatova's pain, Nadezhda's pain, the pain of all Russia. He remembers escaping although, in the end, he did not. At least, on this side of the equation.
The escape from the moat, a fairytale image. He must have longed to escape so much in reality. But some vestige of pain or the memory of pain remains which is why, there is the image of the summer trees after soft rains by winter canals.
He has not yet forgotten everything.
Sipping Cherry Cola Through A Moonlit Straw
sipping cherry cola through a moonlit straw
I mused on green creation and was overawed
and sifted through the mounds of ice cream
strawberry, chocolate, coconut noon had
melted in the patios, and scooped up to the
tune of cherry cola through a moonlit straw
tomorrow for breakfast,
berried angel food...
mary angela douglas 30 september 2013
P.S. If I don't have ice cream in the house I just write about it!
Beauty Asks For A Rose
to the Saviour of all saviours
only bring me the Rose of all roses
clouded pink in winter's storms
the Artic rose no one can comprehend
the high serene silver
rose confounding moonlight
recovered by kings in flight
from their lost kingdoms
the one that is mirrored in
the starry triptich
whenever I close my eyes
only bring me the cardinal Rose, the rose of
hidden music, scrolled and scrolled the
the silence of petals streaming
the heart within the heart within the heart
mary angela douglas 4 december 2009