Best Poems From
Backstory Breakfast For 'The Emperor's New Clothes'
to my Grandmother
the peacock visions preen: sheer emerald,
turquise, gold paint dribbled dream
down the chins of the boo-less
(don't eat so slow, dear)
with a thousand eyes blinking
losing the contest
if you'll stare hard enough, long enough
piercing through the sheen.
so the child at her oatmeal heard
her Grandmother; pouring the cream
like a lake into the bowl lit with
islands of pure marigold butter.
-study hard to know the angel music
beginning with the first measure
she twirled the piano stool that afternoon
and opened the Steinway lid
as if it were gold.
-oh, sweet Pandora!
here's hope for you
in a dark-turned world
for the topsy turvy,
the witless and the scurvy days ahead;
though you are dressed in rainbow fashion now,
with a green bolero, thinking it's all candy
and the music box.
so passed the cherishing cherry pie days.
and every empty jar filled to the brim
with the wild honeysuckle.
till the festival day in the Square
where the scammed king stood:
exposed to the cold and a little more, the
rounded o; the child cherry lips composing
to disclose a fine truth spoken plainly
in a voice that carried over the confetti snows:
He has nothing on
mary angela douglas 9 june 2014
Note on the poem: of course this is my mini-Stanislavski
piano exercise on the very real fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, 'The Emperor's New Clothes.'
In The Shoemaker's Shop
[once more, to The Brothers Grimm]
how marvelous it seemed to you then
the cobbler asleep at his bench
too tired to dream
of the work still left to do
the leathern apron's torn
his own shoes full of holes
are fit for scorn
his tools are not the best but
he has hammered gold into slippers
in his time embroidered with
the thread of rose
and never glanced at the clock
painted light green, perhaps with red tulips
all around the edge
a wooden taskmaster with a shrill cuckoo
10 o' clock, the mayor comes at noon
or sooner if there's bad luck
how can one room contain
so much misfortune.
he sighs to his wife
munching a little toast and cheese
as if they were mice.
the snow flying. it is Christmas Eve
the dancers from the pantomime
in valentine tulle tap their toes
impatiently en pointe*
backstage for slippers new,
encrusted with rubies ribbons
in the sheen of cherries
he hasn't seen for breakfast ever.
he slumbers on while
midnight's moon floods the shop
not caring if business is better.
then wonder of wonders and none too soon
the green clock ticks the elves in
one by well-skilled one to cobble
in fairy princess stitching
the rag tag edges of his dream
he will remember this in daylight hours
mary angela douglas 20 october 2013
Note to Reader: in case you wonder how the ballerinas in red tulle could tap their toes and be en pointe at the same time, remember, this is a dream or just pretend it's Balanchine's choreography (who was always asking the impossible to occur as if it were nothing)
if you're wondering where the punctuation is in the above poem it may be I have my elves too, who skipped the punctuation in order not to be caught (since I get up very early...)
That Is The Script They Hand You
that is the script they hand you
but this is the one you use
please keep in mind
this distinction whenever you are
gazing over yet another precipice-
watch whose words are streaming from your mouth
when your crenellated soul is
so in danger of being
ironed out permanently
(that flag is the color of snow
raised in a milky sky)
you can't salute
what you don't see:
mary angela douglas 20 august 2008
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