sunday bear: mary oliver from no voyage and other poems

“Eloise” by Barbara Wiltrout (vintage baby dress, antique cameo and beads, Spring bonnet, 1992)



A Dream of Trees
by Mary Oliver

There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees,
A quiet house, some green and modest acres
A little way from every troubling town,
A little way from factories, schools, laments.
I would have time, I thought, and time to spare,
With only streams and birds for company,
To build out of my life a few wild stanzas.
And then it came to me, that so was death,
A little way away from everywhere.

There is a thing in me still dreams of trees.
But let it go. Homesick for moderation,
Half the world’s artists shrink or fall away.
If any find solution, let him tell it.
Meanwhile I bend my heart toward lamentation
Where, as the times implore our true involvement,
The blades of every crisis point the way.

I would it were not so, but so it is.
Who ever made music of a mild day?

~ from No Voyage. and Other Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1965)


Last Week’s Door Prize Winners

♥ Declaration of Interdependence by Janet Wong: Libby from Libby’s Book Blog, Gail Gerwin, and Myra from Gathering Books ♥

♥ A Stick is an Excellent Thing by Marilyn Singer and LeUyen Pham: Leslie Muir ♥

♥ A Suitcase of Seaweed by Janet Wong: Katya from Write. Sketch. Repeat ♥

♥ Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw and Eugene Yelchin: Candice Ransom from Under the Honeysuckle Vine

Congratulations to all the winners! Please send your snail mail address to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com.

A big thanks to everyone for commenting!


Still to Come:

  • April 30: Lee Wardlaw
  • May 2: Wrap Up and Potluck Giveaway Winner!


♥ Today’s Sunday Bear Hug is brought to you by Cornelius, who is busy making his own music (but wants you to send him a nice doughnut anyway).

((((((YOU))))))(((((CHOCOLATE DIPPED)))))))((((HUG)))))


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

11 thoughts on “sunday bear: mary oliver from no voyage and other poems

  1. Mary Oliver certainly makes one lurch a little, doesn’t she? When I read her work, I always come away with a thought for my day. And the picture of Eloise, the bear, is just sweet Jama. She too looks as if she’s thinking about Oliver’s poem, but perhaps it’s just chocolate doughnuts! Happy Sunday!


    1. This poem always gives me pause, and makes me consider complacency and how detrimental it is to creativity. What comes of moderation vs. passion? Do we over protect ourselves from the very things that have the most to teach us?

      Eloise is quite a proud bear, some in this house might say even haughty at times. But a good doughnut brings her down to earth again :).


  2. Oh wow, a book! Goodie goodie! How exciting. Will email you Fats’ snailmail address. Eloise looks like a very prim little bear with the pink outfit and that classic cameo brooch. Timeless.

    As I was reading through Mary Oliver’s poem (I have fallen deeply in love and I blame you Jama), I was reminded of Priscilla Ahn’s I have a dream. I don’t know how to embed a youtube clip in this comment, so let me just leave the link. I hope that you’d get to watch it if you’re not familiar with the song:

    “I was a little girl
    Alone in my little world
    Who dreamed of a little home for me
    I played pretend between the trees
    And fed my houseguests bark and leaves
    And laughed in my pretty bed of green

    I had a dream…”

    Enjoy your Sunday, dearest Jama! 🙂


  3. Magic YouTube video appeared! Thanks, Myra. I hadn’t heard of Priscilla Ahn before. Lovely voice; am curious now to hear more of her music. 🙂

    Hope Fats likes the book!


  4. And then it came to me, that so was death,
    A little way away from everywhere.

    Oh. Oh, oh, dear.
    That just smacks one squarely between the eyes…
    I used to think I wanted to be a nun. (Being not Catholic was unproblematic in this daydream.) I thought that I would love to be cloistered somewhere, away from the world, thinking deeply, doing my thing… and then I realized that I really hadn’t earned that respite, not yet.

    Dang, M.O. says it far better.

    *reels away thoughtfully*


    1. It’s a tough call, because writing involves isolation to begin with and I do thrive with some degree of solitude, but then . . . Mary has me rethinking, reassessing and trying to find a better balance.


  5. Yay! I actually won something! I can’t wait to get my copy of Won Ton–Winchester will hog half the chair, but I’ll read it to him. It’s his story, too.


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