musing on alice persons’s “the perfect day”

“Portrait of Ann Reading” by N.C. Wyeth (1930)


by Alice N. Persons

You wake with
no aches
in the arms
of your beloved
to the smell of fresh coffee
you eat a giant breakfast
with no thought
of carbs
there is time to read
with a purring cat on your lap
later you walk by the ocean
with your dog
on this cut crystal day
your favorite music and the sun
fill the house
a short delicious nap
under a fleece throw
comes later
and the phone doesn’t ring
at dusk you roast a chicken,
bake bread, make an exquisite
chocolate cake
for some friends
you’ve been missing
someone brings you an
unexpected present
and the wine is just right with the food
after a wonderful party
you sink into sleep
in a clean nightgown
in fresh sheets
your sweetheart doesn’t snore
and in your dreams
an old piece of sadness lifts away

~ from Never Say Never (Moon Pie Press, 2004)


“Chocolate Cake with Raspberries,” Oil on panel, by Mary Ellen Johnson (2014)



This poem, in praise of creature comforts and simple pleasures, pretty much says it all.

No matter who we are, where we live, what we do — what we crave most as human beings comes down to the basics: to love and be loved, a good meal, the leisure to read, walk, or rest (with no phones ringing!), cooking for dear friends, restorative sleep. And if we’re lucky, a reprieve from sadness.

When asked to describe our perfect day, we might be tempted to indulge in fantasy: a morning touring the best pâtisseries in Paris, lunch with Shakespeare, E.E. Cummings, Louisa May Alcott and Jane Austen, afternoon tea with Paul McCartney and the Queen, dinner with Colin Firth (Italian food, of course), and a l-o-n-g stay-up-all-night conversation with Bob Dylan about songwriting, painting, and making meatballs.


by Carol Gillott/Paris Breakfast (2012)


It’s fun to dream. But my actual perfect day would be much simpler: a sunny spring day with no allergies or bugs, reading a good book while sipping cups of tea in my favorite chair, writing at my desk (no ringing phones!), listening to music, watching a favorite film set in England, receiving a surprise snail mail letter.

I have had days like these, and don’t take any of them for granted.

Back in 2012 I discovered and posted my first Alice N. Persons poem. You may remember it: “Why I Have a Crush on You, UPS Man.”  This was a “love at first read” poem that resonated with and amused me to no end. What fun to rhapsodize about my “team” of delivery men dressed in those cute brown shorts, bringing me precisely what I wanted every. single. time.


via Cakes and Cookies by Candace


I have just ordered two of Alice’s chapbooks and can’t wait to spend a couple of ‘perfect days’ savoring them. As if writing such fabulous poetry isn’t enough, Alice (as some of you probably know), is the editor and publisher of Moon Pie Press, a small press based in Maine that since 2003 has published close to 100 poetry books by poets from all over the U.S.

About a year after I shared the UPS Man poem, Alice found the post and left this perfect comment:

Wow, just found this thread – thanks so much for all the kind comments about my poem ! I am too embarrassed to show it to either of my (cute) UPS men…

How would you describe your perfect day? 🙂



Dani is hosting the Roundup at Doing the Work That Matters. Click through to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week. Have a good holiday weekend!

Copyright © 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

33 thoughts on “musing on alice persons’s “the perfect day”

  1. Ooooooooooh, Jama I’m taking the idea of describing a perfect day as a prompt and running with it. I hope to report back some day soon. What a lovely, easy-breezy feel of this post. It’s hard to believe that the chocolate cake is a painting! Imagine painting all the little air bubbles from a bake. Wow! Thanks for the love, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I hope you do write a poem about your perfect day and share it with us! I marvel at artists who do hyper-realistic paintings of food — there are quite a few very talented ones out there.


  2. That piece of chocolate cake had both my husband and myself fooled. Looks so delicious and that poem was amazing

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All three of your perfect days (Alice’s and both of yours) sound lovely. The ending to Alice’s poem is perfect.
    I hadn’t even realized the cake was a painting! Makes my mouth water.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the picture, the poem, and your thoughts, though I do feel some guilt about how very long it’s been since I sent anyone words by post. Part I blame on my worsening bad handwriting, but you’re right that there’s nothing like a pretty cards with the right words. Anyway, back to thoughts of perfect days. Wishing you many.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one whose handwriting is worsening as time goes on (just ask Len who struggles to read my grocery lists). I never realized how your hands can become so stiff and out of practice if you don’t write regularly. It’s almost a struggle to write legibly sometimes. And to think I used to write pages and pages in a journal with so little effort.

      I’m trying to send more handwritten snail mail — seems a shame to waste my huge stash of cards and stationery . . . it’s all email’s fault.

      Have a perfect weekend, Jeannine. 🙂


    1. That last line is a zinger, isn’t it? Made me clutch my heart . . .

      Alice’s UPS poem makes me laugh every time. It was fun to reread some of the comments from that post. I had forgotten most of it. Funny thing, as I was rereading the comments, the UPS man actually delivered a package. How did he know I wanted a Paddington board game? 😀


  5. Love the poem and the painting by N.C. Wyeth. I thought the picture of the chocolate cake was actually a photograph at first. My granddaughters will be sleeping over tonight. Mike and I will sleep on the sofas in the living room. The girls will sleep on the floor. We’ll read some books and watch a couple of family movies. They’ve requested Mr. Popper’s Penguins. To me–that’s a perfect way to end a day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow — does indeed sound like a perfect way to spend an evening!! Your granddaughters are so cute and I love their choice of movie. You can’t put a price on all the lasting memories you’re creating with them every day.


  6. Jama, I LOVED this poem today, and I loved going back and reading the UPS poem (which I don’t recall reading before, and I notice I didn’t leave a comment so I probably hadn’t read it). I know I’d have more perfect days if I focused more on those lovely simple pleasures that I am blessed enough to have in abundance. What a great reminder. Ruth,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As I get older I’ve discovered that the best of times are just all about contentment. So this poem pretty much describes my perfect day – except these days hanging out with my grandchildren would be included in the scenario.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m a little leery of “perfect” after reading the MG book EVENTOWN. I’ll take messy imperfection any time. (But that cake does look amazing!!)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My perfect day would be enjoying a great book with no interruptions. Cooking a favorite meal, and taking a long walk would be an additional pleasure. Happy Memorial Day. Please don’t forget all the brave women and men who have fought for our freedom! 📚📚🍝🍝🍕🚶🏻🚶🏻❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well today I had two delicious posts for the price of one– I love both of these poems by Alice N. Pearson and that “Why I have a Crush on You, UPS Man” poem takes the cake– along with the cookies and other delectables here and there! And yes to all the “Creature Comforts” in the “Perfect Day” poem. I fit in a bit of my creature comfort this morning working in my garden transplanting one of my favorite plants, Milkweed… Thanks for all here Jama, and hope you are enjoying the Memorial Day weekend.


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