sunday bear: rumi

“Laura” by Pam Wooley (antique lace collar, distressed mohair, 1988)



Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round
in another form. The child weaned from mother’s milk
now drinks wine and honey mixed.

God’s joy moves from unmarked box to unmarked box,
from cell to cell. As rainwater, down into flowerbed.
As roses, up from ground.
Now it looks like a plate of rice and fish,
now a cliff covered with vines,
now a horse being saddled.
It hides within these,
till one day it cracks them open.

Part of the self leaves the body when we sleep
and changes shape. You might say, “Last night
I was a cypress tree, a small bed of tulips,
a field of grapevines.” Then the phantasm goes away.
You’re back in the room.
I don’t want to make anyone fearful.
Hear what’s behind what I say.

Tatatumtum tatum tatadum.
There’s the light gold of wheat in the sun
and the gold of bread made from that wheat.
I have neither. I’m only talking about them,

as a town in the desert looks up
at stars on a clear night.

~ from The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne (Harper San Francisco, 1995)


♥ This week’s Sunday Bear Hug is brought to you by your loyal friend Cornelius, who wants you to have the stars.



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

sunday bear: tony hoagland

“Dempster” by Steve Schutt (antique mohair, black shoe button eyes, hand puppet made by Jama, 1987)



The Loneliest Job in the World
by Tony Hoagland

As soon as you begin to ask the question, Who loves me?
you are completely screwed, because
the next question is How Much?

and then it is hundreds of hours later,
and you are still hunched over
your flowcharts and abacus,

trying to decide if you have gotten enough.
This is the loneliest job in the world:
to be an accountant of the heart.

It is late at night. You are by yourself,
and all around you, you can hear
the sounds of people moving

in and out of love,
pushing the turnstiles, putting
their coins in the slots,

paying the price which is asked,
which constantly changes.
No one knows why.

~ from Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty (Greywolf Press, 2010)


♥ This week’s Sunday Bear Hug is brought to you as always by Mr. Cornelius, who is busy counting his change. There can never be too much love in this world, he says, or hugs. Hug at least five people today, or the same person five times.



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

sunday bear: julia alvarez

“Cornellia” by Barbara Whisnant (German distressed mohair, antique baby dress, 1989)



Woman’s Work
by Julia Alvarez

for Judy Yarnall

Who says a woman’s work isn’t high art?
She challenged as she scrubbed the bathroom tiles.
Keep house as if the address were your heart.

We cleaned the whole upstairs before we started
downstairs. I sighed, hearing my friends outside.
Doing her woman’s work was a hard art

to practice when the summer sun would bar
the floor I swept till she was satisfied.
She kept me prisoner in her housebound heart.

She shined the tines of forks, the wheels of carts,
cut lacy lattices for all her pies.
Her woman’s work was nothing less than art.

And I, her masterpiece since I was smart,
was primed, praised, polished, scolded, and advised
to keep a house much better than my heart.

I did not want to be her counterpart!
I struck out . . . but became my mother’s child:
a woman working at home on her art,
housekeeping paper as if it were her heart.

~ from She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems, edited and introduced by Caroline Kennedy (Hyperion, 2011).


♥  Today’s Sunday Bear Hug is brought to you by Mr. Cornelius, who is eating three extra cream scones today in honor of mothers everywhere, past and present. Have a beautiful Mother’s Day, everyone!



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

sunday bear: ann patchett from the getaway car

“Fuzzy Vanderbear” by North American Bear (1985)



Forgiveness. The ability to forgive oneself. Stop here for a few breaths and think about this, because it is the key to making art and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life. Every time I have set out to translate the book (or story, or hopelessly long essay) that exists in such brilliant detail on the big screen of my limbic system onto a piece of paper (which, let’s face it, was once a towering tree crowned with leaves and a home to birds), I grieve for my own lack of talent and intelligence. Every. Single. Time. Were I smarter, more gifted, I could pin down a closer facsimile of the wonders I see. I believe that, more than anything else, this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers. Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can’t write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself.

~ Copyright © 2011 Ann Patchett (The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life, Byliner, Inc.).

♥ This week’s Sunday Bear Hug is brought to you by Mr. Cornelius, who admires you and your writing. “Please eat an extra piece of chocolate pie for me,” he says, “after you finish your work today.”



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

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.