A Dream of Trees. A poem by Mary Oliver

The Angel Oak

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?

––Mary Oliver

I was called to be an artist. And as an old old midwife said to me "If the Lord wants you to do something, you won't have no good luck' til you do." So, here I am, sharing what I love, longing to illuminate the work of art, which is everywhere.

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Posted in art, beauty, Charleston South Carolina, Green, Poetry, spirituality, sustainable living
11 comments on “A Dream of Trees. A poem by Mary Oliver
  1. What does this poem mean to you?

  2. It is about continuing to illuminate the work it takes to live a conscious life, about giving back rather than simply nesting and enjoying the magnificent view. Perhaps. Or not. Sometimes we don’t know why a certain piece of art attracts. Which is ok, too. Art often can’t explain itself. That is why it is art. It speaks to us with an intuitive voice.

    Thank you, Hadley, for reading, for being conscious, and for sharing your consciousness with me. For being a great light in my life.

  3. Pam says:

    What a wonderful tree…and poem. I’ve always liked Mary Oliver – and it was nice to be reminded of this poem. To me this one has always been about struggle – and the naturalness of struggle. We also dream about the day with this or that is resolved, waiting for a time instead of experiencing the moment we are in.

  4. Deb Burdick says:

    Charlotte, I loved the poem by Mary Oliver. Of most interest to my eye and heart and ear and hand were the lines “Homesick for moderation, half the world’s artists shrink or fall away.” I am an artit and hope I don’t come across as sounding defensive when I say there’s a lot to be said for moderation. To not seek the limelight does not make one any less an artist——–I have done my share of shows, but my art these days is quite modest, small and personal—-and therefore by certain standards, unimportant. But that’s fine with me. These days, I doodle, paint, sketch, scribble and create small collages contentedly in my art journals. Have I “shrunk” or “fallen away” because my art is small—private——unseen—–enjoyed almost exclusively by me and at times at friend or two? Perhaps——-but I’m fine with that. I don’t see the smallness of my art as indicating a lack of talent or courage—-rather it provides me with a quiet enjoyment and personal sense of pleasure in its creation——-

    • Deb! Great to have this conversation! My feeling is that perhaps artists think that the passion that they sometimes feel for their art is too much, so they ‘shrink’ back into moderation, into life without so much feeling, without so much expression of art. It frightens some artists I know, and they quit. I think your insistence on making your art makes you one who has not given up. And how important that is! Every expression that is yours in infinitely important. It is creating links to the creative life force of the universe, I am convinced. And the kind of art (that no one sees) pretty much saved my life. Like you, I am not so sure limelight (or ego) has much to do with art at all…..Thank you, fellow artmaker, for taking the time to write. Cheers, Charlotte

    • John Pendrey says:

      Thanks. Written years ago, before these awful times but your words can still be fresh as is this poem.

  5. Beautiful piece…really enjoyed it.

  6. […] “Meanwhile I bend my heart toward lamentation. Where, as the times implore our true involvement. The blades of every crisis point the way.” (Partial quotes from the poem: A Dream of Trees by Mary Oliver) […]

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What’s this?

Welcome to my blog about the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a place proud with beauty, history and art. Sometimes we feel a call, to be, to go, to do. I was called to be an artist, and as an old midwife from Alabama said, “If the good Lord wants you to do something, you won’t have no good luck until you do it.”

So here I am writing about what I know, about the 'under glimmer' as the poet Basho, says, the way I have learned to see, to notice. I am inspired by, and talking about the history and art and culture of this place that has called me to herself. By the ancestors.

My background includes a degree in fine arts from a small private college in Florida, and before that, four years of all girls' boarding school in Asheville. I worked as a professional photographer, helped my children grow up, and now and I love seasoned things, good food, better conversation, beauty, my beloved and beautiful Italian Greyhound, Beau. Moved by the sacred places and stories of this beautiful historic land called the Lowcountry, I am here in spirit and I hope to infect you with my love of this place.

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