The Blue Bird (1905)

The collection The Blue Bird was published in 1905 but its distribution was so badly managed that the poetess had to buy back many unsold copies and give them away. Most of the print-run may have ended up being discarded.

This is the main reason that she published another collection, The Inn of Dreams, in 1911, including little new material, but reproducing all but five of the poems originally published in The Blue Bird.

Before the dedication there is a quotation from an essay by Oscar Wilde. It is taken from “The Decay of Lying” in Intentions. The complete text can be found here.

It is arranged as a poem:

And over our heads will float the Blue Bird singing
of beautiful and impossible things, of things that
are lovely and that never happen, of things
that are not and that should be.

Here is the dedication of the collection:

TO MY HUSBAND

I sing the joy and sorrow of the world,
The strange and secret histories of the heart ;
I am a dreamer, and each day my dreams
Go out to kiss the eyes of lovely grief,
The laughing mouth of Love. I have bowed down
Before the light of beauty all my life,
And now, Oh poet passionate and brave,
Oh lover with the beautiful sad face,
Like a shy child I bring you all my songs.

And here, available for this first time on the internet, as far as I know, is Olive’s own poem ‘The Blue Bird’. It is not one of her best, but charming and girlish.:

PRINCESS prisoned in a house of pearl,
Strange little princess that I call my soul …
Silent you stand and listen all day long
With smiling parted lips, for you have heard
The far faint fluting of that fairy bird
That weaves enchantments with its magic song,
That Bird with azure wings and shining crest
That will not come to any cage or hand . .
But flies away into the golden west . . .
O wild blue bird, take back to fairy-land
This princess prisoned in a house of pearl,
This little princess that I call my soul . . .

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