Or will the Dreamer Wake? – a poem about endangered species

Out in the East the jungle listens

The tigress, plaintive, growls in pain,

The great trees hear her breathing, shaking

Inside her still, the new lives wait.

These cubs could be the last ones ever

To freely live and roam and mate.

Our grandchild knows the tiger never

Or will the dreamer wake?

Far in the North the white bear snuffles

Down in her lair the gleaming snow

She waits for all the life she’s making

Outside the crashing glaciers grow.

These cubs could be the last cubs ever

To freely live and roam and mate.

Our grandchild knows the white bear never

Or will the dreamer wake?

There in the West the song thrush warbles

She weaves her nest to hold her clutch

A long wait now to find a partner

The eggs are laid, there are not much.

These chicks could be the last ones ever

The last to fly and sing and mate.

Our grandchild knows the song thrush never

Or will the dreamer wake?

Deep in Ocean South the whale swims

Her song of birthing fills the seas

Thousands of creatures wait the moment

The solemn birth that they will see.

This child could sing the final whale song

The last to make the oceans shake.

Our grandchild never hears its mystery

Or will the dreamer wake?

Here in the centre, four directions gather

The path ahead leads up or down

Is this our last bright new world birthing?

Is this our waving as we drown?

This could be our last true moment

Knowing the truth, our choices make.

Our grandchild asks “That was the moment!

And did the dreamer wake?

Medora Chevalier

It is fantastic that so many children and teachers in India are reading this poem (more than 3000 views). I am honoured.

A few people have asked me about the meaning of the end and the final stanza.

The centre is the space between the four quarters of the earth – North, South, East and West.   I am thinking about the future. When we are old and the children ask us – will we be able to say that we, humanity, the dreamer, awoke from this false dream we dream in time to change how we live? So we end with this question. We cannot know the answer – yet.

Some resources about this poem made by people who have studied it

A poem about the state of the seas

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89 thoughts on “Or will the Dreamer Wake? – a poem about endangered species

    1. Thank you so much :)) Hope to be reading some poetry during Earth Week events as well as at Pride next month

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      1. lts a very nice poem but I could not understand the last stanza of the poem. Please explain.

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  1. it was so beatuful

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  2. Can you please supply a contact address for Medora Chevalier fo a permission request?

    Thank you
    Nick
    Hodder

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    1. If you want to use the poem you are welcome to on a free to share basis

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      1. jayakarbabu kopalli September 5, 2015 — 5:13 pm

        Dear medora mam, could you please give me the summary of your poem or will the dreamer wake? in your own feel?

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  3. its so beautiful

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  4. Lovely Poem. Where are you from Medora? I am doing a class project on Endangered Species poems.

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    1. Hi – glad you like it 🙂 I’m in UK

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    2. Sorry for delay – hope the project went well. I’m in the UK 🙂

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  5. a nice poem about endangered species

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  6. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW ACCORDING TO YOU WHO IS A DREAMER TIGER OR HUMAN BEINGS PLEASE LET ME KNOW

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    1. So sorry I didnt spot your question before Sadhya. I’ve just realised that there is interest now its on the curriculum in India. I saw the dreamer as being Humanity – a huge dreaming giant dreaming a dream that the things that we chase in this life – money, fame, beauty, power – are what really matters. And yet asleep and unconscious of the truly beautiful world and love around us. Time to wake up!

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  7. please tell the song composition to sing above poem

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    1. There is no music to go with this. It would be lovely for someone to write some

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  8. a nice poem which speaks about the species that are becoming extinct.could you please explain the meaning of the last stanza?

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    1. The dreamer is humanity asleep in a dream of the world that believes everything exists to be taken and exploited. Will we awake from this dream and see the truth of the world in time? For some more on the idea see the Pachamama Alliance

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  9. Dear MedoraChevalier, could you please elucidate the line “she waitsfor all the life she’s making”

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    1. Sorry for the delay Sreenivasan. I was thinking of the patience of animals waiting in the present moment for what will be. In this case as she waits for her children to grow and feeds them from her own body. We humans are always worrying about the past or the future. We can learn from the rest of nature that often it is enough to just be. It is very positive and healing to experience that peace.

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      1. terala shivakumar July 19, 2016 — 1:38 am

        Thank u

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  10. A really great poem,mrs Medora Chevalia…..I read your poem in my English Reader ,Class 10

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    1. Thank you very much. I am very happy that you like it. It will encourage me to write some more on this theme which I care about a lot.

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    2. I’m so happy you like it Mohan. It’s a great joy for me. Send my greetings to your class too

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  11. ‘she waits for all the life she’s making’ what does this line mean?
    Why the polar bear snuffles?
    I’ll b grateful if u ans it. Lovely poem.

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    1. I’m so happy to hear from you and others who enjoy this poem. It really warms my heart. The polar bear snuffles – I was “hearing” the sort of ways she will be communicating to her babies – breathing warmth over them, making loving noises, warm and cosy in the space she is making for them while the freezing cold is just outside. Seeing her hot breath misting as she works hard to be ready for their arrival.

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  12. I read your poem, nice’ I want to get video and audio for me and for my students please respond

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    1. Sorry no video yet. A musician friend is composing based on the poem so there will be an audio eventually

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  13. Dear madam..
    Its an awesome poem..
    Thank you for wonderful poem..

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    1. Thank you very much. I’m pleased you like it

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  14. I appreciate your concern for the endangered species. When you say “our grand child knows the tiger never” it makes me sad about the extinction of the beautiful animals!

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    1. Thank you so much. I hoped when I wrote it that it would make people think, feel and act

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  15. I read the poem that made me think deeply. I’m thankful if you explain the first stanza.

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  16. It was a good poem but can i know what does the line “This child could sing the final whale song” means..???

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  17. 1. Could you please go through the written/language conventions you used and what effect they have
    2. Could you please tell me what representations and cultural values are conveyed in this poem
    3. What dominant and subordinate understanding may be established from this poem
    Thank you

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  18. Medora mam could you please reply to my question

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  19. i read the poem and it is really wonderful. your expressions are really good where you touch all the directions and the various threats we are facing. Thank you so much for the poem. could please tell me the summary of the last stanza

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  20. Mam, I am worrying about disappear of animals. Please give me summary of this poem.

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  21. Sorry not to explain things – I think the words have to speak for themselves 🙂

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  22. Beautiful poem . people have to take immediate action to save these animals from being extinct.

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  23. hi mam really its a wonderful n heart touching, people have to realize about things……thank you for the wonderful composition

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  24. Dear ma’m,
    Familiar to the world with this u’ve become!
    Earlier as the heralds for this we’ll become!!

    Mam,
    People are giving their points of view in many ways but I’m longing to know your point of view.
    With regards!
    N.R.Swamy, AP, India.

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  25. Please tell me the tone of the poem

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  26. Give a detail explanation of this poem

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  27. Mam can u please give a detail explanation of the poem….plz

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  28. Sp.Rahamthulla M.com,MBA,MA,Bed,Diet. April 7, 2016 — 8:35 pm

    Very nice poem.I like it because I love animal and nature at the same time I know how to take care of our environment.

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  29. Ramesh jamullamudi July 11, 2016 — 2:19 am

    Sir plz answer my question
    What are the feelings of the animals?

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  30. jayakar babu kopalli October 1, 2016 — 11:01 am

    madam medora, i asked you to send me summary of “or will the dreamer wake?” on 5th september 2015. could you please give the summary that what you exactly intended to say?

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  31. KONDALA THARAKESWARA RAO October 27, 2016 — 10:53 pm

    I am glad to be a man in contemporary and being able to communicate with the Mam who has deep concern over the endangered species and to hear the words which made many think of the fact….Thank you mam for your beautiful message..

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  32. Dear Madam,Thank you so much to present the awesome and message oriented poem.By profession I’m a teacher of English…it is in 10th standard syllabus in India..I wish some more from your pen…I’m so glad to have this poem….Hoping your precious reply….ANAND ANEM.,SKLM DIST,A.P,INDIA.

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  33. Really simply superb madam …
    But I need a small help from you..
    May I have complete summary of the poem..plz ?
    Bcz I hv to explain to my students clearly..
    Your message should reach every corner of the World…
    It is “everyone’s duty to protect our Nature”
    Could you plz send me it’s complete summary ?
    Thank you…

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  34. Can u pls provide sequence of action of this poem ??
    And by the way itis the awesome poem I have ever read….

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  35. Hi Madam,
    I would be pleased if you summarize the last stanza and what would `the centre` mean ?
    Thanking you
    Sunil Kataru

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  36. A very great exceptional writer.

    And A dreamer woke up
    KDSVSRK will n’t dream from now
    but protect and conserve animals at
    the brink of extinction

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    1. Thank you for this lovely comment. I am so pleased the poem touched you. I am working on a poem about the seas at the moment

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  37. Thummuri Sharath Babu April 5, 2017 — 1:45 pm

    Madam
    Really a great poem to read, teach on the topic of endangered species and how the humanity needs to wake up from the false dream. Madam we should be happy to have more details of your biography and your other poems.

    Thummuri Sharath Babu

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    1. Thank you for your very kind comment. You reminded me to post this poem about the sea I wrote last month when I was visiting Australia.
      I use a pen name so do not share too much about myself. I live in London and work for a good cause. I enjoy the creativity of virtual worlds and write a lot of my poetry for special occasions often with an ecology or social justice theme. Good wishes. M

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  38. Hi,
    it’s difficult for me to understand the lines is this our last bright new world birthing. Please will any one elucidate.

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    1. Is this the last flowering of these great species

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  39. Lively wonderful poem, a great piece of work…thank you

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  40. Really thoughtful of you madam. The poem wonderfully urges the humans to look into themselves and stop the destruction they are causing to the environment. Taught the poem in my class today. Needless to say it had a envitable imprint on minds of the students. Hopefully the impact of reading things like this would inspire at least a few to change the world. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to hearing more from you. Regards, Heenal Shah

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Really thoughtful of you madam. The poem wonderfully urges the humans to look into themselves and stop the destruction they are causing to the environment. Taught the poem in my class today. Needless to say it had a envitable imprint on minds of the students. Hopefully the impact of reading things like this would inspire at least a few to change the world. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to hearing more from you. Regards, Heenal Shah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your very kind comments. It encourages me to write more on the same theme. My last poem on ecological issues was too difficult for children I think. I will think of the children next time I write. Kind regards to you and your class

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  42. N Mary vedavathy November 4, 2017 — 3:41 am

    What the meaning of stanza 4about the blue whale (her song of birthing fills the sea.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking of the blue whale’s lovely songs and how the birth of a final whale child would inspire a song of beauty joy and sorrow combined that all the creatures of the sea would hear and understand

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  43. New world birthing?
    Is this our waving as we drown?
    Means

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking of a new world that would be devoid of life yet still a new world. The waving or drowning is an echo of a poem by Stevie Smith https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/not-waving-but-drowning/ How we can seem to be happy and having fun but in fact we are able to descend to our deaths.

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  44. Extraordinary poem👍👌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Extraordinary poem👍👌

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  45. Truly thought provoking poem… loved it and FELT it… but have a small doubt ma’m… ,,Thousands of creatures wait the moment
    The solemn birth that they will see… Is there any special reason for other creatures wait the moment… And using the word solemn….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Other creatures feel the importance of the end of the whales to the whole marine environment. Thanks for your comment

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  46. What are the creatures refer in the forth stanza

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All the marine creatures – fish, crustaceans, cetaceans living in the vastness of the oceans

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  47. Dear author,
    Could u pls explain me
    Is this our last new world birthing
    Is this our waving as we drown
    Iam an eng teacher
    Help me out here pls.
    I would be thankful to u.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have to imagine into reality a world where we live in different way or face the fact that we will face a last morning in the days e live as we are.

      Waving as we drown is a reference to the Stevie Smith poem where a drowning man waves and people seeing him think he is happily waving but it is his last gesture

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  48. dear mam…can you explain to me, what do you mean by saying “coices we make” in the last stanza

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whether we choose to act to protect the planet or to continue to destroy it

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  49. Its is a very nice thought that had got to you
    Really the present generation dreamer should wake up!!!
    Hurry up all the viewers!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. I appreciate it. And yes!!!

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  50. Or will the dreamer wake is a thought provoking poem. Very relevant to the present times. Lets hope the dreamer will wake and act.
    By the way i am not able to understand A few lines in the poem. I will be grateful if you could explain them.
    1.Thousands of creatures wait….. The solemn birth that they will see.
    Qn. Why should other creatures wait for the whale’s birth? Why is it solemn birth?
    2., Here in the centre…… gather.
    Qn. What is the centre, is it geographical or time?
    3. “New world birthing….”
    Qn.Whats the new world birthing? Why is it called bright new world?
    Thanks in advance.

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    1. Dear Sonypadickal.

      Thank you for your kind comments on the poem. I am glad it has touched your heart. Let me see if I can add a little to the lines that puzzle you

      1. If we reach the stage where the last whale is giving birth to the last whale child then it would be momentous. As all living things are connected (as Einstein tells us) then I believe that the creatures that live in the sea would have some awareness of the special moment. A moment of despair and hope combined.
      Solemn because it is so unique and special that it would almost be like a religious ritual
      2. I meant the centre to be geographical originally as I read the poem in a place called “Four Bridges”. But it is also metaphorical. A meeting place for people to come together from North, South, East and West and across the boundaries of nation, ethnic group, age etc
      3. I believe that the only answer to the problems we face is to dream or vision into being a world where things work differently and our relationship with the natural world means that we understand we are part of it, not separate. This is such a change it would be a new inner world for us. A better and brighter world than the one we live in now with its fear, alienation and pessimism.

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  51. What does ‘choices make’ mean?

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    1. So sorry not to have replied earlier. The choices we make are about how we live ourselves and what we do with others to bring about the changes that the planet and humanity need to survive

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  52. Please telugu meaning

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    1. I’m sorry but I didn’t understand your meaning. Are you asking about the meaning of the poem?

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  53. May I know the tone of the poem

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    1. The tone is one of lament to begin with, moving to urgency and call to awaken before it is too late

      Like

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