Lamentations of a Teddy Bear

by | Apr 24, 2021


I am tired of lying here under the bed

The floor is cold and a mouse roams free.

I used to sleep atop the bed

Tightly held and cozy covered.


You used to dress me cotton coats

And sit me in a chair.

Now some of my fur is torn

And one eye dangles loose.


Even though you’ve grown

And prefer the action figures

I needn’t be tossed aside

Or forgotten in the dust.


I know bears can be passed along

Or even packed off to college.

I’d be happy on closet shelf

Or in a rummage sale donation box.


  1. Benjamin Niespodziany

    This is great, Judy! Well done. Each stanza works so well here. I’m wondering if by removing the title (and giving away the mystery) might be beneficial. That way the reader doesn’t know it’s a bear until the end (perhaps forcing them to read again!). But without knowing it’s a teddy bear, the stanza: “You used to dress me cotton coats / And sit me in a chair. / Now some of my fur is torn / And one eye dangles loose.” — this reads almost like a fairy tale / fable, and I think that’s fantastic. Great personification poem!

  2. Trent

    A lot of emotional charge in a short piece here, Judy –

    I like how it somewhat ends on a hopeful note, where the TB might be able to find some other companionship.

  3. David O'Connor

    Judy, Love how this follows an object through time and life, and likewise can be happy and sad and true. Love the pov.. thank you!

  4. Wendy Oleson

    Judy, “Lamentations of a Teddy Bear” is heartbreaking, indeed! This bear! “The floor is cold and a mouse roams free./ I used to sleep atop the bed/ Tightly held and cozy covered.” How far this bear has fallen through no fault of his own! The line that somehow kills me the most is “You used to dress me in cotton coats/ and sit me in a chair.” I think that invocation of the “you,” the lost beloved who cared enough to find joy in dressing this bear! This little guy is even content waiting for a better life “in a rummage sale donation box.” There’s part of me that wants another stanza here—something that gives more of a sense of closure—but it also occurs to me that the most painful thing about being this bear is being out of place and forgotten there. Closure is not necessarily coming. A new life can’t be predicted on any timeline. Bears should be “passed along” or “packed off to college.” Oh! Thank you for sharing this bear’s story.
    My best,

  5. Jan Elman Stout

    Nice work, Judy. I like that you wrote this piece in stanzas as I think the white space nicely denotes the passage of time. I also like that you accompany the sadness with hope–something I have difficulty doing in my own work but greatly appreciate and admire in others. All the vivid, specific details you included in the piece make it work well.

  6. Randal Houle

    Love this for all its melancholy and description. The bear, the mouse, etc. this just really was nice to read this morning. Thank you.

  7. Suzanne van de Velde

    Judy —

    Love the tragic progression from sad bewilderment to sorrowful resignation:

    “Now some of my fur is torn
    and one eye dangles loose….
    I’d be happy on closet shelf
    Or in a rummage sale donation box.”

    Settling for the heartless abandonment of a rummage sale box is so brutal, it’s a brilliant way to show the bear’s loss of hope. (In great moments of despair, I might have felt that way as a mother…perhaps in some ways this is an analogy for that role?)

    Following on from Benjamin’s comment, I think a title of “Lamentations” might work well, too.

    This is so wonderful, touching but not maudlin, thank you.

  8. Federico Escobar

    Hi, Judy. I never thought four stanzas about a teddy bear could pack a punch like this. It’s sad and heartwarming at the same time—something about the bear’s resignation both exalts and saddens. This made me think of Leo Lionni’s “Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse,” a story I’m fond of. Thanks for sharing!

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