LAUREL LEAVES POETRY


Monthly Poetry Magazine



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POET AND POEMS OF THE MONTH

LÊ PHḀM LÊ




Read the Poems

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JULY 2016

ALLEGRA JOSTAD SILBERSTEIN

MS. ALLEGRA JOSTAD SILBERSTEIN

Allegra grew up on a farm in Wisconsin but has lived in California since 1963. Her love of poetry began as a child when her mother would recite poems as she worked. In addition to three chapbooks of poetry, she has been widely published in journals such as Blue Unicorn, California Quarterly, Poetry Now, with a growing number on-line. In March of 2015, Cold River Press published her first book of poems, “West of Angels”. Allegra became the first Poet Laureate for the city of Davis, California, in March of 2010. She is also a dancer and sings and plays washboard with Front Porch Bluegrass in Davis.

 

SELECTED POEMS

 

Finding the Light

Growing tired I grope for

tattered bits of wisdom:

words tangled in the years.

My eyes, accustomed to the dark,

revel in shadows.

 

Candle light seems brighter now.

I would linger here

waiting for some unexpected truth:

the meaning of life,

the meaning of meaning—

 

but everyday thoughts intrude:

the clothes that need folding,

the mail that needs sorting

and mostly tossing,

the Icelandic poppy, bought on sale,

that needs planting, the thank-you

I need to write.

 

The sun rises.

Tomorrow becomes today.

Maybe I’ll be finding the light

in the ordinary of this day:

the planting, the sorting,

the weeding, the digging,

the bits of thought

that come unannounced or

some sight delighting the eye:

 

Two ladybugs

attach on a blade of grass—

sprigs of memory bring

a wordless flowing-in of light.

 
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Rondeau for Turning

I try to follow just one sound

but voices echo all around

I would leave this wait-time state

listen to my own debate

turn toward growth until I’ve found

 

possibilities still abound.

I’m moving out to solid ground

where I’m commander of my fate…

watch out––I’m here.

 

Now those voices will not hound––

a wall of peace comes to surround

all the chatter that has of late

made engravings on my slate!

To independence I am bound.

Watch out––I’m here.

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An Intuition of Angels

I have not gone on pilgrimage

or lain prostrate before a saint

but long ago on a high hill

in Wisconsin, when swollen buds

burst from pale purple casings

into tender green, I danced

a liturgy and in their blaze

of autumn color, I sang an anthem.

 

In later years I have not often

knelt in prayer on kneelers

pulled down at church

but I’ve bent my knees

and bowed my head

into the north wind

driving against me

 

and when the time came

to turn back, I’ve felt its force

along vertebrae and scapulae

so strong, I knew how wings

must have evolved.

 

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Unfolding

I caught a butterfly in my hands

felt the flutter of its wings…

 

opened my palms

for I could not see

the beauty prisoned

in my hands folded close.

 

A florist tells me some rosebuds

curl around themselves like bullets…

they never open

they’re discarded

 

Place me in a vase like a gift.

Tell me to risk blossoming.

 

In the warmth of summer days

even in the gathering dark

the cricket sings…

 

hold my hand

let me close my eyes and drift

into that language heard in touch.

so strong, I knew how wings

must have evolved.

 

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A River Of Words Flows By

I hear the murmur of vowels,

little spits of consonants in a language

pleasing, though foreign to my ears.

 

There’s a house of cards at the river’s edge

with symbols beyond my ken,

I see the cards building higher and higher,

 

see them bend and sway with the wind,

a flag flutters and falls

and the cards come tumbling down.

 

A river of words flows by,

minnows dart in and out,

a vowel here, a consonant there, caught

 

in their open mouths. They understand

the river, a silent eloquence

written with flashing tail.

 

I must learn the art of fishing.

 

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