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September 2017


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 2010 she was chosen as the first Poet Laureate for the city of Davis, CA. She is widely published in journals and has three chapbooks. A full length book of poetry was published in 2015 (Cold River Press). Allegra also performs with the Third Stage dance company in Davis and is member of the Threshold Choir.

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Like Sunlight

After the white and pink blossoms fall

golden mustard combs the orchard and spreads

across the fence like sunlight…

the roadside inhabited by faith.

In a vacant lot

between tall buildings this upcoming yellow

grows tall as a forest…

redwing blackbirds sing canticles there.

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A River Of Words

flows by me.

I see them ripple in the water

dance with the falling leaves.

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,

on top, a flag flutters and falls

as 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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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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My Joseph

We envied you, the youngest,

as if you had been singled out

for a coat of many colors.

We said Mom spoiled you.

We were wrong.

Love made you strong.

You grew to manhood with courage

enough to hold at bay

the gnawing years that would

chew upon the heart remorselessly,

the way packs of wild dogs

devour the downed lamb.

You stayed with Mom and Dad—

held back the dark

that folded in on the farm,

that held fast to our mother.

You stayed to tend the fields,

to mind the cattle and we were free

to leave: to embroider our garments

with threads of red and gold.

You stayed,

steadfast in your faded coat.

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Children Leaving

(—a lazy mid-September afternoon—)

When finally I leave the classroom

only shadows play on the quad.

I’ve left just in time, for earth and sun

at a precise angle, illuminate

an embarkation of arachnids on magic carpets:

hundreds of white web-threads floating,

so close to earth, I could catch them in my arms.

I stand and watch these spiderlings

departing, streaming across the sky

away from me, like my daughters,

three spinnerets loosed from my dream-web:

song spinner, word weaver, sky sketcher

each floating in her own afternoon sun:

earth wanderers threading their days…

It was but a moment we touched—

like a lullaby sung in uncharted space:

a universe radiant with stars to wish upon.

Now, their hearts belong to a time beyond mine,

to a place beyond here, where I am left behind

but not completely, for they carry with them

a scrap of my song, that ringing of DNA

deeper than microscopic sight. And when

I am but ash returned to this earth,

in a certain angle of light, may there be

a mirage of music: a spirit-staff

with my notes clinging.

I go home, easy in the lengthening shadows

lifted by this illumination of departure,

knowing we are held together: in spite of the circling

seasons that spiral beyond our vision—

a holding on across distances, steadfast as the fixed

path of planets in the evening sky.

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