Allegra was born in the middle of a blizzard on a farm in Wisconsin. Her Norwegian ancestors had by-passed the flat prairie land and settled in the coulees and hills of the non-glaciated area near the Mississippi River. Love of poetry began as a child when her Mom would recite poems as she worked. She has lived in California since 1963 but her growing years on the farm brought a deep appreciation for the out-of-doors world that stays with her and sustains her.
She has over two hundred publications in journals and three chapbooks of her own, plus one full length book, “West of Angels” published by Cold River Press. In March of 2010 she was selected as the first Poet Laureate for the city of Davis in California. She also dances with Pamela Trokanski’s Third Stage dance company and sings with Threshold Choir.
There comes a time when each new day
is an unexpected joy—
the yes, of yes, I am alive.
My quilt covers against the chill breeze,
holds me for sweet moments
cocooning in my bed,
before rising to a morning salutation.
Golden light washes the hillside,
splashes on tomatoes and summer squash,
on greening apples and ripening peach
on blackberries growing along the fence,
and sunlight like a lover
has kissed the trees on their green lips
leaving its yellow light there.
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.
After a storm muddies the clear waters,
the waiting time comes, the settling down,
when the molecules of water let go
of all the stirrings from the force of wind,
a waiting time like an armistice:
the wind winding down to a gentle breeze.
I hear the song of the red-winged blackbird
as I walk along on this wild-life road.
Now that the sun has come well past mid-day
the lake mirrors with perfect clarity
the overhanging trees, the tule-reeds,
elderberry, cattails and Queen Ann’s lace.
Though storms come with their manifest power—
stronger the stillness shaping this hour.
*Samapatti: a Sanskrit term for a state of mental absorption
that allows a clear vision of the world made possible
when the turnings of the mind have been stopped.
Full moon, crooning, tells turtle
to come out and dance
on sandy-loam at the edge
of Putah Creek where sandy-loam
learned from grass snake
how to weave grass into melody,
where crawdads teach Putah Creek
the art of cart-wheeling
to laughing water lyrics
and deep beneath the creek
deep beneath the sandy-loam
water thrums a soft song
valley oaks and black walnuts hear
when they touch the tule fog, when
they sing of holding on and letting go.
Vulture hawks preening
in morning light teach amaryllis
the glory of opening
while old fox, wary of hunters,
to her new moon.
A stretch of tarmac buckled and broken
moves in to the system’s center
from the edge
of the abandoned
out of a crack
in this coal-tar desert
a single sunflower tracking light
the logic of enthropy.
I wrestle with your obstinate ghost: Ruth Stone
I, wandering in and about west of angels,
notice how they hang on to palm trees
tempted by earth songs—
before returning to elided regions,
and here, I wrestle with your obstinate ghost
that will not be turned away,
that walks beside me, resting a hand
on my shoulder, turning me
ever so gently on your plotted journey
telling me of centers and staying
while I lean toward edges and entries,
toward Pleiades in the night sky.
Confusion litters the air like yellow smog.
My hands undulate as I dance in a circle.
Orifice and boundary
stay the timing of return.
You call to me, raindrops in your eyes,
bind me with silver strands of love, but
I, like angels who traffic with palms,
I wrestle with your obstinate ghost.