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Allegra Silberstein: California Poets Part 7, Four Poems

Allegra Silberstein

July 1st, 2024

California Poets: Part VII

Allegra Silberstein

Four Poems

Wanting What Was Lost


     in their swift fall

through light years of space

must sometimes shudder

     though they keep

  steadfast in their path

   in our small world

      do we tremble

 wanting what was lost

each hour, each day, each year

        not quite right

  the leap to add more

        those words lost

between the page turning

    and the turned page.

Tenderly for my Mother whose Death was by Suicide

Four loaves of newly baked bread on the kitchen table…

were they to eat in remembrance

one last supper to sift out the measured dread

of sons and daughters four

were all your magic numbers in propitious order

pointing to this end   superseding other forbiddings

did the kneading of bread exercise your resolve

the aroma of its baking make a perfume like love

clouding the stark control that vehicled your departure

give strength to your arms  as you ripped the sheets

those torn rags of despair you braided to form the rope

you hung in the closet where you put your life away

I have not begged for your return nor mourned o’er much

my insufficiencies only sometimes I feel the muscles

of my throat knot up and in unexpected moments

of ordinary passage tears come unbidden 

a face glimpsed in the crowd

a white head bent fragile and round like dandelion fluff

and I hold my breath hands cupped to stop the wind

to feel your love winding around me

threads of memory pulled in weaving a cloth

to cover my bare table.    

Dancing into Sorrow

Let sorrow move into a dance                                           

through the fabric of morning light.                                  

And if we stumble on some rock                                       

with second thoughts brought to mind                               

may words held in the wind                                               

send older visions into sight.                                              

Bring whispers from beyond my sight…                           

an invitation to a sorrow-dance                                          

heard in the voice of the wind                                             

through open space bringing the light 

that creeps into the mind 

as though through an arched rock.

And moving through the arched rock 

find a way to deeper sight 

led onward by the seeking mind 

that takes a chance upon life’s dance 

coming like the morning light 

releasing like a gentle wind.

This shadow place of easy wind

holds whispers from the stumble rock:

Come out of the dark and into the light 

for this is the time for second-sight.  

Let threads of sorrow lead the dance 

mend the tearing of the mind.

Choose a time of never-mind

to and fro the wind will wind 

push and pull you into the dance 

as eager muscles let you rock 

as if into some other sight 

a place to enter inner light.

Dare the dark and find the light, 

solace for the troubled mind.

With deeper trust of sacred sight

let this vision round you wind 

and safe upon a new found rock 

peace will blossom in the dance. 

Light and wind within me 

my mind steady like a rock 

sight flowers in the dance.

The Oak Tree Grove

         (Genus: Quercus: Latin for fine tree)

The oak trees crossed continents

and stood at boundary lines. Now

like watchful spirits,

they inhabit this arboretum grove.

From seed to root to lofty branches

eternity resides here

seen and unseen

in the gathering years.

The trees––more space than solid matter

hold the breath of spirit,

the memory of tribe,

the seeds of evolution.

My spirit held

in the heart of these trees

dances into the night

of solace and salvation...

into a lineage of worship:

royal adornment for kings,

tree of the thunder god, Thor,

tree of Jove,

tree where Abraham

saw an angel

where he buried old idols,

tree of shepherds. . .

in fable and fiction

guardians and protectors:

vixen and maiden

safe in the branches.

Deep roots for endurance,

deep the flow beneath the earth

drawn into heartwood.

Birdsong gathers in the circling years.


I rest in this sacred grove

spirit held in departing light

Author Bio:

Allegra Jostad Silberstein grew up on a farm in Wisconsin but has lived in California since 1963. Her love of poetry began as a child: Her mother would recite poems and tell stories as she worked. She has been widely published in journals with a growing number on-line as well as prizes and recognition in poetry contests. In March of 2010 she was honored to become the first Poet Laureate for the city of Davis serving for two years. Three chapbooks have been published and Cold River Press published her first book, West of Angels in 2015, followed by Lyra’s Song in 2023.

Allegra also dances and performs with Panela Trokanski’s Third Stage Dance Company. She was accepted in the company in 1994 and now at 93 still dances but has a minor role. Singing with the Davis Threshold Choir is another important part of her life. Allegra lives on an acre of land and the good work of tending to the earth enriches her inner poet.


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