In this moment

Sunday, August 12, 2012 Posted by

In this moment

singing pines stroke
a gray-blue sky

bare branches extend
to swelling tips of twigs

sunlight polishes
grass to green luster

the clock
measures these moments

(infinity unmeasured)
and in this moment

I want for birds that have not
come this morning,

for birds that have not
sung their evening song,

for candlelight—
the glass of wine, the loaf of bread

for the conjugation of touch
coming back to present tense…

for sunlight and rain
to ease the long drought.

I want and again I want.
for birds that have not come.

Old Woman with Springtime Eyes

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 Posted by

Old Woman With Springtime Eyes

I remember you:
busy at simple tasks
your dustpan flashing
through sun-glinting particles
as if gathering stardust.

I followed you:
climbed the orchard hill with you.
Afternoon light wrapped ‘round us
as we filled our baskets
with red and gold of autumn apples.

Remember you:
in your long green gown.
Shadowed in purple twilight
you watered young plants
with a rusted sprinkler.

Always
I remember your springtime eyes
that bid me welcome—
that lighted my way
when I needed to leave.

Published 2011 in Song of the San Joaquin

Valentine 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 Posted by

Valentine 2012

Beneath the bustle
of gathering clouds
imagine us together
meandering along a forest path
and the stones where we walk
shine in our presence
and the growing green of grass
perfumes the air.
Imagine these words
rippling out
into persimmon glow
in the evening sky
like love floating
above the parting day.

Words to Cherish from Martin Luther King

Monday, January 17, 2011 Posted by

Words to Cherish from Martin Luther King

By words we are led to action,
be they slogans, hype, or hallelujahs
we are led forward or led astray.
Let us heed the words of Martin Luther King,
for our destiny is tied to the justice
he sought for all people of our nation.

Hear his words:
…in the process of gaining our rightful place
we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds…

Listen Palestine.  Listen Israel.
Listen Iraq.  Listen Afghanistan.
Listen my America.
We must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.

He invites us to “soul force”
to planting seeds of peace, calls to those
who he calls “veterans of creative suffering:
continue working with the faith that
unearned suffering is redemptive.”

And still he has his dream:
“that one day this nation will rise up
and live out the true meaning of its creed:
we hold these truths to be self evident:
that all men are created equal…”

the street sweeper equal to the supervisor,
the store clerk equal to the attorney
the sailor equal to the senator,
the house-maid equal to the educator––

each with a part to play,
some with more power for evil or good,
some with less power, less scope, less pay––
but each with a purpose leading the way.

He dreams of “a nation where one day
people will not be judged by the color of their skin
but by the content of their character.”

Come, let us dream the dream with him,
standing together on the solid rock of brotherhood.
Come, let us live the hope with him
that “out of mountains of despair we might carve a stone of hope.”

We need to carve out injustice in all its forms:
social injustice with welfare for the rich, the endowed
but not for the working poor,
religious injustice: only if you believe exactly as I do,
are you an eligible citizen
my creed the chosen creed,
injustice within the law that rewards wealth,
injustice in education––not equal for all children.

“Let freedom ring,” he says, “speed up that day
when all God’s children––black men and white men,
Jews and Gentiles, protestants and Catholics––
will be able to sing in the words of the old negro spiritual:
Free at last!  Free at last!”

Our forefathers, with their words,
in writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
sought to preserve our hard-won freedom.
They gave us the blueprint.
Let us build together, repair and expand our home, our America,
mindful this day of Martin Luther King,
mindful of the power of words.

by Allegra Jostad Silberstein
(presented 1-17-2011 at the 17th Annual City of Davis
Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration)

I had a fantastic Birthday Celebration.

Saturday, December 25, 2010 Posted by

Thank you to everyone who attended my poetry birthday bash.   Special thanks to my daughters, Dawn and Eden, who provided the refreshments and to  my dear friend Betty Vlack who greeted guests as they arrived.  I also appreciated all the warm wishes from people who were not able to attend and the wonderful performances during “open mic.”

Poetry Birthday Bash –celebrating 80 years

Sunday, December 5, 2010 Posted by

This is just to let you know I’m celebrating my 80th birthday with a poetry reading from 7 to 9 at the Davis Art Center next Saturday, December 11th. Below is an article from the Art Center giving details:

On Dec. 11, we will host an 80th birthday party for Davis’ first-ever poet laureate, Allegra Silberstein. “And how does the poet laureate celebrate her birthday? With poetry, of course!” said the always-vibrant Silberstein.

The celebration will take place 7-9 pm, and is open to the public. The first half of the evening will feature a reading of both new and old works by Silberstein, while the second half is an open mic. All are welcome.

“It will be a celebration of not just my birthday, but of poetry,” she said. “For the open mic, bring a poem, a dance, or a song. These will be very special gifts and especially – just your being with me to celebrate!”

Silberstein, a retired elementary school teacher, was made poet laureate in March 2010. Since then, she has worked to inspire others through wonderful poems.

She has written a series for the members of the Yolo Adult Day Health Center, as well as poems about oak trees for local folk musician Bob Wren, and will hold a poetry workshop for children at the International House, among other laureate tasks. We couldn’t be happier to celebrate her 80th at the Davis Art Center [1919 F Street, Davis, CA 95616].

Toward Galaxies

Sunday, December 5, 2010 Posted by

Breath.
Spirit.
Moving
into dance.
Creation spiraling
as if toward galaxies.
Colors spin:
a kaleidoscope.
A starry night.

Enter the unknown:
the quest for meaning.
Parameters of the body
will anchor your search
and understanding
ancient as Abraham:.
held-on in the genes
will spiral outward.

Take your soul by the
hand and let it touch
the beaten heart,
let it feel the soft
rhythm.
The breath.
The body.

[First published in The Yolo Crow-winter-2009]

A river of words flows by

Thursday, November 25, 2010 Posted 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

     first published in RATTLESNAKE REVIEW

After Flaubert

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 Posted by

“The human tongue is a cracked cauldron on which we
beat out tunes to set a bear dancing when we would make
the stars weep with our melodies.”   Gustave Flaubert

The S.O.S. drummers
(Sex On Sunday)
set our hips swaying
our feet shuffling
like dancing bears.

The lead singer
belts out a melody:
on the make
with a mike

his tongue’s not cracked
(nor a cauldron)
but he is loud…

Flaubert wants stars to weep
though he knows they can’t.

On the make
with words, myself,
I understand.

Sometimes they’re too much with me.

And my ear’s a willful harp
playing out folk melodies
when I would be symphonic—
or make the stars to weep—

I tell my tongue be still,
think Save Our Ship, think
Sex On Sunday
keep feet shuffling
like a dancing bear.

     first published in POETRY NOW

Like Sunlight

Saturday, June 5, 2010 Posted by

After the white and pink blossoms fall

golden mustard combs the orchard and spreads

across the fence like sunlight.

The roadside is inhabited by faith.

In a vacant lot

between tall  buildings this upcoming yellow

grows tall as a forest.

Redwing-blackbirds sing canticles there.

(first published in California Quarterly)