Tag Archives: Carol Altieri

Featured Poet: Carol Altieri

Carol Leavitt Altieri is retired from teaching English, American literature in New Haven Public Schools. Published five books of poetry and winner of the CT Environmental Award for helping to save the Griswold Airport Property in Madison, CT. She loves hiking, reading and the whole world of nature. She is a member of the Guilford Poets Guild.


Blessed Black Cherry Tree
The black cherry is native found from Maine to Florida. Used by native Americans in spiritual practice. Lakota people harvest its branches to mark the end of ceremonial ground. They use its sticks to hold red flags as a prayer to their ancestors.

I wedged myself within the branches
of a black cherry tree,
glad to be positioned there
next to our red barn.

Once its young bark was smooth, reddish- purple,
now plated, leathery, dark gray.
Silver-green lichen scatters on inner tree.
Saw- edged, gold leaves curl, touch one another,
form a pattern against purple- blue sky.
A delicious legacy and nectar for bees.

A Baltimore Oriole flies out from its basket nest
hanging from a fork of the cherry tree.
It catches a spider, then swoops away.
Dressed in rich plumage of flame orange and black,
a pair sings with rich whistles and chatter.

In spring , clusters of hanging blossoms
droop from the stem like locks of white hair.
Fragrant snow squalls of dropping petals
fall when they must.

When I return, I hope you’re still standing
there in your rightful place,
never to be hewn down.


Cedars of Lebanon

Here where mountaintops snare clouds floating
in from the Mediterranean ,we saunter
through the cathedral arched forests
of cedars. Once vast, used for temples and palaces
across Assyria, Persia, Egypt ,Greece and Lebanon.
They enhanced the territory of the Bible
where Jesus revealed himself to his followers.

Enormous trees seem as high as the Cliffs of Babylon
spill light through tracery of limbs.
Some stand alone with distinctive shapes,
others insinuate themselves into relations
with neighbors offering their majesty and homage.
Lines of solid branches crosshatch trunks
send roots into craggy limestone.

Branches in tiers sway in the wind.
Oval blue-green cones break open, scatter seeds.
Fragrant with balsam perfumed resin,
cedar trees intertwine with history of 10,000 years.

Now they must migrate up the mountains
chasing the cold winters
to escape warming, the conflicts of war lords
and colonizers.

Emissaries of the parade of civilizations
and what we owe them, Cedars of Lebanon
tremble. They have seen the past. Will
they see the future?


A Titanic Colony

In our cow pasture
amoebas exude through
New Hampshire soil
clonal, single-celled,
a vast and slippery empire,
40 feet across and genetically
identical.
A giant organized colony
spread by cows in muck.

A billion strong, they
cooperate and coordinate,
reproduce
by shuttling cell parts around
and assisting each other
in dirt and dung.

Scientists say they are persistent
living everywhere underfoot
nurturing life and death
feeding elements on
Earth, never running off
the land, faithful to their place.

Shouldn’t we worship
the ground we walk on,
instead of mocking
and blacktopping it over?

VIDEO: Guilford Poets Guild Presents Carol Altieri & Karen Johnson

Guilford Poets Guild
Second Thursday Poetry Series
November 2016