poetry

The city has selected a new poet laureate. The City Council is set to appoint Julia Park Tracey to the volunteer post on September 16.

Park Street's Dog Bone Alley reached out to pet-owning poets this past May and asked them to pen paens to their parrots, Persians and pooches. They pawed through the entries and selected three winners to post in the pet shop; winners also received store gift certificates. The winning entries are posted below, with the permission of the store and the poems' authors.

Winner: Mr. Kenji-san Morimoto: Stories of a Shiba Inu, by Sarah McAllister

Underneath the couch
I spy one paw and tail point.
How do you fit there?

Alameda's poet laureate, Mary Rudge. Photo by Kristen Hanlon.

On a recent warm April afternoon, I found Mary Rudge at Alameda’s Multicultural Community Center. She likes to spend most weekday afternoons there, writing, checking her e-mail, and helping facilitate events such as the annual Alameda Student Poetry Contest. Rudge is the City of Alameda’s first-ever poet laureate, a title she’s held since 2002, and has lived in Alameda for over 50 years. She has published numerous books and chapbooks and spoken internationally at schools, cultural centers, libraries, poetry groups, and peace events; she also raised seven children. On May 11, Rudge will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Berkeley Poetry Festival. Currently, Rudge is working on updating a book she published a decade ago, Jack London’s Neighborhood: a Pleasure Walker’s and Reader’s Guide to History and Inspiration in Alameda.

Poem appears courtesy of Mary Rudge.

BUTTERFLY POEM
Mary Rudge

When the world was only a word
in the cocoon of time
a filament of silk spun in the cosmic
mind
to web the dimensions of space
with motion, a turning, unwinding,
emerging, beginning of creations all equal,
dust mote and stone, after the stars
before sunbeam in dew sparked an inner light,
there flashed out flecks of delight
with stained glass wings
to flutter in tensile strength
refracting rainbows, reflecting all that is
bright.

And in the rite of passage, leaving the flower
of the world in full bloom
beyond decay, released to sky,
even we, transformed,
leap from a body’s spun threads
to butterfly flight.