Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Stealing Lilacs

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Alice Persons is a poet from Westbrook and a founding editor of Moon Pie Press, which has just released its 71st volume of poetry. In her poem for this week, ?Stealing Lilacs,? she suggests that some thefts can be forgiven.

Stealing Lilacs by Alice Persons

A guaranteed miracle,
it happens for two weeks each May,
this bounty of riches
where McMansion, trailer,
the humblest driveway
burst with color--pale lavender,
purple, darker plum--
and glorious scent.
This morning a battered station wagon
drew up on my street
and a very fat woman got out
and starting tearing branches
from my neighbor's tall old lilac--
grabbing, snapping stems, heaving
armloads of purple sprays
into her beater.
A tangle of kids' arms and legs
writhed in the car.
I almost opened the screen door
to say something,
but couldn't begrudge her theft,
or the impulse
to steal such beauty.
Just this once,
there is enough for everyone.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2004 Alice Persons. Reprinted from Never Say Never, Moon Pie Press, by permission of Alice Persons. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.