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Stealing Lilacs
Alice N. 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.


From Never Say Never (Moon Pie Press, 2004).

Used here with the author’s permission.




Alice N. Persons was born in Massachusetts, grew up in the Army, and graduated from high school in Virginia. After earning a J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law, she worked as a copy editor, bartender, waitress, and secretary before becoming an English teacher. Alice began writing and publishing poetry in the 1980s; she is the author of four poetry collections, her work has have been published in various journals and anthologies, and eight of her poems have been featured on The Writer's Almanac on National Public Radio. She is co-founder of Moon Pie Press which has published more than sixty books, volunteers for animal welfare, and caters to four cats and a dog at her home in Westbrook, Maine.

Post New Comment:
Sharon Urdahl:
A delightful poem...loved the images you created...I was right there with you, caught up in springs heavenly lilac scent and understanding the frazzled mother's glutenous moment of weakness.
Posted 05/16/2012 02:35 AM
They don't grow in Florida, and I miss them very much. We have imposter trees, which are very beautiful, but with NO scent!!
Posted 05/14/2012 10:03 AM
NOTHING compares to a lilac bush in full glory, a low hum of bees surrounding it...beautiful poem and sentiment, thanks!
Posted 05/14/2012 08:17 AM
What a positive picture you painted!
Posted 05/14/2012 05:08 AM
Beautiful poem, I have a white lilac in bloom at the moment:))
Posted 05/14/2012 04:50 AM

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