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alice d’alessio & sharon auberle | praise the undaunted


Earlier this month, The Brew coffeehouse in Ellison Bay featured an opening exhibit of the work of Madison poet, Alice D’Alessio, and Sister Bay poet / photographer, Sharon Auberle. The show, a harmonious and stunning combination of Alice’s perfectly pitched poems and Sharon’s artful photographs, will be up for at least another week or two. If you haven’t seen it, try and catch it. There is also a beautiful book of their work, PRAISE THE UNDAUNTED, available at The Brew and/or directly from Alice or Sharon.

I take a personal interest in these talented people. Both have a long history in my annual Writing Workshop at The Clearing. My small press, Cross+Roads Press, published A BLESSING OF TREES (2004) by Alice, and SATURDAY NIGHTS AT THE CRYSTAL BALL (2008) by Sharon, both bestsellers, both long out of print, though the poems of Alice in this exhibit (and those that appear in PRAISE THE UNDAUNTED) were selected from A BLESSING OF TREES. — Norbert Blei

Contact Alice by clicking here… | Contact Sharon by clicking here…

Enter the Forest

Find the path
where rain drips from beechlings
brightening their greenest green
trembling the twisted ties
of yellow moccasin flowers.

Pay homage to cedars,
robed in lace, their spongy
carpet a velvet dusk, breathe their incense;
lay hands on ironweed and linden,
each with its secrets. Come with me

I will show you the way. Here in this temple
we study the Druid fathers
learn to grow old proudly,
chant the psalm of the hemlock.
We will hold white limestone in our hands
recite the only prayers we know.

Praise the Undaunted

How the trees inform us,
how they stand, how they stand!
How they celebrate the wind!

divide the sky, grab each
a share of earth for sustenance;
Folding their tents at noonday

they close their stoma-eyes
to conserve their life’s blood. Faithfully
they follow seasonal rituals
like pious monks, intoning plainsong.
How they stand! How they stand
embracing the sun, outlasting

unbelievers, generous with succession.
They breathe our smog
without complaint and exhale life,

waving their colors boldly. Blithely unaware
how much we ask of them.

Something for the Journey


Suppose, for instance,
this is the last morning. You never know.
You wake to find a wet snow
has sneaked in after midnight
wrapping the branches
with an airy gauze, spangled with diamonds
so that every snarly twig and tendril
is an epiphany of white
etched against the purple-blue
of an undecided sky.


And you want to be sure to seize it,
store it in scented linens,
in carved and gilded coffers
along with last May’s poppies,
August sunlight spilling its motes and spores
among the pines and sandstone cliffs,
and a copy of your only perfect poem.


Because we must take something with us,
like the pharaohs.

The BREW coffeehouse in Ellison Bay

click the images to enlarge please…


  1. Mary Ann Grzych

    Thyis is a book that I’m going to have to get so that I can read and savor the words over and over. Alice’s perfect words are poetic music that makes my heart sing and Sharon’s photos compliment each poem. Each one could have inspired the other. (Like the chicken and the egg, no need for me to know which came first. That thery’re here is all that matters.) If I lived in Wisconsin, I’d be on my way to The Brew. Thanks for sharing these. My day couldn’t start any better.

  2. Kris

    Alice and Sharon let us see and hear the songs of the trees and remind us gently that we too must be dauntless in our caring. An excellent combination of talents!

  3. Barbara Larsen

    Here I am at Brew surrounded by these lovely poem/picture pairings and reading this review as I enjoy my morning tea. What a way to start the day!

  4. Tom's Jude

    Thanks for this beautiful celebration of tress…so fitting during an exceptionally beautiful autumn.

  5. Leonard Cirinoq

    Thanks to both of them but especially the trees that inspired this work. Good things here, best, Leonard

  6. Phil Hansotia

    This exquisite photo-poetry exhibit gives us a taste of Shangrilla! At The Brew photography and words sing together from the same hymnal, taking us to places where minds float and we gaze above the trees to wherever our thoughts can fly. What a treat. Phil Hansotia

  7. Barbara Vroman

    Beautiful celebration of the great and essential gift of trees.
    Lovely, lovely, lovely. Kudos to both writer and photographer. .
    Exceptional poetry wedded to perfect photos. Your students are indeed well taught and outstanding.

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