A Flag in Sonoma Square
A flag is held aloft by a man standing on a rock,
cast in bronze and shadowed by trees on a sunny day
in Sonoma. All republics need a solid foundation
and who’d argue with William Ide’s proclamation
for civil and religious liberty, encouraging literature,
industry, the solving and punishment of crime,
to make the people guardians of the government
whose officers are their servants? Some may not be so keen
on the unshackling of commerce and agriculture.
He had urged people to remain peaceful.
The flag was raised: a standing grizzly bear,
a red stripe of desert and a red star for a new republic.
The star in tribute to the Texan stand for independence.
This republic lasted for twenty-six days. The last
Californian grizzly was shot in the eighteen-nineties.
The flag was destroyed in the 1906 San Franciscan
earthquake, leaving a story tidied away in a museum
and a bronze Cuffy aloft in a public park on a statue
which an eight-year-old boy in sports tee, shorts and ball cap
is trying to scale; his manifesto as yet unknown.
- Emma Lee 2016
The Egret Plate
The curved part-extended wing of an egret
follows the shape of a plate.
The egret is preparing to land,
feet drawn up in readiness, looking for food.
Gold on one wing tip suggests an old repair.
The wings could still offer shelter.
This plate is too decorative for its primary
function as something to eat food from.
Nurture is incompatible with the egret's solitude,
its purity reflected in the plate's white gloss
representing all those holy qualities
closed to mothers for whom the next meal
takes priority over aesthetic decoration.
- Emma Lee 2016
Emma Lee's most recent collection is "Ghosts in the Desert" (IDP, UK, 2015). She co-edited "Over Land Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge" (Five Leaves, UK, 2015) and "Welcome to Leicester" (Dahlia Publishing,UK, 2016). She reviews for The High Window Journal, The Journal, London Grip and Sabotage Reviews and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com