Carol Leavitt Altieri
2011 Connecticut Senior Poet Laureate

Carol Leavitt Altieri, 74, Madison, is a retired environmental science and language arts teacher. She is no stranger to the circle of winners in Senior Poets Laureate contests, and we welcome her return as 2011 Senior Poet Laureate. She is author of four books of poetry and recipient of the State of Connecticut's “Green Circle Award” for environmental stewardship. She has two children. Carol enjoys her grandchildren, hiking, biking, birding, traveling and reading. Her sun sign is Scorpio.


Shared with friends across midnight, we have come
to watch aurora borealis in deepest regions
of our planet. My eyes open to night sky as gossamer
rays unfold in wonder. Scandinavian people

saw the lights as gay polka dancers and Athabaskans
of Alaska watched them as sky dwellers, spirits
of dead sending messages. Whispered about
in darkness, a mystery ancients recorded in sacred

books, written in logs of forgotten ships sunk in oceans.
Lime-colored and bright-magenta rays flash
and flicker, erratic as the wind bending
in wavelike patterns as water in a river flows

around a boulder. Dramatic pyramids soar overhead.
Incandescent meteors of northern lights blaze and sway
in display. Canopies of thick rope ebb and follow
unseen authority, a power humans will never command.

Faster than eyes can follow , behind shadows
of mountains, the event explodes above us, colors
like drapes dashing and sweeping. I feel communion
across the ages with travelers and mystics
stunned and awestruck by ghostly lights in the sky.

Evanescent, they illuminate the moon hanging over
the mountains through the shroud of fog and heavy mist.
As morning comes, towering waves of light shimmer
around the sky and fade into the heavens.

Carol Leavitt Altieri