The challenge: Life has its lemons. No lemons yet?
Trust me.
They’re coming.
But life also has beauty. No beauty yet?
Trust me. It’s coming.

The vision: Refresh. Renew. Flourish.

Mission: The Poetry Brigade collects and shares language to help you flourish especially in tough times.

The Poets of the Poetry Brigade are poets great and small who help you understand you’re not alone; life is hard, and these words can help you flourish even in the midst of suffering.

The Curator

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

The History of the Poetry Brigade: In January 2020 when the 82nd ABN was suddenly deployed, Allegra Jordan and a team running a recreational park for service families near Ft. Bragg met with family group leaders to see what we could do to support the extended families of service members. Allegra, a business executive and a poet, created this site to provide people who were struggling with resources no matter where they were in the world.

Allegra Jordan’s military background: Allegra Jordan’s father, the late MAJ. Malcolm E. Jordan died of Agent Orange poisoning. After 17 years of Vietnam-era service, he was forced out. The Jordan family learned many lessons from this hard knock. We survived! We flourished! Suffering happens, and it doesn’t have to get the last word. In fact, suffering gives us growth opportunities. We keep the growth but learn to discharge the pain. Yes, even horrible pain you didn’t even know you could bear. This site is not “Suck it up, buttercup.” It is “How do humans process pain?” It’s a life skill we learn. Forty years after Allegra’s family left the service, she became the Executive Director of the Rick Herrema Foundation which helps service members reintegrate after deployments.

Allegra Jordan was named an “architect of change” by Maria Shriver. She’s written four books and published numerous articles, poems and nearly a dozen cases taught at Harvard Business School. Born during the Vietnam conflict to a military family, she grew up in the post-Civil Rights era of Selma, AL, and became a champion debater. In a tragic turn of events, her debate partner was murdered by her debate coach in what was then called Alabama’s crime of the decade. Living into the pain, confusion, and grief led her to a decades-long journey worldwide to reconcile, first with oneself and then with her beloved first community. She knows we can flourish even amidst in disappointing and violent world because she’s seen it and writes to share this good news. Allegra graduated from Samford University, Harvard Business School, and Georgetown University’s executive leadership coaching program. She launched the first Duke University Center for Reconciliation’s Summer Institute. It was life – not schools – that taught her how to see and love what is deathless.

Her personal website is allegrajordan.com (This is also her coach/consulting site and for now focuses on reforming capitalism.)
Her reconciliation poetry site is reconciliationpoetry.com

What People Say About Life’s Challenges

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions: “When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?

-Dancer Gabrielle Roth

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

Nobel Laureate Albert Schweitzer

And I saw the river over which
every soul must pass
to reach the kingdom of heaven
and the name of that river was
and I saw a boat
which carries souls
across the river
and the name of that boat
was love.

-Anonymous, and often attributed to St. John of the Cross (1400s)

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