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The Way It Is, California
by
Nils Peterson


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Mid December. The first paper narcissus blossoms
beneath the pear tree where one last leaf hangs so dark
and strangely-shaped I go out to see if it’s a lost bat. 
 
Soon the green, swelling oranges will hang
“like golden lamps in a green night,” and soon hills,
which in summer sleep tawny as lions, will wake
and don their grassy coats.
 
                                          When I close my eyes,
I am a boy playing in snow. When I doze, I ride,
snuggled beneath a thick blanket in a horse-drawn sleigh, 
beside the Swedish grandparents I never knew.
 
Off we go to town, to church on Christmas Eve,
getting out of the house so the Yule Tømte can put,
if I’ve been good enough, not coal, but
an orange in the toe of my hanging stocking.
 
 
© by Nils Peterson.
Used with the author’s permission.
 
Purchase a framed print of this poem.

 

 

Nils Peterson is Professor Emeritus at San Jose State University.  In 2009, he was chosen the first Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County. He has published poetry, science fiction, and articles on subjects as varied as golf and Shakespeare. His newest collection is A Walk to the Center of Things.

 

 


Post New Comment:
Jo:
Lovely poem.
Posted 12/17/2012 11:13 AM
Nissepete:
There's something rather grand about being the "unknown poet." actually, I remember an anthology where no names were given and you were left with the poem itself. No hints beforehand. But one's name attached is certainly pleasing. Nils
Posted 12/17/2012 09:43 AM
peninsulapoet:
Lovely poem.
Posted 12/17/2012 09:19 AM
Scott Owens:
Very nice. Captures the mood of the season.
Posted 12/17/2012 09:14 AM
Katrina:
It is good to receive this one twice :-) Nils, you are stacking up the oranges I would like to bestoe! Thank you.
Posted 12/17/2012 08:30 AM
dotief@comcast.net:
Lovely!
Posted 12/17/2012 08:12 AM
Larry Schug:
Everything a poem should be. The pictures it paints with words are exquisite.
Posted 12/17/2012 07:55 AM


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