• Nils Peterson, poet

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  • MISSION OF THE POET LAUREATE-Santa Clara County

    Elevate poetry in the awareness of Santa Clara County residents and to help celebrate the literary arts.

    Serve as an advocate for poetry, literature, and the arts.

    Lead a community project that makes poetry more accessible.

    Contribute to Santa Clara County’s poetry and literary legacy.

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HAIKU-ISH WALL

Since the close of Nils Peterson’s tenure as Poet Laureate on March 31, 2011, the haiku-ish poems are being transferred to a special site dedicated to the submissions, so they can continue to inspire the participants and the public, to unleash their originality in creating simple and satisfying haiku-ish poems. Until all the poems are transferred, they will continue to be available at this site.

HAIKU-ISH: MIDDLE SCHOOLERS

R J FISHER SCHOOL, Los Gatos-8th Grade

JASON COMSTOCK
Hills of Los Gatos

Hills of Los Gatos
Some small, some big, and some tall
But always lovely

DEMI CHANG
Vasona Lake

Shimmering pale blue
The water ripples lightly
Holding mysteries


RIDER CAPLAIN
Rain

It rains in the town
The clouds block out the sunlight
While thunder comes near

The House

The rooms not dusted
The pipes never to be fixed
The house never owned

Strangers

On the public bus
In the seat just behind me
Someone’s watching me

ANTHONY MAGANA

#1
A small gentle breeze
Accompanied by sunlight
A new morning starts
#2
Strokes on a guitar
Relaxing melodies heard
Songs to soothe others
#3
Trees sway in the breeze
Nature seems to be at ease
This is a calm day

KELLOGG ATKINSON

Birds chirp in the trees
Town that has a pleasant breeze
Kids bike as they please

ADDIE FILUK
Parks

Dogs off their leashes
Children screaming and playing
A place to have fun

SARAH NEHEMIAH
Guardian

Tall Peaks grace this town
Rise above to protect
The life below them

GIULIANA MCLEAN
Los Gatos Haiku

Los Gatos sunrise
Beautiful in the crisp air
Red, pink, green, blue, gold

BRUCE FILUK
Haiku

The mountaintops glow
As the sun shines on their peaks
Above Los Gatos

GUSTAF SODERSTROM
Peaceful

Peaceful swans swimming
Interrupted by a ripple
Fly away with grace

GABBY ROTHSCHILD
Home

Memories of youth
Lurk in all corners and streets
Of my childhood

CLAIRE STRICKLAND
Haiku

Dripping and drumming
Rain dancing on the rooftops
Los Gatos springtime

JENNA IAROCCI
Los Gatos Haiku

Falling leaves from trees
Children learning to ride bikes
Not too hot or cold

SARAH MA

Genuinity.
Lost under layers and layers
Of fear, mock, and skin

EMMA CASEY
Horse

Hock, fetlock, withers
Moving together as one
The perfect machine

LIAM BINELL
Haiku

Fire burns brightly
Its flames dance like the water
On a sandy shore

KRISTA JOHNSON
The Beach

Waves splash, whirl and foam
Shells of many sizes lay
Sand between my toes

CHLOE LOOMER
Mirror Image

The person in the
Glass won’t e the same you see
When you look closely.

KEATON JONES
A Cherished Blossom

The cherry blossom
Floated to the ground in peace
Its life then complete

____________________________________________________________________________________________


____________________________________________________________________________________________

MORE HAIKU-ISH: FROM R J FISHER SCHOOL, Los Gatos

____________________________________________________________________________________________

RUTH MURAI

Yellow and white,
The colors of daisies
The colors of Los Gatos

Force me to write
For a grade, so I do
But the words have no meaning

DANA JACO

I hate that
I don‚t hate you, it‚s time
To forget you.

I admired you,
People warned me, I didn‚t listen
Wish I had

LAUREN KEISER

A ray of sunlight
Over the Silicon Valley
An unwritten symphony

Majestic wave
Crashing down
Over the sands of time

A face lost in a crowd
One you‚ve seen before
Déjà Vu

ERIN CHESSIN

Dreams

Pictures in your mind
Sweet or haunting images
Ended once awake

Cat at Night

Ninjas of the house
Eyes like lanterns in blackness
Morning is their night

LAUREL RINEHART

I see your lips
Damaging my reputation
Beauty that destroys.

Order, structured
They call this Heaven, I know better
This is Hell.

TOMMY GARLAND

Math

Algebra is dumb
Letters and numbers don‚t mix
Graphing is the worst

KATIE STAFFORD

Silent Creek

Trickled over my toes
Has been exposed
By the baking sun.

MARY MCCLELLAND

I breathe the air
I feel the wind, it feels earie
I look up and run

CHRISTINA BRIONES

Waves against the sand
Waves different shades of blue
During the summer

All the different colors
Red, orange, blue and purple
Blooming in the spring

Warm weather today
The sun comes down on my face
Outside during the summer

MAYUKI SASAGAWA

A tidal wave
Towers over the heavens
A wave of terror

The sun rises
Shooting out bright rays
Warming the earth

The world transforms
Into a red planet
Into mars

RILEY BERNAT

You hold me tight
through the sadness
With you I am safe

That wicked, cruel face
Crawling down the stairs towards me
My time is now up

MELISSA SEARLE

Addiction

Waiting by the phone
For my ears to hear a message
Waiting, just waiting

ANDREW SUESS

Imagination
A canvas for my ideas
Never ending bliss

MIA GILBERT

Old Santa Cruz Highway
curves shadows bend in the road
elegant in many ways

AIDEN YOUNG

Smells are in the air
Satisfaction everywhere
Hunger disappears

RACHEL MCGILL

It never sleeps
It never stops beating
It‚s the heart of Silicon Valley

LAILA SATHE

Flowers bloom
The valley alive again
Awake from winter asleep

The warm sunshine
Spills across my pale skin
Only to be darkened

ALEX GRIMES

Heavy eyelids
Try not to fall asleep
Fight the slumber

KIRA BARSTEN

A Monday morning
Sun is up and in your eyes
Pull the sheets over

LAUREN SCHROTER

Stream sounds
In the water rocks crash
All is moving

OLIVIA WOODFORD-BERRY

Light mist of morning
Floats over the water
Yet the sun must rise

CONNOR MCGRATH

I am so hungry
And I don‚t know why
Wait, did I have lunch?

AUSTIN LEE
The blossom flower grows
A speckle of light appears
It’s hope

The dove sings
With the carols of life
It’s happiness

Glistening sea frozen with life
Shining moon covered with ice
They’re dreams

KADEN BOHN

The Biker

A biker flying
Flying down the street
Hoping not to meet the car

CHASE BUNCE

Mist steams off Lexington
In its unbreakable grasps
The lake is a prisoner

DYLAN GOLDBERG

Carlos Santanna
plays guitar like a god
He is indeed a god

LEWIS FOWLER

A translucent mist
Rolls over the quaint valley;
Middle of winter.

What went wrong?
To make this thing so?
The answer is me.

JOHN PARSONS

As the silence falls over the land
The waves roll on
Bursting the calm of night

KRISTINA MATYSIK

Distasteful people
Express this false emotion
Is there no love here?

MACKENZIE JACKSON

Your hand cramps
As your solid brain is melts
Essays, they are hard.

KENNETH NEWBERRY

Mountains touch the sky
Beautiful grass on the ground
This is Santa Clara Valley

RYLEE COMEAU

The stars show no fear
Dream through the silence
Nothing is wrong

HANNA EBERLE

Rushing water
Flowing down past my feet
Smells new and fresh

HENRY TUCKFIELD

Nowhere else to go
A modern-day warrior
Serving our country

MAXIM ANAYA

Trees are red-orange
Maple leaves fly down
While the world sleeps

The river sings
A melody. Nature’s present,
Streams downhill.

AARON WOLF

Very obese cat
Eats a big watermelon
She is more fat now

CONNOR SMYERS

Using a pencil
One can create great beauty
Or destroy it

JUSTIN BRYAN

Sharp green swords
Freshly fallen scent of hope
Walk in the pine forest

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HAIKU-ISH!

BLESS YOU! Ye faithful visitors of this site who daily check out the latest Haiku-ish submissions in response to the Last Call of Poet Laureate Nils Peterson, Santa Clara County’s First Poet Laureate (2009-2011). These posts will continue throughout the month of March, until the close of the Poet Laureate’s tenure on March 31, 2011.

Look on the right-hand side of this website for the names of the Haiku-ish participants.
As of March 2, 2011, a new set of five names will be uploaded everyday. To view the poems, click the participant’s name. Use the back button for your browser to return to the main website.

As the list expands, the buttons will be relocated to the Haiku-ish Wall, now under construction.

Until then, continue to enjoy the morsels of poetic Haiku-ish.

(Note from the WebMaster, on behalf of Nils Peterson.)

LAST CALL FROM SSC POET LAUREATE, Nils Peterson

Friends in Poetry,

This will be the last gathering of poems in my term as Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County. I’ll try to post as many of these haiku-ish things as possible. They make a wonderful mix. I feel, at the end of my term, a desire to say “Yes” as much as possible. So, “Yes” to all who submitted.

I thought I might say a word or two about how the traditional haiku works. It is a form full of confidence in the image. It asserts that to say large things, one does not need large language. Let me illustrate this by my favorite poem from Basho:

Dirty bathwater
where can I throw you?
Insects singing in the grass.

In a poem like this, one must enter the dramatic situation with your imagination, find oneself in 17th-century Japan just having taken a bath in a kind of portable tub. So there you stand with this tub in your hands needing to dispose of the water, and, as you’re about to give it a heave, you hear crickets singing beneath your feet, right where you’re going to throw your bathwater. It will not be a happy moment for the crickets, and yet you need to get rid of your bathwater. So you stand there for a moment aware of your separation from the natural world. An elephant stomping around in a mud hole would not pause in its squirtings at the sound of a bug, nor feel guilty. That is reserved for human consciousness. And then you throw the water. Or, maybe, if you are a really good person or a guilt-ridden one, you’ll carry your water to the stream where it will only slightly pollute.

And the poem grows, for it is a symbol, a pattern of thought, where many particulars can find a home. I remember once teaching a class in which a student said the poem is about the problems in disposing atomic waste, and that is in its way right, though clearly Basho didn’t have it in mind.

This is the miracle of the haiku, so much in so little. You can see how heavy Latinate words don’t fit in so well. (They take up lots of syllables too.) Nor does valuing the language of thinking over the language of seeing (or hearing). But these offerings are haiku-ish things, and we make our own rules.

I have two suggestions. First, as you read these poems during the following month, see which ones you like in particular. Pay attention. You’ll learn something about your own relationship to poetry. The second is for those who would like to learn something more about haiku. I recommend The Essential Haiku, edited by Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the United States.

Let me thank all of you for your entries, and also the warm welcomes so many of you have given me during my tenure as Laureate.

Sincerely, Nils Peterson

LOVE POTIONS AND MATTERS OF THE HEART

A KISS IS JUST A KISS

Poem by Nils Peterson

THE LAST CALL OF THE FIRST LAUREATE

During the month of January, I’ll be looking for what I call “haiku-ish”  things. The poems must have  3  lines and have no more than 17 syllables. The true haiku has certain formal requirements which we are ignoring here. This will be our own casual Santa Clara County form.

Yet try to do interesting things with line lengths and endings. The poems should be all related in some way to our county, public poems rather than personal ones, though that can be a difficult distinction.

In the month of March, we will post them—2 or 3 poems a day—on the laureate website, www.nilspeterson.wordpress.com.
Please submit your poems by email to poet.laureate@ceo.sccgov.org.

The deadline is February 7, 2011.

To give you the general idea, here are a few of my attempts. (In the first two poems I’ve used titles to sneak information into the text.) Go forth and do better.

SOME HAIKU-ISH THINGS

At the Coffee  Shop 

muted trumpet playing.
molto espressivo
over dark coffee 

*** *** ***

A Modern Church

No angels, no saints.
The stained glass—abstract,
yet light passes through, blesses.

*** *** ***
on the reservoir
immense water beetles.
No, a racing of shells.

*** *** ***
The boy,
slightly smaller than his backpack
manfully sets off for school.

*** *** ***
Here, is a sample “haiku-ish” similar to the previous poems, followed by the same “haiku-ish” with different line breaks. It gives a different effect, yet is within the guidelines.

bed, dark morning. rain.
heater comes on. world waits.
blankets whisper, not now.

*** *** ***

bed,
dark morning. rain. heater comes. world waits. blankets whisper,
not now.
*** *** ***
You don’t have to use all 17 syllables, but you must use three lines.

December, Santa Clara County

Sun
Rain
A narcissus blooms

AN AUGUST RUSH

Nothing like an August rush to warm up the spirit and the soul, in the midst of an aggressively cold winter, guilty of havoc in many parts of the country. 

Here, Nils Peterson sits at his library, reading poems by Keats and Shelley, and his own autumnal poems.

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