Before Christmas

By Landis Everson 1926–2007 Landis Everson
Almost
the first reindeer
shipped North by boxcar from Lapland   
but a toy model
got there first.

A dwarf invented reindeer on his own.   
He was Santa’s favorite. He
hadn't known
they already existed.

This discouraged dwarf
was close to taking his life but
Santa showed up
encircled by snow.
He said, “I will use the real reindeer for my sled

always in yoke
to your original invention.”
That night the gears that turned the Pole   
stopped
and began to turn the other way,   
so it be so.

My love is a toy model waiting
for a reindeer to carry me.

Landis Everson, "Before Christmas" from Everything Preserved: Poems 1955-2005. Copyright © 2006 by Landis Everson. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press.

Source: Everything Preserved: Poems 1955-2005 (Graywolf Press, 2006)

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Poet Landis Everson 1926–2007

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Love, Relationships, Mythology & Folklore, Realistic & Complicated

Holidays Christmas

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Metaphor

Biography

Poet Landis Everson was born in Coronado, California. He studied at the University of California-Berkeley, where he was poetry editor of Occident and a member of the Berkeley Renaissance, a group of writers that included poets Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan, and Robin Blaser. After studying for an MA at Columbia University, he returned to the San Francisco area and became involved in a weekly workshop with his fellow Berkeley poets. . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Love, Relationships, Mythology & Folklore, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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