I entered this poem into the County’s “Poetry Is” contest headed up by our poet laureate, Caroline Goodwin. The poem had to have the city name in the title and it had to be about your city in San Mateo county. Alas, it was not accepted but still I share it here.

arms that cradle water’s salt

legs that stretch from marsh to hills of oak

my belly, the bay

from hay colored loaf to mist-sprayed forest

a landscape of my fertile form

my roots swam deep, even before shell mounds

of ohlone heart and lips of costanoan

my seed springs diverse beauty, a secret kind

i call new strangers home

on tracks that still carry, familiar train whistle blowing

and through the wind of time, the accent of voices change

then converge into one language of praise

my body they relish, vistas they divine, my gentle sun breath turns their faces upward

like meyer lemon fruits they grow, in my green and luscious

to these home-comers, i am garden

and each afternoon is washed fresh by coyote wind

from the elegance of the bonsai, to the fragrant bay laurel

i hold you in this treasure

together we live this secret

this beauty

this

is san mateo

 san mateo

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