TCR Holiday Special 1998

Gregory Djanikian


Gregory Djanikian
Gregory Djanikian

Seasons greetings from Gregory Djanikian come in the form of a poem from his 1989 book, Falling Deeply into America.  It is set in 1957, when he and his family came to America from his homeland of Egypt.


...from When I First Saw Snow    Click to hear RealAudio
Tarrytown, N.Y.

Bing Crosby was singing "White Christmas"
       on the radio, we were staying at my aunt's house
       waiting for papers, my father was looking for a job.
We had trimmed the tree the night before,
       sap had run on my fingers and for the first time
       I was smelling pine wherever I went.
Anais, my cousin, was upstairs in her room
       listening to Danny and the Juniors.
Haigo was playing Monopoly with Lucy, his sister,
       Buzzy, the boy next door, had eyes for her
       and there was a rattle of dice, a shuffling
       of Boardwalk, Park Place, Marvin Gardens.
There were red bows on the Christmas tree.
It had snowed all night.
My boot buckles were clinking like small bells
       as I thumped to the door and out
       onto the grey planks of the porch dusted with snow.
The world was immaculate, new,
       even the trees had changed color,
       and when I touched the snow on the railing
       I didn't know what I had touched, ice or fire.
I heard, "I'm dreaming. . ."
I heard, "At the hop, hop, hop. . . oh, baby."
I heard "B & O" and the train in my imagination
       was whistling through the great plains.
And I was stepping off,
I was falling deeply into America.


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