Learn More

Dana Gioia

(24 December 1950 / Hawthorne, California)

California Hills in August


I can imagine someone who found
these fields unbearable, who climbed
the hillside in the heat, cursing the dust,
cracking the brittle weeds underfoot,
wishing a few more trees for shade.

An Easterner especially, who would scorn
the meagerness of summer, the dry
twisted shapes of black elm,
scrub oak, and chaparral, a landscape
August has already drained of green.

One who would hurry over the clinging
thistle, foxtail, golden poppy,
knowing everything was just a weed,
unable to conceive that these trees
and sparse brown bushes were alive.

And hate the bright stillness of the noon
without wind, without motion.
the only other living thing
a hawk, hungry for prey, suspended
in the blinding, sunlit blue.

And yet how gentle it seems to someone
raised in a landscape short of rain—
the skyline of a hill broken by no more
trees than one can count, the grass,
the empty sky, the wish for water.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: august, hate, summer, rain, green, water, wind, sky, tree

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (California Hills in August by Dana Gioia )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie Walter Durk (9/26/2007 8:30:00 PM)

    This is a fine poem, well-crafted and well-written. I enjoy the cadence, the flow and the topic. It conveys very clear imagery, and I can easily envision the California hills, also having lived among them. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie John Goodman (5/8/2006 9:50:00 PM)

    Dana talks about life that is surrounded by death. A uninhabitable field that looks as if there is no life holds an abundance of life. The eye can be very deceiving when we do not look close enough. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  2. Let Me Die A Youngman's Death, Roger McGough
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  5. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  6. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  7. Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
  8. Bologna: A Poem About Gold, James Arlington Wright
  9. No Man Is An Island, John Donne
  10. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost

Poem of the Day

poet James Whitcomb Riley

There! little girl; don't cry!
They have broken your doll, I know;
And your tea-set blue,
And your play-house, too,
Are things of the long ago;
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. ETC3, shuvo chakraborty
  2. SONNET II, Sir Toby Moses
  3. Tamil on decline, Rm.Shanmugam Chettiar.
  4. A Life-Lesson, Luo Zhihai
  5. The Sunprincess, Akhtar Jawad
  6. Movement incidental, Rm.Shanmugam Chettiar.
  7. Before Storm, Luo Zhihai
  8. Fate rules the outcome., Rm.Shanmugam Chettiar.
  9. Cheap labor, Nassy Fesharaki
  10. Feed the ego, Rm.Shanmugam Chettiar.
[Hata Bildir]