Treasure Island

Karl Shapiro

(10 November 1913 – 14 May 2000 / Baltimore, Maryland)

California Winter


It is winter in California, and outside
Is like the interior of a florist shop:
A chilled and moisture-laden crop
Of pink camellias lines the path; and what
Rare roses for a banquet or a bride,
So multitudinous that they seem a glut!

A line of snails crosses the golf-green lawn
From the rosebushes to the ivy bed;
An arsenic compound is distributed
For them. The gardener will rake up the shells
And leave in a corner of the patio
The little mound of empty shells, like skulls.

By noon the fog is burnt off by the sun
And the world's immensest sky opens a page
For the exercise of a future age;
Now jet planes draw straight lines, parabolas,
And x's, which the wind, before they're done,
Erases leisurely or pulls to fuzz.

It is winter in the valley of the vine.
The vineyards crucified on stakes suggest
War cemeteries, but the fruit is pressed,
The redwood vats are brimming in the shed,
And on the sidings stand tank cars of wine,
For which bright juice a billion grapes have bled.

And skiers from the snow line driving home
Descend through almond orchards, olive farms.
Fig tree and palm tree - everything that warms
The imagination of the wintertime.
If the walls were older one would think of Rome:
If the land were stonier one would think of Spain.

But this land grows the oldest living things,
Trees that were young when Pharoahs ruled the world,
Trees whose new leaves are only just unfurled.
Beautiful they are not; they oppress the heart
With gigantism and with immortal wings;
And yet one feels the sumptuousness of this dirt.

It is raining in California, a straight rain
Cleaning the heavy oranges on the bough,
Filling the gardens till the gardens flow,
Shining the olives, tiling the gleaming tile,
Waxing the dark camellia leaves more green,
Flooding the daylong valleys like the Nile.

Submitted: Monday, March 01, 2004

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

Read poems about / on: golf, fog, winter, pink, tree, green, future, snow, war, beautiful, rain, world, home, wind, dark, sky, sun, shopping, car, rose

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 Winter by Karl Shapiro )

Enter the verification code :

  • Jim Randolph (3/16/2005 12:02:00 PM)

    my memory of this last line is Flooding the lowland valleys like the nile not daylong does anyone know which is correct? (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Unknown Cat, Somanathan Iyer
  2. Around us, Somanathan Iyer
  3. Don't ask certain people what food you h.., Dr.V.K. Kanniappan
  4. Empty Cartridge, Col Muhamad Khalid Khan
  5. Your Love, abigail sikwenda
  6. The Missing Feeling, abigail sikwenda
  7. Lights Off, abigail sikwenda
  8. Situationships, abigail sikwenda
  9. Kind leaning, hasmukh amathalal
  10. I Dreamt About You, abigail sikwenda

Poem of the Day

poet George Gordon Byron

So we'll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart still be as loving,
And the moon still be as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

 

Member Poem

[Hata Bildir]