Winter Poems - Poems For Winter - California Winter - Poem by Karl Shapiro | Poem Hunter

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California Winter - Poem by Karl Shapiro

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.


Comments about California Winter by Karl Shapiro

  • Gold Star - 189,079 Points Susan Williams (1/11/2016 6:15:00 PM)

    But this land grows the oldest living things,
    Trees that were young when Pharoahs ruled the world, ====
    ........ There doesn't seem to be much that this author can't handle, does there? Philosophy, grief, joy, beauty, war, despair, hope
    . (Report) Reply

    27 person liked.
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  • Rookie 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

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Poems About Winter

  1. 1. Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind , William Shakespeare
  2. 2. An Old Man's Winter Night , Robert Frost
  3. 3. Winter , William Shakespeare
  4. 4. A Winter Night , Robert Burns
  5. 5. A Winter Night , Sara Teasdale
  6. 6. To Winter , William Blake
  7. 7. Winter Night , Boris Pasternak
  8. 8. Against Winter , Charles Simic
  9. 9. Winter Memories , Henry David Thoreau
  10. 10. Emmonsail's Heath In Winter , John Clare
  11. 11. Approach Of Winter , William Carlos Williams
  12. 12. After The Winter , Claude McKay
  13. 13. Blue Winter , Robert Francis
  14. 14. Winter Evening , Georg Trakl
  15. 15. Winter , Walter de la Mare
  16. 16. Winter Complaint , Ogden Nash
  17. 17. A Winter Bluejay , Sara Teasdale
  18. 18. Winter Trees , William Carlos Williams
  19. 19. Winter: My Secret , Christina Georgina Rossetti
  20. 20. Winter Solitude , Matsuo Basho
  21. 21. Scotland's Winter , Edwin Muir
  22. 22. Spring And Winter , William Shakespeare
  23. 23. A City Winter , Frank O'Hara
  24. 24. Winter Stores , Charlotte Brontë
  25. 25. Winter Wonderland , Joseph T. Renaldi
  26. 26. Winter Song , Wilfred Owen
  27. 27. A Winter Dawn , Lucy Maud Montgomery
  28. 28. Winter Dusk , Walter de la Mare
  29. 29. Woods In Winter , Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  30. 30. Winter-Time , Robert Louis Stevenson
  31. 31. Winter Promises , Marge Piercy
  32. 32. Winter , Robert Southey
  33. 33. From Spring Days To Winter (For Music) , Oscar Wilde
  34. 34. First Winter Rain , Matsuo Basho
  35. 35. Winter Solstice , Anonymous
  36. 36. Flowers In Winter , John Greenleaf Whittier
  37. 37. A Winter Day , Lucy Maud Montgomery
  38. 38. To Winter , Claude McKay
  39. 39. A Winter Ride , Amy Lowell
  40. 40. California Winter , Karl Shapiro
  41. 41. A Winter Daybreak Above Vence , James Arlington Wright
  42. 42. Now Winter Nights Enlarge , Thomas Campion
  43. 43. A Spell Before Winter , Howard Nemerov
  44. 44. Sonnet 97: How Like A Winter Hath My Abs.. , William Shakespeare
  45. 45. Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl , John Greenleaf Whittier
  46. 46. Birds At Winter Nightfall (Triolet) , Thomas Hardy
  47. 47. Winter Garden , Matsuo Basho
  48. 48. A Song Of Winter Weather , Robert William Service
  49. 49. Winter In The Country , Claude McKay
  50. 50. To Juan At The Winter Solstice , Robert Graves
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