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West Coast Poems :-)

Posted by prairiemoon2 zone 6/MA (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 20, 08 at 14:37

I realized as I was signing off the main thread, that most of us are on the same 'weather page' therefore the November poem just couldn't hit home for Kathy and Denise. So I went looking for a poem about California in November. Well, I didn't find one, but I did find some really neat California poems. I am still looking for a fall poem for the West Coast, so if anyone knows of one... :-)

This Poet was born in New York, spent his childhood in France and his adult life he spent in San Francisco where they have named a street after him. I tried to leave the formatting as it was but GW was having none of it, so I changed it. :-)

The Changing Light
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The changing light at San Francisco
is none of your East Coast light
none of your pearly light of Paris
The light of San Francisco is a sea light
an island light
And the light of fog blanketing the hills
drifting in at night
through the Golden Gate to lie on the city at dawn
And then the halcyon late mornings
after the fog burns off
and the sun paints white houses with the sea light of Greece
with sharp clean shadows
making the town look like it had just been painted

But the wind comes up at four o'clock sweeping the hills
And then the veil of light of early evening
And then another scrim
when the new night fog
floats in
And in that vale of light
the city drifts
anchorless upon the ocean


David St John was born in Fresno and I'm guessing had some fond memories of a garden and a grandmother?

by David St. John

Vivian St. John (1981-1974)

There is a train inside this iris:

You think I'm crazy, & like to say boyish
& outrageous things. No, there is

A train inside this iris.

It's a child's finger bearded in black banners.
A single window like a child's nail,

A darkened porthole lit by the white, angular face

Of an old woman, or perhaps the boy beside her in the stuffy,
Hot compartment. Her hair is silver, & sweeps

Back off her forehead, onto her cold and bruised shoulders.

The prairies fail along Chicago. Past the five
Lakes. Into the black woods of her New York; & as I bend

Close above the iris, I see the train

Drive deep into the damp heart of its stem, & the gravel
Of the garden path

Cracks under my feet as I walk this long corridor

Of elms, arched
Like the ceiling of a French railway pier where a boy

With pale curls holding

A fresh iris is waving goodbye to a grandmother, gazing
A long time

Into the flower, as if he were looking some great

Distance, or down an empty garden path & he believes a man
Is walking toward him, working

Dull shears in one hand; & now believe me: The train

Is gone. The old woman is dead, & the boy. The iris curls,
On its stalk, in the shade

Of those elms: Where something like the icy & bitter fragrance

In the wake of a woman who's just swept past you on her way

& you remain.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: West Coast Poems :-)

Lovely PM, thanks for thinking of us out here in the wild west !

Kathy in Napa

RE: Re:West Coast Poems :-)

And the ultimate West Coast Poem...

"Hotel California"

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
'This could be Heaven or this could be Hell'
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain,
'Please bring me my wine'
He said, 'We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine'
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They livin' it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said 'We are all just prisoners here, of our own device'
And in the master's chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can't kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
'Relax,' said the night man,
'We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave!'

RE: West Coast Poems :-)

Maybe not the fall poem you had in mind but very apropos of recent events.

From Robinson Jeffers:

Fire On The Hills

The deer were bounding like blown leaves
Under the smoke in front the roaring wave of the brush-fire;
I thought of the smaller lives that were caught.
Beauty is not always lovely; the fire was beautiful, the terror
Of the deer was beautiful; and when I returned
Down the back slopes after the fire had gone by, an eagle
Was perched on the jag of a burnt pine,
Insolent and gorged, cloaked in the folded storms of his shoulders
He had come from far off for the good hunting
With fire for his beater to drive the game; the sky was merciless
Blue, and the hills merciless black,
The sombre-feathered great bird sleepily merciless between them.
I thought, painfully, but the whole mind,
The destruction that brings an eagle from heaven is better than men.

And it took some searching, but I found a poem by Charles Bukowski ("Poet Laureate of Skid Row") fit for general consumption:

Rain by Charles Bukowski

a symphony orchestra.
there is a thunderstorm,
they are playing a Wagner overture
and the people leave their seats under the trees
and run inside to the pavilion
the women giggling, the men pretending calm,
wet cigarettes being thrown away,
Wagner plays on, and then they are all under the
pavilion. the birds even come in from the trees
and enter the pavilion and then it is the Hungarian
Rhapsody #2 by Lizst, and it still rains, but look,
one man sits alone in the rain
listening. the audience notices him. they turn
and look. the orchestra goes about its
business. the man sits in the night in the rain,
listening. there is something wrong with him,
isn't there?
he came to hear the

And if you're ever in San Francisco, you must visit City Lights bookstore.

Here is a link that might be useful: City Lights

RE: West Coast Poems :-) was fun reading those lyrics again. I didn't remember the neat description of driving through the desert before they get into the Hotel. It made me think of Los Angeles, living in the fast lane and that final verse just gives it such a creepy twist, that it's never been a favorite. lol When I was younger, it did do a really good job of reminding you of how deceptive the fast lane can be. I imagine it was a very popular song in California though. Just like the hit song about Boston...I really dislike that song, but because it refers to Boston it gets played here a lot. is hard to imagine living with fires all the time. I had not thought about actually watching them. The Rain poem really left a lingering picture in my mind.

I looked at the link and I didn't realize Ferlinghetti also was part of the bookstore and publishing. Well...sorry that I haven't found a California Autumn poem. I wonder if the seasons change differently there and there is more of an emphasis on summer?


RE: West Coast Poems :-)

we just got a message from gb's DH that their satelite link is on the fritz again....

RE: West Coast Poems :-) mis-post

opps - I had the wrong thread open... I'll repost that....

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