California Prodigal


The eye follows, the land
Slips upward, creases down, forms   
The gentle buttocks of a young   
Giant. In the nestle,
Old adobe bricks, washed of   
Whiteness, paled to umber,
Await another century.

Star Jasmine and old vines
Lay claim upon the ghosted land,   
Then quiet pools whisper   
Private childhood secrets.

Flush on inner cottage walls   
Antiquitous faces,
Used to the gelid breath
Of old manors, glare disdainfully   
Over breached time.

Around and through these   
Cold phantasmatalities,   
He walks, insisting
To the languid air,
Activity, music,
A generosity of graces.

His lupin fields spurn old
Deceit and agile poppies dance
In golden riot.   Each day is
Fulminant, exploding brightly   
Under the gaze of his exquisite   
Sires, frozen in the famed paint   
Of dead masters. Audacious   
Sunlight casts defiance
At their feet.

Maya Angelou, “California Prodigal” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (1994)
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