Another hymn to add to the river of poesy and prose about the fabled land. Dedicated to Morgan.
O California, golden California! Your myth
glistens with sun’s splendor in my mind, of land
crowning America, yet slipping her grip, republic
found and established ever in its right and independence.
What glow of promise you exude that guides men
through ages to the Pacific shore? What metal gilds
the gate that limits and encloses vast, worldly port,
that speaks of a new nobility soon to be unlimited?
It would seem ancient Arcadia far outshines you
as land of Socrates and Plato, and Hesperia ranks
far above you as father of Cicero and Caesar: men
who ruled the world or watched it fall apart in chaos.
Yet some destiny is written for you in yellow ink
with diamond grain upon Cilo’s still unrolled book,
a prophesy of prosperity to rival all of China’s might
an oracle of power magnificent to shrink the whole Pacific.
Does Civilization’s progress end at this end of world
that greets the sinking sun? It seems it is here she took
sand and taught men to craft it into machine to unite
the world in unseen link, perfecting science and art.
Will she take up in Sacramento’s valley long abode,
or soon move upon the waters to the islands? Make
great circle or return again by way she came, enticed
by the universities men build for her luxurious palace?
Perhaps she will prefer California as her throne
and rich domain, grant easy loaf to the scores that
toil beneath the burning noon, and not rise until
her work is done, or cut short in war by men’s mania.
Perhaps the east of this empire will fall, and this best
or only part shall remain as last promise and mystery,
rise as second Hyperborea to match and excel the
legends of the past. God alone can speak the verdict.