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Poems About California

Table of Contents

  1. California by Lizzie F. Baldy
  2. California by Arthur Guiterman
  3. Los Angeles by Lizzie F. Baldy
  4. Golden Gate Sunset by William Henry Dawson
  5. The Prospector by N. Howard Thorp
  6. San Francisco by Bret Harte
  7. Sunset in the Golden Gate by W. E. Hutchinson
  8. San Francisco Bay by W. E. Hutchinson

  1. California

    by Lizzie F. Baldy

    Not alone where the City of Angels reposes,
    Nestling down at the foot of the hills,
    Nor in the beauty her orange groves discloses,
    Where its perfume the balmy air fills;
    Is all of the grandeur which thrills us with rapture,
    But where nature's so proudly sublime,
    That we count back the years, forgetting the future,
    Seeing only the grand marks of time.

    Then give me your mind, and far over the valley,
    I will lead you to my childhood home;
    Where the miners sang out their prospecting sally,
    There ever seeking the gold as they roam.
    Where the tops of the trees seem to reach to heaven,
    And Sierra Nevada, snow-crowned,
    Looks down o'er the valley from daylight till even,
    'Tis there echo repeats the glad sound.

    Where El Dorado still hides her nuggets of gold,
    And the stamp of the quartz-mill is heard,
    And there Placerville, too, with her treasures untold,
    And Coloma, whose orchards engird
    The bright little village, where long years ago
    The first precious golden ore was found;
    Ever since then the muddy waters' flow
    Sing of the gold elf under the ground.

    And then there are the hills which encircled Sly Fork,
    Where my brother and I oft have played,
    Come, listen to the song of the stone-breaker lark,
    Through the grand old woods we have oft strayed,
    To gather the lilies which towered so high,
    Lifting up their sweet blossoms of snow;
    And the clear mountain stream underneath the blue sky,
    Where the silver-trout dart to and fro.

    My home has always been in the fair Golden State,
    And I love both her mountains and vales;
    There are legends, also, all too long to relate,
    Of the miners who've worked in her dales;
    Yet not only for these do I love my bright home,
    Now she holds all the heart ere held dear;
    The friends of my childhood will never more roam
    Till eternity claims the last year.

    My heart would be here though I dwelt in other lands,
    'T is here Nature's rare beauties are crowned
    With God's best, fairest gifts scattered over our strands,
    From mountains to where white waves rebound;
    And when you shall roam 'neath our blossoms of snow,
    Then may beauty and friendship all tend
    To bind your heart here where the soft zephyrs blow,
    Until then, Adios, gentle Friend.

  2. California

    by Arthur Guiterman

    Under the drift of the rills,
    Under the crags of the glen,
    God put the gold in the hills,
    And where the gold was, came men.

    Armor-clad the Spaniard came, russet-robed the priest;
    Jingling spur and clinking hoof, sinewy and brown,
    Rode the clans of Mexico, spreading north and east—
    Mission, fort, adobe hut, cattle range and town

    Then the Gringo riflemen, few but strong of hand,
    Raised their flag of clustered stars, vowed to take and hold;
    Still in happy drowsyhead dreamed the pleasant land
    When, to call a hungry world, thrilled the cry of "Gold!"

    How the eager myriads, casting all aside,
    Hurried thither, horse and foot, wagon, steam and sail,
    Pressing on a thousand more where a hun dred died,
    Crossed the Isthmus, looped the Horn, trudged the Desert Trail!

    Oh, how young and brave they were! Generous and gay,
    Sons of Thor and Hercules, rude but half divine,
    Jostling mountains, bending streams, tossing hills away,
    Laughing Titans, reckless boys, lads of Forty-nine!

    Canyon, gulch and furrowed bar, drift of precious ore,
    Yellow-dusted river bed, mountains treasure-veined,
    Pitted ridge and shafted cliff yielded up their store;
    Then the madness ebbed and died; but the men remained.

    Graver grown, the men remained; toil inured they raised
    Prideful towns upon the plain, ports be side the sea,
    Driving roads of stone and steel where the bison grazed,
    Building for the day they knew and the day to be.

    Over mangled mountainsides grow the vineyards now—
    Waves of bloom of orchard boughs toss their tinted foams;
    Riven slope and blasted swale know the quickening plow;
    Where the miner pitched his camp rise a million homes.

    Grandly the Purpose fulfills,
    Hid though the How and the When;
    God put the gold in the hills,
    And where the gold was, are men.

  3. Los Angeles

    by Lizzie F. Baldy

    Did you e'er roam in this beautiful place,
    Where the orange trees' golden fruit
    Hangs in richest clusters over your face,
    And breezes are sweet as the lute?
    Oh! here is the place where the fairies dwell,
    And here's where they weave their mystic spell.

    Did you ever see these clusters so white—
    The beautiful bridal flowers,
    Where the sky is so blue, the sun so bright,
    They beguile all the passing hours?
    Did you e'er stray in the lovely bowers
    While fairies slept in the orange flowers?

    Did you ever visit the vineyards vast,
    With the luscious fruit all around,
    And dreamt the vineyards of bright, sunny France
    Had crossed the broad sea at a bound?
    Ah, no! they are ours—our bright, golden shore
    The wealth of a nation has yet in its store.

    This is Natures beautiful palace home,
    With an orchestra all her own;
    Clad in red and gold the choristers come
    With a song to the north unknown.
    Hither and thither they flit through bowers,
    Drinking the nectar enclosed in flowers

    Flora's fair court in our valley is held;
    Here the flowers of every clime
    Bow at her feet with their wealth of perfume—
    Their blooms ever seem in their prime.
    We'll weave a wreath of her brightest and best,
    As a floral tribute from the far southwest.

    Here stand old 'dobes, built long years before
    You or I saw the light of the sun;
    What tales they could tell; what songs could sing—
    What happiness here lost or won.
    Bright-eyed Spanish maids with orange blooms crowned,
    Or the soul's deep despair in heart-blood drowned.

    Come you to the City of Angels now,
    While Nature's bright carpet of green
    Is spread over valley, plateau and hill,
    And Spring is our beautiful queen.
    King Winter, defiant, looks with a frown
    Where he never can claim Spring's floral crown.

    He rules in the mountains, strong in his might,
    Snow-crowned in his realm so high—
    His subjects the grizzly, lion and deer—
    His white crown seems piercing the sky.
    Well, let him reign there—he never can come,
    Bringing bleak desolation to our sweet home.

    To the coast!—the coast!—and we haste away
    Down to Santa Monica's vale,
    Where hoary old Neptune casts up at our feet,
    His treasures so fair and so frail.
    Never was nature so truly prolific,
    As on the coast of our noble Pacific.

  4. Golden Gate Sunset

    by William Henry Dawson

    Oh, the beauty of a sunset
    Viewed from San Francisco Bay!
    It just seems to make the soul let
    Loose from earth and fly away
    To a land of love and glory—
    To a feast of sweet repose:
    Language cannot tell the story—
    He who sees it, only, knows.

    Oh, the loveliness of sunset,
    Viewed from 'Frisco's Golden Gate!
    It lifts the soul where it can get
    A glimpse of heavenly estate.
    Soul that's weary—heavy-laden,
    Bent beneath the chastening rod,
    When it views a golden sunset,
    Touches hands with Nature's God.

  5. The Prospector

    by N. Howard Thorp

    Twelve years have I lived in this desolate place,
    Far from all habitation—not even a face
    Have I seen, save Apaches, those unwelcome guests,
    Pass me by as I work with my pick in the breast.

    Am I one of the millions whose brain-string has snapped,
    Who sees visions of gold in those canyons unmapped,
    Unexplored, unprospected, that lay just ahead,
    Near the Arc of the Bow where so many lie dead?

    Like all miners I ve visions, which may some day come true,
    Of where I would go and what I would do—
    If I'd but once find the vein which carries the ore,
    My days of hard work would forever be o'er.

    There's a frenzy of fury that boils in one's veins—
    Will it pay for the hardships, will it pay for my pains?
    'T is a distorted finger that beckons, it seems,
    To the land of illusions, the place of my dreams.

  6. San Francisco

    by Bret Harte

    Serene, indifferent of Fate,
    Thou sittest at the Western Gate;

    Upon thy heights so lately won
    Still slant the banners of the sun;

    Thou seest the white seas strike their tents,
    O Warder of two Continents!

    And scornful of the peace that flies
    Thy angry winds and sullen skies,

    Thou drawest all things, small or great,
    To thee, beside the Western Gate.

    O lion’s whelp! that hidest fast
    In jungle growth of spire and mast,

    I know thy cunning and thy greed,
    Thy hard high lust and wilful deed,

    And all thy glory loves to tell
    Of specious gifts material.

    Drop down, O fleecy Fog! and hide
    Her sceptic sneer, and all her pride.

    Wrap her, O Fog, in gown and hood
    Of her Franciscan Brotherhood.

    Hide me her faults, her sin and blame;
    With thy gray mantle cloak her shame!

    So shall she, cowlèd, sit and pray
    Till morning bears her sins away.

    Then rise, O fleecy Fog, and raise
    The glory of her coming days;

    Be as the cloud that flecks the seas
    Above her smoky argosies.

    When forms familiar shall give place
    To stranger speech and newer face;

    When all her throes and anxious fears
    Lie hushed in the repose of years;

    When Art shall raise and Culture lift
    The sensual joys and meaner thrift,

    And all fulfilled the vision, we
    Who watch and wait shall never see,—

    Who, in the morning of her race,
    Toiled fair or meanly in our place,—

    But, yielding to the common lot,
    Lie unrecorded and forgot.

  7. Sunset in the Golden Gate

    by W. E. Hutchinson

    When day is done there falls a solemn hush:
    The birds are silent in their humble nest.
    Then comes the Master Artist with his brush,
    And paints with brilliant touch the golden west.

    The blended colors sweep across the sky,
    And add a halo at the close of day.
    Their roseate hues far-reaching banners fly,
    And gild the restless waters of the bay.

    Mount Tamalpais stands in purple 'tire
    Against the background, Phoenixlike, ornate:
    Apollo drives his chariot of fire
    Between the portals of the Golden Gate.

    No other hand than His who rules on high,
    Could wield the brush and spread such bright array
    Upon the outstretched canvas of the sky,
    Then draw the curtain of departing day.

  8. San Francisco Bay

    by W. E. Hutchinson

    Where once the Indian's canoe roamed o'er the bay,
    With silent motion, sped by warrior's hand;
    The sea gulls wheel and turn in columns gray,
    And on the beach the miners' cabins stand;

    Now, white-sailed ships sail outward with the tide,
    The stately ocean liners lead the van;
    And iron warships anchor side by side,
    With sister ships from China and Japan.

    Italian fishing boats with lateen sails go by,
    To cast their lines outside the Golden Gate;
    And ferryboats their ceaseless traffic ply,
    From mole to mole, from early morn till late.

    And so the march of commerce takes its way,
    And every clime contributes of its store
    Where once the Indian's tepee held its sway,
    Now stands the Golden City on the shore.

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