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Excerpts from W.B. in California

(Berkeley : Privately Printed, 1919)

 

It’s tea-time at the Carlton now,
And room two twenty-one
Is filled with ghosts of yesterday
And echoes of their fun.

Those happy hours in Bynner’s room
For you and you and me
Will ever strum a tender note
In days that are to be.

I pray that when we each have reached
The promised Arcady,
He’ll open wide the door and say,
“Come in and have some tea.”

— Ernest Walsh

   

The days through level plains of lowlands
Crept across in wide monotony,
Until he came.

The little hillocks here and there along the trail
Could only raise me to a vantage point
To see the endless plains:
Then he came.

And every mole-hill was a starry crest, and at the end
Across the sands, he showed me mountains
Shining to the skies...

He has given to my mind
A new vocabulary
Of ten thousand ideas.
He has given to my pen
A thirst for fresh expression.
And to my heart he has given
A sudden knowledge
Of the extent of love.

— Robert McKee Hyde

   

Some worshipers of beauty find delight
In quaint and ancient things that men have made:
Gold-crusted carvings, bowls and cups of jade,
Strange Asian ivories, vases blue and white,
Bronze dreaming Buddhas, fans, a needled flight
Of ebon birds, or strokes of magic laid
On silk where flowers live but never fade, —
The work of hands that now lie still in night.

These things you too have taken to your heart,
As Poetry has taken you to hers;
So worship beauty humbly, but the ends
Of life are deeper than the ends of art,
And better than the gift of song that stirs
Upon your lips, your friendship for your friends.

— Porter Garnett

   

The Coffin’s Heritage

They laid me on a marble slab,
They stripped me cold and clean;
They worked to garb me in a lie
As in living I had been.

My garments — me — with my stale sweat
They hid; and, straightening, took
My restful pose and cut my beard
And smoothed my tired look.

Aye, all of me that was of me
They stole and cloaked anew;
All things they took save memory —
Dead memory of you.

— George Atcheson, Jr.

   

Oh, you’ll come back —
The skies of California
Summon you.
The sunset track
Across the ocean’s blue,
The orient
Wavering above the meeting line
Of sea and clouds,
The eucalyptus tent
Above the poppy crowds,
The tousled hills,
Like small boys in the sun,
The Indian’s adobe shack,
The cedar waxwings’ trills
Will bring you back.

Oh, you’ll return
To catch the Key Route
Several nights a week.
The lights will burn
Again — again the hours streak.
We’ll gather in your room one day
And dine once more
On sandwiches and salad
And go away,
Made glad.

We’ll drift across the campus in the rain
And mock the owls;
We’ll gather, moths about a star,
And feel no pain —
Pain can’t come where you are.

Can you forget the wild acacia-trees,
The campanile — beauty’s ghost — at night,
Tamalpais, the enameled bay,
The salty breeze,
The sunset light?
You cannot go away and leave
All this behind —
The hills, round-breasted, canyoned, tall,
Where the fog-drifts weave
A pall.
Oh, you will see us all, once more.
Your heart is Californian after all.
And if for just a little while you roam,
We’ve no fears on that score —
You will come home.

— Wheaton Hale Brewer

Read More About It

  • W.B. in California: a Tribute (Berkeley : Privately Printed, 1919)
 
 

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Copyright 2002 Regents of the University of California. Email: benemann@law.berkeley.edu.