Verse > Anthologies > Augustin S. Macdonald, comp. > A Collection of Verse by California Poets
Augustin S. Macdonald, comp.  A Collection of Verse by California Poets.  1914.
The Spirit of California
By Rufus Steele
I AM Ariel freed of a master;
I am Puck lacking Oberon’s ban;
When the lotus is ripe, hark my Pandean pipe
For I’m Peter the godchild of Pan.
I am Iris, my brush is a rainbow;        5
Endymion awakened am I;
In the breast of the tree Hamadryad I be—
With Sequoia I tickle the sky!
In the orchard I hang my round beacons—
Ah, Calypso, less potent thy lute!        10
And men come to seize and lean strip my trees,
For I’m nectar that sweetens the fruit.
My breath have I blown on the melon:
When the honey bee, laden, starts home
I follow his tracks, leave my kiss on his wax:        15
The poppy I’ve sprinkled with chrome.
I mask me in gold in the wheat-fields,
And I laugh at the reaper’s sure tread—
The sheaves are alined, it is me they would bind:
I am soul of the grain, I am bread.        20
In autumn men seek me in vineyards;
The purple which lures them is mine—
“The capture is nigh; quick, the press!” is their cry:
I am blood of the grape, I am wine.
O, I’m secret of life-giving rivers;        25
I am balm that exhales from Health’s cave:
Consumed in each kernel, I live on eternal,
I am Master of Life, I’m its Slave.
From the battlements of the Sierra
The Pandean pipe I swing free,        30
And my far-floating tune, in the stillness of noon,
Weaves a spell from the peaks to the sea.

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