SAX C.. VUI.OS
ROBERT ERNEST COWAN
CARRIE STEVENS WALTER
A. C. EATON & CO.
Copyright, 7907, by
.V, : :.?>. I
Portrait ........ Frontispiece
S= IN THE SUNSHINE :- Page
California ........ 13
Indecision ........ 15
Mendocino . . . . . . . . 17
Maternity ..... ... 19
Through Lake County ...... 21
Scattering the Mists ...... 24
Santa Clara Valley (May, 1889) .... 26
A Thought of Farewell . . . . . . 29
On Monte Piedra ....... 31
At Monterey ........ 33
The Fate of Genius ...... 34
AtLakeport ........ 36
To Adolph Sutro ....... 38
Sunset at Santa Barbara . 39
IN THE SHADOW :-
Un Suefio de la Noche ...... 43
As I Rock My Baby 47
At Last 52
In the Desert 54
Night at New Almaden 56
A Night Ride 58
On the Border-Land of Tears 62
At the Dawning 63
Fragments (from An Idyl of Santa Barbara) * . 65
A Dedication 68
Spanish Song ....... 69
The Ciy of the Spirit . . , . . . 71
A Woman's Response ...... 73
After All 75
And Yet 81
In Bondage 82
At Santa Cruz 91
Coming Home ....... 95
Willing to Go Forward 99
The Legend of Amapola 102
Alum Rock Canyon . . . . . .104
In Memory of Mrs. E. O. Smith . . . .106
To Ina Coolbrith 109
At the Cross-road 110
Santa Cruz, December 23, 1890. . . . 112
Mt. Hamilton 113
Monte Piedra 120
May 2, 1903 . . 124
Some Day 126
Pip and Ingle |29
What Is It to Be Akin 130
Fallibility . . .133
Fragment . . . . . . . .135
Memorial Tributes to Carrie Stevens
Walter . 139
Whirled from the altar of Life, from its innermost secret
Warm with the memory of fires that have burned themselves
low at its shrine',
Fragrant with incense of days that were p-ure as an angel's
Gathered in verse-urns at latt, are thest scattered rose-ashes
To the memory of my father,
from whom, with my life-breath, I drew the instincts
of song; to whom I owe what possibilities of its expres
sion may be mine; who was to me the embodiment of all
that is true and chivalrous in manhood, and who is to
me as one who has but gone before to prepare a place for
me, I dedicate this first published collection of my verses.
CARRIE STE yENS WA L TER .
San Jos t, Cai., August, iSyo.
In the Sunshine
The old Pacific harshly calls to Mendocino's
But sighs at Santa Barbara's feet his love-song
o'er and o'er ;
The giant redwoods greeting send to orange,
fig and lime,
And Siskiyou holds out a cup for wine oi
Proud Shasta's snow-crowned head looks out
to St. Helena's base,
Where Napa's vine-wrought beauty smiles
in fair Sonoma's face ;
Mount Hamilton reads reverently the mys
teries of the skies,
Where Santa Clara's valley-sweep in fruited
14 Rose- Ashes
Armed Alcatraz stands sentinel beside the
Beyond whose portals Farallones, like threat
ening shadows, wait;
The commerce of the world steals by, unchal
lenged, day by day,
But Tamalpais counts every ship in San Fran
Across the San Joaquin's broad reach of vines
and waving wheat,
The old Sierras pour their gold to San Diego's
And northern pine and southern palm woo
sea-winds from the west,
While over all a spirit broods of romance and
The rose entwines the orange-tree, the sea-
winds rock the pines,
And wheat-sheaves lift their golden heads
amid the grapes' green vines ;
The latest glow of sunset still enfolds it ever
While Strength and Beauty stand hand-
clasped, upon this Western shore.
"My will is bondsman to the dark,
I sit within a helmless bark."
I think, to every human soul,
Who truly feels life's fullest need,
There comes a time, along the years,
When Heaven's designs are hard to read;
A veil seems drawn before the day,
A light gone out where late one shone,
The footsteps falter by the way
With voiceless speech the heart makes
"My will is bondsman to the dark,
I sit within a helmless bark!"
Through years, perhaps, with footstep firm,
We fearless walk the varied way ;
Life's burdens seem not hard to bear
While glad around us shines the day;
16 Rose- Ashes
But suddenly our joyous song
Is strangely still, we know not why,
A weakness, where but late was strength,
Creeps 'round the heart, we faintly cry :
"My will is bondsman to the dark,
I sit within a helrnless bark!"
Yet, soon or late, there comes, I think,
To all who feel life's highest aim,
Reaction from this chill despair,
Our ghosts return to whence they came ;
We rise, unconquered, from the gloom,
Our brows seem fanned by heavenly wings ;
Hand-clasped with Hope we breast life's
The while the heart triumphant sings :
"My will is master of the dark,
And angel hands will guide my bark !"
Mendocino 1 7
Like a host of giant warriors,
Mendocino's mountains stand,
Warrior-giants grim and solemn,
Face to face and hand to hand.
Mail of madrone, spears of redwood,
Cloud and sunshine helmeted,
Breastplate of the fir and oak-tree,
Sunlight, dim with faint blue shadows,
Wraps them with a soft caress,
Leaving not on spear or breastplate
One harsh curve of ruggedness.
Resinous odors, breath of hop-fields,
Fragrance of the sweet wild rose,
Somnorific, steal upon them,
Lull them to a soft repose.
18 Rose- Ashes
Mendocino's grand, gray mountains,
Warrior-giants grim and hoar,
Hushed into eternal silence
By some stern edict of yore.
I hold two dainty little feet
Clasped in my warm and loving hand,
So soft and pink, they sure must be
Two rose-leaves blown from fairy-land.
I hold a tiny, helpless form,
Clasped closely to my happy heart,
My baby ! mine by right divine,
The right of pain a mother's part.
O beauteous life, so fair and new,
That yesterday was blent with mine !
O wondrous soul, so lately sprung
A sparklet from the Source Divine!
God's precious gifts, you come to me
Embodied in this helpless form ;
My mother-heart accepts the trust
As flowers, the sunshine soft and warm.
My brow seems decked by coronet,
The fairest earth has ever seen,
The diadem of Motherhood,
And God's own hand has crowned me queen
What realms are opened to my sight !
I tread the regions of the blest ;
And all because this little form
Lies fair and helpless on my breast ;
A tiny bud, whose flower complete
May bloom to bless my waning years.
Ah, Motherhood, you hold a bliss
That best may be expressed in tears.
Through Lakt County 21
Through Lake County
A lake, which seems a silver mirror, swung
Up near the clear blue sky,
Around whose loveliness the guardian hills
In circling beauty lie.
Mountains, that hide within their silent breasts
Ashes of fires long spent,
Whose torches lighted, through the night of
Chaos' black firmament.
Cedars and pines, which strike their piercing
In cold volcanoes' hearts,
That throbbed their lives out in some dead
As human pain departs.
Valleys, whose curves are like the carved
The hand of sculptor makes,
Inheritors of all the riches left
By long departed lakes.
Unnumbered springs and rills, which from the
In sunshine leap and play,
And take, down mountain-side and valley-
Their graceful, sinuous way.
This lake, that lonely watched through untold
Orion his pathway trace,
Now takes in Beauty's Western Wonderland,
By right, an honored place.
Above the tombs of countless ages dead,
Nature's mute battle-fields,
Beauty and Strength have wrought their mys
Order his sceptre wields.
The burned-out passion of a dead world's pain,
This granite dust of time,
Is re-incarnate in the lovely form
Of flower and tree and vine.
The Spirit of the Past, that wrought its work
And seemed to pass away,
Through loam and vine and grape is born
The rich wine of to-day.
The old-world trees, whose lavishness of leaf
Formed this rich valley-soil,
Yielded their lives in travail to the fruits
That now reward our toil.
Thus ceaselessly the mystic wheel of Life
Makes its eternal round ;
No link is lost, no hurry mars its sweep,
One perfect whole is found.
24 Rose- Ashes
Scattering the Mists
A reminiscence of the Grand Encampment of the G. A. K.,
held in San Francisco, August. 1886.
Stealing over crinkled sand-dunes, creeps the
sea-fog on the town,
Silent as a spirit legion, through the shadows
Through the streets aflame with banners, all
a-throb with human life,
Cowers the sea-fog sore affrighted all the
place with tumult rife.
Measured tread of marching thousands, blaze
of flambeau, blare of guns,
Lingering shouts of, "Sherman !" "Logan !"
"Honor to our nation's sons !"
All the air a-thrill with music, roses strewn
along the ways,
This the tribute California, to each honored
Scattering the Mists 25
Backward over crinkled sand-dunes, as
affrighted spectres flee,
Routed, beaten, creeps the sea-fog, sinks into
the sheltering sea.
Santa Clara Valley
Like some fair island, ocean-girt and calm,
Whose soft enchantment of dim distances,
Beneath the ardent glory of the Sun,
Bewilders with its ever-changing grace
This wondrous valley lies.
Its clasping waves,
The tawny billows of the hills that rise
Brown-streaked with curving rows of ripening
These, crossed and cut by many a green ravine
Thick-wooded, dank, that with long fingers
To envious stop yet, witless, only aids
The upward reaching of the hills to meet
The soft, cool bosom of the clouds, which
To their caressing, as fond mothers do.
Santa Clara Valley 27
Above the eastern range, the morning sun
Flaunts the first banners of the dawn ; and here
Mount Hamilton clasps hands with Mission
Then, like a king, he marshals toward the
A phalanx of the lesser hills.
And dim and dimmer grow, 'till far beyond
Where Almaden darts sharply out to bar
Their way, they stop at last, a hovering band,
And, like tired children, cuddle down to rest
In the warm sands of sheltered Montere} r .
Along the western boundary, holding back
The hoarse Pacific, that unceasing frets
And foams against their sturdy barrier,
The hills of Santa Cruz lift stately heads ;
Their sides green-flecked with laurel and
Their summits, dark against the sunset sky,
Close serried with the giant redwood trees,
Which stand like sentinels upon the heights,
The fortressed heights that guard this
From Monterey to San Francisco Bay,
No break is found along this western wall
Through which reluctant sunshine could steal
Despite the formal farewell of the Day,
For just one little stolen, hurried kiss,
One latest, last farewell (as lovers do)
To Santa Clara Valley, looking out
With shaded eyes that fain would lure it back.
These are the sheltering walls that clasp
Their bounding lines a world \vithin itself;
An Orient of fairest fruits and flowers ;
An Occident of beauty fresh and new,
Where polar snow and tropic sun seem blent
In flower and fruit of bending orchard trees.
This Santa Clara Valley, lying fair
Within the clasping boundary of her hills!
A Thought of Farewell 29
A Thought of Farewell
I think, my friend, the Hindoo version wrong,
Which claims Nirvana is forgetfulness,
That all experience of the ages gone
Leaves not one memory to curse or bless.
I love to call it by another name,
Nirvana "All-remembering" "All-divine,"
And think that in a grander, larger life,
A clearer, broader memory will be mine.
That all I've been, along the countless years
Since first from Chaos' fount my being
That all I've felt of joy or wept of tears,
Or known of love or disappointment's pang,
May stand to me in that clear, larger life,
For some grand purpose in the all-wise plan,
With God's good reason for the life intense
That fierce through all my forms of being
Then, in that time, I know that not the least
Of memory's buds that into flower expand,
Will be your friendship and your aid to me
Through all the years, since first a kindly
A helping hand, that was a guide and shield,
You reached to me a searcher for the
An humble wayside gleaner in the field
Wherein you labored with man's glorious
Then every cheering tone, your words of
And every kindly grasping of the hand,
Will shine as stars in memory's firmament.
That clasps the glory of Nirvana's land.
On Monte Piedra
On Monte Piedra
(A Mountlet in Lake County.)
These stoic rocks, profoundly still,
What secrets could they not disclose !
Ebbing of seas, and rise of hill,
Formation's mighty travail-throes.
Tell me, O rocks, what underlies
Old St. Helena's massive base?
What fount of Nature's mysteries
Hides back of Cobb's majestic face?
What master spirit wrought the plan
Of Loconomi's graceful curves?
And trod it first, some god-like man,
With giant form and iron nerves,
Who grasped with powerful hand the crude,
Fierce chaos of a rounding world,
And warring atoms, strong and rude,
Into harmonious being hurled?
Tell me the thought that wrought the smile
Of pine and cedar on these hills ;
What merriment knew earth the while,
That brought such laugh of rippling rills?
What thought divine incarnates Man,
Who walks his little round to death ?
Teach me the wisdom of the plan
That mixed these winds with his hot breath.
And ere he broke the calm above
The slumbers of the countless years,
W T hat knew ye of the pangs of love,
Or smiles of joy, or passion's tears?
Tell me what prophecies you draw
Of future from the past you've seen ;
And judge, by God's unchanging law,
What is to be from what has been.
At Monterey 33
Along the beach beyond the dunes,
I wandered one fair summer day,
And heard the waves' low-whispered runes
Come up the Bay of Monterey.
The long gray reach of sanded shore,
The glinting of the sunlit bay,
The breakers murmuring evermore
Their low sweet tales of Monterey,
All these became a part of me,
And mine the rapture of the day
The day I watched the summer sea
Creep in and capture Monterey.
When life's last gates swing out for me,
And stands revealed Heaven's first sweet
I wonder, will its radiance be
Fairer than this, at Monterey?
The Fate of Genius
To Margaret Mather.
To consecrate your life to one high aim ;
To merge your hopes, desires, ambitions, loves,
In one strong purpose loyalty to Art ;
To climb to heights where few have dared to
Alone, uncomprehended by the crowd
That toil, and fret, and struggle far below ;
Self-dedicated, to forego the fate
Of lowlier women, with the joys and hopes,
The loves and cares that round their little
This is the fate of Genius this is yours,
O, peerless Woman, in whose regal soul
All grand emotions find their exponent.
For you are of the rare and royal few,
Whose springs of life, by Heaven's divine
The Fate of Genius 35
Have source in some far, snow-born fountain-
And run forever in deep gorges, cut
Outside the placid channel wherein flows
The stream of commoner Humanity.
36 Rose- Ashes
The circling hills that guard Clear Lake, like
lazy giants lie
Beneath the ardent sunshine, with their faces
to the sky ;
Konockti sees across her waves Night's elfin
And loves to catch and fling to her the first red
lights of Day.
Back from the lake the pretty town goes danc
ing to the hills,
That greet her with a gift of flowers and sere
nade of rills ;
The wine of life is in the air that wafts the
From resinous pines and odorous flowers to
lake and shore and town.
The fairest land beneath the sun, within whose
At Lakeport 37
The glory of an emerald earth o'erhung by
And where, like threads of finest gold, the yel
low sun-rays fall,
Where Beauty makes her dwelling-place, and
Heaven is over all.
To Adolph Sutro
Where the radiant land of sunset opens wide
its western door,
Where Pacific's restless breakers reach their
arms out evermore,
There is wrought a wondrous poem on th
tablets of the rocks,
Wrought with pen of blast and pick-axe, as
with throes of earthquake shocks.
Truest instincts of the poet matchless lines oi
Storied places yield their tribute to enhance
the mystic grace ;
Through the long-advancing ages, gleam of
days or gloom of nights,
California's sons will thank you for your poem,
Sunset at Santa Barbara 39
Sunset at Santa Barbara
The mountains stand,
Clearly defined, against the blood-red sky;
The waves, retreating from the rocky strand,
Into the mist and gloom go hand in hand
To sob and die.
The night comes on,
As day retires with crimson banner furled,
One bright star sits in beauty all alone
Upon her pensive brow, as on a throne,
Queen of the world.
In such a light,
So filled with glory, let me ever lie ;
With mountains, sunset, and the hush of
The waves retreating till they seem to smite
The blood-red sky.
In the Shadow
Un Sueno de la Noche 43
Un Sueno de la Noche
(From "An Idyl of Santa Barbara. ')
You decked my breast with violets last night,
~-Their haunting sweetness thrills my pulses
You clasped my eager hands with warm caress,
And kissed the sadness from my eyelids wet.
My soul is sad at memory of your touch ;
Your flowers' rich fragrance smites my heart
The look of pitying kindness in your eyes
Will never come to gladden me again.
For all the sweetness of that haunting scene,
Your thrilling touch, your violets' purple
The glance of kindness from your speaking
Were but the offspring of a strange, sweet
I wake to know your your hand can ne'er clasp
Thro' all the years this side of Hope and
To know that not one kindly glance of yours
Shall ever to my longing eyes be given.
I wake to take my burden up again,
Forgot for one sweet hour of dreaming
My weary burden of the heart and brain,
And do my duty with my woman's might.
I would not look upon your face again,
Your strong, proud face that is a god's, to
I would not hear the music of your voice,
I would not think of you, nor hear, nor see
One spoken, written word that could recall
Your memory ; for only thus to me
Can come a strength to do my daily work.
For which my spirit must be brave and free.
Un Siteno de la Noche 45
You came into my life for one brief hour,
Strong, noble, grand as any god could be,
And all the currents of my being's tide,
And life itself, henceforth were changed for
You came and passed. Now nevermore to me
Can come the clasping of your firm true
May shine the tender glory of your eyes
No more to me, this side the Heavenly Land.
I pray for strength, I would be firm and brave
To put your very memory away ;
I pray for strength, and it is granted me
To meet the burdens of the toilful day.
But in the dreaming mystery of Night
Such visions come, sometimes, of bliss and
That, with the dawning of another day,
The hard-won battle must be fought again.
And yet until we both shall pass the bridge
That spans the mystic gulf from shore to
There must remain between my soul and yours
The bridgeless sea of Silence evermore.
As I Rock My Baby 47
As I Rock My Baby
Oh, little golden head that lies
So fair upon the mother breast !
Oh, dewy mouth, as roses sweet,
So oft to mine in kisses pressed !
Oh, little hands that press my cheek
With dear caress of baby touch !
Oh, blue-gray eyes that seek my own
With questioning glance that asks so much !
Dear, restless feet that come and go
In-doors and out the whole day long,
To music of the lisping voice
Far sweeter to my ears than song!
I trembling glance adown the years,
Strung mist-like on the thread of fate,
That bring my winsome baby girl,
Her womanhood's most fair estate.
And dread the time my sheltering arms
Can shield her precious form no more,
When she has watched, with shaded eyes,
My boat glide to the Farther Shore.
I wonder will the proud young head
Bend some day to a chastening rod,
The while -my folded hands, perhaps,
Lie 'neath the violet-tufted sod ?
I wonder will the bright young eyes
Grow dim and heavy with the weight
Of tears they are too proud to shed,
For life's hopes wrecked and desolate?
Oh, little hands, take up your work,
Whate'er Hope grants or Life denies ;
Look bravely in tire face of Fate,
And shrink not, droop not, bright young
And, may-be, from the Farther Shore,
A mother's love can reach to bless,
Can guide and shield the wayworn feet
With more than olden tenderness.
The faint sea-breezes lift the silken hangings
With soft and sad unrest ;
The weary song-bird fain would still the music
That trembles in his breast.
I sit alone, environed by the shadows
That steal into the room,
And, bolder grown, with pity for my sadness,
Wrap me in tender gloom.
The pale cream roses in their emerald couches,
The sweet-breathed heliotrope,
The star-eyed jessamine, whose radiant white
Seems -emblem best, of hope ;
The bending sprays of lily-of-the-valley,
With bells like drops of snow,
The purple violets, with dewy lustre
So like to eyes I know ;
The large magnolia, empress of the blossoms,
Whose fragrance rare and sweet,
Is as the essence of all Southern glory
Born of magnetic heat,
All smite me with their perfume-laden kisses,
As drops of fragrant rain,
That stir within my soul a restless cadence
Half passion, and all pain.
Oh, weary ways, that lie along life's journey,
Lone wastes of space and time,
That stretch between me and peace that calls
As some far distant chime !
I strive in vain to win a blest nepenthe,
Or soothing oenomel ;
Still swell along the years life's solemn
Sad as a tolling bell.
Oh, strong, pure voices from that blessed
From which doth emanate
Wisdom and peace, teach me life's hardest
To work, and hope, and wait.
Along the toiling ways of life,
My footsteps come and go ;
How sad to me the dust and heat,
Your heart may never know,
The while I come and go.
Yet heaviest task would seem but light,
Nor long the weariest ways,
If I could know I'd win at last,
The guerdon of your praise,
After long toiling days.
And I could climb the rockiest heights,
Or tread the burning sand,
If I could meet, when all was done,
The clasping of your hand,
Your true and loving hand.
At Last 53
In darkest hours, my faith could see
The sunshine smiling through,
Could I but know I'd come, at last,
To light and love and you,
When weary toils are through.
54 Rose- Ashes
In the Desert
This desert-drouth in which my soul
Plods on beneath a burning sky,
Has withered all my fairest flowers,
The very fount of song is dry.
A ceaseless struggle to maintain
With slender hands, by force of will,
A painful hold on life's rough rocks,
Keeps all my song-birds sadly still.
I think God made a woman's hands
To stroke the babe upon her breast,
To smooth the grief from pain-knit brows,
And strew the lotus-flowers of rest.
But cruel thorns too often tear
The feet of women who must tread
Life's rugged thoroughfares, to win
Their own or helpless children's bread.
In the Desert 55
No Boaz rules the field of Toil
To drop with generous hand some grains,
For heart-faint Ruth, who gleans across
The sharpness of its stubble-plains.
She can but walk with purpose firm
And heart each hour upraised to God ;
The while she prays her sinking feet