To California

By George Sterling

"Seventy-one political prisoners are held in this State."
                                             —S. F. CALL.

O strong, what mockery is in your might!
    O beautiful, what blasphemy is here
    Of all man holds desirable and dear!
What retrogression to the mental night!
Because, earth-bound, they kept a star in sight,
    Must these be subject to the cynic sneer?
    Are such your foes, and is it these you fear,
Who would but lead your footsteps to the light?

Freedom they sought for men, and now the chain
Is on the limbs that strove for it in vain.
Forge you such fetters, O colossal smith!
    When they, that asked the bread of brotherhood,
    Stand where the martyrs have forever stood?—
San Quentin's walls the stones you feed them with !

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