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Senate Journal of the State of West Virginia, Extraordinary Session, 1920.

The Long, Long Ride of Senator Bloch.

Listen, my children, around me flock;
I’ll tell of the ride of Senator Bloch,
When a message flew as a magic bird
From Charleston town to give him word
How suffrage hung in the balance there,
And Woman’s Rights hung high in air.
Though fourteen men had voted “yea,”
Still fourteen men had voted “nay.”

The message told of a stubborn tie,
With a will to hang, though it meant to die
With the suffragettes in clear command,
But a few fair foes right close at hand.
A face sometimes cast an angry flare,
And it looked as though they might pull hair,
While the Senate stood fourteen-fourteen,
And things were hot ‘long the lines between.

If you knew Bloch you’d readily guess
That he quickly took a fast express,
Bade prompt adieu to the Golden Gate,
And left at once the “Sun-Kissed” State.
He dived right through the cragg’d Cascades;
He steamed right on up the stiffest grades;
He rode right on by the Sante Fe,
Through cactus wastes, on the homeward way.

They stopped for breath at Albuquerque,
But he pulled the rope with a mighty jerk,
And he yelled “Steam on, through this desert waste!
They have called for me; I must go in haste!”
And the great iron horse, like a throbbing beast,
Took a full, deep breath, and moved on east.
You will pardon him if he watched the clock,
As a great heart heaved in the breast of Bloch

On, on they sped to the Rockies’ base;
If he lost an hour ‘twas a hopeless case.
‘Twixt the canyon’s walls, by the lashing stream,
Through the deep, dark shades, or beneath the gleam
Of a peering sun in the convex skies
Where the jagged rocks in the mountains rise;
On, on uncaring for peak or rock,
Rode the firm-faced man, this Senator Bloch.

From the deepest gulch where the eddies twirled
He wound about to the “Top of the World,”
And soon he was crossing the prairies wide,
Undaunted, alert and open-eyed.
Chicago, the “Windy City,” lay
Hard by the lake, and on his way;
And, thinking still of his state’s deadlock,
He entered its gates, this Senator Bloch.

Some party friends gave him welcome there,
And fain would speed him by rail or air;
And whether to fly from Illinois
T’ward the mountain town on the Great Kanawha,
Or get aboard of a special train,
Fair Cincinnati to quickly gain,
Was a question that promptly he must decide;
So he thought but a moment, and then replied:

“Go, carry the airmen my deep regrets;
I’m taking orders from the suffragettes;
My wife has given to me command
To do my traveling on the land;
No cambered wings for me today;
I’ll hurry on, but I’ll first obey.”
And soon, borne on by the rolling-stock
Of a railway line, was Senator Bloch.

The great “Queen City” he hastened through;
‘Twas only Charleston he had in view;
The wheels rolled on with their anxious freight,
And carried him safe to his native state.
He say again its hills that tower;
Was thankful, too, that he had the power
To place in the hands of its womanhood
A right, a duty, for the country’s good.

And so he voted to break that tie,
Provide for women a clearer sky,
And make each wife a real helpmate,
In home and school and church and state.
Well is it worth the long, long ride!
Well may it stir the public pride!
For the key that opened that firm deadlock
Was held by the hand of Senator Bloch.

Sent to Sen. Harvey Harmer by R. Ad. Hall of Weston, editor of the Weston Independent, and printed in the Senate Journal, March 11, 1920. The poem also appeared in the Weston Independent.

"Fighting the Long Fight" Chapter 6