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Yesterday's Gold
by Peter Earsman

Among the hills that ring Waihi like emerald waves
are ragged holes black deep with steps and shoring wood
yet others turned to ugly heaps by fool's design
that speak of lives squeezed out by ruthless falls of rock

Along the stream the wooden bones of batt'rys stand
no longer pounding, wrenching gold from stony cells
nor pissing out their poisons into water clear
but stark and still with silent thoughts held close and dark

And those who worked just for themselves and not a boss
without advantage of machine or marketeer
might find perhaps an ounce on good days, often less
to later lose to stealthy ambush in the night

So yellow metal fashioned into shiny shapes
could boast on bellies, smirk their wealth from slender necks
without a thought of how these baubles came to be
or of the desperate lives now gone to lie unknown

Copyright Peter Earsman 2000