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Its lack of reaction has made it unique,

that and the way it can magnetize fools:

forty-niners, Midas, the futures mob –

so gung-ho, yet always dazzled by it,

like urchins dreaming of gilded pavements.


Locked in a vault, it validates paper.

It's what the rich cling to when the bubble

bursts, smiling at the rest of us, our mouths

agape, who wonder why what's left

is fool's gold, when the real stuff vanishes.


Acquaint yourself with history, the endless

grubby tomes we've filled. From the Age

of Gold to the Age of Iron, the avalanche

of grief it's caused would make you think

we had gathered mountains of it


when, if we had managed to find enough,

we could divvy up into shares for all.

So trudge across the moonlit ploughland

with a metal detector, unearthing

hoards of coins so hastily abandoned.


Crack open the mausoleums of men

who died like gods and crawl on hands

and knees and belly into the furthest chambers

of open-sesame caves. Circumvent the man-traps,

wyverns, the wall-eyed Cyclops.


And when you've relocated every X

that marks the spot, cart the whole lot back

to a public space: each ingot, trinket,

medal, plate, with every other ounce and scruple.

You will be amazed how little there is.


Reduced to a cube of twenty metres,

you can slip it beneath the Eiffel Tower

or set it up as a glitzy Ka'aba.

The pilgrims will pay to circle round it.

They will never ask where the bodies are.

◄ Magnesium

Martial Music ►


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Stephen Gospage

Wed 27th Apr 2022 21:08

A superb, intelligent poem, David. Many thanks.

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Greg Freeman

Wed 27th Apr 2022 13:48

Marvellous poem, David. I look forward to the publication of this collection of metals.

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