To chase unrefined gold You'll have to Work and dig up Maybe one day before you grow old You"ll find some stones or old cup Maybe some old dinosaurs bones Or antiques buried beneath the earth Oh the Dead, named in solemn tones Oh how sad if this is our faith How worthless then are our riches? How useful then is the man of God And the sad eulogy he preaches Words about you, dead, not real word From you, heard by many people The dearly beloved you left behind Those left here to die in the struggle. Of whom no one else cares to mind. Call them the real goldrush victims Who will never see an ounce of gold Only the shinny and valuable items Secured in big vaults yet to behold.
You called me golden Like, perhaps, I could be a California river. But I, with my hooded eyes, never thought I was soaked in sunlight or shimmering in wealth Until I found you sifting through me Marveling at a beauty I cannot see: Telling how the sun makes me sparkle, Bragging about the curve of my body through the hills. The more you boasted, the more came to see And now I know I am that swollen western stream, A run of water muddied by your boots, Scattered with pebbles of treasure Winding south with the current down to the sea. I am that western vein because I know I give more than I take, and I know I could never stick around for long. You're like the others Who held me in a pan and Walked away with all I could give them.
We have let go of our frantic **** for the shiny metal in the Sacramento hills. It was hard for my grandfather, in coming west on horse and with wagon, dragging a family across the pimpled skin of the young land, to help John Sutter build his new empire. He then found that his dream of good land for ranching was subverted with easy gold.
Grandfather’s first home on the bank of the river: a tule hut, or grass hut, left behind by Mi-wuk Indians, who wandered with the elk and circulated with the wonderment of passing stars; no regard for what shined beneath them.
It’s in the luring poems and the stories that the old California adventure comes back to us. No one longer builds much with grass, and cannot so easily pick out fortunes by following the earth’s deep cracks.
Some would walk away from jobs and cities, bulging packs strapped on shoulders, and head up through the openings and narrowings of the valleys, and into the foothills of the Sierras. Camp beside ****** trout holes and dip into the riffled water at the edge of perfect green mirrors: to find what is precious and become free from the cycle of the frantic ****.