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Golden Earth

Paddy Hannan Memorial in Kalgoorlie


The Golden Earth

A fiery glow in the sky changes fear of the dark unknown

to relief, as its rays lift above the horizon

Old diggings and steep mine shafts dot the hillsides

like certain death-traps for their unwary victims

The suns rays catch on a rusty shack

Flattened cyanide drums form walls with holes cut for windows

Ragged curtains move snake-like in the wind so hot

You shy away before it turns your skin to leather

Inside, red dust filters onto the miner's face

His tired old frame spread-eagled on the Hessian bed

feet clad in mud-caked boots extend over the end

their laces hang suspended

Wrinkles in the tough skin his only legacy

to never-ending days of digging with pick and shovel

out in the cruel glare of the burning sun of this once

prosperous gold-fever driven mining town

Dust-covered tins of food, clutter the fracture-box shelving

A half-eaten meal lies on the bench, amid scattered old newspapers

The dirt floor a carpet of trodden cigarette butts

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Overturned whiskey bottles signifying long nights of frustration and loneliness

A shaft of light silhouettes the old miner's face

the eyes are no longer annoyed by flies

which settle in numbers on his blue orbs

Once full of hope, they now stare at the roof

No more dreams of the big one hidden under the next rock,

Nor back-breaking labor in searing heat.

He is free from torment to wander the greener pastures

of this truly golden earth.

The old Pioneer gold diggers.

2010 Still sees miners risking their lives deep down in the bowels of our earth. Searching for that allusive gold.

Although today they take a risk with rock slides, the working conditions are brilliant.  There is so much machinery that they hardly get their hands dirty. 

Well actually they do but it can hardly be compared to the way the whole pioneering families suffered years ago. Often working with their bare hands laying flat on their stomachs digging in tiny little holes.

It is just so hard to visualise unless you have seen those holes where the men dug. We lived in Norseman a mining town south of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. It is a very dangerous area to roam about. But it sure made us visualise how it must have been way back then.



Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on March 15, 2010:

Support med, thanks your too kind.

Support Med. from Michigan on March 15, 2010:

There is so much talent in you. I'm on to the next one!

Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on March 14, 2010:

faybe bay, thanks for that, I added the narative because to be honest I like longer articles and I read somewhere here (I think) to add something about the poem. And yes I think it would help. Thanks again for reading this

Faye Constantino from Florida on March 14, 2010:

Absolutely brilliant! I love that you add a story about your poem. I think more people should. Some write poetry and just leave it to us to figure out, but I read the poem a second time, because I read the "afterward" and it gave the poem a much deeper impact, by the contrast of new technology.

Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on March 14, 2010:

scarytaff, yes they sure did.thanks for stopping by

Derek James from South Wales on March 14, 2010:

Good one, Eileen. They had a very hard life.

Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on March 13, 2010:

lctodd1947, yes it must have been terrifying for the families of loved ones. We dont live in that area now but have good memories from there.

Linda Todd from Charleston on March 13, 2010:

I love it and since you live in an area like this is makes it more real. I would be a afraid to have a loved on work in the mines.

Thank you for sharing

Margaret Hampton from Florida on February 08, 2008:

Eileen, this is such a sensitive poem dedicated to those who led such a hard, dangerous life. You said so much... Poignant.

Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on January 07, 2008:

Thank you both for your nice comments. Yes they did it really hard back in those days compared to all the machinery now.

MrMarmalade from Sydney on January 07, 2008:

A great hub and really magic poem.

You have said it all

Abhinaya on January 07, 2008:

How well you have expressed the state of a miner's mind.It was in today's news that three brothers(miners) died at the place of their work.I was really moved by the way you have written the poem.This is great.Thanks for sharing this.There couldn't be a better way of expressing something than poems.

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