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The Annealing

Digging for gold beneath the desert’s sun,
Is the hardest work I’ve ever done.
Tramping forth over long lonely days, weeks and months,
Doggedly, and without respite, until the prize is won.

Fast on the heels of fortune and glory,
I’m up and off at dawn,
Pick an’ shovel locked in hands,
Off to sweat and toil upon the burning sands.

Week after week…not to go bust,
I swing my pick from dawn to dusk,
While covered and chocking in blizzards of dust.

It’s not unusual to encounter snakes,
Scorpions and Killer bees,
Eager to drop me to my knees.

Each day, as the sun dips behind the Pinto’s,
And purple shadows race across the lan’,
I stumble back to camp to shovel Chile beans
Straight from a dadburn can.

Come the darkness, I lie beneath my blanket of stars
To doze and rest my bloody palms,
While weighing buckets full of gold… rulers of my dreams.
I am destined to strike it rich…or so it surely seems.

For somewhere, in these baked and stolid hills,
Hidden beneath thorny cactus and rotting rock,
Beckons my ticket to paradise.
And I mean to make it mine,
No matter the labor…no matter the price.

When at last I make my strike,
Pockets all filled with gold,
I’ll bolt straight for Rowdy Town,
Where my story will be told,
And my gold will be sold.

It’ll be steak and ham bones
For my trusty tail-wagger…Yubalee.
She…faithful companion,
Will always be first with me.

Then across the bar at the Sourdough saloon,
I’ll slap my money down
And declare it New Year’s Eve
For everyone…from miles aroun’.

There’ll be music and dancing all through the night,
Slaps on the back, food and drink aplenty,
With gay and lusty lasses to fill my empty glasses.

Leastwise that’s the way I’ve always knowed it would be,
Lest that stealthy, greedy little greenhorn,
Ever stalking my path, steals it all away from me.

But if that sneaky scoundrel guzzles my pitcher of cream,
I will still have my fire and I will still have my steam;
For, in addition to a prospector of gold,
Having survived Hell’s kiln, I’ve become a leathery desert rat,
From whom you can not steal his dream.

Jason Quinten Kincade

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