A Poke of Gold to the Lady
that's Known as Lou
A transforming poem
Gold miner's poke - nineteenth century.
I saw the sigh in your pretty eye
When you dreamed that I’d be yours,
But those who steal me fast reveal
My shine is the start of wars.
First I passed through the purse of a miner who nursed
A chill. He seemed to be
Just a helping of hurt in a flannelette shirt
From Plumtree, Tennessee.
It’s the goal of gold to be bought and sold
And melted and poured in a mould.
From the day they scratched me out of that patch
Of dirt, I’ve been near as cold.
Now again I change hands, and again the sands
Run out, and men lie dead.
Good chances, I’d rate, that the heftier weight
Is a couple of rounds of lead.
I’ve been sought by those men—half a dozen or ten—
Who flash gold in pokes and pounds,
Who begged you for dances and killed for your glances—
It’s not as nice as it sounds.
This poem is in the style of Robert Service’s poems “The
Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee.”
Although Service’s style employs a very loose meter [with a
rather tighter rhyme scheme], by arranging five to a line the
poem transforms into a Petrarchan sonnet with new lines and new
To see the sonnet
If you have any thoughts on this transforming poem, Daniel Galef would be
pleased to hear them.