Gold for Mary


Searching by the riverside for specks of gleaming gold
Sluicing through the pebbles and the sand,
Hope to make a fortune for it’s here the miner told
Nuggets found were bigger than your hand.

Back from California when the goldfields ceased to yield,
Australia now the land of hoped success,
Shanty town now sitting where there once was grazing field,
Every miner working under stress.

Has to find that fortune, lest the swelling mining town
Beckon to a ranging criminal band,
Glances at his swollen hands with spirit sagging down
Weeks of work with naught but rock and sand

Raises eyes to heaven as he rests upon his spade
Surely the Almighty up above
Knows his need for money for this life he’d gladly trade
Yearning for a life with lady love.

Her Father had refused him when he’d asked for Mary’s hand,
Only those with money could she wed.
He would be considered when he owned a plot of land
Come back when he had it Father said.

The miner sighed as quickly he returned to press the search
Looking for that long elusive gold,
Thinking of his Mary standing smiling in the church;
Seeing him beside her proud and bold.

Then a faint impression like the whisper of the breeze
Bade him search a crevice in the bank,
Saw the branches pointing as they whispered from the trees
In the crevice trusty shovel sank.

Something hard encountered as he scraped away the soil
Glinting in the hot and steamy sun,
Could it be there was at last results from all this toil?
He cleaned it in the river on the run.

This was it! The gold would now secure sweet Mary’s hand
Secretly he mined it from its vein,
Couldn’t wait to cash it in and buy the wedding band,
Money banked, he quickly boarded train.

Anxiously he left the train and took the coach to town
Rang the bell with eager ringing tone,
Door was opened slightly to reveal a Father’s frown,
Then he heard the words that chilled to bone.

Mary has been married off for you were long away
With no more word we thought you’d left for good,
Take your interests elsewhere for there’s nothing else to say,
Cry of pain escaped him as he stood!

Mary heard that cry of pain and hastened there to see
Found her lover standing at the door,
Overwhelmed with love she was but knew it couldn’t be
She watched him walk away for evermore.

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2013, all rights reserved”

12 thoughts on “Gold for Mary

  1. Another very nice poem but a sad one. Poor man I felt so sorry for both of them. Some never found any gold at all, I figure a lot more didn’t than did during the gold rushes. Hugs


    1. Yes very few grew rich. I think in both America and Australia at that time there was little police protection on the remote new goldfields either so there was much violence as miners sought advantage over others.


    1. It’s kind of fun to reflect on history isn’t it? We are supposed to learn from other’s mistakes of the past or their prejudices, but unfortunately human nature just doesn’t seem to learn from the past.


  2. He found gold but lost his true treasure – a sad tale which probably rings true for many a hardy soul of days gone by. Or perhaps not, as metaphorically, the tale lives on in our everyday life – of fortunes gained and loves lost.

    You came throught very well, here Ian – blending historical events with profound themes of human struggles, triumphs and defeats.

    All good wishes,


    1. I suppose it was more applicable in that era of the gold rush days in the two countries, but even in today’s supposedly enlightened world there’s always some one or some institution to get in the way of true love isn’t there Eric?


    1. Yes I like that style of poem too. There’s something intense about it that just has to be expressed that way regardless as to whether its a happy or sad event. Thanks for visiting my page and commenting.


  3. Quite a ballard Ian! I can imagine it set to music. I learn so much about Australia from your posts- where (and when) was the Australian gold rush? This could also be a metaphor for many a tale of young men attempting to get rich quick to win their amours.


    1. The gold rush days in Australia were somewhat parallel to the gold rush days in California. The fields were scattered around the coasts of Australia from the Northeast around the south to Western Australia. Populations swelled and exited between Australia and West Coast America in those days. I guess national borders were a bit more lax in those days. I was brought up in the city of Gympie north of where I live now. It was that city which saved this vast new state from bankruptcy in the 1800’s because of the huge gold deposits. A big flood in 1893 somehow got into the mines and made them unusable.


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