“Here,” Ensign, Mar. 1980, 67


    Second Place Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest

    “California? But there’s gold here!

    With baffled eyes you searched the sand and sage,


    You planted the seeds I brought from home.

    There was little hope that they would grow,

    But you put them in the ground.

    Six feet-three inches, dressed in field dust

    Stooping over a tiny flower bed

    And watering it with your faith.

    Ten days brought them green against the cabin gray.

    Then came the morning

    I turned from dumping dish water to see them.

    Open—bright and flooding golden summer on our step.

    You were gone that morning, Andrew,

    When Nathan first did the milking

    All by himself.

    Our ten-year-old, fair-haired boy

    Came up from the barn

    Pulling at the bucket almost bigger than himself

    A smile spread clear across his freckles

    With the early sun glistening through his hair.

    There was that September Brother Schultz got typhus

    And we took Nate and John and everybody came—

    Brown farmers and bare-foot children

    Taking fruit from trees that bore them.

    I sat tired and sticky by the wagon.

    Baskets, boxes smelling sweet

    Piled with peaches

    Yellow-orange and glowing—fairly glowing.

    Arthur said that it was yellow money.

    Sister Anna said that friends were “Good as …”

    Andrew, you should see the sun now.

    It’s a huge circle of molten lava

    Slipping—heavy—into Johnston’s Valley.

    The fire has splashed into the sky

    And all the clouds are blazing—white, amber, crimson.

    Rays have reached across the valley

    Painting the mountains rich yellow-gold,

    Changing the rock to glowing magnificence.

    Well, here’s a drop of that luster.

    They’re butter-cups—early ones.

    My fingers aren’t so stiff

    That I couldn’t pick them for you.

    Lovely, aren’t they? Simple, pure and hardy

    Like the land they grew from.

    I hope that they will grow here

    When I join you.

    It’s only right

    Their gold will be the monument to show

    We found our treasure here.