March 1980

“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.