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Old Gold Rush Town: a Poem
Murphys, California on a Hot Summer Day
No breeze is stirring,
the hot air sits heavy
on the world.
A fat lady sits overflowing
her rocking chair
on a dusty porch.
Sweat gleams on her brow;
a fan drips unused
from her misshapen, flaccid fingers.
Four fat flies buzz
around her face;
land, unnoticed, on her arms,
The noontime heat stomps out
energy and vitality:
marches uncaring across the rest of the day.
About This Poem
This part of the state tends to get quite hot in mid-summer, and the towering shade of the Sequoia Redwoods is a welcome respite. Calaveras County, of course, is famous for Mark Twain's tale of The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.
Calaveras Big Trees State Park, however, is a monument to the redwoods themselves. Located in the foothills, it is one of the areas where may be found the Sequoiadendron Giganteum, aka Giant Sequoia or Sierra Redwood. It is the sole survivor in its genus.
While still large and impressive, the Coast Redwoods, or Sequoia Sempervirens seem dwarfed by their magnificent mountain cousins.
The poem was first written back in August of 1987, with a revision in June of 2010.
This poem is a total product of my imagination. I never saw any such scene, and the character portrayed is completely fictional. It was brought to mind by the heat of the day encountered in Murphys, CA one summer on our way to go camping at Calaveras Big Trees State Park, just past Arnold, CA. There were numerous old houses dating from the 1800's adding to the illusion in this poem. No offense is intended to any person whether living or dead.
© 2010 Liz Elias