Lead into Gold

The prompt from 30 Days of Summer Writing Challenge is ‘gold’. And while you might think of any sort of combination -both autumnal and metaphorical – that gold might inspire, what really was front and centre was the weather. The sky was low and very grey and the rain was persisting. It was fairly breezy, too. This happens sometimes, I have noticed, here in the west of Ireland. It may be entirely unconnected, but when a really forceful hurricane is bashing the Carribean, we get squally, drenchy days. The forecast seems set for the next four days.

So I thought of the alchemists of old instead. And just as I finished the draft, the cloud cleared momentarily and a very frail sunbeam lit up the monbretia just outside my window. Briefly. Very briefly.


The morning sky is pewter.
The clouds are crying, the wind set to keen.
The bees do not hum, nor does
the day run with amber honey, or seem
auspicious of anything.

Outer and inner worlds chime.
There is weariness, the day full of lead.
What years of trial made chemists rhyme
base metal with glistening gold lumps,
experiments a dead loss?

They were considered clever,
though may have been quite literal boffins.
Some souls are a bit dimmer.
Where there is gold, they only see failed lead,
their experiments nothing.

Driven. Mad. Sad. A failure.
Everyday and hour full of lead,
a life obsessed with turning
base metal into something else instead
that might glisten as does gold.

To feel precious, worthy to behold,
to be as bright and shiny as that gold.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved

Featured image Photo by MUILLU on Unsplash

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