Queenstown

By G. M. Naug

(From the first Eastern Writers Group’s anthology Zest 1 – 1990)

 I paddled down a slender creek of silver, winding through a wasteland,
And climbed a painted mountain while choking on its dust.
The sun played with iridescent stones in a gaping hole,
Vainly, tendrils of creeper clawed at a dead tree.
Railroad tracks of pioneer pride now lie rusting to the coast,
Light filters through boarded-up windows of Victorian grandeur,
The wind plays ghostly notes around a deserted band rotunda.
Nostalgia jogs my elbow as I saunter down the golden boulevard.
  From my hotel window I watch a pageant depicting prosperity pass by.
I wander through the streets and hear the diggers shout, “Eureka!”
And in the park an old man regales me with tales of gold and glory.
A pigeon rests on a bronze statue which stands saluting a bygone war . . .  

And then I walk away, buy a ticket and catch a bus to reality . . .