Aaron Southwick

Butte

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How oft my mind reverts to thee,
Thou city of the tunneled hills;
Thy lofty towers I still can see,
Thy smoke descending silently
Till all thy dingy streets it fills.

Thy engines puff, and roll, and slide
The busy copper mines to gain;
The laboring cars still onward glide
Both up and down the mountain side
In many a heavy-laden train.

The whistles shriek; their echoes fly
And many times the sounds repeat;
The trolley cars go rattling by;
They swift descend or climb on high
And ring their bells at many a street.

The eager people come and go
In jostling crowds the livelong day;
No hours of rest they see or know
Above the ground, or down below -
The "get there god" bears constant sway.

A ceaseless strife for pelf and place
Pervades the throbbing, pulsing air
Which gives excitement to the race,
And quickens every nerve and pace
To gain the lion's regal share.

Midst life, and death, and stirring deeds
Thy people live, and sleep and wake;
Explosions vast they scarcely heed;
In vain for time the idlers plead;
The rocks must rend, the mountains shake!

And as thy wealth is very great
Thy generous people spend it free;
They have no time to fool or wait;
Tomorrow will be much too late;
Their presence spans futurity.

To drill, to blast, to raise the ore,
To smelt it in the roaring fire,
To strive for riches evermore,
The gold and copper to adore,
Stirs many a heart with fierce desire.

To live beneath thy smoky skies,
To draw thy people's craving breath,
Is but to feel contagion rise
And catch the fever as it flies
Till all is stilled in final death.

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Aaron Southwick