Thursday, August 22, 2013

Out of 100 -- in the Klondike Gold Rush

Adding to my recent post on 19 August I note that OEDILF is seeking submissions.   
Join the project:  submit limerick definitions of  (math)  terms for OEDILF consideration.

One of my favorite poets is the 1996 Nobelist Wislawa Szymborska (1923 - 2012, Poland); one of my favorites of her poems is "A Contribution to Statistics."  Szymborska's poem served as a model for a poem of mine shown below, about Gold Rush Days in Skagway, Alaska.  Written while I was poet-in-residence at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, (in Skagway), this poem draws on historical data from the park's library to paint a bleak picture of wealth and survival in those gold-mad days.  

Counting in the Klondike     by JoAnne Growney
                        after Wisława Szymborska

Of 100 who left Seattle for Skagway in 1898
40 made it to the gold fields
8 found gold.    

Of 100 who found gold in the Yukon
58 never got rich
29 made fortunes and lost them.

Of 100 who came to Skagway in 1898
9 were women
8 survived the year.

Of 100 businesses started in Skagway in 1898
32 were honest
3 lasted ten years.

Of 100 men who came to Skagway
14 were brave on arrival
80 evolved.

Of 100 women who came to Skagway
98 lost their corsets
85 lost their skirts.

Of 100 men in Skagway in 1898
97 condemned prostitution
97 knew prostitutes intimately.

Of 100 people in Skagway next July 4
84 will be tourists
9 will serve the tourists
6 will be children.

Of 100 people who come to Skagway
95 move on.
Nearly all of those who stay decide
To want what they have found.

No comments:

Post a Comment