Poetry by Dick Stata      

 

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Dick is a member of the Ontario Field Trippers Guild and the Gem & Mineral Club of Scarborough, Ontario Canada. He is an avid field tripper. He has written many poems, some of which are published here. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

If Only The Ledge
Road Cut Collecting Dust Clouds
ROCKHUNTER   A Field Trip
The Rock Show Tomorrow
Dick's Collecting Safety Rhyme Minders

 



ROAD CUT COLLECTING

© Dick Stata October 2001

The road cut appeared like magic, a sentinel beside the road,
a rumpled marvel of engineering, as those long lines of drill holes showed.
Three terraces high, maybe a hundred feet, very impressive to some.
It broke the flat monotony, a glimpse of change to come.
I slowed the car and gazed with rapt attention at the wall,
then I saw it just ahead. A section of rubble, from an earlier fall.
Splotches of white, ran haphazardly, through layers of red and gray,
This rotten rock appealed to me, it beckoned please stop and play.
I drove my car into the ditch, I had to park it off the road,
out I got to look around, at first nothing interesting showed.
I poked around and studied the piles of talus laying there,
Then I found a broken crystal of quartz, but from where?
My investigation, led me to a vein, buried in the dusty rubble,
Then I located a cavity, well worth my time and trouble.
I got my rock pick and shovel, from the car and started in to digging,
The work was hard, hot and dusty, and I had no water for swigging.
The cavity grew, the rock was fractured and crumbled,
I was successful, I hit a crystal pocket, but on it some large rocks tumbled .
Oh! Woe is me!, the quartz was shattered and a rock bounced off my knee,
it just kept caving in, I was dodging the bouncing scree.
I dug out that hole, but most of the crystals were broken,
There was a couple of half descent pieces, I keep them as a token.
It was frustrating as hell, to have all that hard work wasted,
but maybe thereís more buried in there, success just has to be tasted.
I dug for another hour, the hole it grew immense,
There was a grinding, then the rock fell, I jumped from my rocky trench.
The 500 pound boulder, bounced into my car, I saw metal tear,
dust, chrome and glass went flying, all I could do was stare.
I stood in stunned amazement, it went right in through the door,
I just threw my tools into my trunk, I wasnít collecting anymore.
There it sat perched in the back seat, ready to take a ride.
I tried to shove that boulder out, but it was wedged inside.
Well; I drove home, one side of the car a holey mess,
The costliest field trip, I have ever taken, I must confess.
It was to late for me to cry, but I bet my wife will moan,
but damn! Itís the largest piece of garden rock, that I have ever brought back home.

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Dickís Collecting Safety Rhyme Minders

© Dick Stata April 2001

Soak your hammer in a water pail,
If the handle is loose within the head.
I forgot to do it once,
And now my collecting buddyís dead.

Remember those steel toed boots,
That you were supposed to wear.
One sledge hammer on your foot,
You will have five broken reasons to swear.

Rocks and rubble around your feet,
They donít bother me at all.
Till I moved and tripped on one,
And broke my back from the fall.

I donít need that hard hat,
Theyíre too uncomfortable to wear.
Iíll get the joker who threw that rock,
And put that new crease in my hair.

"Hey Sissy! You donít need no goggles."
Suddenly the stone heís pounding flies.
Mr. Tough Guyís crying now,
And picking rock chips from his eyes.

Mushrooms growing on your chisels,
Canít happen you might think.
I didnít think so either, "Ouch!"
Now I just have one eye left to blink.

"Hereís a great spot to collect!
So what if that fellowís working above."
When he comes a bouncing down upon you,
It has nothing to do with love.

You think you have found a likely spot,
Among those bright green ivy plants.
You dig around among the roots,
Then you do the itchy dance.

Mr. Digger tunneled underneath the tree,
Clear up to his boots.
He got a boulder on his head,
That was held up by the roots.

Mr. Sneaky hung from a rope,
High up the quarry wall.
Greed and a broken rope, it was determined,
Led to his downfall.

The quarry wall looks so inviting,
Collecting in those cavities, really is no trouble.
Then your day takes a turn for the worse,
When youíre buried in the rubble.

The farmer cares about his cattle,
Some are known to own a gun.
So close those gates behind you,
Unless you really like to run.

He didnít need no compass in the woods,
To find his way back home at night.
He wandered off two weeks ago,
His remains were a horrible sight.

Mosquitoes may sting you, Black Flies take a chunk.
That you will need protection is no lie.
Ticks they can Lyme you, spiders can take a bite,
But they donít hurt half as bad, as Muskol in your eye.

The claim jumper got into my trench,
And lifted my crystals rare.
There was a brief confrontation,
I left him laying there.

Into the old Adit he did go,
But he didnít have a light.
The boards were rotten over the shaft,
He didnít make it home last night.

ROCKHUNTER

© Dick Stata  2000

The Rockhound is
a most curious breed,
you won't find them in a dog book,
none are pedigreed.

A Rockhound can be identified 
by an unusual stooped stance,
and a telltale white butt line,
just above their pants.

Sometimes they roam as singles,
but they mostly hunt in a pack,
they're often found in roadcuts,
far off the beaten track.

The Rockhound is a hunter,
but he doesn't use a gun, 
their quarry is a limestone pit,
much too big to run.

A rockhound's weapons
are a hammer, a chisel and a sledge,
always alert for danger 
they avoid the overhanging ledge.

The pack spreads out searching,
hunting for their prey, 
and when they find the elusive vug, 
someone will yell hoo-ray! 

Now the hunt begins in ernest, 
for the prey's hidden deep in a hole, 
only patience and expertise 
can get that crystal whole. 

Oh! It can be a bloody business,
for the rock is hard and sharp, 
and many mash their fingers 
pounding that rock apart. 

The rock proves to be stubborn, 
and your temper starts to fray, 
a careless swing, 
then you hear the tale of the one that got away.

Well some day you're rewarded,
on others it don't pay, 
just remember you're a Rockhound, 
and every dog must have his day.

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THE ROCK SHOW

© Dick Stata March 3rd 2001
 after the Brampton Rock & Mineral Show

Iím a Rockhound! "So what?", you might say,
Well I collect crystals and can get a lot done on a good day.
First you have to clean them up and that can take awhile,
Then theyíre packed in boxes and laboriously labeled with style.
My full drawers and shelves and cabinets, can attest,
Itís taken years to amass this jumbled mess.

To get some return, for your crystal spares,
You head for a Mineral Show to pedal your wares.
First you struggle loading boxes into your truck,
Then you have to drive for miles and that costs a buck.
Two of the boxes are upside down, what a start to the day,
With aching back you lug them in, dropped one on the way.

The table allotted is a way too small,
Youíre stuck in a corner, at the slow end of the hall.
You then try arranging a pleasant display,
But the wife says youíre making a mess, just get out of the way.
Well youíre finally all set and the show begins to start
And cringing as uneducated customers are picking things apart.

Old friends dropping by, forget the rocks, youíre talking,
Soon youíre out there with them, looking, yapping, walking.
You see your wife across the room, sheís growing agitated,
Get back to those rocks, old son, far too long sheís waited.
Then thereís a flurry in your sales, youíre really doing great,
Those collected treasures disappear at a terrific rate.

Now youíre really feeling happy, because youíre picking up some cash,
Even duped a couple of fools into trading for some trash.
Too soon the day is winding down, itís time to pack and go,
We have had a great time at this rockiní show.
But something went wrong at the show, I think my collections bigger?
And it seems I spent a lot more than I made. Go figure!!

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IF ONLY

© Dick Stata March 14, 2002 Itís been a long winter.

The pegmatite in Maine was white and crystalline.
I drove a chisel into a hole, in the wall of the played out mine,

The steel disappeared in a cavity, of extraordinary size.
I hoped it held my fortune, I was deserving of a prize..

Clusters of Watermelon Tourmaline, the largest ever seen,
So clear you could read a letter through the pink and green.

The largest piece weighed thirty pounds; the rest was forty more.
I became a famous collector, one of the best on Americaís shore.

In New Yorkís Dolostone, crystals were waiting there,
I took a trip to Herkimer, to try and collect my share.
With wedge and sledge, I exposed a mighty vug.
I walked into that gaping hole; a grin was on my mug.
Crystals the size of footballs, lay in mounds along the floor,
flawless, clear and sparkling, who could ask for more.
I took several thousand crystals, from my hole of glory,
The worldís museums wanted them, I was a headline story.

On Mt.Antaro, the air was thin, a frosty 30 degrees,
I was collecting in the rubble, crystals to my knees.
The rockslide had ripped the dyke apart, spilling crystals rare,
Aquamarine and Phenakite on Smokey Quartz, I was finding there.
Deep water blue, as thick as my wrist, as long as a babyís arm.
Phenakites like clear yellow baseballs; had a certain charm.
Smokey Quartz escaped unscathed, over seven hundred pounds,
It took a week to get them all, my fame it knows no bounds.

In South Carolina, they say Emeralds are buried in the ground,
I headed for those southern hills to see what could be found.
On a lease, I dug a hole, a tunnel in the rocky scree,
I started finding crystals as green as a Christmas tree.
The deeper I dug, the bigger they got, then I hit the lode.
Crystals big as rolling pins, clusters so bright they glowed.
Those Emeralds were really fabulous, fit for kings and queens.
It made me rich and famous, but only in my dreams.

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The Ledge

© Dick Stata 2002

The ledge is hard but I am tough,
With chisels, hammer's, sledge and pry.
This ledge will crumble before I die.
My legs are aching from broken rough.

This ledge is tough and I am working hard,
I have to shift that pile of heavy rubble.
Moving broken rock sure is a pile of trouble,
I think my muscles have the tone of lard.

The ledge is hard and I am getting tired,
Hours pass, where is that crystal pocket.
Vibration numbs my arm; it aches up to the socket,
I need to find something soon, to keep me inspired.

The ledge is hard my back grows sore,
The handles broken on my sledge,
I did it pounding on the wedge.
It was an over swing, I think a muscles tore.

The ledge is hard I yell in pain,
Wet from sweat my hands are slick,
My thumb is black and cut across the quick.
I cannot hit the ledge again.

The ledge is hard I have to quit,
I leave the field of battle in defeat.
There is no taste of victory to make life sweet.
The ledge has won it is time to split.

Later

The ledge was smashed, pulverized and battered
Others had come, while my hand was bound,
All they left was broken crystals scattered around.
It is enough to break my heart, seeing crystals shattered.

The ledge is just a memory; it does not look the same,
A low pile of rubble now, covered in with weeds.
A collecting site in ruins, it used to fill my needs,
All my memories of the ledge are memories of pain.

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DUST CLOUDS

© Dick Stata 2002

The peaceful silence of the northern woods, interrupted by a wail,
A soaring screaming roar, louder than a stomped on tigers tail.
A cloud of dust obscures a man, how can he see to use that tool,
With nothing to cover his nose and ears, I think the manís a fool.
Suddenly the screaming noise stops, I think I have gone deaf.
The dust cloud drifts on by, but I keep on holding my breath.
Out of this swirling maelstrom, staggered a large ghostly form,
Coughing and hacking, he lugged a saw that had caused this dusty storm.
I guess he had some trouble; his saw had broken down.
Behind the mask of dust, his face displayed a worried pasty frown.
I guess Nick was finished for the day; the Apatite can wait.
However, Elfi kept finding more crystals; and they were looking great
The best laid plans of mice and men sometimes go awry.
Nick had brought that saw along and he just had to give it a try.
While he cut one out for his wife, the others were finding more.
Soon Nick had a full time job, I began to hate that rock saws roar.
Crystals of Apatite, some of exceptional size, like something from a dream.
They cleared off a Calcite vein they looked like salmon going up a stream.
Now there is a quandary, do we go or do we stay,
The planned trip was interrupted, they stayed another day.

Part of us stayed to the plans, we took the scheduled trip.
More than half went back to the trenches, old Frank near had a fit.
Two more days of pounding, another broken saw,
More large crystals were being located, there ought to be a law.
Well this trip is finally over and we missed a place or two,
I cannot say it wasnít interesting and Iím really not too blue.
Nickís planning went out the window, next year will be better I am told,
I hope your appetite for Apatite is sated Elfi, next time pick on gold.

by Dick Stata Aug. 24th. Thinking back on the 2002 Summer Trip.

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A FIELD TRIP

© Dick Stata 2002

Five A.M. I struggle to arise from my bed;
I stagger to the bathroom feeling half dead.
Saturday morning, I should have slept in;
But it's time for that field trip, I guess I can't win.
I load up my stomach and load up the car.
I hope that this quarry isn't to far.
It's raining and cold it's damp and it's foggy;
It's sure hard driving when your feeling this groggy.
I' ve driven for miles, I really need a break:
But I can't stop now, I might get there to late.
I got there on time, but no one else there;
It's almost enough to make you pullout your hair .
I sat and I waitetl; it's now almost noon;
Then I looked at my schedule, Damn! I'm a week to soon.

 

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TOMORROW

© Dick Stata September 2002
written the night before a trip to Dundas Quarry 

Tonight, I will try to get some sleep,
Counting fine crystals not flocks of sheep.
Tomorrow I will get up early,
Just before that annoying squirrelly.
I will take my truck and start to drive,
Fighting aggressive traffic to stay alive.
I will get to that quarry and meet the crew,
Because collecting rocks is what we do.
I will head for the rubble piled on the floor.
Hardhat will fall off a dozen times or more.
I will swing my sledge and pound that rock
More exercise, than a plain old walk.
The sun will shine I will bake my brain
My back will ache from all the strain.
I will find some crystals; I always do,
I will fill my truck before I am through.
The horn will blow; we have to go, I have to leave a vug,
An event so upsetting, I will need a hug.
I will head for home eating that lunch.
I never found the time to munch.
The traffic home will slow to a crawl
The stops and starts drive me up the wall.
I arrive at home all worn and sore
Unloading my truck; is such a tiresome chore.
All those boxes and pails, piled in the yard,
Itís the cleaning and sorting, I will find hard.
This trip is over today is done,
I didnít get much but I had fun.
Those crystals left in that vug, are cause for sorrow
But then again, thereís always tomorrow.

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