Treasure Island

William Bayless

The Silver Dollar

You gave me something, grandpa
A coin of silver - flat and round
But it doesn't whirr or whistle
It cannot make a sound

It is not marked with 'China'
On a toy that is a must
It only bears this simple line
'U.S.A In God We Trust'

This thing you gave me grandpa
Of this there is no doubt
It doesn't laugh and giggle
When I push it in and out

It has no pretty colors
No buttons or a bow
It makes no noise or vibrate
No volume 'high' or 'low'

So of what good is it grandpa
This shiny little thing?
What fun will come with having it
What laughter will it bring?

I tell you this, my loving one
My grandchild oh so dear
The truth about this silver coin
That you might wish to hear

Now take up the silver coin
Travel back in time with me
And think of those who owned it
In your mind now can you see?

To touch the silver dollar
And to make the feeling last
Is to touch all those who held it
And to touch the history past

To hold it and to feel it
Is to hold the spirits trapped therein
To think of where it lingered
And to wonder where its been

When we think of those who owned it
Then we think of those who tried
To give you all you wish for
From the toil for which they died

Well, I'll tell you of this silver coin
And how it comes to you
From a mine in Colorado
Or the mountains of Peru

Perhaps it's silver touched The Inca
Upon his emerald crown
Or was inlaid in the Spanish sword
That brought the empire down

Valley Forge or Flanders Field
Or perhaps on Concord Green
At Shiloh Church or Gettysburg
Who knows what the silvers' seen?

The silver out of which it's made
It self has witnessed much
But then a coin from it was made
And again felt history's touch

On a birthday or a Christmas
Perhaps it bought a little toy
And delighted those who got it
A little frontier girl or boy

A whiskey for a cowboy
In some small Texas town
Who had to wash away the trail dust
So he laid this dollar down

A Yank or Rebel soldier
Might have held it in his hand
A groom may have used this dollar
To buy his loved one's wedding band

It may just have been there
That day when all seemed lost
When fire rained down on Hawaii's Pearl
Perhaps this dollar saw the cost

Of what use is this silver coin?
Oh, my princess, don't you see?
That what I give you with this gift
Is a piece of history

Submitted: Sunday, April 22, 2012
Edited: Monday, April 23, 2012

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I always give my two granddaughters each a silver dollar on their birthdays and for Christmas. My son told me that my daughter in law could not understand why someone would buy a little girl a silver dollar instead of a toy that they could play with. So I wrote this. My first real attempt in years at poetry.

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