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This poem is taken from PN Review 215, Volume 40 Number 3, January - February 2014.

Peruvian Gold Sebastian Barker

The popularity of the western calls for consideration.
Wittgenstein loved the paperback form of the genre. I have often wondered why.
It seems it is the theme of settlement, which is so universally captivating.
For settlement is the movement of mankind.

There is nothing to suggest mankind stands still.
It is always on the move, whether from hunter-gatherer to farmer, or Suffolk to New England.
The settlement of Spaniards in Peru, in the 16th century, is a perfect example in view.
Spear-headed by lust for Peruvian gold, European man followed, until the story grew old.


The moon is there to be explored, so is the floor of the Atlantic.
Man is by nature an explorer, whether of the depths of depravity or the moons of Jupiter.
We are not exploring the structure and the meaning of DNA because we have nothing better to do,
        but because the explanation of such material (any material) is intrinsically exciting.
History records the golden hordes.
People emulate and obliterate each other with a fine show of care and carelessness.
We have sailed on tectonic plates, we have lived through ice ages.
Settlement is the movement of mankind.

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