Gold is worse poison to a man’s soul, doing more murders in this loathsome world, than any mortal drug.”

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 5, sc. 1


Columbus would write from the New World in 1503,

“Gold is a wonderful thing.

With gold’s power we can get souls into Paradise.”

And his curse has never been lifted.


Gold looked like sunshine

That had fallen down to earth.

It pre-dated money

And seemed like the sweat –

The petrified sweat of the sun –

Whose light was a talisman

Which made the world come to life.


Solar gold grew crops,

And silver was the moon’s tears –

The rain that spelled food.

The magic metal’s beauty

Lay in its being renewed,

Like the sun itself,

For it always shone,

Whatever form it took.

It never tarnished.

Flashing in sunlight,

Gold symbolized the magic

Of man’s life on earth –

For which he devised rituals,

With vessels crafted from gold,

To serve nectars

And ambrosias

To bond the tribe together –

To lift the spirits,

And create the charismatic glow

Of community…

And then envious trolls,

Seeing gold’s power

And desiring that magical shine

All for themselves,

Not just the community,

Would commodify it,

Exaggerate its value,

Hype it up for profit.


Gold’s colonists had

No time for soft cosmic meanings –

For notions that gold

Was the sun itself,

Mysteriously come to earth.

Material wealth

Was what they wanted.

So, they kidnapped the Inca King,

And held him ransom.

A bargain was struck:

To save Atahualpa’s life

His people were sent

Away to fetch back

Gold from all over Peru.

They brought tons of it

For their King’s captors.

They made a mountain of it,

Out of love for him.

The Spaniards took it;

Then garroted the Inca king;

Breaking their bargain.

Thus the Inca gold

Found its way back to Europe:

Buckets of blood-stained bullion

Is why we have banks

Who juggle stolen wealth

By issuing some bank-notes

They pretend are gold,

But their currency

Has a direct bloodline – linked

To a beloved king’s murder

By greedy traitors –

Whose money, their blood money,

Is heir to a crime,

Which still enables countries,

Whole countries –

Every country in the world –

To be enslaved by gold’s promise.


But when you trust someone

You don’t need money, do you?

Money’s invented

To deal with people

You don’t trust. But then, of course,

You have to trust in money.

Take a successful

Banker. He trusts in money.

He is regular

In all his habits.

Even his bowel movements.

He has a routine.

Though in the lavatory,

Having the Midas touch is

Not much help to you.

His bowel movements

Require a supplementary

Move. He needs to reach

Out for a piece of

Absorbent material

But, lo and behold,

It’s turned to metal.

Gold! It’s no use for dealing

With his present needs.

He may be spending

Every minute of his day

Lusting after wealth

But, at this moment,

His skill is misplaced, painful –

Completely useless.

He grabs his mobile

To ask someone to bring him

Some toilet paper.

His mobile’s now gold.

No dialing tone, no signal –

The line has gone dead.

So, despairingly,

He chucks it in the bog

To join his gold excreta

Lurking in the bowl.

He tears his hair out.

This now turns to gold,

At which he gets up,

Clenching his buttocks

Together because he has

To get ready for work

And doesn’t want to mess

Up his investment office

With freaky gold crap.

A melodramatic


With whom he’s had past dealings,

Enters the bathroom.

“This is out of hand!”,

Says the banker, “But it’s what you

Wanted all along,” says the devil,

“Turning everything

To gold through treating people

Like scum. As you have.

You forgot yourself

And embraced capitalism,

‘The extraordinary

Belief the nastiest

Of men for the nastiest

Of motives will work

For the benefit

Of all mankind.’ John Maynard

Keynes, you will recall.

“So, keep buying shares

And play the futures market;

Shorten human lives;

Turn humanity

Into casino chips –

Gambled for profit.


And now I’ll leave you –

Covered in gilt-edged turds and

Cursed to gibber madly

Of Footsies; Nasdaqs;

Balances of payments; and

Liquidity markets;

Dow-Jones indices –

And flickering digits

On dizzying screens.

The mumbo jumbo

Of economic mayhem

That measures your life.

You get and you spend,

Trapped by numbers rackets

While gnomes in dark rooms

Drain your existence…

Strangling you as surely

As the Inca King’s garotte.


Here’s my card: Devil’s Advocate

Dot Com if you ever need us.


All societies

Based on money are ugly,

But gold’s vengeful ghosts

Still ensure the rich

Are impoverished by their

Hatred of the poor:

They’re all sentenced to skulk

In gated communities

For fear of kidnaps,

Muggings, robberies.

Crime’s acupuncture that adjusts

The economic

Imbalance, whilst man’s

Unshared, superfluous piles

Speak revealingly

Of the tasteless folly

Of his murderous mission

To hoard up sunlight

And keep it to himself.


“God gave me my money”

Was John D Rockefeller’s ugly boast

But the obvious knowledge that

To look into the sun too long

Would make you blind and mad

Was above his pay-scale.


Heathcote Williams




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3 Responses to Gold

    1. Glorius poetry its power of wisdom is like a crystal ball to give a message to us all. Opening our eyes of the depravity of the heartless few who take with there selfish greed the resources and enjoyment of this world for there own consumption. Yet for the many that bleed and sweet for the few percent… watch there families live in misery while the resources of the world is plundered more, this is a crime!

      Comment by Brent Schuster on 23 April, 2012 at 11:11 am
    2. Love it.

      Comment by Fred Proud on 24 April, 2012 at 4:40 pm
    3. We all know Heathcote is a great writer but combined with Elena Caldera a fantastic artist in both line and paint things go with a louder bang This weeks rats line work is worthy of the one legged kick arsed hug. Sadly so seldom deserved and less often bestowed.probably because of the extreme danger of the administration.

      Comment by Editor on 29 April, 2012 at 9:15 am

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