Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In Praise of the U of A Tucson's Prize by Bob Atkinson


In Praise of the U of A
Tucson's Prize

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

Poston wanted precedent
to fall into his lap
not used to being taken
as one sitting in the back

firmly, in his Kentucky drawl
spoke with conviction proud
capitol should reside in Tucson
not up north in those new towns

had brought the miners here
way back in fifty-six
brought them to a city
where living all were dead

Tubac, a town like Pompeii
not a living soul in sight
all killed or run far away
from Apaches or from fright

had worked the mines hard each day
up 'till civil war commenced
when soldiers who had kept the peace
left for war in eastern lands

brought civilization's tone
to these sea-less shores
brought his brand of courage
with which he'd been born

oceans full of cacti
towns of predatory men
outcasts of all colors
some red, some white, some tanned

had been the population
of these dry parched lands
along with natives restless
some civilized, some mad

first owned by those who came
to settle in this land
from where it didn't matter
strength held the upper hand

then a part of New Spain
then part of Mexico
then part of Apacheria
then bought by shrewd Anglos

then adopted by all who came
for reasons of their own
as a common homeland
no matter what their first origin

they built a life of brotherhood
with those already here
and those who would come later
all equals and all peers

Charlie printed his own money
was good as far north
as San Francisco's banks
where they sold bars of gold

here at the convention
called to pick a town
new center of the land
and governmental clout

stood before them pleading hard
this man who had got Abe
to split New Mexico in half
and gave Arizona its fine new name

arguments sometimes fold
when the side which you're not on
feels they have the power
on their own path to continue on

a path carved of their selfish needs
if they count votes more than we
so Arizona got its capitol assigned
north of Tucson's greenest fields

Charlie in this fight for us
didn't win his argument
but his stature was so firm
they gave us some great gift

University of Arizona
though not its first given name
became his prize bestowed upon
the town of southern fame

a prize with which we proudly hold
as an institution we all love
a prize we depend upon
to educate our young


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