Gold (1934) Brigitte Helm speaks! For ten minutes, she vamps in a science fiction film about corporate espionage made during the early Nazi period and directed by Karl Hartl. The ghost of the UFA’s great Metropolis lurks everywhere. John Wills (Michael Bohnen) is the villain, a British billionaire driven by greed to control world economies. He lures the sole survivor (Hans Albers) of a lab explosion to research on atomic alchemy. Studying this movie after WWII, the Allied Censorship Board wondered how far the German scientists had actually come in developing a nuclear reactor.
King Midas wined and dined a soused satyr
For which he was rewarded with one wish.
His touch could golden his darling daughter,
Seared into a statuesque angelfish.
Astrophysics holds that dead neutron stars
Colliding in deep space gave birth to gold
And spewed Earth with rare gemstone meteors
Four billion years ago, plowed up cliff holds.
Through the Middle Ages, Alchemists dreamed
Of converting lead to gold but forgot
Scarcity makes this element esteemed;
Excess makes markets and nations riot.
Too much Artificial Gold couldn’t buy
An accordion and a telescope.
The rarest karats cannot purify
Tenderness, should a father’s touch bring hope.
To cure himself, Midas swam Pactolus
Then joined the mad chase of chaotic Pan —
From whom we get the word “panic” — for us,
What rules when rulers forget they’re human.
[Disposable Poem March 21, 2017]