The Horn and the Blacksmith

Cauldron of iron and bells of steel,
What’s churning out smoke before the sound of a wheel?
It’s the billows, the furnace, the red-hot tongs’ squeal,
Get it on the anvil before it gets cool,
Hammers hot, hotter from falling than sparks blue,
Glance into his dark tent, you’ll see that he’s no brute,
The arm that swings his hammer could split an axe in two,
But his eyes are never hardened, and they never glare at you,
“Comfort comes from work,” he says, but his conversation soothes,
“You don’t restart a part, it’s true, you’ll only break its heart in two,
When you make a tool from heart not school, it’s hard to refuse
The possible use of a sword that’s misused, mistreated and abused.”
If he says it’ll hold true, then you know it’s new,
Not discarded, thrown away, but used for a purpose, true.

I met him one night in the parking lot,
Called him outside, sheepish my battery was shot,
Said “Quit apologizin’, let me run to my shop,”
Came running on back with a jump-cable box,
When he’d plugged it in, he turned, said “Let’s walk,”
So I followed him inside for a cup of coffee-talk,
What I saw inside wasn’t the home of a dirty trade jock,
It was adorned with art ranging from canvas to scribbles of chalk,
The kitchen was clean, the couches were tidy, I saw it and stopped.

“You need to vent,” He didn’t make coffee.
He went for the best, a single-malt whiskey,
“Oh that’s not for me,” I said way too brightly,
“Nonsense, dear friend, you’ve got time to sit with me.”
“I’ve got to go,” but I accepted the drink, “I’ve been pretty weak.”
He nodded at me, and I proceeded to speak,
Unsure of my way, too weak not to leak,
He heard all my pain, silent while I weap,
I hid in his home, a solace of peace,
Then he put his hand on me,
On my shoulder while I felt weak,
He said, “I’ve never known you to quit or fall asleep
At the wheel, dear child, you’re always after peace.”

I don’t know if it helped,
If it sustained my best,
Or if I’m just pulling bets,
Might never know ’til the end,
But I guess if it’s over, I cannot pretend,
The darkness might smoulder, but I’m on the mend,
And I’ll just keep going, ’cause I’m far past my death.

And I’ll just keep going, ’cause I’m far past my death.


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