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The Smith’s Gold

by Oonah V. Joslin

He stoked his pipe and stoked his forge.
Both burned all day in the dark smithy.
His sleeves rolled,
strands of his meagre hair sweat-pasted to his pate,
he breathed the smell
of smoke and iron.

The anvil like a rhino’s horn
was a hard place
for bending bars made soft by fire.
Stooped between hammer and orange flame
his boiler suit sooted, he lived
a life of metal and stone.

He made railings for a rich man’s grave.
Pride at the hot-hearted forge,
words of sacred wisdom,
the broad band he wore,
the only gold he’d ever want or know.

Sparks flew as his sinuous arm drew
down each hammer blow
and every spark rang free
as his spirit
fired up,
hammered down;
he died before his time.

Forge ahead.
Burn, burn like an evening sun.
Always the final stroke was his.

Copyright © 2012 by Oonah V. Joslin

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