Helen Hunt Jackson

(18 October 1830 – 12 August 1885 / Amherst, Massachusetts)

The Poet's Forge - Poem by Helen Hunt Jackson

He lies on his back, the idling smith,
A lazy, dreaming fellow is he;
The sky is blue, or the sky is gray,
He lies on his back the livelong day,
Not a tool in sight, say what they may,
A curious sort of smith is he.

The powers of the air are in league with him;
The country around believes it well;
The wondering folk draw spying near;
Never sight nor sound do they see or hear;
No wonder they feel a little fear;
When is it his work is done so well?

Never sight nor sound to see or hear;
The powers of the air are in league with him;
High over his head his metals swing,
Fine gold and silver to shame the king;
We might distinguish their glittering,
If once we could get in league with him.

High over his head his metals swing;
He hammers them idly year by year,
Hammers and chuckles a low refrain:
"A bench and a book are a ball and a chain,
The adze is a better tool than the plane;
What's the odds between now and next year?"

Hammers and chuckles his low refrain,
A lazy, dreaming fellow is he:
When sudden, some day, his bells peal out,
And men, at the sound, for gladness shout;
He laughs and asks what it's all about;
Oh, a curious sort of smith is he.


Comments about The Poet's Forge by Helen Hunt Jackson

  • (11/24/2010 7:47:00 PM)


    The Smith

    He rest his hammer alongside the wall
    And ask the boy that turns the bellows to not stop at all
    For the coals must glow and yield the heat
    Which when he returns to the metal, beat.

    For in his mind's eye a shape is formed
    That will impart a meaning not to be scorned
    Twisted and hammered until the poetry
    At once will be his mark on history.

    The smell of sulphur fills the air
    As the blazing heat produces a char
    So this day the poem will be an acrid one
    That burns the eyes and heart of some.

    For he writes of the day when the world stood still
    And gave thanks for the men and women who ever will
    Give up their time on earth to others
    As THEY are our sisters and brothers.

    And the sound of his anvil is loud and clear -
    Give thanks for those who are far and near.

    s
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Read poems about / on: silver, sky, work, fear, power, believe, dream



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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