Early each morning I grasp my pen,
steel-pointed, as a blacksmith
clenches the handle of his hammer.
I long to strike the anvil of the world
soul to make it ring, to sing out
a high pitch
that penetrates the core of
Mallet, hammer, sledge, pen—something
needs breaking, a smithy of words and
wielding iron hide to resist. I smell joy
in things resisting, in my own raucous
My forehead rests against the hardness of things, the iron
sense of metallic musings.
Breaking bellows keeps the fire roaring,
the breath of creation's musings.
Oh, to pound out my name in iron, to
dent the surface of real steel!
To leave for my sons even one initial,
would initiate me into
Vulcan's maimed club of iron
fists. How dare I resist?
Words weld themselves to one
another. Some new black and still
hot thing is pinched from the
fire by tongs, themselves
fashioned in the forge.
Life's breath from the bellows
inspires their work, breathes
life into coarse iron.
Between the raised hammer and the
expectant anvil lies a great
Bow, then; turn the black metal of
solitude towards the heat of a melting rod.
Life quickens in the forge. Tempers
cool in the screech of steel pummeled by
Some deep core of iron in me tempers
in elements clashing. It seeks some taming
as old as elemental strife.
How is it we are simple self-forgers
seeking the heat of a dark salvation?
With my steel pen happy I hammer into
harmonious rhythm heavy words on to
pages of vibrant sheet metal and fix
Hoc est unum corpus meum.
Sanctus Sanctus Sanctus.
-from Just Below The Water Line: Selected Poems
p36 © 2004 Winchester Canyon Press