Author Topic: sometime words are harder than iron  (Read 2812 times)

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Offline skipskip

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sometime words are harder than iron
« on: January 14, 2016, 04:33:15 AM »
Poe's Anvil
by David Ray


At the drive-in theater where they sell junk
on Sundays we saw a man and his wife standing
by a pick-up truck trying to sell his anvil.
It sat up in the truck’s bed— it was black,
heavy, and elegant like a mammoth’s tusk.
And his name was written on it like a signature,
in iron that once ran like ink. His name was Poe.
I talked with him and he recalled briefly
days when his anvil stood outside a shed,
a workshop like a harbor set in a sea
of green tomato fields, and inside
he had a coal fire and a bellows and he watched
the tractor replace mules and the car
replace wagons. He tired of horse-shoes,
wagon wheels and plows, of hitches, harrows,
and lugs, of axles, crankcases and flywheels,
and he sat somewhat amused (and dying, his wife
told us), presiding over the sale of his own
monument, which he wanted someone to go on
hammering on, and in the midday city sun
the theater’s white screen was blank
like a faded quilt or Moby Dick’s stretched skin.

"Poe's Anvil" by David Ray from Music of Time: Selected and New Poems. © The Backwater Press, 2006.


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Offline Papaw

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Re: sometime words are harder than iron
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2016, 09:33:01 AM »
Excellent , Skip!
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Offline rc.moto

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Re: sometime words are harder than iron
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2016, 04:10:57 PM »
Thanks Skip.

This poem eloquently shows why we love old tools. Who here hasn't held an old tool and imagined the craftsman or tradesman that may have used it skillfully many years ago?   

Offline Northwoods

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Re: sometime words are harder than iron
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2016, 04:57:55 PM »
Reminds me of Hap Jackson (I never knew his real given name) the blacksmith down on Wall Street Road near where I grew up.  That man could fix anything from a Farmall to a Chevy, from a plow to a combine.
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Offline Papaw

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Re: sometime words are harder than iron
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2016, 07:24:03 PM »
My uncle Walter Jordan had many careers, but through all of them he was a worker of metal. Stayed with his crafts until he was 98 or so. Died a few days after he made 100. His birthday was on July 4th, and each year he would joke about how many family members would last long enough to celebrate his birthday with him.
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Online john k

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Re: sometime words are harder than iron
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2016, 11:19:12 PM »
Very reminiscent of the swap meet I went to ten years back.  Ran into 3 gentlemen, each standing by a small assortment of iron and tools.  3 separate sellers.  One fellow had just a half dozen things on the tailgate of a 30 year old pickup, $5 your choice, said he had to sell out, selling his home so as to move into a care facility because of his wifes health.  Wouldn't have anywhere to put things like this  anymore.  Next two had similar stories, and from the look of one of them, think his days were numbered, and  it was a small number, just wanted to move his tools to someone that knew what they were.  Bought a boxful from him, and a blacksmith shop tire shrinker for wooden wheel repair. 
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Offline jimwrench

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Re: sometime words are harder than iron
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2016, 09:04:53 AM »
 In the country cemetery where my wife is buried there is an anvil placed as a tombstone for a former blacksmith. Has a couple pair of tongs welded to it so the vandals don;t steal them. Didn't know the man but assume it is a fitting tribute to a mans livelihood.
Jim
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Offline Northwoods

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Re: sometime words are harder than iron
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2016, 10:27:30 AM »
+ 1
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Offline shortfuse

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Re: sometime words are harder than iron
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2016, 09:03:55 AM »
In the country cemetery where my wife is buried there is an anvil placed as a tombstone for a former blacksmith. Has a couple pair of tongs welded to it so the vandals don;t steal them. Didn't know the man but assume it is a fitting tribute to a mans livelihood.

Nice tribute...the anvil headstone.  In this day and time, with all the crime, it's surprising that someone hasn't stolen the anvil.  Hopefully the low scrap prices these days will defer that happening.