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The Farriers Lad

I stood in awe and watched him work unyielding metal, forged in fire, now bending, moulding to his will somehow, unending, the blows raining down, the hammer's kiss drowning birdsong and the forges fiery hiss. I work the bellows to disgorge icy blasts of compressed air into the heart of the white hot coals, which, like the souls of the damned, roared and cracked and spat like banshees. Sparks spiralled and danced as the hammer glanced, hither and yon on burnished metal until they settled on baked clay, made that way by years of toil in broiling heat and myriad feet. Still the muscled farrier sweated, aided and abetted by eager apprentice, noting the swing and anvil's sing and muscles taut and iron wrought to shapes in steel to rim a wheel or shoe a horse or gate a field. I watch it yield to the blacksmiths will and still he works, heating, hammering, turning, whilst I, learning, stoke the fire and work the bellows until the day mellows into evening and the last piece is tempered in water cold which scolds the air in clouds of steam. Damp the fire, kill the flame, a last swig of cider then, time to go, follow the crow, tired men. Footsteps weary, tipsy as fools, the sweated brow cools in the twilight air. Home to wife and children, home to those who care.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020




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