The Forge by Michael Burch
To at last be indestructible, a poem
must first glow, almost flammable, upon
a thing inert, as gray, as dull as stone,
then bend this way and that, and slowly cool
at arms-length, something irreducible
drawn out with caution, toughened in a pool
of water so contrary just a hiss
escapes itâ€“water instantly a mist.
It writhes, a thing of senseless shapelessness ...
And then the driven hammer falls and falls.
The horses prick their ears in nearby stalls.
A soldier on his cot leans back and smiles.
A sound of ancient import, with the ring
of honest labor, sings of fashioning.
Originally published by The Chariton Review