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The Poet's Forge

Helen Hunt Jackson 1830 (Amherst, Massachusetts) – 1885 (San Francisco)



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.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:11 min read
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Helen Hunt Jackson

Helen Maria Hunt Jackson, born Helen Fiske, was an American poet and writer who became an activist on behalf of improved treatment of Native Americans by the United States government. more…

All Helen Hunt Jackson poems | Helen Hunt Jackson Books

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    "The Poet's Forge" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 6 Dec. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/17088/the-poet's-forge>.

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