From Paw Paw's Forge;
It may be the oldest impulse known to mankind; the desire to mold what we have discovered of the world into new works. Not content just to marvel at nature, but to take and make it into something Else. First, to take it's materials and shape them into tools with which to conquer it; with a rock we sharpen a stick, with a stick, we plow the earth, with a plow we plant what has grown in a new place and create gardens where there were none. To suit us. From wood, water, clay and iron we have shaped the world into Our World. Yet even in more primitive times, humans have not been content to fashion mere tools, our mark on Our World has been our art. Out of necessity is borne the beautiful -- from the wheeled plow, to the curved bedstead, to the ornamental scrollwork above the door of a house. We make the world ours, and give back to it the beauty we have discovered in it.
So it is with blacksmithing, a craft as old as humankind, one steeped in mystery and power as it involves the transformation of iron through fire. As a blacksmith I am brother to all who have gone before me, shaping the world into tools and works of art, and as I work my anvil sings as it did in the time of Zeus, as it did in our nearby Appalachian mountains, calling all to witness the capability of humankind. As a blacksmith it is my duty and my honor to share the wonders of this ancient art with any and all who would witness. I demonstrate this art, I teach, explain, and pass it on, as it was passed to me.
(c) mkidd, 1997 Used by permission.
GOLD is for the mistress - silver for the maid" -
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade! "
" Good! " said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
But Iron - Cold Iron - is master of them all."
So he made rebellion 'gainst the King his liege,
Camped before his citadel and summoned it to siege.
" Nay! " said the cannoneer on the castle wall,
" But Iron - Cold Iron - shall be master of you all! "
Woe for the Baron and his knights so strong,
When the cruel cannon-balls laid 'em all along;
He was taken prisoner, he was cast in thrall,
And Iron - Cold Iron - was master of it all.
Yet his King spake kindly (ah, how kind a Lord!)
" What if I release thee now and give thee back thy sword? "
" Nay! " said the Baron, " mock not at my fall,
For Iron - Cold Iron - is master of men all."
" Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown."
" As my loss is grievous, So my hope is small,
For Iron - Cold Iron - must be master of men all! "
Yet his King made answer (few such Kings there be!)
" Here is Bread and here is Wine - sit and sup with me.
Eat and drink in Mary's Name, the whiles I do recall
How Iron - Cold Iron - can be master of men all."
He took the Wine and blessed it. He blessed and brake the Bread
With His own Hands He served Them, and presently He said:
" See! These Hands they pierced with nails, outside My city wall,
Show Iron - Cold Iron - to be master of men all. "
" Wounds are for the desperate, blows are for the strong.
Balm and oil for weary hearts all cut and bruised with wrong.
I forgive thy treason - I redeem thy fall
For Iron Cold Iron - must be master of men all! "
'Crowns are for the valiant - sceptres for the bold!
Thrones and Powers for mighty men who dare to take and hold!'
" Nay! " said the Baron, kneeling in his hall,
" But Iron - Cold Iron - is master of men all!
Iron out of Calvary is master of men all! "