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The author's father inspired the title poem with his great love for and skill in blacksmithing. After dabbling for many years, he became an artist-blacksmith after retiring from teaching. In the heat of the forge, wondrous transformations take place...

Other poems explore life, death, and everything in between, from moon landings to brush piles.

Several poems from Forgework can sampled in Geoffrey's Spilt Ink pages. Also available: [cover] [full-sized cover image] [interior photo (small) (full-sized)]

By Geoffrey Skinner.
With photos by the author.
Paper, 36 pages, b&w illustrations. 1999-2000 (Revised edition).

From the title poem

White smoke curls up from the dark
coal as my father's gnarled hands
stoke the fire. He heaps the glowing
coke toward the center, then packs fresh

slurry around the outside. He pumps
the bellows, spurring white incandescence
to coax new life from an old bastard file.
Sturdy tongs in his left hand grasp

the glowing file, his right grips
the hammer. Stroke after stroke, anvil
ringing, he flattens the steel, bending
and drawing. Sparks fly off the blazing

end that soon dulls to grey. Again
he slides the discarded tool into alchemical
flames. He looks as if he'd always stood
at the forge in his battered and dirty leather

apron, coal dust in his hair.

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