Thursday, 6 June 2013


This poem has used the audio tape of the old Blacksmiths shop by Thomas Cransky as the backing tape.   This was  originally set up as an ABC Pool collaboration.

 The story is true - set in Nambour Queensland  in the early part of the 60's.  It is my story.  I hope you enjoy it.  Just click the link below to go into the soundclouds.

            THE BLACKSMITH

When I was just a little girl, perhaps nine or ten years old,
every spare minute that I had was spent at Bens I’m told.
Old Ben he was the Blacksmith and he always seemed to me
to be quite old. In retrospect he was just thirty three.

His forge was hot and glowing, despite how warm the day
and the clanging of his hammer could be heard from far away.
I recall  water hissing as hot steel was plunged to cool
andthe ringing of the steel always held me in its thrall.

I think I always hoped to see a draught horse standing there.
But alas I never did. 'twas tractors he repaired,
along with combine harvesters and many other things.
So I drew horses on his wall , fulfilling childish whims.

For many years the forge was there. I grew up and moved on.
Many years passed ‘fore I returned, by then old Ben was gone.
The forge was now abandoned. Boarded up and bare.
I wonder if the horses that I drew are still in there.

This town was once a sugar town, but now the cane has gone
The swaying cane replaced with roofs in shades of red and brown
Suburban plots, suburban streets are now everywhere seen.
Though they don't have the beauty of the pink plume on the green.

The mill has closed; the rail line still. No fires ring the town.
The sleepy country pace replaced with haste and frazzled frowns
No neighbourly chat upon the street, and none who say G’day.
All around  rush and hurry. Stressed out people. Stressful days.

The ringing of the steel, alas its sound is heard no more
No need here for a Blacksmith now, not like there was before.
The country ways are ending, the childish dreams long gone
Except within my memories, for here they linger on.

Maureen Clifford ©
The Scribbly Bark Poet
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