Poetry | The Poet’s Forge


The Poet’s Forge

©2019 Vernon Miles Kerr,  vernonmileskerr.com

When I think of a forge, I first think of old, bronze Vulcan, at the top of his tower, hammer raised, on a hill overlooking Birmingham, Alabama, my place of nativity. Having first seen him when I was five years old it left a distinct impression.  Like a poem, this work of monumental sculpture implied much more than the mere outward form of the work — even for a near-infant.  In my mind I sensed the rivulets of perspiration on his grimy up-stretched arm and anticipated the crashing clang of the hammer blow.  That clang still echoed in my mind one morning, when I stood at the base of Vulcan’s tower 60 years later.

Beyond the metaphor of sculpture-as-poem, there is that parallel of the poetic process as smithery — a poem being heated, pounded, annealed, quenched, hammered more, until perfect — dross removed, complete.  Here is a vignette into that  forging process.  My original version of the poem “Can a Crocus Bloom” and the latest version, hot from the forge:

Can a Crocus Bloom … (copied to WordPress 11/2/2018)

© 2018 Vernon Miles Kerr

 

Can a crocus bloom in desert’s searing sand;

Or Altruism spring from our primate-surly band?

Could Love, that agape of old, that outward-flowing care

For others, arise from merely wishing it so?

Or was it a gift, bestowed by the loving hands,

Of some gardener, long ago;

A seed, planted in unlikely soil,

So that when it flourished

It would confound–

And astonish?

 

Can a Crocus Bloom … (re-worked 6/26/19)

© 2019 Vernon Miles Kerr

 

Can a crocus bloom in desert’s searing sand;

Or Altruism spring from our primate-surly band?

Could Love — Agape of old — that outward-flowing

Care, arise from merely wishing so?

Or was it a gift, bestowed by loving hands,

Of some hopeful gardener many eons ago;

An unlikely seed, planted in unlikely soil,

So that when it flourished

It would confound–

And astonish?


Can a Crocus Bloom  (rewritten  3/2020, rendered in a rough iambic pentameter)

© 2020 VERNON MILES KERR

Can a crocus bloom in desert’s searing sand;

Or altruism sprout  from our surly, primate-band?

Could love, the agápe of old, that out-flowing care,

That emollient, applied without thought of recompense,

Spring to life as an empty consequence

Of colliding molecules and only, happenstance?

 

Or was it—artfully and lovingly applied, mid-planting-season

By a hopeful gardener, long ago, for a reason:

A seed inserted in stony and unlikely ground

So that when it flourished, perhaps It would astonish—and confound?


Which version do you prefer?  Please comment below.  VMK

Your comments make this blog worth reading:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.