My Aunt’s funeral is over and according to popular wisdom I have said my goodbyes and should move on, but I don’t want to rush forward yet. As they say, life goes on; and at this time of year, life is relentless. Toseland is seemingly trapped in a non-stop round of parties and dinners, catching up with people and comparing achievements. Katy is all go writing cards and letters, buying gifts and making handicrafts and sweet treats. So like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s blacksmith, I must go on too.
The Village Blacksmith
Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands. His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.
Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.
And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.
He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter’s voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.
It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.
Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.
Bit melodramatic perhaps, but isn’t that what poets are for?
These pretty life modelled and hand coloured pictures are from a lantern slide set manufactured by W. Watson & Sons, 313, High Holborn, London (1883 – 1908) via State Library of Victoria. It must have been exciting to watch the slide show by flickering candle light.
I love those little boy bowler hats, don’t you?