The forge is hot, and the fire is red
My arms are screaming, feeling dead.
The iron glows like a burning brand
And the anvil sings beneath my hand.
I stop and think about my task
My head bowing as I begin to ask:
“Is this what it is like, O Lord my God?
This steel unbending, these iron rods?
Is Man so different, his hard-edged soul
Under a Smith’s hand brought to control?
Am I like these, who are swiftly brought
From basest earth to fire hot?
To be broken and bent till a thing of beauty
Is this what it is, Lord, to attend to Your duty?
To shape us, and make us like any smith
Making sword, plow, and armor from ugly cold width
Of Iron, so heavy, black as the space
Between bright-glowing stars.
Am I a sword, then, shaped of bright steel?
Or am I a plowshare, bringing the needful their meal?
Or yet am I a shield, a breastplate, or helm
Protecting the helpless from foes who overwhelm
What am I, Lord, O smith of the spaces?
Whose forge-sparks are stars
His smith-craft the places
And planets so bright and traveling far.
Galaxies are lanterns hung in your workshop
The universes your masterpiece, but only a piece of your art.
What then is my purpose, what then should I do?
Why do I exist, but as an extension of You?
I see now, you’ve told me.
“Be salt and be Light”
One gives out taste, the other to see.
So I am a Lantern, forged of your hand?
When you already have so many lights in that bright starry band
Many the burning, and many the brighter
Many more beautiful, and many more fighters
Why make and choose me? Why show me Your Hand?
Why shape me this way, to shine in that strand
Of lights better shining, better warming, and older
Many more brilliant, and many the bolder?”
I blink, and I grab the steel glowing gold.
I beat and shape, hoping it will do as its told
By the hammer, the anvil, and bright burning forge.
In the song of the hammer, I hear a mighty ring
And deep in my soul a Voice begins to sing.
“I created you this way, because I love to make
Out of unlikely things and unlikely people a shape
Beautiful and special in its own unique way
Crafted to inspire, to entertain and to play
You are My handiwork, as much as the stars
As much as Andromeda, the oceans, or Mars
You are Mine and I love you as no other can
For I made you, shaped you as part of My plan.
Every twist, every bend, every gap in your steel
I know every one, and you never should feel
The lesser of any beside Me.
For they are my craftings, as much even as ye.
I forged and meant you to shine with My Light!
To stand gainst all darkness with a burning White
That is My love and my hope and my Joy
That makes you My son, not merely a toy.
Your fathers made errors that flawed the clear glass
That filled up the spaces twixt each little pass.
But that only took My Light and bent it, making flaws into focus
And adding more color. There is nought that is made that I had no hand in,
And even great evil might come to understanding.
That its desires are breakings of the plans I had made them, perversions only.
There is nothing in Creation that does not know Me.
You are Mine, and I made you, that is all and the Truth.
The forge-heat, this worlds-realm, and My Word is your proof.”
I put down my hammer, quenched the steel with a shout
And will never let that forge-spark in my own soul go out.