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The Chelsea, Kansas Blacksmith

Up 13 highway
To the east of our Chelsea farm
Lived a blacksmith by the name of Buchanan
With a shop that was extremely warm.

When Dad and I arrived at the shop
You could hear the clanging of the hammer
Hitting against the Anvil
While he was molding Plowshares for some farmer.

I marveled at this large man
When I was just a kid
His arms were big and muscled
To do the work he did.

He wore a blacksmith apron
To keep the heat from creeping in
To his burley body
And not to burn his skin.

He had an array of tools
Hammers, Anvil and tongs
A barrel of brackish water
To cool what he was working on.

The blower he worked by hand
It made a terrible racket
As he heated up the forge
To work on an iron bracket.

He was always sweaty
This working man
There was no electricity
Of course there was no fan.

The shop doors were open on the East and the West
To capture every breeze
It was cool when the wind did blow
But sometimes the wind would cease.

Didn't bother this big gentleman
He worked on through it all
To finish a job for some farmer
To be ready when he'd call.

This mighty man would
Heat the metal till it was just right
Take the tongs and lay it on the anvil
And beat it with all his might.

Iron rims for wheels for wagons of grain
Iron rims for the hayracks too
Irons for the ends of single trees, and wagon tongues
Molding Iron there's nothing he couldn't do.

Metal bands for wooden Axles
On the grain wagons he would make
They fit perfect
The farmers knew that they wouldn't break.

My Dad would take plowshares
Sometimes he called them lays
Mr. Buchanan could sharpen them
Made it look like child's play.

He'd pound them out very thin
Then work on the nose
Making sure that the share was true
And no problem it would pose.

My Dad broke a 6-foot metal bar
Right smack in the center
Took it to the blacksmith
Into the shop my Dad did enter.

There was no welding machine
Or electric grinders you see
This man put it back together
With heat and hammer as true as could be.

Many years later
Dad was still using that bar
For postholes he was digging.
As I went off to war.

The blacksmith is no longer there
He passed on years ago
With the Arc welders taking over his profession
The Blacksmith's age did go.

I'll bet he's working for God
Mending little things
Making small attachments for
The bindings of Angels wings.

Monte L. Manka 06-03-2006

Monte Manka can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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