The Rosehead Nail

Blacksmithing demonstration, mountain arts and crafts fair, Monteagle, TN

“But can you forge a nail?” the blond boy asks,
And the blacksmith shoves a length of  iron rod
Deep in the coal fire cherished by the bellows
Until it glows volcanic. He was a god
Before anachronism, before the tasks
That had been craft were jobbed out to machine.
By dint of   hammer-song he makes his keen,
Raw point, and crowns utility with rose:
Quincunx of facets petaling its head.
The breeze-made-visible sidewinds. The boy’ s
Blonde mother shifts and coughs. Once Work was wed
To Loveliness — sweat-faced, swarthy from soot, he
Reminds us with the old saw he employs
(And doesn’ t miss a beat): “Smoke follows beauty.”