Hammers and Forges

Whiplashed skin heals thick as leather,

Broken bones knit more strongly together,

The healed knuckle hits so much harder,

Road worn feet can walk so much farther,

The spirit diminished, rises much stronger,

The will cast in iron goes on so much longer,

Though the forging is painful, a torture at best,

As the fire and hammers put your steel to the test,

As ore you begin, dug out of the earth,

Unsure of your shape, your strength your worth,

But the hot forge of life will temper your word,

And the hammers will shape your wit as your sword,

But your core, your heart, the strength of your blade,

Must retain some give, some flex to be played,

Though the hammers and fires press at its matter,

Without this core the blade will shatter.


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Jason Bayliss

Fri 15th Mar 2019 15:52

Mae, you can make the messages as long as you like my friend, especially when they contain such great stories from the life of your family. Thanks mate.

J. x

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Mae Foreman

Fri 15th Mar 2019 15:45

Excellent piece Jason! Steeped with wisdom. There are two words in Greek which I think are suitable for this poem. The first one means "iron-headed" and it's a wish for someone who just got over a tough situation, usually a dangerous illness! A teacher of mine said it to me when I got good news form the doctors.
"I wish you to be iron-headed from now on!" It's a wish and a plea, a warning. Do not squander your life, use your experience to your benefit, be strong. You should know better from now one. Something along these lines. So, "Iron-headed."
And the other word, in the same spirit, stands for "copper-gut". It means that your guts are made of copper. Again here the metal symbolizes endurance and toughness!
I've only heard it used once, when I was told the following story. When my father was in school, one day he had to memorize for a class as homework the life of some important figure of Christianity (For Crying out loud! If you can believe it in Greece we have a whole subject on Religion!?) but of course he didn't study. The next day in class, last minute he hastily opens the book in the marked page as if to get an idea of what he was supposed to know but he has no time to read anything, he only catches a glimpse of this word in the middle of the page in bold letters that characterized the man as "copper-gut". Before he has time to read anything else the teacher/priest asks him to recite his homework! Now my father knowns squat about St. Whatever, nor has he read the text so as to make sense of that unknown, strange word. The teacher looks at him and says:
"One word! If you've studied, you know I need one word that sums up the life and exploits of St. Whatever!"
Lucky ducky had just seen the word and because it stood out he had inadvertently memorized it! So he blurted it out! The teacher was ecstatic with this, so very spiritual, so diligent, studious young lad!!! He gave him an A for the rest of the year without asking him another question! My father had no idea who the heck St. Whatever was and what this strange word meant. Out of curiosity he read the whole page and discovered that the man was a martyr and had endured unparalleled ordeals and had survived; he was literally wrought with hardships! That's when the word "copper-gut" entered my father's mindset and by extension, way later on, mine! That's what I get from this poem! Masterful, skillful as always but most of all spot on! Fires and hammers my friend! Bravo!
Thank you and apologies for the long message?

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Jason Bayliss

Thu 14th Mar 2019 19:26

Thank you all so much. I try and always write in metaphor and really try in some cases to make every possible word have a duality of meaning. So much so that sometimes I think I'm being a bit oblique but I love this implicit use of English above pretty much any other use. I really love layers ?.

J. x

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Frances Macaulay Forde

Thu 14th Mar 2019 16:19

Well done, Jason.

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keith jeffries

Thu 14th Mar 2019 15:48


A skilfully written poem with a clear message.
Well done indeed.

Thank you


<Deleted User> (21487)

Thu 14th Mar 2019 15:13

I can only repeat WOW! and I can only agree with Jennifer,

It's a bit pathetic of me not to say more - but this poem speaks for it's self.


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Jason Bayliss

Thu 14th Mar 2019 14:25

Yes Jennifer, exactly that. Each hardship we endure will essentially either kill us or make us stronger. We start as innocent children and develop into fully formed adults and this often resembles the forging process, in this case a sword that represents your wit but also your strength, your defensive/offensive potential. When swords are forged and tempered they often have an extremely hard temper at the edge and a softer more springy temper at the core or spine. This allows a sharp, hard cutting edge (your wit) and a more flexible core or spine (your heart or compassion) allowing some integral give, or flexible strength to stop them from shattering on impact.
But all of this is only achieved by putting the virgin metal through the heat and hammers of the forge.
So only in suffering the fires and hammer blows, constant shaping and reshaping, can the finished article be achieved.
"All my tortures, great and small,
Have shaped my will and stood me tall."

J. x

jennifer Malden

Thu 14th Mar 2019 14:00

Wow! Really strong stuff! Are you saying, basically that suffering and difficulties even of an extreme nature, can actually fortify a person, but there should remain a core of humanity in spite of what he/she has been through? I'm thinking of the refugees from Siria, the Yazidi girls, the poor b Kurds who fight like lions, but get no help from anyone, etc. etc. Great writing.


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