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The Village Blacksmith

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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 what’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 watch the burning sparks that fly

Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

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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.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,

For the lesson thou hast taught!

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Thus at the flaming forge of life

Our fortunes must be wrought;

Thus on its sounding anvil shaped

Each burning deed and thought!

     Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Persistence and accomplishment go hand in hand. Life is a mixture of ordinary human experience: “Toiling,—rejoicing,—sorrowing.” Yet persistence, and accomplishing something, gives one purpose. Our lives are shaped by meeting and facing life events, so each person must be willing to continue pumping the bellows and forging one’s life. Purpose, that which one strives for daily but doesn’t seem to know what it is. What is our purpose? To be the best at what we do, to accomplish something every day, thus deserving “a night’s repose”, as the poem states. Just as the blacksmith’s life has been shaped by meeting and facing life events, so each person must be willing to continue on with life formed “at the flaming forge” with “Each burning deed and thought” shaped at the “sounding anvil.”

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