Monday, 21 February 2011

The racks of hammers

Twin racks of hammers racked in blackened wood
above the ingrained rough hewn timbers of the bench
sentries on a grubby limewashed wall
in a splintered place now cold
that smells of coke and chains
of beaten steel and iron wheels
where tortured kings have stalked the wide grey
boards amongst the hooks
the tackled blocks the bolts and cutters
the wire-brushes pliers and chains
the mallets files and blackened rags
long-handled instruments
for stoking fires and handling coals
and glowing blades
now poke from wooden boxes
in this cavern
where the grey man sits in a spotlight's glare
to read his words
to a gathered few
- they leap and point like swords aflame
the water glass
remains untouched
the hammers hang their heads with shame


  1. Imaginative, what sounds like a poetry reading in what sounds like a tool shed. Interesting.

  2. Och aye John. By the way, I've got The Throu-Gaun Chiel out today!

    Jom, Thank you Jim. It was an underground cavern. Like the Beatles, but smaller.

  3. Heavy stuff, Gwilym! And nothing silver for Maxwell to bring down upon a head.

    Seriously though, I enjoyed all the black images and the hanging of the heads in shame.

  4. Very powerful imagery here Gwilym.I liked the idea of black against the limewashed wall.

  5. Gordon, the clues to do with the hammers hanging their heads in shame are of course in the poem - chains, beaten, wheels, tortured, hooks, fire, blades, swords, etc., and so naturally the hammers are ashamed of the part they played in the terrible scenario that is hinted at, even if those who, even today, wield the weapons and instruments (of torture) are not.

    Pat, that black and white idea is so to say 'the writing on the wall' - the sign of what's coming.

  6. Welcome to my garish joys friend of O. Henry!


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