The Blacksmith

A lump of iron ore pried out of the mountainside
yields to the fire’s touch until it softens;
then after patient hammering in the forge,
it is molded by the smith to his heart’s desire.

A moment passes—and a tool emerges,
the lump of ore turns into a steel plough;
it turns up the soil with fierce energy,
to the rhythms of sowing, under the blessing of rain.

Then one day revolt blazes up,
the whole country is a fiery volcano,
the true patriots organize an army
to direct the battle’s unleashed rage.

Swiftly the old plough is made white-hot again,
the burning edge is forged anew:
it turns into a blade that seems to vow
vengeance for the injuries of a people.

A piece of steel, and yet it does not glitter,
its value never can be measured—
Forged into a plough it helps to nourish all!
Forged into a sword it is the anvil of the land!

Look upon the blacksmith, solid as steel,
humbly quiet in his corner;
for in his work-stained hands he holds
life, liberation and his nation’s selfhood.