“The Forge” – Imagery and Musicality

Blog: Choose one of the poems and make some observations about the effects of the imagery and musicality (meter, assonance, rhyme, etc.)

I saw a lot of imagery and musicality in this poem. The poem really paints a picture of a blacksmith inside his workshop. It had a dark, rusty feel to it, that allowed me to look into the poem. The first line grabs the reader with its mysterious words; “All I know is a door into the dark.” There is alliteration with the words, “door” and “dark” which add to this mysterious feel. The poet then talks about the outside of the workshop: “Old axles and iron hoops rusting.” This line leaves a small pause at the end, right after the word, “rusting” making the next line about the inside of the room dramatic. The speaker talks about some things inside the room, such as “the unpredictable fantail of sparks” and the “hiss when a new shoe toughens in water.” In these two lines, I can hear what is going on inside the workshop. The word “sparks” sounds like a spark, and “hiss” sounds like something hissing. These type of words help the reader hear what is happening in the poem. Line 9, talks about the blacksmith in his environment: “Where he expends himself in shape and music.” This line lets me see into the room, a man, “leather-aproned, hairs in his nose.” One rhyme I found is on lines 10 and 12; the words, “nose” and “rose”, somehow tying the two lines together. The words, “shape” and “music” can be related to his work, the shape being what he makes, and the music is the sounds that release from the room. Finally, the last line, “To beat real iron out, to work the bellows” is nice imagery, again showing the reader a man working, bending over to tend the fire.

UPDATE: One thing I noticed in class today that I did not see last night while reading this poem is how the blacksmith hears hoofs, but looks out the window and looks out the window seeing “traffic in flashing rows”. This shows how this blacksmith is stuck in a time where horses were used as transportation, but looks out the window, seeing cars and the present time; he and his job remained the same, while everything surrounding him evolved into a new world.


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