Bud the blacksmith lies so still.
A crazy quilt of sunburned leaves
and hedge balls, warts and all,
spreads thin upon September grass
around the slick-faced granite.
On Bud’s stone there should be peanut hulls
old jokes and fishing tales—
perhaps a picture of the one that got away—
straw hats and overalls
horseshoes leaning on a stake,
artifacts of those who gathered
at his forge.
Now the forge is cold as Bud.
The doors are held with a hard steel chain,
product of Bud’s skill now turned against us.
Late summer rays bounce off the dirt-art windows
until the darkness overcomes.
Black within equal with the black without.
Late from the graveyard comes the ring of hammer
clank of chisel, ghostly tools at work
and in the haze of autumn morn we see
the final words for Bud upon his stone…
Bud the blacksmith is dead.
Where will the old men go now?
John Robert McFarland