In dreams begin responsibilities,
the poet hammers, the blows echoing
through the damp halls of a benighted past.
He is dead now, and the words are deader.
The hammer still in the forge, the anvil
furred and silvered with dust. All fool’s gold now.
Or are you, then? Perhaps hidden under
a crust of charcoal lies the ingot, soft
and flaming. Fire waits for you to stoke it.
The coals wait for your breath. Not machine, no —
let your lungs be the bellows, the midwife.
Let your sweat be the ink that writes the world.
Your will, the hammer arcing down, thunder
itself. Your mind, the anvil that cannot
be moved. The ingot is what you make it.
An axle that turns the galaxy’s wheel.
The flat ice of a thirsty blade, singing
its want to the dissolving forge. A crown —
Or something more simple. A holly bough,
a gift of green in the heart of winter,
berries as red as the forge. A starling
among its spikes, claws balanced and light, as
the Milky Way wanders in its feathers.
You are the master, the smith and the fire.
Rise, then. The fire waits for you to stoke it.
The anvil awaits your choices. Go now.
In dreams begin responsibilities.