'Twas a coastal town, with a smith or two,
Blacksmiths, shoe-smiths, silversmiths,
Wood-smiths, hat-smiths, to name a few.
But none could surpass the god-smith.
Prosperity trailed his goods as abundant dust.
No ship would sail or merchant sell,
Until homage paid to gods they could trust.
Such was the fame of the god-smith, Zamwell.
“He’s of Vulcan’s seed,” the minstrel sang.
“Nay,” said another. “He’s a god within himself.”
“Let’s carve his image,” voted the religious gang.
“Honor the man who has honored us with wealth.”
Stroking his singed beard, the blacksmith spoke.
“Only one can design this godlike monument,
The god-smith Zamwell; against him we are smoke.”
Then he turned, and passed a beggar without raiment.
“Kind sir, from birth mine eyes were taken,
It’s a god’s privilege to bless or curse a man.
Only they can give sight, the dead awaken.
Is Zamwell of heaven? Tell me if you can.”
“Surely the gods dwell among us, changing forms.
They could be amongst a dozen laughing,
Or nibbling away our lives like worms.
Perhaps you are one of these, my kindness trying.
“Zamwell’s flesh is of woman, his works of heaven.
Whether his spirit is mortal, or immortal, I know not.
Take my hand, to his threshold I’ll carry your burden.
Some god loves the god-smith, where wealth is wrought.”
A beggar’s endless night, the sunlight warmed.
He counted each step, until they reached the door.
He thanked the blacksmith, to the anvil he returned.
With his staff, he felt his way along the floor.
The sweet metallic aroma of brass weighted the air,
He sensed enchantment, haunted with sacredness.
Fragrant cedar, and myrrh were present everywhere.
Then a voice disrupted the solemness.
“Who gropes among my wares? Whom do you seek?”
“I seek a god’s mercy, to grant me the rainbow’s light,
To see a sunset, or a rose drifting down a creek,
To banish my darkness, and restore my sight.”
“Take your pick. I’ve gods from Ashtoreth to Zeus.
Baal, Venus, Dagon, Apollo, Moloch, or Nike.
Every size and shape, for rich and poor-- choose.
If none suits your need, create one if you like.
“Here I have the King’s god, fashioned to his needs,
Redwood overlaid with gold, jewels for eyes.
Here’s the Queen’s god, a mirror, her vanity feeds.
Adorned with silver, gold, finest wood and dyes.”
The beggar trembling spoke. “Are you a god?”
“What? I, a god? No, no, no. I’m a god-smith.”
Hope vaporized, the beggar leaned upon his rod.
“Is there a god of mercy, or is that a myth?”
“All ask the question, few have the answer.
The gods are man’s creation, deified parents,
To comfort his wounds, or blame in anger.
They change like clouds, drifting with the moments.”
“Why craft gods you believe not?”
“Man worships his gods like a child his dolls.
Dressing them and burning sacrifices bought.
Man desires idols to protect and adorn his halls.”
The beggar frowned; a tear wet his dusty cheek.
“Without gods, what is life worth? Where is hope?
From deepest depth to highest peak,
I shall search for the one, until the end of life’s rope.”
“If you find the one, remember Zamwell.
I too searched for him, but he was never found.
Tell none; the gods that failed, are the gods I sell.
Take some gold, that by hunger you are never bound.”
The beggar wandered in search of the divine.
For Zamwell, the smiths erected a monument,
He chuckled within, as they carved his design.
They worshiped and praised him wherever he went.
Until prosperity died, changing the minstrel’s tune.
“It’s Zamwell’s fault!” the mob declared.
The religious gang chanted, “Kill him soon!
Down with the image, we once revered!”
The shop they burned, him they stoned,
His blood stained the street, but life remained.
He opened his eyes, and in pain he moaned,
A man dressed his wounds, outside it rained.
The face familiar, Zamwell struggled to recall.
Then it hit him like a rock, “You’re the beggar, once blind.
How can this be? Tell me all.”
“At last I’ve seen Zamwell, whom I returned to find.
“Many years I wandered, until I found the one,
He touched mine eyes, and now I see.
I saw him crucified, but his work was not done,
Christ from death arose, and set me free.”
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