My Father Promised Me a Sword

by Thomas R. Smith


Thomas R. Smith

This appeared in:
Horse of Earth
Holy Cow! Press
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1.

The northern forest strides to the edge of the sea-cliff.

At dusk birds tell the story in darkening boughs:

The fortunate son has ridden for days to find

the rock where his father left a sword. It flashes

in sunset--the boy knows in his veins and sinews

the hilt will fit perfectly his hands. Red waves

recall the blaze of that great forge where old gods

are smelted down and new ones raised. The boy steps

to the edge of the cliff and easily draws the blade.


2.

A father can pass the sword willingly to his son,

bless the sunset waters with the glow of his leaving.

Or he can wield the sword until the end,

slash the sky in fury, scorch in afternoon,

rage his family to a desert. My father did neither.

I became an ordinary criminal and stole the sword.

In my new life as a thief, I rode the first horse

I could find--a crippled one--to encounter a dragon

who told me how, for money, he had killed his brother.

       © 1997 by Thomas R. Smith

Hear MP3 WebCasts from a reading by Robert Bly and Thomas R. Smith, editor of the first United States anthology of Alden Nowlan's poems, When He Went to the Store for a Loaf of Bread.

Other Poems by Thomas R. Smith

This appeared in:
The Dark Indigo Current
Holy Cow! Press
$12.95
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Affectionate Witness, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem, published in Mr. Smith's most recent book, The Dark Indigo Current, was first published in M.E.N. Magazine.

The Boy Who Crawled, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem, published in Mr. Smith's most recent book, The Dark Indigo Current, was first published in M.E.N. Magazine.

The Reply, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem was published in Mr. Smith's most recent book, The Dark Indigo Current.

The Road to Kenora, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem was published in Mr. Smith's most recent book, The Dark Indigo Current.

Admiring My Father, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem was published in Mr. Smith's most recent book, The Dark Indigo Current.

The Cruel One, by Thomas R. Smith

The Boy Who Crawled, by Thomas R. Smith

Come In from the Rain!, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem originally appeared in M.E.N. Magazine, and was published in Mr. Smith's first poetry book Horse of Earth.

Late for Thanksgiving Dinner, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem was published in Mr. Smith's first poetry book Horse of Earth.


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