Here you will find the Long Poem Blades of poet Padraic Colum
SOJOURNER, set down Your skimming wheel; Nothing is sharp That we have of steel: Nothing has edge: Oh, whirl around Your wheel of stone Till our blades be ground! Harshly, quickly, under blades Hafted with horn and wood and bone Went the wheel: Narrow long knives that should be one edge, House-knives that sliced the loaf to the heel, And scraped scales off mackerel, And weighty knives that were shaped like a wedge- Stone wakened keenness m their steel: Knives with which besom-makers pare Their heather-stalks, and hawkers' blades Used by men of a dozen trades; Broad-bladed knives that cut bacon-sides, And stumpy knives for cobblers' hides, With hunters' knives that were thinned with wear:- All were brought to, All were laid on, All were ground by The Sojourner's wheel. And those who filled the market-square Saw hand and eye upon their ware That were well schooled and scrupulous To spend upon that task their use. But sparks came from the eyes and met The sparks that were from the edges whet As eagerly and wittingly The dullness of each blade scoured he, And the brow he bent was like a stone. Over the grinding-stone he sang, 'The dalesman's sword shall make you fear, And the dirk in the grasp of the mountaineer, likewise the pirate's blue cutlass have left your blades long edgeless!' the men were thinking of games of cards, the looks of the boys were turned towards corner where they played pitch and toss, the women thought of the herring across tongs to roast where pot-hooks hang, ready and unforward men have no right to any lien the gifts of Tubal Cain, The gifts of our father, Tubal Cain!' But no one drew meaning from the song As he made an equal edge along One side of the blade and the other one, And polished the surface till it shone. 'Now leave a blessing on what you have done.' 'For what I have done I take my fee, But no blessing I leave on it,' said he, 'Everybody knows, Everybody knows That the knife-grinder No blessing bestows.' Then the market-place, with wheel a-pack, He left, and the men to their cards went back And talked of a bird in the cocker's loft; And of liming linnets beside the croft The boys told between pitch and toss; And the women laid the herring across The tongs to roast for a sloven's meal. And he went out beside the Peel Tower, and through Saint Selskar's Gate, Heading at a hearty rate Towards the hilltops and the shades. And three who brought back sharpened blades To their fathers' stalls by the Tan-yard Side, And then stayed while a blackbird cried Quietly by their groundsills The butcher's daughter, The cobbler's daughter, The hawker's daughter, Were lost on the hills!