vulcan's smoke

the ovens light a red dome     
a flood of molten silver, brass, and gold
spools of fire wind and wind   
and deadly steel, in the large furnace roll'd  
quadrangles of crimson sputter
of this, their artful hands a shield prepare   
the lashes of dying maroon let down
alone sufficient to sustain the war   
 
sev'n orbs within a spacious round they close
a bar of steel sleeps and looks slant-eyed     
one stirs the fire, and one the bellows blows    
on the pearl cobwebs, the pools of moonshine
the hissing steel is in the smithy drown'd     
sleeps slant-eyed a million years
the grot with beaten anvils groans around
sleeps with a coat of rust, a vest of moths    

by turns their arms advance, in equal time
luck moons come and go         
by turns their hands descend, and hammers chime
five men swim in a pot of red steel
they turn the glowing mass with crooked tongs
their bones are kneaded into the bread of steel
the fiery work proceeds, with rustic songs
their bones are knocked into coils and anvils

the aeneid - virgil
smoke and steel - carl sandburg

cento

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