Big Smith.

A poem by Juliana Horatia Ewing

Are you a Giant, great big man, or is your real name Smith?
Nurse says you've got a hammer that you hit bad children with.
I'm good to-day, and so I've come to see if it is true
That you can turn a red-hot rod into a horse's shoe.

Why do you make the horses' shoes of iron instead of leather?
Is it because they are allowed to go out in bad weather?
If horses should be shod with iron, Big Smith, will you shoe mine?
For now I may not take him out, excepting when it's fine.

Although he's not a real live horse, I'm very fond of him;
His harness won't take off and on, but still it's new and trim.
His tail is hair, he has four legs, but neither hoofs nor heels;
I think he'd seem more like a horse without these yellow wheels.

They say that Dapple-grey's not yours, but don't you wish he were?
My horse's coat is only paint, but his is soft grey hair;
His face is big and kind, like yours, his forelock white as snow--
Shan't you be sorry when you've done his shoes and he must go?

I do so wish, Big Smith, that I might come and live with you;
To rake the fire, to heat the rods, to hammer two and two.
To be so black, and not to have to wash unless I choose;
To pat the dear old horses, and to mend their poor old shoes.

When all the world is dark at night, you work among the stars,
A shining shower of fireworks beat out of red-hot bars.
I've seen you beat, I've heard you sing, when I was going to bed;
And now your face and arms looked black, and now were glowing red.

The more you work, the more you sing, the more the bellows roar;
The falling stars, the flying sparks, stream shining more and more.
You hit so hard, you look so hot, and yet you never tire;
It must be very nice to be allowed to play with fire.

I long to beat and sing and shine, as you do, but instead
I put away my horse, and Nurse puts me away to bed.
I wonder if you go to bed; I often think I'll keep
Awake and see, but, though I try, I always fall asleep.

I know it's very silly, but I sometimes am afraid
Of being in the dark alone, especially in bed.
But when I see your forge-light come and go upon the wall,
And hear you through the window, I am not afraid at all.

I often hear a trotting horse, I sometimes hear it stop;
I hold my breath--you stay your song--it's at the blacksmith's shop.
Before it goes, I'm apt to fall asleep, Big Smith, it's true;
But then I dream of hammering that horse's shoes with you!

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