The Fireplace Tongs
On occasion, the fact that something gets lost
forces one to value it all the more. Tongs I found
in ashes of fireplace in ruins of the cottage,
grandfather’s birthplace, in Ballyhaunis. Asked
his last remaining sister, Margaret Lyons, & two
daughters, Bridie & Noreen, if I could take the tool
back home. Made of iron, simple, ancient contraption
with single hinge at top to open & close, while end tips
flattened to better grasp the log. Put them to good use in Salem,
Gloucester, even Winchester & Scituate, where I lose track of them,
when moving to Portland, down-sizing to three-room apartment, what
with no fireplace. Yet, until lost never once imagined heat & ingenuity
of the forge & clever blacksmith combining to form such a fine implement,
better etched in mind, here & now, than back then held in hand.
Robert Gibbons, a former Gloucester resident, is the author of nine books of poetry. In 2013, in addition to completing a Trilogy of prose poems with Nine Point Publishing, he published Olson/Still: Crossroad, a brief study concerning the similarities in approach to art by Olson in words, and Clyfford Still in paint.