The Demise of the Village Smithy!

The Demise of the Village Smithy!
I chanced upon a tragedy one showery August day
A Cullybackey icon was to progress making way
A fully working forge mill and local village Smithy
Was being scattered far and wide with glib antipathy.

The sacred sanctity of this home was totally disregarded
An invasion of such privacy left cruelly unguarded
Personal lifetime treasures were thrown to the wind
Historical strong sentiments against progress couldn’t win.

A family tree of branches all with stories to be told
A wealth of long held memories stored up from days of old
A tale of love and labour from this founding father Scot
Who arrived to seek his fortune and many exploits wrought.

The shodding of the horses on the Derry/Belfast line
With ambitions for expansion in his own well-chosen time
He was led to Cullybackey his blacksmith skills to use
And set to forging metal as well as making shoes.

Then cupid came to visit as he met a farmer’s daughter
The answer to this young man’s prayers he diligently sought her
Her family gladly took him in with his burning strong ambition
Where he set up home in the wee thatched row, a permanent position.

The family tree expanded with several girls and boys
And providing for their future was one of his great joys
He took on many challenges to provide for his large brood
The waterwheel the first one, on the table to put food.

He resourced a nearby water stream and engineered a sluice
Which drove a very useful lathe plus a thresher for his use
Then a shaft went to the pantry to drive a butter churn
And with tireless ingenuity, there followed more in turn.

The business was expanding with blacksmithing at its heart
The Maine Works now a customer for repairs and homemade parts
Son James who was the youngest had business credentials
To take the business forward to reach its full potential.

Dad rushed him off to Archie’s to get rid of his rough edges
But Archie won his favour with promotion and good wages
And so it fell to Billy to preserve the family name
He took on his father’s mantel and rose to local fame.

He ran a well-oiled outfit with standards unsurpassed
Producing local merchandise some small but others vast
To service Maine Works linen trade with large replacement parts
He kept the factory running with his skills designs and arts.

Billy loved the outdoor life while working on the farm
So at one with nature its creatures he could charm
His daffodils and snowdrops were a picture to behold
A carpet white in early spring to become a field of gold.

A rugged tough but varied life an inherited vocation
But naturally declining in a steady slow progression
In a home of myriad memories in his chosen bachelor state
The inevitable outcome spelled out the final fate.

All culminating here today in a way of life’s extinction
The sands of time have spoken and we all should pay attention
A reminder that we all must face the bidder for the soul
As the hammer strikes the anvil, to sound the final toll.

Billy hung his hammer up many years ago
When those brawny arms grew tired and his step was getting slow
Still he led a very useful life while his health allowed
And as he considered his achievements I’m sure it made him proud.

The upkeep of the property, the dwelling and the lands
And the care of the inhabitants was always in good hands
A show of selfless kindness and neighbourly concern
Was obvious to everyone and did admiration earn.

Yes, a story well worth sharing of this local unique friend
With a solid sad conclusion, this really is “THE END.”

W. LIVINGSTONE
August 2020

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