Give me iron, fire, air to feed it,
water for quenching white-hot metal,

my sturdy anvil, tongs, hammer.
I'm a simple blacksmith, not a poet.

But you, mortal, forgetting the story,
stare at my leg and wonder what happened.

I'll tell you. My high and mighty parents,
bound by their bitterness, married to pain,

quarreled with each other for sport or pleasure
day after day. It's still the same.

Zeus' words, like bolts of thunder,
stoked the fire in Hera's eyes.

She hurled them back, and her aim was deadly!
That's when it happened, she hit the mark.

Wounded, he raised his fist above her.
I leaped in front to take the blow

and shot like a comet through the vault of heaven.
Tumbling, senseless, a darkened star,

I fell, they say, from sunrise to sunset.
Helios, driving his chariot heavenward,

watched as the crushing force of Earth
stamped the breath from my broken body.

Kindly Thetis, Ocean's grandchild,
tended me in her briny cave.

But I'm a god; I need no healing.
I can mend whatever's broken,

brace my leg with gold and silver,
bind my heart with an iron band.

I'm a god, no simple blacksmith!
I can mend whatever's broken

with fire, air, water, metal
my sturdy anvil, tongs and hammer.

Murray Kimber Hephaestus
Artwork from Ancient Voices
Copyright 2002 by Murray Kimber.

Kate Hovey Hephaestus
Mask of Hephaestus, used by
Kate Hovey in her classroom

From ANCIENT VOICES by Kate Hovey, copyright 2002.
Margaret K.McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.

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