“The Invention of Glass”

Listen to Sherod Santos reading this poem. Having split it from a chiseled block of quarry stone, The smithy took the flinty chip and tossed it into a fire He’d laid and bellowed in a rock-pit near his shop.

To his surprise, the chip caught fire, sputtered out,
Then caught again and burned the bluer part of flame.
The heat, he thought, grew hotter then, so much so

That the stone’s own nature seemed to change,
Like melting wax, and over-spill the flame. To the smithy
It seemed a sign from god to see stone run that way,

And he shuddered to imagine the upshot if,
Like a slain man from whom dark blood runs,
The source of that guttering stream should die.

And so, with the pike-end of his blackened tongs,
He dug down into the heart of fire and lifted
That radiant nugget out, and held it aloft

In the smoky air, where it shone for a moment,
Effulgent as a star, a star that in the heavens
Marks some long-awaited miracle to come.