As I think back to times that warm my heart, I can’t help but remember the old cast iron stove that was the centerpiece of my grandparent’s kitchen. That huge conservator of heat kept the house warm – listened to conversations from a family of ten for years – watched as tears fell for those who died well before their time. It was the site for drying wet mittens – holding heavy irons used to touch up the collar on a shirt – held loaves of rising bread before they were placed in the oven – was the meeting place for dogs, cats and even some unwelcomed critters.
We often wonder what they would say if walls could talk, but I imagine that old iron beast would have plenty to share – stories of joy and delight, the birth of another child, the death of a family member, the jokes, the arguments, the tall hunting tales and so on. This inanimate object reminded me of a silent giant who was collecting a lifetime of stories, but had no way of telling them. That being the case and me being the story teller in my family, I wrote this poem to celebrate its existence.
Originally published on 11/24/16
The old iron fortress stood ready and tall within the empty room.
Wood stacked at one side – boots and mittens there dried,
But no one would share in the warmth that it’s belly consumed.
The snow outside glistened, no footprints did lead to the door,
The smoke lifted high to the stars in the sky,
The only one home was an old, tired soul who lay curled up asleep on the floor.
He had worked all day long, chopping wood for the old iron beast.
So he took to the floor, like he had once before,
And fell fast asleep while waiting alone for a fabulous feast.
His dreams soon were shattered by voices that chattered outside,
He rose to his feet. At the door he did meet,
All the friends from his past who long since had gone on and died.
As each person walked by, they could hear the man cry and in a soft murmur he said, You once were my friends but where’ve you been all my life, My children have died and for them I’ve cried, yesterday I lost my wife, Within just an instant he knew God had called him to his eternal rest,
This new life that it gave him, would no more enslave him,
The warmth of his Savior was beyond so much more than the very best of the best.