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The Toolmakers

© 1984 Stephen Savitzky. Creative Commons by-nc-sa License Some Rights Reserved. .

Before the dawn of history we made you knives of stone,
Blades of fine obsidian, with hilts of polished bone
We gave you needles, axes, aye, with flint we tipped your spears
Though all your bones be dust, our tools have lived a million years.
Then flame brought metal from the stone and shining bronze was poured,
We made the cup, the mirror, the helmet and the sword,
And though the towers we builded then lie toppled o'er your bones,
Our writing echoes still your words upon their scattered stones.
Then forged was iron, cold and grey which armies rose to wield,
They swept across the darkened years like locusts 'cross a field.
Yet iron also tilled the land,  and pitched the new-mown hay
And some bright shards of lore we saved until a brighter day.
New light burst forth upon the world, reborn was ancient lore,
The tools we forged were finer then than any made before:
New instruments to measure time, to map the sky and earth,
And presses where we made the books in learning's great rebirth.
Our tools tamed wind and water, then brought the age of steam
The lightning does your bidding now, your midnight cities gleam.
We've probed the depth of space, and seen where human eyes are blind,
And built of sand and logic tools to aid the human mind.
From broken flint to polished steel, from wood to atom's flame,
The tools we make can build or break; to them it's all the same.
Some curse us for the tools we make, but those who do are fools;
What separates us from the beasts is how we use our tools.
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