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Symbolism: A Mixture of Meaning in Mettle

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Symbolism: A Mixture of Meaning in Mettle


*Note: The above image is a photograph of the artifact which inspired this poem, hanging on my own chest. It is a medallion I found when cleaning out my parent’s attic. On the reverse side, it bears the inscription, “To Beverly, From Roy, With Love.” It was a gift my father created for my mother before his untimely death in 1985. My mother gave it to me, and over the past few days, I’ve conducted research on the meaning and source of the symbol – if any. An article describing my findings and their symbolic connections to my own life will be forthcoming within the next few days.


A new chapter in my life begins

The time to wallow in Hades sorrow

With head in hands for former sins

Is history now – today is tomorrow

A search for symbols to personify

Rebirth of mirthful personality

Revealed a motif etched in steel

My birthright and my family seal

A long dead father’s form of love

Bartered for my mother’s kiss

Melted, molded, made into

A symbol for a son amiss

A longing look at what was found

Remembrance of long time love lost

She bequeathed a seeming simple seal

A chain-linked loop of steel embossed

Smelted with a workman’s hands

Meaning mixed in metal’s skin

My father poured in lover’s gift

All the very best in him:

A mind of mettle, like a snare

To trap Demeter ladies fair

Southern gentlemanly attitude

And metallurgical aptitude

All these things my father poured

Into a molten mixing kettle

Resulting in a symbol with

More meaning than mere metal

Within the hearth of beating heart

I feel the Phoenix Flame arise

The Hero’s Hike to Passion’s Peak

Brings reborn Hephaestus eyes

To the meaning melted in

This round medallion on my breast

I add my soaring spirit’s sails

A stolid mast where steel meets flesh

I stand now on the precipice

Of passion’s deep with future bright

A symbol of metamorphosis

New life in me begins this night!

--Dan Edge

**Acknowledgements: Special thanks to Mom and Kim, whose love and support have helped make these lines a reality. To Carol, Fred, and Sherry, to whom I will be paying it backwards for the rest of my life. To Chad, Cory, Dave, Dorian, Kelly, Lou, Lynn, Melanie, Nancy, Ryan, Stella, and Todd, whose friendship and love have meant so much. To rekindled and newfound friends Curt, Greer, Kate, Lean Mean Dr. Tamara, Natalie, Sultry Leslie Sayrah, and the rest of the EC Crew, whose benevolence served to stoke the Phoenix Flames. To Jessica Jasmine the Boar-Hunting Heroine, who provided inspiration in her own unique way.

***This poem may not be submitted for publication without consent of the author. Permission is granted to publish on personal blogs and online discussion forums – provided it is reproduced in its entirety in original formatting, complete with acknowledgements and this message – along with a link to my own blog, The Edge of Reason. Comments are welcome. My email address is: [email protected]

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We folk have red necks, white chests. You're just gonna have to deal with the glare. What with the gleaming bald head and pasty white skin, I'll blind a mutha.



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An impressive poem. What is it about South Carolina that produces so many literary types ?

Something in the beer, I reckon.

I liked your mettle cymbals ..... uh, metal cymbals .... mettle symbols... you know.

Taking excerpts is uncontextual, I know, but one couplet is particularly striking:-

"Southern gentlemanly attitude

And metallurgical aptitude"

Also :- My father poured in lover's gift / All the very best of him.

Well done!

Edited by whYNOT

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