Hell with the Lid Off

By Wade Kirstein
St. Canice Class of 1963
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Hell With the Lid Off - Pittsburgh 

Rusty hulks at rivers edge carry scrap and corroded re-bar,
Claxon loud call says beware of liquid fire in buckets,
Plumes of spark festoon the open blast of the hearth,
Face peeling heat sears goggled heads,
All in the name of nation

Tempered plates fly in graceful clouds of iron,
Slag caldrons glow the evening sky of lovers at play,
Slamming steel shatters the day and nerves and hearts and minds,
The hum and clatter of wheels in motion spend the graveyard times,
All in the realm of brotherhood

Gritty men with tempered hearts hunch over growling wire pulls,
Torque in muscle and strain in tendon fight a load of steel coils,
A legion of hands assault the monster here in the belly of labor,
Nose and lung fight for air as acrid smoke envelops,
All in the hope of family

The long day ends, with black lunch box they mount the streetcar home
They brag and they fight and look for the light at the back of a bar with beer
Upon a stool, they see their faces in mirrored traces with ryes and gins on shelves,
And wonder aloud, they're free and they're proud, at the life that they've made for themselves.
All for another tomorrow 


The 45-Inch Mill

The 45-Inch Mill
Constructed in 1942 as part of Homestead's World War II expansion, the 45-inch mill was in operation until the early 1980s.