What Is "The Forge" by Seamus Heaney?

"The Forge" is a sonnet written by Seamus Heaney. The poem is told from the point of view of a blacksmith who views his work space as a spiritual place. However, the intended audience for the poem is somewhat unclear.

Heaney wrote "The Forge" from the first-person perspective and likely drew on personal experience. The details of the poem are quite specific, which makes the reader believe that Heaney has lived through the experience of which he's writing about.

One thing that stands out about the poem is that Heaney uses two unusual analogies for the anvil of the blacksmith, referring to it as both an altar and a unicorn.