The old windmill doesn't remember who painted its rain lashed wood

or daubed its sides till they were weather proof

who fixed the hinges, or first turned its face toward the sun

but the old windmill remembers the day it first felt the wind

and moved, in majesty, to its eternal lullaby

many years past now, when skies were different

even constellations at night altered, where darkness was

true and endless, not lit by sum of cities sprawl

growing like crustacean against time’s iron hour

the old windmill recalls the visit of children

white haired, black skinned, brown eyed, many shades

running beneath, heads upturned like sunflowers

living, dying, buried beneath stones, poppies emerging

from their bloom and eventual lapsing decay

and the windmill still standing; time a fickle filament

great cliffs eroding, houses built upon ruins

towns rising and collapsing; dance against recumbent earth

where whisper of wielding milvinae above, casts hypnotic sway

while beneath, a steady beat of avian feet, nest and birth

rook and crow foraging in nooks, a swell of ebbing life

merging together, a terrible emptiness of decades echo

then, upturning, beautiful flourish of renewal

rushing forward in spring reed and nettle ringed willow

wetlands arching like sleepy cats, urging seasons

the old windmill now stands without its face

shiny as once it was, but still; the people repair

its tired wings, and talk to it as you might a tree

for once it was part of a tree, as once it was

part of the earth, it’s very elements a reflection

this, the people know instinctively

they come to eat beneath the windmill with

their children who will grow old and touch its sides

with reverence and memory, all trussed together

like a clutch of stones found in leathered pouch

in the skeletonized hand of time

where we play with things of old

not always knowing their name or place

and yet, they matter so very much

in a way that cannot truly ever be lost.

6 Replies to “Moulin à vent”

  1. Beautiful reminder, especially in this fast-paced time when supposedly important things flit by as news for a day, of our instinctive reverence for and comfort in old things, and the sadness with the ravages of time and weather on them , be they works of man or nature. I walked an ancient ruin in Arizona, once a village of the Sin Agua people (our name for them, not theirs for themselves), and I wonder how it would feel to touch the Pyramids or Hadrian’s Wall, or a Bristle Cone Pine older than either of those.

  2. Makes a change from my omnipresent gloom! I thought of that children’s story about The Happy Prince when I wrote this. I loved that story.

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