Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Barford Mill

Cascading torrents flooding time-encrusted rocks
Droplets like so many sparkling thoughts
Deep pools wherein do lie lost dreams
And yet the water rushes over
Like a thousand streams.

For centuries of grinding corn to purest flour
The dusty labourers bent upon their endless work
Great oaken beams a testimony bear this hour
In tired floors and well-loved spiral treads.
Almost one can hear the throaty miller's cry
Across the golden grain

The red-haired 'prentice boy bare thirteen years
Toiling with a loaded sack - a peasant's livelihood
All gone - if Mother Nature was not kind -
Entrusted to his care; and all to do before the boiling sun
Melts upon a deepest blue beyond; they call it sunset
But the boy knows none of this.

That noble arch has stood the test of time
Has seen the midnight rider and the huntsman
And even lovers met beneath its litchened stones
To gaze at stars.
But many generations and ideas are born
Since first it raised its lofty arms to heaven.

Within the mill, stone wheels which ground
In endless torment, cease at last
The sacks are filled no more
Yet how many jovial millers trod these boards?
Who knows?

Perhaps long-darkened eyes saw this expense of golden crests
Sweeping to infinity, with eager nodding heads
Old roses hug the porch way, to hand the cracks of time
And hidden from the autumn shine
A cellar stacked with casks of mellowed wine;

And still the silver water tumbles over rounded rocks
Like the touch of a child upon a toy
O Mill of a thousand secrets, master of the fields around
The world is thine!

(written in 1967)

(c) Poet in the woods 2013


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