how the old mill from which
the town takes its noble name
lies abandoned, boarded up
its water wheel no longer turning
stout heart and turbine of a golden age
rusting hidden behind overgrown bushes
the river rushing by unhindered
source of momentary power and potential
now lost, slipped beyond
numb fingers set free again
like failing memory, forgotten skills
of tradesmen long dead in wars
or the duller tyrannies of peace.
But some of us still recall it
as a child I watched it turn
beneath my shaking feet and marveled
at its juggling gaunt groaning
sparkling water diadems of light
and grasped in my young mind
a thing of love as well as genius.
And what since?
We’ve dug coal from the earth instead
oil from the sea floor, killed in droves
each other and the animals, the plants
everything that moved and much that didn’t
all for the miracle of motion, elixir of power
to drive our thirsty machines.
Soon all the wheels of the world will slow
come to a halt and rust as this one
until we see the error, accept the spurned gift
of the river still running by, laughing.