On the last day of May in 2008, I watched the sunset on Mykonos
with my friends on the watercolor trip with Robert Dvorak.
I you look closely, you will spot the iconic five windmills
on the hill at the edge of the sea.
Behold! a giant am I!
Aloft here in my tower,
With my granite jaws I devour
The maize, and the wheat, and the rye,
And grind them into flour.
I look down over the farms;
In the fields of grain I see
The harvest that is to be,
And I fling to the air my arms,
For I know it is all for me.
I hear the sound of flails
Far off, from the threshing-floors
In barns, with their open doors,
And the wind, the wind in my sails,
Louder and louder roars.
I stand here in my place,
With my foot on the rock below,
And whichever way it may blow,
I meet it face to face,
As a brave man meets his foe.
And while we wrestle and strive,
My master, the miller, stands
And feeds me with his hands;
For he knows who makes him thrive,
Who makes him lord of lands.
On Sundays I take my rest;
Church-going bells begin
Their low, melodious din;
I cross my arms on my breast,
And all is peace within.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I chose this poem in memory of my father, who loved this kind of poem and could recite many of them that he learned in childhood. I have a set of small red volumes that belonged to his family when he was a child; his sister gave them to me. When I get back to where they are, I think I will look to see if this poem is in that set.
This is not the kind of poem that almost anyone writes anymore, although I have one dear grandson who firmly clings to the notion that only rhyming and metrical works like this are really poetry. What do you think?