Who would have thought the keep was not secure —
That parapets could weaken within till
Even the pilings were in on the swindle,
The towers leaning rounder, ever truer;
And none saw them fall but the neighboring windmill,
Its sails waving mutely: au secours.
If only a grindstone could crush into serenity
Some inarticulate churnings, and the vanes extend
A storied embrace in arms that would not bend,
But stay braced extremities in extremity.
Generations of descendants wonder
What ever became of the defeated
Seignior whose floodplain, long retreated,
Has sunk into culverts where the road runs under.
A distant highway — neither drums nor thunder —
Renders a certain homage that the ruin enjoys;
The rotors turn; the miller’s sons, competing,
Shout over the white dust and white noise.