Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday's Poetry: "The Mill"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

I have a friend in my pinochle group who doesn't drive but who is a very talented photographer.  This morning (very early this morning!) I acted as his chauffeur as we descended into Shannon County, Missouri, to take pictures of a couple of beauty spots in the Ozarks National Scenic Riverways.  One of the sites we visited was called Rocky Falls, a beautiful set of cascading falls located in a remote setting.  I had not been to this Ozark natural treasure before, but it is someplace that I will definitely take company in the future.

The other main stop that we made was at the Alley Spring Mill, another lovely spot - one where over eighty million gallons of water gush from beneath the Ozark hills daily.  Alley Spring is a place where I routinely take company.  My kids played there, on the grassy grounds (not in the spring!) on several occasions when they were little - whether they remember it or not.  Today, after the recent two-day deluge, there was more water swirling around the mill than I have ever seen there before.  It was completely awesome.  My friend got some great early morning shots while we were the only people in he park - and I took several pictures with my phone.

Last week our local newspaper announced that the Ozark National Scenic Riverways will be featured on one of the new national parks' quarters.  It is due out this summer.  The engraving on the quarter will be the mill at Alley Spring.

To commemorate this latest trek to Alley Spring, I have chosen the poem, The Mill, by Edwin Arlington Robinson.  It was written in 1920 at a time when modern technology was making the old water-powered mills obsolete.  The poem is very dark, suggesting that the miller hanged himself from a rafter in the mill, and his wife, upon finding his body, drowned herself in the "black water" which at one time had produced their livelihood.

It is a grim reminder that change inevitably leaves people behind.

The Mill
by Edwin Arlington Robinson

The miller's wife had waited long,
The tea was cold, the fire was dead;
And there might yet be nothing wrong
In how he went and what he said:
"There are no millers any more,"
Was all that she had heard him say;
And he had lingered at the door
So long that it seemed yesterday.

Sick with a fear that had no form
She knew that she was there at last;
And in the mill there was a warm
And mealy fragrance of the past.
What else there was would only seem
To say again what he had meant;
And what was hanging from a beam
Would not have heeded where she went.

And if she thought it followed her,
She may have reasoned in the dark
That one way of the few there were
Would hide her and would leave no mark:
Black water, smooth above the weir
Like starry velvet in the night,
Though ruffled once, would soon appear
The same as ever to the sight.

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