John the Mill
Father and a brother died in the mill:
broken by stone and iron-clad wood,
the weaker circlings of blood were still.
The slow thundering machinery
of bone crushing stones
ground out memory upon memory.
John turned the key. For another half century
he lived in the mill-house; stood
by that threshold but never ventured
through the door. His eyes, voice,
gait were all as quiet, and deep,
as the mill pond when he closed the sluice.
Beyond the lock, among decaying gear,
he left worm and rust to keep
the emptiness he neighboured for fifty years.