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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.    

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