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The Windmill
by
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


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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.
 

This poem is in the public domain.

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Most experts would agree that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was the most popular American poet of the nineteenth century. A family man who suffered much tragedy in his personal life,  Longfellow was the first of a group of writers known as the "Fireside Poets," called such for their popularity with families all over the country who gathered by the fire in the evenings to read the work of these poets aloud. Longfellow published poetry over a forty year period, and enjoyed public adulation in line with that of rock stars and celebrities today.


Post New Comment:
KevinArnold:
After some research I learned that, to minimize storm damage, the arms of the windmills of Longfellow's day could be folded up, so the last stanza probably refers to the practice of doing so on the Sabbath.
Posted 09/04/2011 12:18 PM
LRL:
a great image, a poem that begs to be shared around a fire.
Posted 09/04/2011 09:17 AM


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