THE WARNING OF THE WATERMILL
Poem by Richard Holding
Vitruvius Molinus made me,
With wheel and stone and leat,
While cohorts marched against the tribes
Westward on Watling Street.
Four generations tended me,
Till the Legions recall to Rome;
But a Molinus stayed to work my mill—
He knew no other home.
When invading hordes had settled down
And village life was born,
The sokeman and villeins needed me
To grind the Saxon corn.
I was listed in William’s Domesday book,
As were five thousand more;
I tendered my tax in “sticks of eels”,
According to Norman law.
For centuries have I worked away,
Whatever line was in power;
I garnered the local harvest
And ground it into flour.
Men said then that the power of steam
Was a more efficient way;
So my weir, my leat, my wheel collapsed,
And I began to decay.
Then a “property developer” rebuilt me,
With deal and glass and point,
He turned me into a restaurant,
Described as “rather quaint.”
He took out all my machinery,
Hung my artifacts on the wall,
Displayed my sluice behind plate glass,
As a “picturesque waterfall.”
Perhaps when you’ve used all your North Sea oil,
And your fossil fuel is done,
You’ll remember I was once a watermill,
And rivers will always run.
Proverb: “The mill cannot grind With the water that is past.”
This grist mill was built by my ancestor Francis Kendall for grinding corn in mid 1600’s, near the town of Woburn, Massachusetts for which he was a founder. He and his brother arrived in America in 1630.