The Mill at Naul

I CALL to mind, to bring me sleep,
That ruin on the naming hill
Of Naul, with ivy on the keep
That looks down on a ruined mill,
Because my mind comes home and rests
On things which Time no more molests:
For keep above and mill below
There is no further way to go:
They have already gone so far
With Time, that as the hill they are,
Or as the mill-pond by the mill,
Which, though it flows, is standing still;
Or as the stream and broken range
That only know immortal change;
For Time gives here, in turn for peace,
Man’s handiwork a timeless lease;
And makes and takes it to its own
As if it were a stream or stone.
And that is why I love to call
To mind the drowsy mill at Naul,
Because such old things flatter me
With warrants of Eternity,
When Time’s close flag suspends the fray
With ivy green against the gray.
And I can leave my pride which raged
Too long, here, in the keep besieged;
And let my love descend to spread
Through lowly roofs the gift of bread;

And know that I need range no more
With Love and Pride accounted for.
I see the mill, as day is done,
In sunset of a tardy sun
That fills the valley to the East
With all the overflowing West;
Until the valley brims to hold
An airy pond of dusty gold
That shows, as if far down in dream,
The hill, the mill, the little stream.
The light is golden down below,
But, on the keep, the afterglow
Is cold as steel, and sideways flung
Where ivy leaves the walls unhung.
I saw it first through air so wet
With dew that falling leaves fell straight;
For woods, for all their brazen towers,
Withstand not Autumn’s golden showers:
So where I stood the road was rich
With bronze and gold that filled the ditch;
And boughs and leaves dropped so much rain,
I said, The wheel may turn again,
And belt itself with drops anew,
And yet not beat these woods for dew.
And now I lie, till, in my mind,
The mill is lit, the keep is lined
With men-at-arms on sentry-go
Who stand to watch the mill below.
I see the pond’s potential power
Where might is stilled to conjure flour,
And, from the strength of rain pent up
From heaven, transform an earthly crop.
I catch the mill-wheel’s homely sound,
The uncouth magic of its round
Splashing bright blessings, as it turns,
On twinkling tufts and dangling ferns,
Performing, with expansive girth,
The mingling rites of heaven and earth;
I see and hear it clear as day
Though Naul is eighteen miles away.
Don’t think these are the only turns
The half-unconseious mind discerns.
I see far more than you can spy
Who are not half asleep as I;
I see the way, now half awake,
The photons and electrons take
To spin the world, and bring the grist
To wild dreams of the scientist,
Who knows, for all he hopes to know,
That round a myriad mill-wheels go
From some far pond, unplumbed and still,
Which breaks to power and moves the mill.
And now I dwindle till my stream
Is lost within the pond of dream,
The pond of dream which holds far more
Than any stream of earth can pour;
But, if I lie resigned and still,
The pond at length may rise and fill.
I do not wonder that none found
The roofless mill restored and sound,
Because the more the mind’s alert,
The more the inner eye is hurt,
An eye to which the light of day
Is rarely helpful, anyway.
Before I had a mind at all,
The mill was working well at Naul;
And, maybe, when I am resigned
To lose in sleep the wakeful mind,
The mill may start to work again
As once it stood to grind the grain;
And hum its song for many a season,
Where now it does not stand to reason.
It seems to me that far down there
The dusky light is dustier,
The dust is rising in the air;
And over every window square
There is an eyebrow dusty white;
And would that roof be half so bright
Unless with flour? It must be flour:
The mill is trembling into power!
And now I hear a distant drone,
The upper and the nether stone,
So far away it only comes
To fade away in waving hums,
That tell of work so sweet and strong
That all that holds it turns to song.
The mill beside the stream is lit
As if its walls were golden wheat;
And only in the upper streams
Of light a lonely sea-bird gleams
In one long arc . . . ah, let it go:
I want to watch the mill below.
The purple evening turns to dark,
I soon shall see the cobbles spark
Where unseen horses pull their load
Of sacks along a rising road.
I wonder if I dared look up
To see the hill, would all this stop?
And all the scenes that sleep has made,
To deeper sleep return to fade?
I wonder now, will this go on
When light, when light is quite withdrawn;
And if, when sleep is deeper still,
The mill without the miller will?