Medieval Windmills

a record of progress among the Anglo-Normans

first came hospitals and leprosariums
then schools, orphanages and hospices

and, topping it all, the post-windmills
many scattered points of light

intensifying into a sweeping constellation
as technology illuminated the nation

(a utopian description of the 12th century according to E. J. Keeley)

Keeley dates the first post-windmill in Britain to as early as 1137, possibly earlier.

graffiti illustrating a post-windmill, St Mary’s Church, Dalham, Suffolk 
(from a rubbing by Violet Pritchard)

Dante's Windmills 

look ahead and tell me
can you make it out?
through this pea-soup 

spreading murk about
as the night falls fast
over the vague redoubt 

what is that skirling
tower-like structure
in the far-away – 

is that a windmill
hurled by the gale?
or the very devil

it's hard to tell
hid here behind
the tails of your coat  

after Dante, Inferno, Canto XXXIV


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