The Structures-A Poem

offshore windmills

We chanced upon them

In the early morning.

One lay, crazily tilted,

At an impossible angle.

The others, white and upright

Stood in their curved straightness.


Above us broken blades thrummed

Struck by constant sea-breeze buffets.

Why, we asked, did they-

Our long dead forebears-

Why did they build these things

Here in the wild free ocean?


Did they seek to honour

The gods of wind and tide?

Or were they hurling defiance

At nature? Building what storm

Could not destroy. (Nothing,

We said, will defeat time.)


Well, the structures had survived;

Wind and tide remained,

But they, the builders, had

Long departed, names forgotten

Purposes unknown, carried away

In hurricanes of human anger.


Our wise-woman pondered

These things (it was her way)

Man proposes but God disposes

She said. Greed destroys

What vanity builds and

Wisdom comes too late to save.


The folly of construction puzzles us

The folly of destruction is nearer to our heart

We will repeat their foolishness because

Already we have forgotten it.

Our business gave us no time to linger

For we carried important messages.


From the Holy Father in Rome.


(Acknowledgements- Thanks to @CatholicEcology who tweeted the picture, to Edwin Muir for his poem The Horses and to Thomas Babington Macaulay for his New Zealander in London between them they inspired this poem. The failures in execution are all my own work.)


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