Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ARIZONA POEMS: 4. THE WINDMILLS, by JOHN GOULD FLETCHER



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ARIZONA POEMS: 4. THE WINDMILLS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The windmills, like great sunflowers of steel
Last Line: And the choking gurgle of tepid water.
Subject(s): Clouds; Windmills


The windmills, like great sunflowers of steel,
Lift themselves proudly over the straggling houses;
And at their feet the deep blue-green alfalfa
Cuts the desert like the stroke of a sword.

Yellow melon flowers
Crawl beneath the withered peach-trees;
A date-palm throws its heavy fronds of steel
Against the scoured metallic sky.

The houses, doubled-roofed for coolness,
Cower amid the manzanita scrub.
A man with jingling spurs
Walks heavily out of a vine-bowered doorway,
Mounts his pony, rides away.

The windmills stare at the sun.
The yellow earth cracks and blisters.
Everything is still.

In the afternoon
The wind takes dry waves of heat and tosses them,
Mingled with dust, up and down the streets,
Against the belfry with its green bells:

And, after sunset, when the sky
Becomes a green and orange fan,
The windmills, like great sunflowers on dried stalks,
Stare hard at the sun they cannot follow.

Turning, turning, forever turning
In the chill night-wind that sweeps over the valley,
With the shriek and the clank of the pumps groaning
beneath them,
And the choking gurgle of tepid water.




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