Poem for Green’s Windmill Trust: EMHA 2017

The following poem was commissioned to celebrate Green’s Mill and Science Centre winning ‘Heart of the Community’ for the East Midlands Heritage Awards 2017:

GREEN’S MILL
Aly Stoneman

In Green’s Mill garden
a terrier chases a ball
among fallen apples;
notes of balm and sage
sing out from turned soil
and plans are laid
for spring planting.

We are willing
affirm the windmill’s sails;
inside the brick tower
machinery rumbles,
soft flour permeating air,
dusting every surface
as it did two centuries ago
before derelict years
as Nottingham grew,
houses and factories
advancing over farmland.

Yet Green’s Mill remains
a place for milling and baking,
a space to draw breath,
sow seeds, spark ideas –
the core of Sneinton.

We are willing 
white sails turn again;
a kettle whistles ready
inside the garden shed
and wheat whispers
through a rising breeze
plant to grain to bread.

Thoughts on the commission…
How amazing to see a working 19thcentury windmill in the centre of Nottingham! I walked past it every day when I lived in Sneinton, never imagining that ten years later I would be invited to create a short poem celebrating Green’s Mill and Science Centre winning ‘Heart of the Community’ for the East Midlands Heritage Awards.

One Friday in early October, I visited the mill incognito to do some research and was given a tour by volunteer gardeners – including Mavis and her terrier. They explained how the Mill garden has been transformed from a derelict allotment to a community space with a pizza oven, shed and wooden Victorian-style greenhouse.

My poem grew from a line in Green’s Windmill Trust’s application, which spoke of demonstrating ‘the complete cycle of growing grains and milling through to baking’. I think it’s really important to understand where our food comes from, and at the mill people can learn about the whole process – plant to grain to bread – and perhaps buy a bag of organic flour, stoneground in the mill using traditional techniques.

The idea of the cyclical nature of the site linked the mill and garden activities for me: the turning of the seasons and the windmill’s sails. It also connected with the renovation of the Mill as a fantastic community resource, following its decline after 1860 and long period of disuse and dereliction. I was struck by this story of renewal and regeneration.

LeftLion’s review of the EMHA 2017 Awards event on 9th November 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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