Butterflies and Windmills

Wind turbines would not win any beauty contests. Only an inhabitant of the Isle of Man would marvel at the triskelion structure of a wind-powered device. These tripod monstrosities are housed in wind farms. There are no sheep on wind farms. Or cows. Or chickens. Just rows upon rows of rejects from War Of The Worlds.

In contrast there is aesthetic beauty in windmills. These wind-driven pieces of architectural splendour have been around since antiquity. Like an overflowing rubbish skip in the road, nobody walks past a windmill without having a look. Sonnets, TV dramas and operas have been written about windmills. The artistically named, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), wrote a piece about a windmill, unimaginatively titled: The Windmill.

I stand here in my place,
With my foot on the rock below,
And whichever way it may blow
I meet it face to face,
As a brave man meets his foe.

And while we wrestle and strive
My master, the miller, stands
And feeds me with his hands;
For he knows who makes him thrive,
Who makes him lord of lands.

The land of the windmills is the Netherlands and was a popular subject for the mad Dutchman, Vincent Van Gogh. The painter depicted a prodigious amount of work on this object as it was part and parcel of the lowlands scenery. A windmill was a common fixture in the Dutch landscape though today this is now decreasing.

Although windmills are gasping for air, will anyone write a poem about a wind farm? Will there be a soap opera commissioned called Wind Turbine farm? Apart from the decorator, will anyone paint a wind turbine? I think not. Only Windmills have the power to captivate the cultural set.

In the course of writing this essay I have been knocked over by the sway of wind. Wind is definitely my favourite meteorological phenomena.

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10 Comments on “Butterflies and Windmills”

  1. I am a lovely Wind Farm
    Set high upon a hill
    I see the land below me
    And sneer upon the Mill.

    It is an ancient relic
    Revered by minds unsound
    But I am very high-tech
    With a turbine that goes round.

    One day you'll really love me
    Just like you love the Mill
    Because I'm really useless
    When all the air is still.


  2. JW10 Says:

    Very good, CI. The first (and only, I'm sure) poem about wind farms.
    I look forward to listening to your ground-breaking, wind-blowing five act opera.

  3. Expat Says:

    Oh, JW, I love you. When I can't sleep…AGAIN…and it's 3 am…AGAIN…I check in to your blog and lo and behold, there's something new to get the windmills of my mind turning.

    I loathe wind farms with a passion. They are an abomination upon the earth. It's like The Day of the Tryffids has come to stay.

    CI, what a great poem!! Now I'm thinking of windmills and watermills in literature. There's The Mill on the Floss, of course, and The Miller's Tale. And the adage “a millstone round my neck.”

    The energy I am generating with all this thinking should be enough to keep the lights on chez Expat for another couple of hours at least.

  4. Oh how true, JW, yet who could fail to admire the handsome Triskelion & spirals on a Galician torc terminal?
    (thank god for Wikiped)

    Wonderful paintings, wonderful poem, CI, and hope you drifted gently back to sleep, Expat

  5. JW10 Says:

    Sorry to hear of your ongoing sleep problems, Expat, you’re not a vampire, by any chance? Glad you’re with me on the pro-windmill lobby. Moving on from literature, that magnificent TV drama Camberwick Green had a character who owned a windmill. His name was Windy Miller.

    Dolores, don’t you think the interlocking patterns of triskelions are hypnotising? The rotating effect does make me dizzy. Like being on the Waltzer’s at the fairground.

  6. A fun blog JW!

    I’m surrounded by crazy people and weird structures, wherever I live.

    In England I can see a black smock windmill from my bedroom window, and there’s a wind farm with 30 turbines out to sea. The wind farm was built in 2005, and there were huge cheers on the beaches when operations began.

    You don’t believe me? Well, take a look at what the locals have been gazing at from the sea shore since WWII!!!


    PS We are whizzing back to Tenerife tomorrow, so I’ll not be on-line until late tomorrow…

  7. Yes, JW – the spirals are vortexily hypnotising. Rather like a guy who used to appear at cajun gigs, grab anything vaguely female and WHIZZ them round the floor until their head came off. (I Was that vaguely female).

    Something bizarre's happened to my URL line in the past couple of days so it doesn't display link to pass on to the Galician torc thing…

  8. Mended URL line – here's torc link, should anyone want to gaze at it:


  9. JW10 Says:

    Hope you enjoyed your time in Britain, CI. Those sea forts are impressive. They would have put the fear of hell into any invader foolish enough to attack our shores.

    Dolores, Baroness of the Twirl, First lady of the Twist, Countess of Rotation, Order of the Garter of Cajun gigs, your Galician Torc vortex looks like a prototype for C3PO.

  10. Ooh thank you, JW, for those splendid titles! – shall have a T-shirt made immediately, and a certificate emblazoned on my hat.

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