Zaanse Schans

Step back in time with me,
into 17th century Holland.
Into rural fields of working windmills.
One man pulls ropes taunt,
sets sails to catch wind and spin.
Inside wooden cogs and wheels whirl,
grind stone to fine ochre powder.
Village survives by ingenuity.

Quadrille written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe where today, Lisa asks us to use the word “work” or a form of the word in our poem of exactly 44 words, sans title.

Images and videos from four days ago when we visited the village of Zaanse Schans, which is about a twenty-five minute drive from Amsterdam. During the 17th century there were more than 600 windmills in this area. Today there are 8. They were used to grind spices, produce paint, saw wood, and make oil, among other things. The one we climbed around in is used to grind rock into ochre powder.

A man must climb up onto the roof and adjust the angle of the sails to catch the wind. The turning sails power the inner workings, cogs, wheels etc (top video) which work to make the grinding wheels turn on the ground level (2nd video). We climbed up a steep wooden ladder to see the machinations and walked around downstairs to watch the huge grinding wheels.