Low on Windmill Hill

The highest elevation in Providence is not actually College Hill, but a little-known tucked-away working-class corner in the far North End known as Windmill Hill.  Henry knows this because Windmill Hill was the first place he & his surreptitious girlfriend visited one night.  At that time, there was a little replica of a wooden windmill planted on the summit, in a patch of spare grass.  But on a recent stop the windmill was nowhere to be found.

At the climactic conclusion of Dante's Inferno, we see a horrible vision of Satan as a giant monster-windmill, turning in the icy wind as he chews on the bodies of the traitors.  Fraud and treason are at the very bottom of Hell.  Infidelity is a kind of treason - a betrayal & self-betrayal : thus Our Hero's secret visit to Windmill Hill for a panoramic vision of Providence is saturated with irony.


If you can find a place to stand on Windmill Hill,
in the North End, you'll hear the unspoked lie of the land. 
The upwelling wall of the East Side will bend
like the spine of a woodchip-barnacled blue whale

(beached near Paradise).  Or inverted hulk of a shipwreck. 
You'll see the rostrum of some rusted Rome there
under the branching threads of spring-green leafdom; and 
a veiled visage – quivering, arabesque.  Across her neck

like a purple thread (pearled with whale
oil lampposts) runs the line of Benefit Street.
With perpendicular and downward step, the granite 
feet of Roger Williams seem to slip from the gunwale

into the curling foam; his iron hand of grace extends 
afloat, suspended in the air, immobile, always.
Seed of appleroot remains.  Blackstone (his heart) says 
– nothing stays. Maples adagio, palmleafy – ends

twirling toward the blind king's regal purple.  Poe, 
venereal, Venetian, zigzags, loaded, down that avenue 
(his raving, rampant exit).  Overhead – against the blue-
dom of a jaybird's warning – fly! – go M and W, MW. . .

– spiralling southwest, a graphic blur, a smokescreen. 
Smogs the drainview now. But to drink the ashes of relations, 
a passionate prodigality.  Yo – gotta squint your breathins, 

bro. Damn straight – leastways bout that one, Hen.

Looking SE from Windmill Hill

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