I’ve always loved this short poem by my father, which imagines the man from La Mancha as someone who liberates windmills from their dull everyday existences. By contrast, Sancho Panza, like Dickens’ Gradgrind, is portrayed as a scorching reality principle that withers up the imagination.
Let This Be My Hour
By Scott Bates
Let this be my hour
Sancho Panza: the wind is up
my arms are aching for your flour
My battle never has been won
since chivalry’s finest flower
withered in your sun
O gaseous ball: my knight
is gone to the asylum and no one comes
Sancho Panza come and fight
Incidentally, several years ago a former student (Matt Sargent) examined the significance of the windmills in Don Quixote for a senior project written under my supervision. I learned then that windmills were cutting edge technology, very early heralds of the industrial and technological revolutions. In taking them on as he dreams of old romances, Quixote is fighting the modernism of his day.
So if you are feeling dull and listless, pick up a classic. Better to be a giant than a windmill.
Go here to subscribe to the weekly newsletter summarizing the week’s posts. Your e-mail address will be kept confidential.