Now and Then
(industrious as cancer-cells
building their busy colony
which kills their host and so themselves)
cuts its way into mother earth
till all is empty quarries, shells
riven by a Caesarian birth.
The fairy-story hero’s cake
was eaten with his mother’s curse.
He won through from that first mistake,
but only just—and whether we
have left ourselves a chance to make
a second choice in time, would be
a bet I’d hardly care to take,
love as I do humanity.