Now and Then
Sea; rocks and sea; rock and pine,
red earth and olive, pine and bare rock,
broken rock climbing to a point of snow,
to the blinding blue of sky; diamond air
edge to knife-edge with the naked rock
breaking down in a pine-torrent of green
or rock straight to an olive-pearly plain,
straight to a blinding or a peacock sea.
And here and there like stalks of asphodel,
few and broken but straight, gold in the sun,
the cities of Greece: which flowered in her own spring,
withered through the dog-days of Macedon,
through Rome’s opulent autumn, all but vanished
in the long white winter of Byzantium.