Martin Robertson

Now and Then

Country and Town

From woods and valleys now the gathered night

spreads to the open, darkening field and hill.

To stars and window-panes withdraws the light.

Hunched to the chill

hushed birds on boughs crouch, deep in grass the hare.

Twigs cracking, one dog’s bark,

momently pierce but not disturb or tear

the silence of the dark.

The town is fevered; but as night wears on,

blood cooler, quieted the pulse’s roar,

it drowses.  Now among the smoke and stone

the deadly poor

settle themselves on steps, by hunger and

no hope reduced to peace.

The prostitutes along the pavement stand

abstracted, still, like trees.