Martin Robertson

Now and Then


The cedar’s sunny terraces

extend about a vault of shade

—inevitable images

forming from things which man has made,

but flight and court and hollow dome

melt in each other, melt away,

Behind the images we come

to the unarchitected tree.

We plan a life, and change the plan,

as life goes on, or think we do,

or think at any rate we can,

planning and changing as we go,

like some cathedral, centuries

a-building.  But that image, as

the other melting images,

is less a truth than a disguise.

Life makes our life, for all we said;

and looking back on it we see

less what we made than what we’re made,

less dome and terrace than a tree.