Martin Robertson

Now and Then


Husk flakes from the seed

and nothing in plant or tree

cares if it sprout or wither.

Nestling and cub go free

of the uncaring father,

the season-sloughing mother.

Child of man and woman,

slow from the womb coming,

sleeping curled up long,

awake netted in human

care, lingers among

down, under spread wing;

growing, never grows

wholly away, stays

linked still to parents

by fibres, filaments

charged with subtle currents.

which must flow on to others.

Must we then, human, envy

beast and flower? netted,

knitted into this knot,

envy beings empty

of memory and thought,

of threaded mind and heart?

No.  Knowledge of self

compels knowledge of others.

Knowledge compels love.

Love makes us.  


Yet endeavour

to loosen the child’s tether

and to leave soon enough.