Martin Robertson

Now and Then



The cordon drawn

about the isolated brain grows tight.

Roads closed, wires cut,

he sees no more the known nor knows the seen.

Follows the fall:

strong in the streets the legions of the fiend

the fruits that wait their greed and passion cull,

once wrecked the mind

make with the soul and with the sinews free,

and all help, all hope far

blindfold and mock the visionary heart,

fetter the lifting feet.


And on his right hand hung the face of Diaghilev,

and on his left hand hung the face of God,

and played at war between them with the soul of Nijinsky

in fifty-two pieces like a pack of cards;

and the faces whirled in intersecting circles

with the spades and diamonds and clubs and hearts

night-black and bloody, spinning, and in the centre

hung God Nijinsky, and Diaghilev not.