Martin Robertson

Now and Then

Against Anorexia:  For Cathy


This demon that has come

between you and your plate

let her go home

to her own place.  Let

her cruel spell fade,

peak away, as

she would have had

you do.  Let the grass

green up again, buds

plump on the tree,

the quiet birds

pipe up.  Be

the year’s spring

yours.  Fill

out again your young,

your beautiful

body’s emptiness.

Clothe again

in your lovely flesh

this poor skeleton.


Between waking and sleep

things appear

sharp in the eye,

words speak in the ear

startlingly clear,

sometimes beautiful,

sometimes silly,

sometimes horrible,

all to be dismissed

when we’re right awake.

Normally, that is.

Sick and weak,

we feel them take over


shameful, frightening,

telling us we

aren’t who we are,

hate whom we love.

Nothing, truly,

to be ashamed of,

frightened by, even

surprised at.


we are all mad.


Don’t fret

that the tired nag

stumbles, drags

rambling feet,

won’t, can’t

keep the pace you want.

Rein slack

on sunk neck,

let him amble home

in his own time;

dream, keep

the stall, sleep,

dream, eat.

Let the day-dream

have its day

till suddenly

clouds thin

under the sun

and he’s raring

to gallop away.