Martin Robertson

Now and Then


The Mother sat, her dead Son on her knees,

white-glowing marble wrought

to perfect intricacy of draperies,

perfection of sorrow in the flower-face.

The young man, knowing the power in his fingers,

knowing the vision in the block,

stood back from the perfected statue, thought

“Still, this is not,

not quite, the image of my dream.”

Lifetimes later,

visions half-realised littering his wake,

his sublimated loves corroding in him,

the world of his religion riven by hate,

everything sour and broken in his heart,

the old man carved by candlelight

behind a locked door, hitting

recalcitrant marble, whittling

the brute block back towards the palpable vision.

The guttering candle flared up straight.  Out.

Night claimed him.

But in the whittled, bruised stone he left caught

that straight flame.