Martin Robertson

Now and Then

Mother’s Malison

Industrious humanity

(industrious as cancer-cells

building their busy colony

which kills their host and so themselves)

cuts its way into mother earth

till all is empty quarries, shells

riven by a Caesarian birth.

The fairy-story hero’s cake

was eaten with his mother’s curse.

He won through from that first mistake,

but only just—and whether we

have left ourselves a chance to make

a second choice in time, would be

a bet I’d hardly care to take,

love as I do humanity.